M.D. of Opportunity Council notebook

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Council’s Nov. 29 meeting was held in council chambers in Wabasca, with all 11 council members present. The following seven items were late additions to the agenda: Christmas festival, a donation request from a volleyball club, wolf bounty, seniors’ home repair and heating grants, 40-lot concern, council supplies and the 2024 fire season.

SOLE stays, for now

Council again discussed the State of Local Emergency (SOLE) that the M.D. had declared for Calling Lake. It was decided to leave it in place for the time being. It was further decided to review the matter at every council meeting. If council discussed the effect the SOLE has had, or any other aspect of the situation, it did not make it into the minutes.


There’s a Transitional Housing Committee that was in need of a couple of councillors as board members. Accordingly, council appointed Tahirih Wiebe and Cheri Courtorielle, with Darlene Jackson and Leo Alook as alternates.

Another body needing councillors as members is the Clinic Committee. Council voted to appoint Marcel Auger, Brendan Powell and Darlene Jackson, with Tahirih Wiebe as alternate.

Extra funds for Christmas dinner

Bigstone Community Wellness had requested “additional funds” from the M.D. for a community Christmas dinner it is planning. The amount was $5,516, approved by council by way of a Brendan Powell motion.

Volleyball request

Ellslee Knowles, on behalf of a boys’ volleyball team, had requested financial support from the M.D. The team was planning to attend a tournament on the first weekend of December called ‘Battle of the Bands.’ Council approved a $2,000 contribution.

Wolf bounty

Councillor Leo Alook had asked for this to be put on the agenda, as he wanted an update on the program. The news is the M.D. has suspended the program, as well as the one on beavers. The M.D. is dealing with complaints on a case-by-case basis it looks like, engaging a local trapper when needed.

2024 fire risk

Concern has been expressed about the 2024 wildfire season.

“We need to have a plan in place,” say the minutes.

The minutes further state that it’s the responsibility of grazing lease-holders to mow or mulch grass that is at least 3.5 feet high, on the fire guards at Red Earth and Wabasca.

The best option, the report continues, is to have livestock do the job. Otherwise, get hold of Forestry about the possibility of a hazard-reduction burn.

Council directed M.D. admin to reach out to both the lease-holders and Forestry.

Clinic update

Dr. Riyaan Hassen of the Golden Opportunity Clinic updated council on recent operations, challenges and opportunities at the facility he runs on behalf of the M.D.

Hassen spoke about new leadership, and a walk-in service starting in January. He also recommended a committee be set up to discuss health concerns in the community.

Land auction

Council accepted the recommendation to approve the appraised value for a property going up for tax recovery auction as the reserve bid amount.

The property is on Fox Drive in Sandy Lake. Its appraised value is $10,000.

The report in council’s agenda package says in the meantime, the owner has removed a mobile home “illegally” from the property.

Veg. mgt. contract awarded

A contract to manage vegetation in Sandy Lake was awarded to Eric Auger & Sons Contracting, for a price of $67,620.

Senior heating grant topped up

Council voted in favour of a motion to add $10,000 to the budget for heating grants for seniors. The seniors’ home repair program – another late addition to the agenda – may or may not have been discussed; it does not appear in the minutes.

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