Jan. 12, 2021 meeting
Council met for the first time since before Christmas, but somewhat surprisingly only had two new items of business to deal with. Perhaps that was just as well, because the mayor’s connection cut out a couple of times – once when he was in the middle of commenting on ‘the big news of the week.’
The CAO’s report included the news that three more business licenses had been issued since the last report. One is a hairstylist, one ‘home crafts,’ and the third a home-based health and beauty products outfit.
Business activity survey
CAO David Kim told council a business activity survey is underway through the rest of January. Its purpose is to collect data about the scope of commerce in the community and region, including something called ‘commodity flow,’ “so we can identify growth opportunities.”
Speaking of economic development, Kim reported the town is working with a company “interested in expanding its services to the Slave Lake region.” Also on the radar is “a local group” looking into bringing a new service to town. Group and service not specified.
Parks and facilities
The MRC and pool continue to be closed, but they should be in tip top shape by the time they do open. According to Kim’s report for council, numerous cleaning and maintenance jobs have been and are being done at the MRC during this period of COVID-induced closure. Other town facilities as well.
Keeping trails in good order has been a challenge, Kim’s report said, due to freezing and thawing.
Some complaints have been received in this area.
At this point, councillor Darin Busk mentioned a certain garbage can in Hilda Eben Park that has not been emptied.
“Birds are starting to get at it – spreading it all over the park,” he said. “We don’t need that.”
Long service recognition
Councillor Joy McGregor mentioned that the public works department had recently made a point of recognizing several of its employees for achieving long-service milestones. Normally such recognition would happen at a staff Christmas party, she said, but thanks to COVID that didn’t happen this year.
“It’s too bad we couldn’t do it in person,” she said, adding that she hopes other departments will take the time to recognize their long-serving members.
Municipalities are required to appoint a director of emergency management. This position has been vacant for a while. Presenting a report on the matter, deputy fire chief John McDermott told council that it also made sense, while they were at it, to appoint a deputy director of emergency management. That way, if the director happens to be absent when a disaster breaks out, the deputy can fulfill the role.
Accordingly, council appointed CAO David Kim as director and McDermott as deputy director of emergency management.
Council heard that doses of the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 have arrived and a few people at the top of the priority list have received shots. Storage capacity for the other vaccine is not available for the time being. Councillor Brice Ferguson added that the hospital (presumably acute care) is (or was at the time) at capacity, partly due to a shut-down at the hospital in High Prairie.
The Family Care Clinic saw 3,200 patients in December. About a quarter of these were not ‘in-person.’
The board welcomed a new member, councillor McGregor reported. Her name is Marcia McDermott.
McGregor also commended library staff members for all the effort they have been making in providing alternative programs during yet another shutdown of the library.
“The staff really picked it up,” she said. “It’s a great bunch of people.”