M.D. of Opportunity Council notebook

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Information is from the draft minutes of council’s July 27, 2022 meeting in Sandy Lake.


Council accepted administration’s recommendation and appointed Fay Cardinal to the M.D.’s Subdivision and Development Appeal Board. Her term ends in October 2023.

The need for a new member arose when Eric Twardzik resigned from the SDAB. It hears appeals of decisions made by the Municipal Planning Commission and is made up of members at large as well as council members.

Evaluating the CAO

The M.D.’s chief administrative officer, Chad Tullis, is due for an evaluation. Council decided it needs help in doing this, so it approved the hiring of a firm called Impact HR, at the rate of $130 per hour to help.

CAO Chad Tullis

Latest on paintball “concerns”

Council previously gave its ‘thumbs up’ to the use of land on David Starr Road in Wabasca by a paintball business. Since then, “concerns have been expressed by conjoining property owners,” say the minutes from the July 27 council meeting.

Council directed administration to send a letter to the paintball proponent, advising him to get liability insurance and providing him with a list of concerns. The letter will also encourage him to provide “safety talks” (presumably to the people playing the game) and have a waiver available for participants to sign.

Tanasiuk Recreation Area

One of the late additions to the agenda had to do with a sign by the Rock Island campground that reads ‘Tanasiuk Recreation Area.’ Council directed administration to have the sign removed, and “when we do our rebranding, we’ll replace it with (one) that will make more sense,” say the minutes. Why it doesn’t make sense now was not mentioned in the minutes.

Senior Home Repair Policy updated

Amendments to the M.D.’s policy on helping senior citizens with home repair costs were approved as follows:
Applicants must be the registered owners of the dwelling
The dwelling must be the primary place of residence
The individual rate is to increase from $5,000 to $8,000
Council will review the applications and decide whether to accept or reject, based on reports by the program coordinator
Applicants with tax arrears/debts must make payment arrangements before repairs are initiated under the program
The coordinator can approve urgent heat and water requests during bad weather
Repairs beyond the overall budget will require CAO/council approval.

Upping the budget for senior home repairs

Following the amendments listed above, council adjusted the senior home repair program’s budget upward, to accommodate the new policy. Per community, it now looks like this:
Wabasca: – From $30,000 to $50,000
Sandy Lake: – From $15,000 to $25,000
Chipewyan Lake: – From $12,500 to $15,000
Red Earth Creek: – From $25,000 to $35,000
Peerless Lake: – From $30,000 to $40,000
Calling Lake: – From $25,000 to $35,000

Transfer of properties to Wab.-Dem. housing authority

Council approved the transfer of two properties from the M.D. to the Wabasca Desmarais Housing Authority, for a fee of one dollar.
Apparently, the properties – one in Calling Lake and one in Sandy Lake – were missed when the initial transfer of titles was done.

Red Earth paving contract awarded

Council voted to award the contract for paving the Red Earth Creek hall parking lot to Waymor Construction, for $266,755. It was the only bid the M.D. received on the job.

Grading contract for Trout Lake

Council also unanimously approved the awarding of a road-grading contract for Trout Lake to Keka Holdings, at the rate of $180 per hour.
The contract is for three years. It calls for maintenance of 8.4 kilometres of roads.
Two bids were received. The winning bid was $15 per hour higher than the other one. No reason for choosing the higher bid was included in the minutes.

Muskwa Cemetery contract

The contract to expand the cemetery in Wabasca was awarded to Fortress Construction, for $37,448. The job includes concrete work “to build a header,” creating 38 additional plots in the existing cemetery.
The Fortress bid was the only one.

Campground issues

Council went in camera to discuss something to do with the Wabasca Lions Campground. What those issues were does not appear in the minutes, nor does the reason for not discussing them in public. Section 16 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act is, however cited. Section 16 allows exceptions to the rule that business must be conducted in public in the following cases: If disclosure would be harmful to the business interests of a third party, or if the information is about a third party and is in a tax record.

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