M.D. of Opportunity Council notebook

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

The following notes are taken from the draft minutes of the Aug. 10, 2022 council meeting

Support for Calliou Round Dance

Council approved a Darlene Jackson motion to provide M.D. support to the Dwayne Calliou Memorial Round Dance. The contribution will be $6,600 for the event, which takes place on Oct. 1. The money is payable to the White Owl Round Dance Committee.

Keekenow deficiencies

Council discussed deficiencies at the Keekenow Senior Facility. Garbage collection is one of them. The M.D. will inquire as to whether an additional pick-up is needed.

Also: When there is a power surge, council heard, back-up generators kick in, causing an alarm to go off. Whether it’s the fire alarm or security alarm needs to be determined. The contractor that installed the faulty alarm is to be contacted.

Jackson appointed to housing board

Councillor Leo Alook moved that councillor Darlene Jackson be appointed as a full member of the Wabasca Desmarais Housing Authority board and that councillor Tahirih Wiebe be removed from the board. The motion was carried unanimously.

Visit from STARS

STARS Air Ambulance rep Glenda Farnden made a presentation to council about STARS services to the area. She presented a plaque and thanked council for continued M.D. financial support for STARS.

According to the STARS information in council’s agenda package, the M.D. has committed $20,000 per year over five years (2022 – 2026) to STARS.

Golf tournament raises $68,000

CAO Chad Tullis’s report included the good news that the annual M.D., Bigstone fundraising golf tournament on July 29 was successful. It raised over $68,000 for the Atoske Action Group and Bigstone Cree Nation Career Development.

Splash parks get funding

Splash park projects in Wabasca and Calling Lake have been approved for Canada Community Building Fund grants for $235,000 each.

Alberta Transportation on Hwy. 686

Alberta Transportation rep Chase Milligen dropped by for a chat – mainly about plans for upgrades to Hwy. 686.

Milligen said a bridge job north of Trout Lake will be tendered (the minutes don’t say when).

“There will also be a grading project tendered out between Peerless Lake and Trout Lake, with a portion base and pave in 2024.”

Council told Milligen they’d like to see corners cleared between Trout and Peerless, for safety reasons. It was suggested the M.D. organize the work.

Over budget on hockey school

The cost estimated for a hockey school and associated speaking engagement in Calling Lake was too low. The report in the agenda doesn’t say how much was allocated, but the new figure to host Reggie and Jamie Leach was $26,500, plus local accommodation.

Council approved $30,000 for the Aug. 19 – 21 event.

Cash and gravel for Calling Lake breakfast

Councillor Cheri Courtorielle proposed that the M.D. contribute $4,000 to the Calling Lake Community Society for its community breakfast. Plus two loads of gravel for a door prize. It was carried unanimously.

Sandy Lake breakfast

Councillor Jackson moved that the M.D. kick in $2,000 to a numbered company that is hosting a community breakfast in Sandy Lake. It was carried.

Councillor Tahirih Wiebe had declared a conflict of interest and did not participate in the discussion or vote.

Topping up Lions Club

Council approved a Louis Cardinal motion to ‘top up’ the M.D. contribution to the Wabasca Lions Club by $7,500. No reason was given in the minutes.

Support for chariots and chuckwagons

Councillor Larry Cardinal’s motion to support the Wabasca Rodeo Association with a $10,000 donation was approved. The money will help the association put on a chariot and chuckwagon race event, Aug. 26 – 28.

Land auction postponed

Council was asked to approve a set of reserve bid amounts for several properties the M.D. was due to auction off (presumably for tax recovery purposes, but the minutes do not specify) on Aug. 23. However, the minutes record only that council approved a postponement of the auction to sometime in October, “subject to review and legislative adherence.”

Twenty-four properties are listed for sale in the auction – 14 non-residential and a dozen residential. Nineteen are vacant. Two are in Red Earth Creek, one is in Calling Lake and the rest are in Wabasca.

Work camps turned down

One of the reports in council’s agenda package has the interesting tidbit that the M.D.’s Municipal Planning Commission had turned down an application to set up two temporary work camps in Red Earth Creek. The applicant – Nova Gas Transmission – appealed the decision and the Subdivision Development Appeal Board was due to hear the case on Aug. 11.

The camp is likely needed to house workers on the Red Earth section of a major ($632 million) pipeline expansion project that was announced last year.

Contract for fireguard awarded

Council accepted administration’s recommendation and awarded the contract for site prep and seeding of the new Wabasca fire guard to Waymor Construction.

Waymor’s was the middle of three bids on the project, at $699,000. It got points by being local and having already done the same job in Red Earth Creek.

Mudbog mulching and salvage

When it comes to site prep and seeding for the new Wabasca Mud Bog facility, the second time was a charm. The M.D. received an acceptable bid on the second tendering of the project and recommended to council that the job go to Waymor Construction. The contract is for $197,400.

Calling Lake meeting room

There was a ‘request for decision’ in council’s agenda package for a proposed meeting room/washroom facility in Calling Lake. The recommendation was to purchase two 10’ x 24’ units “one for each department” (departments not specified), for a cost of $60,000.

However, council’s motion was to have administration tender a project “for a stick-built addition.”

Peerless grading

Road-grading in Peerless Lake has apparently not been up to M.D. expectations. Council authorized administration to terminate the existing contract and offer it instead to Keka Holdings, at the rate of $180 per hour.

Crushed gravel for Peerless

Council approved a Jackson proposal that the M.D. respond to a request for gravel thus: That the request be accepted as information and the Peerless Trout First Nation be advised it can purchase gravel at a subsidized rate of $325 per load. The gravel had been requested for a cultural camp.

Grant for tie-ins

Council voted in favour of a Tahirih Wiebe motion to provide a “water & sewer tie-in grant” for the New Beginnings Church in Sandy Lake. The amount of the grant was not mentioned in the minutes.

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