M.D. of Opportunity Council notebook

April 26, 2023 meeting

Joe McWilliams

Lakeside Leader

Council adopted the April 26 agenda with the following additions: Calling Lake community meeting, gravel pit in Red Earth Creek, unsightly premises in Red Earth Creek, lease extension for something called ‘TJBSC Community Learning Centre,’ a donation request from Mistassiniy School and another one from the Wabasca Lions Club.

Golf tournament date change

Council approved a date change for the annual Opportunity/Bigstone fundraising golf tournament to Aug. 9. Approved along with that was a change to the council meeting date that week, to Aug. 10.

Gravel negotiations

Council heard that the M.D. is negotiating with Ruel Concrete on a per-tonne price for gravel at the ‘kidney’ pit in Red Earth Creek. Also that Peerless Trout First Nation is discussing gravel crushing with the same company.

New name for new road

A new road in Calling Lake where 10 homes for seniors are being built has a name. Council approved the name Kito Sakahikan Lane. The online Cree Dictionary defines ‘sâkâhikan’ as ‘a small nail, or tack.’ It has no definition for ‘kito’.

Calling Lake kennel to re-open

Council approved a motion to re-open the ‘kennels’ at Calling Lake. This will take what the minutes refer to as “minor repairs,” costing $15,000. Anticipated staffing costs, plus a security system, are $30,000. According to the director’s report, the previous ‘monitoring system’ “was all stolen during a break & enter a few years ago.”

The kennel was last used in 2019 during a fire evacuation of Wabasca.

Sandy Lake concerns

Mildred Bigstone of Sandy Lake shared her concerns with council about the outreach centre in Sandy Lake. Residents would like it to be operational for the youth. The M.D. does offer part-time programming at the hall and some joint programming with the school.

Delegation #2

Red Earth Creek businessman (and former councillor) Georges Jadot spoke to council about “appraised market value of the property in tax forfeiture.” What property is not mentioned in the minutes, nor is anything recorded about the discussion, if there was any. The minutes do say that when a property is sold through the tax forfeiture process, the municipality takes whatever the outstanding taxes are from the sale earnings and the balance goes to the former owner.

New generators

Council approved the purchase of two new generators – one for the water treatment plant in Wabasca and one for the “main building I.T. room with essential computers.” The project cost is estimated at $150,000.

This was an unbudgeted item. The report in council’s agenda package cited “current power failures and upcoming potential failures,” as the reason for buying the backup power.

A third generator had been proposed for the “Wabasca main building and shop,” but council opted to go with just the two mentioned above.


Back in March, council approved a council workshop to be held in Osoyoos, B.C. The matter was back for further approval, which was apparently required. The motion was to approve the workshop in Osoyoos on July 17 – 21, with Calgary as an alternate location.

No report on the reason for the distant location appears in the council agenda package.

Speaking of ‘distant,’ council also approved an “Australian tour,” from July 3 – 10, with a budget of $100,000. CAO Chad Tullis subsequently informed The Leader it’s for an exchange trip for local students. A group of Australians had visited Calling Lake several years ago, and this is for the second half of the exchange.

Staff to New York

Council approved a grant to send four M.D. employees to a conference in New York. Two are from Wabasca and two from Calling Lake. The event is called ‘International Physical Literacy Conference,’ put on by an organization called Sport For Life. It was held May 2 – 5, in New York City.

The cost of sending the four Opportunity employees was not mentioned in the minutes.

Lease extension

Council voted in favour of extending the lease for the TJSCB Community Learning Centre in Sandy Lake for two years. The extension is subject to the facility being shared with the M.D. programmer.

Mistassiniy, Lions donations

Council approved two donations as requested – one from Mistassiniy School of $5,000 and one by the Wabasca Lions Club of $10,000. In both cases, councillor Darlene Jackson declared a conflict of interest and left the room.

The $5,000 for the high school is for the June 24 high school graduation, and is “payable to the Fish Derby Fund.”

The grant to the Lions Club is annual, and is conditional upon receiving financial statements.

Support for food banks

The M.D. will provide $125,000 to food banks, divided up among five communities, plus a portion for “transportation.” The Wabasca food bank gets $60,000, Calling Lake $30,000, $10,000 each for Red Earth Creek and Sandy Lake and $5,000 for Chipewyan Lake. The transportation item was allotted $10,000.

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