Town of Slave Lake Council notebook

May 1, 2018 meeting
Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Update from the college

Northern Lakes College President Ann Everatt made one of her regular presentations to council on “what we’ve been up to” at the college. The news included a decline in trades students, but an overall increase in enrollment (to about 4,500) overall.
“Some programs are at full capacity,” Everatt said.
Other good news: students are coming from out of the region to study at NLC. One benefit of this is in economic impact, which is captured in a recent study (see more on Page 10). Forty-five NLC students last year were from other countries.
“They’re finding us,” Everatt said. “It speaks to the quality of our programs.”
The college’s paramedic programs (primary and advanced) have both received accreditation, which Everatt presented as a pretty big deal.
Other news: graduation ceremonies at the multi-rec centre in Slave Lake on June 1; a lunchtime barbecue on May 23 at the college; a golf tournament in early September, to which Everatt invited all the council members.


CAO Brian Vance informed council of some new appointments and other movements on the personnel front. For starters, Calvin Couturier is no longer the ‘acting’ director of operations for the town; he has the job. That means – among many other things – he’ll be making reports to town council and answering directly to the town manager on matters concerning roads, water, sewer and the like.
Sean McConnell is the new manager of facilities and parks. McConnell moves from his position as the health and safety coordinator for the town to the new position, which had been vacant since Derek Starnes departed last fall. The ‘facilities’ in McConnell’s title refer mainly to recreational ones.
Moving along, Jillian Shepherd was announced (already reported in The Leader) as the town’s community relations manager. It’s a new position, incorporating some of what she did before in recreational programming, as well as looking after the use of the Legacy Centre.
Matthew Short has transferred to the position of facility maintenance coordinator. Mark Frost has also been hired as a facility maintenance coordinator in the Community Services department.
Jadyn Adams will be a working at the Visitor Information Centre as a travel counsellor. Hired as summer parks maintenance workers are Ian Pollard and Sheridan Sokoloski.
Finally, Zoe Pearson has been transferred to the position of FireSmart summer student.

Dirty streets, dirty water

Two of the bigger jobs being tackled by town workers this spring are street sweeping and water treatment.
“There is a huge amount of material on the roads,” said Vance in his report for council. “You don’t realize it when it’s spread out over 50 kilometres of pavement. It’ll be tens of dozens of truckloads.”
Vance figured it would take two weeks for the sweepers to get through the whole network of streets.
Meanwhile, the operators of the water treatment plant are facing challenges of their own, due to “high levels of dirty creek water entering the system.”
Vance described the flow coming directly from Mooney Creek, along the south side of the lake and into the river right where the town’s water intake is.
“Next year with the new intake it will be a much better task,” he said.

Next steps for big sewage lagoon project

The Town of Slave Lake has to spend about $15 million on a sewage treatment upgrade, whether it likes it or not. Due to new provincial standards on how much stuff such as ammonia and nitrogen can come out of the tail end of a treatment facility, the town’s old system is no longer good enough. So upgrade or else. That’s pretty much the size of it.
Accordingly, a plan of several phases is in process. Town project manager Doug Baird had a report for council on the first two of this year’s phases, which council approved. The first is a further $850,573 for engineering; the second is to award the contract for something called ‘SAGR’ for $2.64 million. SAGR stands for ‘Submerged Attached Growth Reactor.’
Six million dollars of the overall cost of the project comes from a grant. The town has to cover the rest of it, which will involve borrowing $4.9 million. Baird’s report included this detail: At three per cent over 20 years, that would amount to $12.37 per month, per Slave Lake utility account.

Seniors’ Week

Per a request from Alberta Minister of Seniors and Housing Lori Sigurdson, council passed a motion proclaiming June 3 – 9 as Seniors’ Week in Slave Lake. Council did not talk about events during the week, but there certainly will be some. The Leader will pass them on as they come to us.

A pile of re-zoning

Council gave first reading to a bylaw change that would see several parcels of land in town changed to more appropriate zonings. The reasons vary. One lot in the Gloryland area is to go back to Estate Residential, since a school no longer occupies it. Another parcel needs to change to accommodate Big Fish Bay expansion plans. A third situation is the land that Big Lakes Inn sits on. According to the report, it has the same zoning as downtown properties, which is not appropriate. It’ll end up as C-2 Secondary Commercial District.
The fourth parcel due for re-zoning had been zone for a special purpose in 2011, that being to accommodate an emergency trailer unit. That’s long gone, and the proposal is to put it back to R2 – medium-density residential.
Finally, the two lots that once housed the Sunset Place trailer court are to go back to R1 – standard detached residential and R3 – high-density residential. These were also changed in 2011 to house people displaced by the wildfire of that spring.
All five changes will be up for public comment at the June 5 council meeting.

Request for MPC membership

Council dealt with a request from the Slave Lake & District Chamber of Commerce for a spot for the Chamber on the Municipal Planning Commission. The recommendation from the planning department was that anyone from the Chamber is welcome to apply to join the commission when there’s a vacancy. At the moment, there isn’t one.
Council was comfortable with that approach. The notion of having a reserved spot for the Chamber didn’t go over at all that well – although to be fair, the Chamber hadn’t specifically asked for that.
One thing the Chamber had suggested, in a letter from chairman Josh Friesen, was that the size of the board could be expanded to make room for a Chamber member. Nix to that, said council.
Council approved admin’s recommendation.

Sayonara to obsolete policies

Council was asked to deal with a couple of policies that are considered to no longer be valid. One had to do with the relationship between Slave Lake and a ‘sister’ community in Japan called Kamishihoro.
“The policy reflects a budgetary commitment that is neither being maintained in the current budget, nor is it feasible at this time,” said the written report for council.
The other obsolete policy had to do with the ‘distribution of promotional items,’ and in this case the recommendation was to update it.
Council accepted both recommendations.

Seniors’ Week

Per a request from Alberta Minister of Seniors and Housing Lori Sigurdson, council passed a motion proclaiming June 3 – 9 as Seniors’ Week in Slave Lake. Council did not talk about events during the week, but there certainly will be some. The Leader will pass them on as they come to us.

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