Town of Slave Lake Council notebook

Sept. 12, 2017
Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

‘Let’s start with baseball!’
With that remark, mayor Tyler Warman welcomed representatives of two local baseball teams that had a lot of success in 2016. The Junior ‘AAA’ Heat were provincial champions and represented Alberta at the Western Canadians in Manitoba. The Bantam ‘AA’ Heat competed in the top tier of ‘AA’ ball, coming second at provincials.
“Great job,” Warman said. “Hopefully you can do it again next year.”

CAO update
Dead sod – it has all been removed, said CAO Brian Vance in his written report (he was misinformed about that), and will be replaced by seeded grass. Letters have been sent to all affected residents asking them to help out by watering the strips of sod. Asked by councillor Phil Lokken what sort of reaction there has been to those letters, Vance said there hasn’t been any he’s aware of.
Main St. North waterline – Vance said materials have been ordered and received. Construction began on Sept. 9. Drilling was to start on Sept. 12.
5th and 5th – Work on the paving project in the northeast part of town was to begin Sept. 18.
Sidewalk repair – work on 60 sites has been completed. The associated pavement patching hasn’t been (or hadn’t as of Sept. 12) and was causing some problems. One councillor had heard from a driver that hit the rough spot at 12th Ave. and 8th St. SW pretty hard. Apparently the signs warning of the bump had blown over. Vance said the contractor was due to get back at it the following week.

School zones and bear zones
Vance reported that town peace officers have been busy helping both the RCMP and Fish & Wildlife in a couple of areas of concern. One is the school zones – where monitoring has been a sharp focus in the past couple of weeks. There has been a lot of congestion around C.J. Schurter School in particular, but people have been behaving pretty well on the whole, Vance’s report said.
On a related topic, councillor Joy McGregor had statistics on drivers ignoring flashing school bus lights. At an earlier meeting she’d mentioned that Slave Lake was by far the worst in the school division in this regard. Now she had the numbers; 115 such violations in 2016. High Prairie was the next worst with 54. The worst spot for the Slave Lake bus drivers is on Hwy. 2, where buses pick up and drop kids off near the weigh scales. Drivers don’t seem to be aware that even with four lanes of traffic, they are required to stop.
The peace officers have also been helping Fish & Wildlife with monitoring the closure of portions of the community walking trails due to bear sightings. The idea is to stop people from using the trails for reasons of public safety. Tickets will be issued, Vance said. The town POs have also been working with Fish & Wildlife on the Flat Top Road, where there have been problems with littering at both cemeteries, as well as reported ATV and liquor violations.

Budget analysis: things are more or less okay
The town has spent 47 per cent ($10.8 million) of its 2017 budget, director of finance Roland Schmidt told council in his budget analysis report. This is pretty much what was expected by this time of year. Expenditures are generally on track, he said, but unexpected expenses could result in a “small deficit for the year.”

Downtown plan
Council gave first reading to the bylaw that will (if passed) adopt a couple of new documents to guide the development of the downtown and Main St. area. These are the Downtown and Main Street Area Plan and the Downton and Main Street Urban Design Handbook. Draft versions of both were handed out at the meeting, detailing the months-long efforts of a consultant to capture the contributions of town staff, council and members of the public for what they would like down town and Main St. to become. The next step in the process is a public hearing on the bylaw, set for Tuesday, Oct. 10.
The new vision covers such things as architectural controls, parks, trails, enhanced services and so on, for an area stretching along Main St. from Caribou Trail all the way to Hwy. 2.
Anyone interested in having a say at the public hearing can view the two documents on the town website, or ask for copies at the town office.

Committee reports
Inter-Municipal Committee – “We’ll cross our fingers and see what happens,” said Warman, referring to the long, drawn-out process of arriving at an agreement on shared costs that the M.D. and town can both live with. “Hopefully we’ll have a meeting before the election.”
Municipal Planning Commission – A meeting yesterday, said councillor Darin Busk, with several applications, including for a townhouse, a bed and breakfast, a medical office and signs. All were approved.
Airport – Design work on the runway overlay project is well underway, reported Vance. The intention is to award the contract for the work by the end of the year, which is a requirement of the grant.
Legacy Centre – Lots of meetings, said Warman. Some have to do with an adjustment of the rent to accommodate the Elks. That’ll put the operation in a deficit (or increase it).
“We’re hoping to get some assistance,” Warman said. A fundraiser is also being planned, for some time in November.
Protective Services – Councillor Brandle reported the arrival (or at least appointment) of a new staff sergeant for the Slave Lake RCMP detachment. He’s John Spaans. In other RCMP news, the regimental ball is on Oct. 14.
Brandle also learned at the meeting that the operating room at the Slave Lake Health Care Centre has been “sporadically closed,” due to staff shortages.
Finally, the fire hall was getting ready to host 50 firefighters from around northern Alberta on the weekend for safety and survival training.
FireSmart Committee – Warman said they have been “talking to the MLA” about the sustainability of the program. Meanwhile, requests for advice from other jurisdictions keeping pouring in – the latest from the Yukon government.
“FireSmart Canada is telling other groups to call Slave Lake,” Warman said. He added the group is “doing some work on FireSmart education with Alexander First Nation.”
Regional economic development – the interim manager of the program is leaving, Warman reported. The summer students at the visitor information center are also finished, and the gift shop will be closing for the season. There’s lots of work to be done on the creation of a tourism marketing group as well.

Moving ahead on the old fire hall
On the status of the old Slave Lake fire hall, Warman said maybe it’s time to put it on the open market. The town had been holding off on that because Alberta Health Services had expressed an interest in the building, which is located on Caribou Trail in the northwest part of town.
“Not much is happening,” he said. “How much time do we give them?”
Vance said he expected an update from AHS within the week. He suggested to wait for that and then put it on the agenda for further discussion.

Mayor’s corner
Warman said the TV company producing the ‘Hellfire Heroes’ series based on the regional fire service had provided a draft version of one of the episodes, looking for feedback.
“Some of the stuff we loved,” Warman said, “and some we weren’t so loving about. I think it will be a good product that people will be interested in.”
The series is expected to air on Discovery next year.



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