June 15, 2021 meeting
Rec. assistants hard to find
It’s not unusual that what one hears in the community differs from the official version. The latest example is the town’s difficulty in finding people to fill seasonal recreation positions. These include for the recently re-opened Multi Rec Centre and the Visitor Information Centre.
The word at the previous meeting is not many people are applying. Yet councillor Joy McGregor said she had talked to a person (or persons) who seemed well qualified, who had applied, but weren’t hired. She asked administration about it.
CAO David Kim repeated the message from a week earlier: not many people are applying. There’s a general labour shortage.
On the other hand, “we have filled the MRC supervisor position,” he said. “That’s good news.”
Asked how many people are still needed, community services director Garry Roth said four, “plus lifeguards.”
The CAO, in his update, informed council the fire department had seven calls for service the previous week. That brings the total for the year up to 193. Two were for medical situations and two were structure fires. One was to a motor vehicle collision and one was a complaint about a fire pit.
The town’s peace officers continue to be busy. They fielded 47 incidents during the week. The complaints included cruelty to animals, unsightly properties, unlawful disposal of sewage, noise, parking, public intoxication and so on.
The town is looking to get a portion of the Allarie Trails re-routed around a site where the creek has eroded the bank quite close to the trail. A request for proposals is out, and will close on June 23.
Parks and playgrounds
Council received a report on service levels for parks and playgrounds. This included how often green spaces are mowed.
On point, Roth said the mowing schedule varies, depending on the category of the space. Ball diamonds get the most attention, getting mowed a minimum of once per week. But in high-growth periods (such as right now), it would be more often, because there’s a grass-length trigger that kicks in.
Councillors had lots of questions. One of them was what the town’s commitment for maintaining the new shale infields on the minor ball fields is. Mayor Tyler Warman asked about this; he’s been hearing from a user group that seems to have a different understanding of the town’s role, vs. the minor baseball role in doing this.
“Let’s put it down in writing,” said the mayor. “So everybody understands what we do and don’t do.”
Roth said the town’s level of service there is to drag the infields (have the contractor do it) once per week, as well as dealing with the weeds. It could be done more often, he said, “but there’s a cost to that.”
Given the involvement of Slave Lake Minor Baseball in upgrading and maintaining the ball fields, are they available for drop-in use? Not really, said Roth. “We want users to book them.”
Councillor Darin Busk mentioned a “pet peeve” of his, that being port-a-potties not being emptied often enough.
“Duly noted,” said Roth.
Other issues raised by councillors: Some walkways aren’t being mowed. The flower beds in front of the town office/library are looking pretty weedy.
Summer meeting schedule
Council usually knocks a couple of meetings off its regular schedule in the months of July and August. It’s not automatic, though, and it was put on the agenda for council to talk it over before making a decision.
“What’s on the radar?” asked mayor Warman, introducing the topic.
Nothing, apparently, to make administration think three meetings are necessary in either of those months. CAO David Kim recommended doing the usual – which is canceling the third meeting in July and the first in August, making for a nice break.
The only concern expressed was by councillor Brice Ferguson. Not that he wasn’t in favour, but he wanted to make sure the break wouldn’t result in any major work being left for the next council (to be elected in October) to deal with. Nobody seemed to think that would be the case, and the motion passed.
So there won’t be council meetings on July 20 or Aug. 3.
Mayor Warman said a tenant is looking at renting space in the building. This would be the space given up by the daycare, as a cost-cutting measure and an opportunity for the Legacy corporation to recoup some of what it is has given up by way of a rent reduction for the daycare. If the interested party doesn’t take the space, Warman said, we’ll look at advertising.
Otherwise, some bookings for the Legacy Centre are starting to come in. Fall and early winter are the busy season, Warman said, so let’s get the word out.
Warman spoke a bit about the downtown revitalization project. It seems the plan, or vision, for it is still being developed. Rennie Hall Plaza is to be re-designed and re-done. Warman called it “a huge facelift,” which is costing the town about $200,000. Another $300,000 is coming from a provincial grant.
Commenting on the recent opening of restaurants and such, Warman said he is hearing “nothing but positive comments,” about that and about the local economy generally.
“Everything seems to be going well,” he said. “People are flocking in.”