Jan. 19, 2021 meeting
Drop dead date for ice?
“I hate to ask this,” said councillor Darin Busk. He was contemplating a point where the town might have to decide to pull the plug on the ice at the MRC, if the restrictions on its use continue for much longer.
“I don’t want to,” Busk said, “but we’ve got to save money here, eventually, right?”
The CAO didn’t have an answer, but said he would look into it. There was no word from the province last week about when – or if – hockey would be allowed to resume.
Asphalt plant impact concerns
Councillor Joy McGregor had concerns and questions about the apparent approval of an asphalt plant for an industrial property right next to Big Fish Bay Resort. Given the town’s desire to promote and increase tourism, “are we doing ourselves any harm?” she asked.
McGregor noted that another asphalt plant had caused problems and “wasn’t allowed to stay in town.”
Councillor Busk agreed, saying a plant located in the northwest part of town “had some neighbours upset.”
CAO David Kim noted that an application for the plant has not been submitted, and such concerns will be duly considered if and when it is. What has happened is that the Municipal Planning Commission okayed the use in the proposed location, which was presumably what McGregor was referring to.
“If it stinks,” she said. “Campers are not going to want to camp there.”
“It’s a big question,” said Kim, promising that if and when an application is made, the town will “review (it) very thoroughly for environmental, social and economic perspective.”
In Kim’s written CAO report, the final item was ‘Frost Fest – Feb. 8 – 15 (tentative).’ Asked about that, Kim said “We hope we will be able to launch it. We’ll review whether there are ‘virtual’ things we can do.”
Elsewhere in this edition of The Leader it is noted that the Lesser Slave Forest Education Society is planning a Frost Fest event that could take place within the current health regulations that limit contact between people. We’ve also learned that the Rotary Club of Slave Lake Public Library has two events planned – a ‘story walk’ and a virtual magic show.
Kim’s report for council included the news that the town’s business activity survey had already received 44 responses in two days. Its purpose is to gather data “about business activity and commodity flow, so business growth opportunities can be identified.”
The majority of respondents, Kim’s report added, are from people “who plan to expand their business.”
Split decision on re-zoning
Council approved the rezoning of a commercial property on 6th Ave. SE, per the owner’s request. It moves from the C2 to the C1 district, otherwise known as ‘Downtown Commercial.’ It’s the second such re-zoning for properties in that part of town in the past month or two.
The reason for the application, council heard, is that the C1 offers more flexibility, as far as what sort of businesses can operate in it.
The change required three separate bylaw amendments, of the various planning documents. Those being the Municipal Development Plan, the Downtown and Main Street Area Structure Plan and the Land-Use Bylaw. After holding the required public hearings, and hearing nothing, council gave each bylaw second and third readings.
Each one passed by a 5 – 2 vote, with councillors Joy McGregor and Rebecca King in opposition in each case. They did not offer any reasons; however, in previous discussions, King had stated her dislike for ‘spot zoning.’
The property is a commercial plaza at 112 – 132 6th Ave. SE.
Following the above discussion, councillor Julie Brandle made a motion directing administration to look into a general expansion of the C1 designation (Downtown Commercial) to cover a greater area along Main St.
This comes after a couple of individual properties applied for and were granted a transfer into the more generous C1 from C2 (Secondary Commercial). Anticipating that more such ‘spot zoning’ requests would be coming, Brandle’s reasoning seemed to be that the town might as well be pro-active about it.