M.D. of Opportunity Council notebook

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Council’s Dec. 13, 2023 meeting was held at council chambers in Wabasca. All 11 councillors were present (as of 10:06 a.m.). So were seven M.D. department managers and the recording secretary.
Council approved an amended version of the agenda, with the following late additions: group benefits, council Christmas event and a drainage concern on Caribou Crescent.

CAO report

CAO Chad Tullis’ monthly update for council included the good news that revenue for 2023 was at $74 million, with expenses at $65 million (both as of Dec. 6). Spending on capital projects was lagging a bit further behind budget: $17.3 million spent, vs. $33.2 million budgeted for the year.

On the other hand the Sandy Lake gasification project is nearly complete, Tullis reported. Only four homes remain to be connected, the delay being due to “specialty parts and supply chain constraints.”

One of the projects going more slowly than hoped is the expansion to the Wabasca kennels. The contractor “has been very slow,” says the Tullis report. The M.D. has issued a letter and hopes it has some effect.

Calling Lake SOLE renewed

The M.D.’s state of local emergency will continue for the time being. Councillor Cheri Courtorielle made the motion and it was carried unanimously.


Council appointed Cheri Courtorielle to the Senior Home Repair Committee. In a separate agenda item, Douglas Fisher was appointed by council to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board, with Chris Roe as alternate.

A third appointment was Chantal Kuhberg, as alternate clerk of the SDAB.

Support for Victim Services

Council approved a Brendan Powell motion to provide $2,000 to Peace Regional Victim Services. This is requested yearly, says the written report, “from all municipal councils within the RCMP detachment areas.”

Victim Services helps victims of crime and trauma, “and is a valuable resource for the citizens in Red Earth Creek, Trout Lake and Peerless Lake.”

Calling Lake project re-tendered

Council passed a motion to put a job to build decks and rear landings for the Calling Lake Senior Complex out to tender again. Results from the first tendering were unsatisfactory.

According to the report in council’s agenda package, two bids were received. Both bids were below the estimated cost of $150,000, but there were apparently other concerns, which were however not very clearly spelled out in the written report.

Grant requests

Council accepted recommendations from the Grants Committee on the following:

$3,000 to all fire departments for jackets, snacks, youth events, etc.

$5,000 for community programs in Sandy Lake

$35,000 for social programs, by the Wabasca Lakeside Seniors Drop In Centre

$2,500 for Wabasca Cross Country Ski Club

$20,000 for social programs for Calling Lake Kito Sakahekan Seniors

$12,000 for Calling Lake Community Society Initiative, for historical programs. This includes “gathering artifacts, community gatherings, coffee supplies and staff centre.”

$75,000 for Calling Lake Community Society for community well-being events and Canada Day celebrations.

Two other requests were accepted for information.

Councillor Tahirih Wiebe abstained from voting on the grant requests.

‘No’ to heavy truck parking

Council voted to deny an application by a Wabasca hotel to add a parking lot for heavy trucks. Luxury First Hotel, at 101 Opportunity Drive, was seeking a permit to have such a parking lot next to the hotel.

The recommendation from administration was to not allow it, since (among other reasons), the M.D.’s Downtown Concept Plan states that “industrial land will not be allowed within the downtown area.”

Sandy Lake fire chief position

The M.D. has been advertising for a fire chief for Sandy Lake since September. It had received just one application, from the deputy chief. But he has little experience, according to the written report, and administration was not recommending he be hired.

Accordingly, council voted to re-advertise the position.

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