New town council sworn in, gets right down to business

Council notebook
(Oct. 24 meeting)

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

‘Second family’
The new town council’s first formal meeting began with introductory remarks by returning mayor Tyler Warman. He called council service “a big sacrifice,” and that council ends up being “a second family. You spend a lot of your time over here,” he said, adding, “I’m looking forward to working with this group.”

‘Failing at an alarming rate’
Brian Vance’s CAO report included an item on water meters in town, which have been “failing at an alarming rate,” he said in his written report for council. “It seems that the batteries are all running down at the same time.”
Vance’s report went on to say the manufacturer is replacing them under warranty, but it is a slow process. Also the cost of replacing them isn’t covered. The backlog is expected to be covered by December.

Main St. north water line.
Asked about this project, project manager Doug Baird said the line is all installed along Tamarack Rd. and tie-ins would be starting right away.
“It’s going very well,” he said. “The goal is to have it in service this year.”
Asked about the other, smaller line that will be installed up Main St. beyond the Tamarack Rd. corner, Baird said it would be done this fall, weather permitting, but tie-ins not until next year. And if the weather doesn’t cooperate, “we won’t even start it (this year).”

Regional water line
The sole item for resolution on council’s agenda had to do with the regional water line project. This is the one that includes a new intake and pumphouse at Wagner, and a line from there to the water plant in Slave Lake.
Providing the background on the issue at hand, Baird explained that with the project estimated to be $2 million over budget, a couple of scope reductions had been contemplated. One was reducing the number of intake lines from the lake from two to one; the other was to cut out the emergency power generator at the pumphouse. These two cutbacks were estimated to knock $1.2 million off the budget, which made them palatable. However, recent information from the contractor revealed the cost-saving would only be $673,000. That significantly alters the risk vs. reward calculation, and in administration’s opinion, Baird continued, it is no longer worth giving up those two components.
The risk of not having backup power is obvious. As for the second intake line, Baird said that is the preferred set-up; for one thing, one line can be ‘backwashed’ while the other one continues to draw water. CAO Brian Vance added that “It would be very much more expensive,” to add the second line later.
Councillor Brice Ferguson asked if deferring the backup generator to another year would end up costing more. It likely would, said Baird.
“We’d be at the mercy of the market.”
Councillor Darin Busk made the motion to proceed per admin’s recommendation. The motion passed, with Ferguson opposed.

Mayor’s corner
Warman’s report on recent mayoral business began with remarks on the recent election.
“I was pleasantly surprised to see reeve Kerik re-elected (in the M.D. of Lesser Slave River),” he said.
Warman went on to say he feels optimistic about the prospects for inter-municipal cooperation and looks forward to it coming to the table fairly soon.
In other news, Warman reminded councillors of the Legacy Centre fundraiser on Nov. 18 and encouraged their participation. Before that, council has a couple of days of strategic planning, which he said is “energy-sucking” but valuable.
Warman also advised his colleagues that the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association conference is coming up in the third week of November.

Getting organized
Following the swearing-in ceremony and regular meeting, council reconvened to take care of some organizational business. This was mainly the dividing up of committee appointments. In several cases, it came down to a vote.
Inter-municipal Committee – Tyler Warman, Julie Brandle, Darin Busk
Lesser Slave Lake Watershed Council – Shawn Gramlich; Rebecca King as alternate
Protective Services – Busk, Joy McGregor
Municipal Planning Commission – Brice Ferguson, Busk, King
Subdivision and Development Appeal Board – Brandle, Warman
Waste Management Commission – Ferguson, Warman, King
Slave Lake Airport Commission – Gramlich, Ferguson, Busk; King as alternate
Regional Library Board – McGregor; Brandle as alternate
Peace Library System – ditto
Community Futures – Brandle
LSL Regional Housing Authority – Brandle, King; McGregor as alternate
Naming Advisory Committee – Gramlich
Tri-Council Health Committee – McGregor, King, Brandle
Legacy Centre board – Warman
Regional Economic Development Committee – Ferguson, Warman, McGregor
Community Education Committee – McGregor
FireSmart Committee Warman; Gramlich as alternate


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