M.D. of Opportunity Council notebook

Dec. 13, 2023 meeting (continued)

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Public works in Calling Lake

Public Works Director Cyndi Taron’s report for council had a few items from Calling Lake that stood out. One had to do with the seniors’ emergency home repair program. The M.D. is seeking a local contractor to replace three bedroom windows at one residence. At another, new flooring has been installed, as well as a couple of windows.

On the security side of things, “staff have continued their roving patrols,” says Taron’s written report.
“Suspicious activity will be noted and reported.”

Three staff members are involved in the security patrols in the community, which has been under a state of local emergency for several weeks, due to security concerns. One more staff member would be required for full coverage.

On the animal control front, Taron’s report said five dogs were in kennels as of the report date.

Bridge job awarded

Council authorized the awarding of a contract to replace the ‘north bridge’ to LaFarge Canada., for $1.9 million. This was about $400,000 more than the estimated amount. The motion included approval for an additional expense of $735,000, just in case.

The report says the M.D. had received a STIP grant for 75 per cent of the cost to replace the bridge. It does not make clear what amount that grant is 75 per cent of, but Taron told The Leader the M.D. has applied for more grants “to stack on the STIP funding to cover the M.D.’s cost.”

The M.D. received three bids; LaFarge’s was the lowest.

Bus fees for hockey trip

Council responded positively to a request for a waiver of bus fees for a hockey team. Devon Rathbone had made the request, on behalf of the U13 team, for an upcoming road trip to Whitecourt and Jasper.

Donation request

Council voted in favour of a motion to grant a request by Pamela Masuda and Caroline Favel for a poker rally fundraiser on Dec. 14. The purpose of the fundraiser was not included in the minutes.

What was requested was five $100 Home Hardware gift cards.

Five-day dig

In the written report from the Director of Utilities, Earl Gullion, for the M.D., was the news it took five days of digging to locate a water line leak. This was on Neewatin Drive in Wabasca. The M.D. was told it had been leaking since August. The leak was isolated and repaired by a contractor.

Job openings, etc.

According to the report from the M.D.’s Corporate and Regulatory Services chief, a heavy duty mechanic was needed in Wabasca, a fire chief in Sandy Lake and in Calling Lake, and recreation admin support person in Calling Lake.


The health clinic in Wabasca saw 1,398 patients in November. The ultrasound facility was 85 per cent booked, “and continues to provide a great service.”

Planning and development

The process of turning over M.D. assets to Peerless Trout First Nation continues. Officially, it’s called ‘disposition reassignment,’ and includes two water treatment plants, an air strip and two sewage lagoons.

The report says the reassignment has been approved, and awaits provincial approval.

Installation of fibre optic service to homes in Wabasca is scheduled to begin in 2024. Surveying (by drones) has been completed.

The M.D. had issued 54 development permits in 2023, up to that point.

Fireguard grazing

Leases for grazing of fireguards that the M.D. has arranged with various parties isn’t going as smoothly as hoped. In the director’s report was the news that the grazing lease for part of the Red Eart Creek guard and all of the one at Wabasca are up in the air. The lessee (not named in the report) has not been returning calls or emails. A deadline of Dec. 19 had been imposed. What happens after that was not mentioned in the report.

FireSmart projects

No bids were received for projects at Sandy Lake or Calling Lake, initially. The second try for Sandy Lake was more successful and the job has been awarded.

Two tenders for Calling Lake produced zero results. The plan was to put it out a third time.

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