Town of Slave Lake Council notebook

Dec. 5, 2023 meeting

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Swearing in

Council’s Dec. 5 meeting began with the swearing in of its newest member, Andrew Achoba.

Achoba was elected in the Nov. 28 byelection. Doing the swearing-in honours was Braeden Reynolds of Mathiew Hryniuk LLP.

Members of the new councillor’s family attended the ceremony, as well as some campaign supporters.
Following the swearing-in, Achoba took his seat, and Councillor Ali Mouallem thanked administration for running the byelection and asked how it went.

Returning officer Ashley Whitford said it was a lot of fun, a lot of learning, and “definitely got us warmed up for the next general election.”

Speaking of which, the next general election for municipal councils all around Alberta will be in October of 2025.

Letter on homeless shelter stirs things up

In council’s package was a letter from High Prairie School Division Board of Trustees Chair Joy McGregor. It lists the board’s concerns about possible effects of a permanent homeless shelter on HPSD students in Slave Lake.

At the top of the list is the proximity of a shelter to schools, libraries, daycares, walking trails, etc. Then comes a request for detailed security information, a recommendation for community engagement, an assessment of how a shelter might affect “the daily lives and mental well-being of our students,” and details on plans in case of an emergency.

Copies of the letter had been sent to the Premier of Alberta and several ministers, plus two or three MLAs.

Councillor Steve Adams seemed surprised and none too pleased about the letter. Or to be more precise, that it should have been sent to government authorities right off the bat.

“This going to the Premier floors me,” he said.

On top of that, Adams said, some of the information in the letter isn’t correct. What’s more, “the chair of the HPSD board of trustees is aware of the public consultation that’s going to start.”

A lot of these items were discussed at the public hearing, noted Mayor Frankie Ward. And a public engagement program (on a permanent shelter) is going to be starting in the new year.

Someone needs to reach out to the school superintendent, Adams said. A council-to-council discussion would be appropriate, he further suggested.

Ward said a lot of the issues in the letter have been addressed, “but we can address them again.”

Adams made a motion to have town administration respond to the letter, with copies to all the parties copied in the original one. It was carried.

Coun. Steve Adams

State of the Lake

Wrapping up the meeting, councillors took the opportunity to plug a few events that were coming right up. First was Councillor Ali Mouallem, mentioning the Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly membership meeting. This was on Dec. 7 at Distractions.

Councillor Kim Hughes spoke about the Christmas-theme coffee house, happening at the Legacy Centre on Dec. 10, with proceeds going to Santas Anonymous.

Mayor Ward’s contribution was to mention a couple of Christmas toy and food bank drives happening on Dec. 8. One was the ‘Fill the Ambulance’ event, happening at Wal-Mart. The other was Lakeview Ford’s Santas Anonymous toy drive, which was happening the same night. Donations can also be dropped off at the dealership during the day, she said.

On Dec. 9, the Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation was having its annual Winter Fun Day, Ward continued, will have all sorts of free outdoor and indoor activities.

Finally, Ward welcomed new Councillor Andrew Achoba to council.

“I look forward to having a full team,” she said.

Speaking of Achoba, his first action as a councillor was to make a motion to adjourn the meeting.

Lakeview Ford’s toy drive truck.

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