Town of Slave Lake Council notebook

May 3, 2022 meeting

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Proceeding on potholes

In the question-and-answer period of the meeting, councillor Kimberly Hughes asked how pothole repairs are coming along.

“Continuing,” said acting CAO Garry Roth.

As for details, he said work has been proceeding by way of two methods: town crews doing the more conventional type of patching and a contractor hired to do the ‘Plastasphalt’ type of patching, on Main St. The town crew has used “a significant amount of material already,” he said.

Adding to the discussion, mayor Tyler Warman asked what the latest info from Alberta Transportation on Hwy. 2 improvement is. Roth said he had spoken with someone in the department about a month ago, who told him the expectation was it would happen “this spring.”

Ask again, Warman said.

No-parking zone extension

Councillor Steve Adams asked if there’s anything new on the idea of extending the no-parking zone on either side of the schoolbus exit/entrance on 6th Ave. NE near CJ Schurter School. The issue there (as he later explained to The Leader) is with cars crowding the exit, buses have a hard time making the turn.

There is a general concern with safety at that spot; it gets quite congested twice per day with people dropping off and picking up their kids. The school division has been seeking solutions for quite some time. One of the ideas was to put a separate exit from the bus compound onto Caribou Trail. That has not proceeded. The bigger no-parking zone of 6th Ave. is another.

The answer to Adams’ question was more or less that the town is still looking into it.

Moto-cross group stirring

A local group is looking at reviving the moto-cross track south of Slave Lake. It has applied to the town for development permission. Complicating matters is the fact the area in question straddles the town/M.D. boundary, while at the same time is (or some of it is) on Crown land. Council heard that the group has also applied to the M.D. for a development permit, but the M.D. doesn’t grant permits for Crown land “where a disposition has been granted to the developer.”

Such a disposition has been granted by the province for the land, for a four-year period. One of the conditions is that the group get a municipal permit. Hence the application before council.

The permit would allow the re-opening of the track “and development associated with that endeavour.”
“I think it’s a great thing to see a group of volunteers come together,” said mayor Warman. Councillor Brice Ferguson made the motion to approve and it passed, unanimously.

As to exactly what the group has in mind, and when it will happen, look for updates in upcoming issues of The Leader.

Service levels at the Multi Rec Centre

Councillors have been hearing from residents about services levels at the MRC. Likely these comments are not mostly of the positive variety. So council asked for a report on what those service levels are.

One thing that might not be making people happy are the short weekend hours. The MRC is open just four hours (noon – 4) on Saturdays and Sundays. That’s all that’s budgeted for.

Drop-in use is well down with the arrival of spring, council heard, but bookings are going quite well. The play area is due to be reopened soon, so that will be good news for people wanting to rent the space for birthday parties. The demand for that tends to swing with the weather.

Demand for pickleball seems to be on the rise. Council heard there are ideas of making it possible to play the game on one of the concrete arena pads; maybe also at the tennis courts.

Acting director of community services Jillian Hutchings made a point of praising her young and (mostly) new staff at the MRC. They’ve been dealing with a constantly shifting landscape of rules (COVID), for one thing. But they are coping well and starting to plan a more ‘normal’ slate of activities. These include a resumption of the Summer Splash program, a Community Better Challenge, a bike rodeo and a ‘rock and glow’ roller skating event.

With the ice being in two months longer this year, less attention is being paid to the parks, Hutchings said. Some of the slack can be taken up by a contractor.

Speaking of the longer ice season, mayor Warman said council would want to “understand the demand,” before deciding what to do next year.

Delinquent utility accounts transferred to property taxes

Unpaid town utility bills amounts are regularly transferred to property taxes, which give the town a fighting chance of actually collecting them. It requires council approval, which is why it was on the agenda. The amount this time was $44,344, which represents just three months’-worth of unpaid bills. That raised the eyebrows of at least one councillor.

“Forty grand every three months?” asked Steve Adams.

More or less, said director of finance Roland Schmidt. The total amount transferred to the delinquent owners’ property taxes in 2021 was $130,756.

Evidently it works.

“Ultimate collection is guaranteed,” Schmidt said.

Adams asked if services (water) is ever cut off for unpaid bills. No, was the answer.

Rec facility rates going up

As reported earlier, the town is proposing an increase in user fees for the town’s recreational facilities. These are, principally, the MRC and the pool. Details aside (there are a lot of them), it amounts to about a two per cent increase across the board.

Council had asked for clarification on a couple of items the first time the rates bylaw came up. The new, slightly-tweaked version received their unanimous approval. The new rates go into effect in September of this year.

Progress on beach

Mayor Warman reported that he’d gotten together with the MD of LSR reeve and an Alberta Parks representative to formally sign an agreement on beach grooming and such. Part of the deal is that the M.D. will buy a beach-grooming machine. The groomed portion of Devonshire Beach will grow at the handicap access area, and shrink at the southern end. Some opportunities for seasonal businesses in the park are being contemplated.

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