Town of Slave Lake Council notebook

Jan. 9, 2024 meeting

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Town council eased back into action with a first meeting of 2024 that couldn’t have lasted much more than a quarter of an hour – the open portion of it, at least.
The agenda consisted of two items (not counting the standard land acknowledgement and approval of agenda and minutes), and they didn’t amount to much.
Two members of the public took the trouble to go out on a cold, snowy night to observe the proceedings, and one of them was a newspaper reporter. The other was a family member of one of the councillors who, if he was hoping to see something interesting, probably went home disappointed.

Date change, or not?

The solitary action item on council’s agenda had to do with a council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 12 (not March 16, as it says in the written report). It turns out both the mayor and deputy mayor are unavailable on that date, because they are booked to attend a conference.

So what would you prefer, asked CAO Jeff Simpson, reschedule the meeting – say to March 26 – or appoint another councillor to chair the meeting and go ahead on the original date as long as you have quorum?

Can’t we just do that on the date? councillor Shawn Gramlich asked. Appoint a chair and carry on with the meeting? There must be something in the Municipal Government Act that allows it.

Sure, you could do that, said Simpson. But in this case, there’s the question of whether council might want it rescheduled, so it was put on the agenda for a decision.

Councillor Kim Hughes: “Do you guys want to reschedule it?”

Mayor Frankie Ward: “I’m okay either way.”

Okay, said Hughes, in that case, I’ll make a motion to have the meeting as scheduled, and appoint Councillor Brice Ferguson as chair.

“I agree,” said Councillor Steve Adams. “I don’t want to reschedule.”

Council voted in favour of the motion.

The conference that is taking Mayor Ward and Councillor Gramlich away that week in March is a provincial get-together of housing authorities. Ward and Gramlich represent town council on the Slave Lake Regional Housing Authority Board, and as such, are committed to attending the conference, which runs from March 11 – 13, in Calgary.

Symposium at the River Cree

In council’s agenda was a letter from the High Prairie School Division’s Board of Trustees. It invites council to send representatives to the Alberta Rural Education Symposium, which runs March 3 – 5 at the River Cree Resort in Enoch, Alberta.

As explained in the letter, the symposium offers a chance to “hear ideas, discuss experiences and develop strategies that will support the growth of vibrant communities in rural Alberta.”

The event “aims to explore the critical facets of governance and leadership within the context of rural education.”

Councillor Gramlich started things off by making a motion to accept the letter as information. We can decide later about attendance, he said.

Countering that, Adams said the conference tends to “fill up very quickly.” In other words, if we’re going to attend, let’s not drag our feet in getting registered.

What’s the value of attending, asked Hughes.

For one thing, said Adams, the former school trustee, there’s “a lot of conversation with ministers.”

“I wouldn’t mind going myself,” Adams added. “Even if I had to pay for it myself.”

We’ve never gone to one, he added.

Councillor Ali Mouallem agreed, calling it “a really good opportunity for us.” He’d also be willing to pay his own way, he said. Mouallem added he’d been to three or four editions of the symposium, during his school board trustee days and found them beneficial.

Council voted in favour of the Gramlich motion, meaning no decision on attendance was made. However, there was an understanding it would be discussed further.

“We have a budget meeting tomorrow,” said Mayor Ward.

State of the Lake

Councillor Hughes plugged the Chamber of Commerce’s Business Awards Gala, coming up on March 9 at the Legacy Centre.

Nominations are open until Feb. 15.

“It’s a great way to show support,” Hughes said, and encouraged people to participate by nomination local businesses in one or more of the various categories.

“And hopefully come out and attend the gala as well,” she said.

“It’s good to be back in 2024,” said Mayor Ward, wrapping things up.

At that, Councillor Gramlich made a motion to go in camera, apparently to discuss a legal matter. That discussion carried on for about an hour.

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