June 8, 2021 meeting
CAO David Kim’s report to council included the news that a new, bigger water line to the fire hall has been installed and is producing good results.
“It allows to fill a fire truck in seven minutes,” Kim said, “compared to the previous 45 minutes.”
In other fire hall upgrade news, Kim said an improvement to the internet to the hall is being planned. “We have been looking at the best option,” he said, adding that with ‘5G’ service apparently becoming available, administration is hesitant to put something in that will only have to be replaced again in a few years
Councillor Rebecca King said she’d been in touch with the SAGA group from Roland Michener School. It has requested that the town fly the Pride flag for the remainder of Pride Month, which is June. King made a motion to that effect, which was supported by her colleagues.
As reported earlier, a waterline break near the hospital has resulted in the splash park at Schurter Park not working. As requested, administration had a proposal for a temporary fix, in order to get the splash park working again, while the town looks into a permanent solution.
Making the report, town project manager Kush Patel provided council with maps showing the water line, where the break is, and how inserting a plug in a certain spot could give temporary relief.
Getting the splash park going again is not quite a simple as that, however. Patel told council after the plug installation, the line has to be disinfected, and then water samples sent to the government lab for approval, which can take a week.
“I’m glad to see it getting done sooner, rather than later,” said mayor Warman.
Pool operation agreement
Council approved an updated version of a five-year management agreement for the swimming pool, with Northern Lakes College. The previous one expired late last year.
Council heard that the main difference in the new one is that responsibility for occupational health and safety has been clarified, with the town taking full ownership of that.
The pool opens this week with modified hours. This week it’s Monday through Saturday. Subsequently, for the time being, it will be open Tuesday through Saturday.
“I’m glad to see the town and college have a good working relationship,” said councillor Joy McGregor.
Acknowledging health care professionals
As promised, this item was put on the agenda for discussion, after councillor Darin Busk brought it up at the June 1 meeting. The chair invited Busk to lead it off.
Front-line health care workers have been “stressed to the max,” Busk said. What can we do to let them know we appreciate all they do?
How about a block party, suggested councillor McGregor. A community barbecue? She said she saw it as a chance to say ‘thank you’ to the entire community.
“I really like that idea,” said councillor King.
Watershed council: ‘Step up!’
Councillor King shared the news that Alberta Environment and Parks will be doing water sampling in Lesser Slave Lake this year, “after telling us for years they aren’t.”
That includes in Lesser Slave River, which means the town doesn’t have to help the Watershed Council collect water samples there.
In other news, the annual general meeting for the Lesser Slave Watershed Council is this week, June 17. Various positions on the board are open, King said, including for people representing the energy industry, non-governmental organizations, recreation and a member at large. Not to mention alternates for all these positions.
Chamber of Commerce
The highlight of councillor Julie Brandle’s report on the latest Slave Lake & District Chamber of Commerce meeting was the news that Expander Energy’s bio-diesel plant construction is expected to start in July of this year. The plant is expected to be in production in late 2022, according to what Chamber members were told.
In housing authority news, Brandle said the new manager of Vanderwell seniors’ lodge will be Gwen Zwick, who has been working for the housing authority in another capacity. She replaces the outgoing Suzanne Olscamp, who has been managing the lodge off and (mostly) on for the past couple of decades or so.
Finally, a house that suffered fire damage in the southeast part of town last year will not be rebuilt, the board decided. It will be demolished and the lot put up for sale.
‘Loud, swearing and disrespectful’
Councillor Joy McGregor made a plea for members of the public to behave respectfully when entering health care facilities. Apparently some haven’t been, when encountering ‘screening’ personnel at the entrances. These are the folks who make sure the visitors sanitize their hands, wear approved masks and provide information. Let’s do better, McGregor said.
Library: good news
Good news, said McGregor, reporting on the latest from the regional library board. The libraries are planning to re-open.
“Hopefully this will be the final adjustment,” she said.
The plan was to open the doors (in Slave Lake, at least) on June 14, and proceed with summer hours of 10 – 4.
Other news: “You might see a new piece of equipment (around town) that has the library on it,” said McGregor, somewhat cryptically. She said details would be coming.
Community Futures: loans available
Rural relief fund loans are available to sole proprietorship type of businesses, councillor King reported. These are amounts of $40,000 to $60,000 and the deadline for applying is June 30.
Coming up on June 19 is Lemonade Day, councillor McGregor added. This program teaches young people how to plan and set up and run a small business for a day – namely a lemonade stand. Expect to see 13 of them at various locations, McGregor said.
Homeless Coalition: pound the pavement
“We need help,” said councillor Brice Ferguson. ‘We’ is the Homeless Coalition, which as reported earlier is back to ‘square one.’ Its next meeting – on June 18 – will be one where participants attempt to define the purpose of the group, and then how to fulfill it.
Commenting, mayor Warman said all relevant agencies need to be involved. He suggested they should be actively recruited.
“You’re going to have to pound the pavement, I think.”
Councillor Ferguson said the perimeter fencing project is all but complete. The airport is trying to sell some old fencing material.
Councillor McGregor asked how far up the airport road people are going to be able to drive, with it now gated. The gate will be open during the day, Ferguson said. After hours, approved people will have the means to open it.
Safety at school bus exit
Safety is a concern for the High Prairie School Division (possibly others) at the point where school buses leave the bus parking area at CJ Schurter School and enter 6th Ave. NE. It was because of this that the HPSD had proposed an alternate exit onto Caribou Trail. That seems to not be going ahead. Meanwhile, council had asked town administration to invite HPSD to a meeting to discuss the safety concerns; also to look into the safety situation independently. That was being done, said CAO Kim.
“We’re looking at a variety of safety devices,” he said.
‘The beginning of the new world’
Warman’s final remarks had to do with the reaction to the news about residential schools and what the town’s role might be going forward. He said he had been very impressed by the turnout at the memorial event in Slave Lake on June 2. “Overwhelmed, actually,” he said.
Warman called it “Step One of many.” As for the municipal role in making things better, he said he doesn’t think it’s “our thing to champion,” but “our thing to support the champions that already exist.”
Finally, Warman spoke about the ‘re-opening.’ He’s optimistic there won’t be another shutdown, he said, although he’s been hearing from people who don’t share that confidence.
“I have faith this is the beginning of the new world,” Warman concluded.