Town of Slave Lake Council notebook

Aug. 4, 2020 meeting

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Sixty-three incidents
CAO David Kim’s report for council included the news that town peace officers had responded to 63 incidents in the previous two weeks. The total for 2020 so far is 416. Looking for distressed animals in overheated vehicles may or may not be included among these logged incidents, but some of that has been going on too, in the hot weather.

Increased visibility in parks by the peace officers is generating some positive feedback, said Kim in his written report.

Councillor Rebecca King expressed some concern about how the peace officers could handle all the calls – especially when one of them is on vacation. Garry Roth, the supervisor who oversees enforcement services said merely the town “tries to address it.”

Professional response
Councillor Joy McGregor noted that the town’s response to “a glitch” in the tax notices was handled well. She’d been hearing good things about it and wanted that passed on to the finance department.

Weedy lot could use some attention
Councillor Darin Busk asked if something can be done about a vacant lot on 6th Ave. SE. The weeds there are three feet high, he said. Something for the enforcement people to look into.

It’s been noted before that attempts are made to remind the property owners of their obligation to make their lots look neat. If after some time those efforts fail, the town can do the mowing itself or hire somebody to do it, and charge the property owner.

New businesses licensed
The town has issued nine licenses for new businesses since July 14. They are; White Knight Construction, Metallics Heating and Ventilation, SP Beauty, Primetime Electric, Apparel Arrow by Rose, JSJ Contracting, Boreal Lash Parlour, The Garage Community Fitness and DA Online Store.

Hilltop reservoir galloping forward
Work on the upgrade to the water reservoir on the cemetery hill continues, council heard. It includes the construction of a new valve house and various tie-ins. Crack repair on top of the reservoir also has to be done. Chandos Construction is the contractor.

Photo courtesy Town of Slave Lake

Go ahead with the McMenu sign
Council gave second and third reading to a bylaw that paves the way for McDonalds to have more than one electronic sign on its property. The sign provisions in the Land-Use Bylaw previously did not allow for more than one such sign per property. McDonalds already has one, and wanted to add an electronic menu board sign. Hence the application for the bylaw change. At the required public hearing held prior to the council meeting, nobody spoke up either for or against the bylaw change.

Commercial it is
The owner of a formerly residential lot on 6th Ave. NW is now free to develop it for commercial purposes. This followed a public hearing with no opposition to the zoning change and council’s thumbs-up on the two required bylaw amendments.

The lot is next to the 6th Ave. Plaza (the one with the veterinary clinic in it). The former designation was ‘Residential and General Urban;’ now it is in the ‘Downtown Commercial’ district.

The report in council’s agenda package says the re-zoning “dramatically increases the…development opportunities for this site while… maintaining (the) intent of the Downtown Plan.”

A change in zoning will give the owner of this lot more flexibility in developing it.

‘Still pushing’ on housing project
Warman said there’s another wrinkle in the effort to get a new affordable housing project going in Slave Lake.

“Every time we make progress another wall goes up,” is how he put it.
It appears the provincial government now wants to get out of owning and operating public housing properties. What it’s’ thinking, Warman said, is about a ‘public-private partnership.’ He sounded skeptical about something like that working on the small scale that would be appropriate for a town the size of Slave Lake.

“There are two worlds out there,” Warman said, “urban and rural and they (the provincial government) should get out and try ours once in a while.”

Residents reaching out
Warman reported he’s been hearing from residents on a variety of issues. One of them had to do with a certain property and difficulties its owner has been having (presumably conforming to town expectations). He offered no specifics, but said he was pleased with the new CAO’s approach. He said Mr. Kim is “bringing new ideas to the planning and development department – how we can make things work in the community.”

Mayor’s corner
Warman said he had met with the RCMP to discuss “various issues.” One of them was that the detachment commander – Staff Sgt. John Spaans – is leaving. Sgt. Don Racette will be acting DC until a replacement is named.

Warman and new CAO David Kim also met with Sawridge First Nation Chief Roland Twinn and Mike McKinney, the SFN Executive Director. The conversation focused mainly on economic development issues, Warman said.

Speaking of ec/dev, Warman shared what he called “a very interesting development” – that being that the town’s economic development contractor “can’t meet the requirements of the contract.”

Council was to discuss “the path forward” in an in camera session later that same evening.

Warman said “today the phone was ringing off the hook” about helicopters. Apparently, one or more of these aircraft were landing and taking off from somewhere other than the airport and somebody wanted the town to do something about it. It was dealt with, Warman said.

Re-financing on the sewage lagoons
Council gave first reading to a bylaw on re-financing the sewage lagoon upgrade. This became necessary due to terms attached to a $1 million grant it received through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. All told, the project is due to cost $14.3 million. That breaks down into $3 million apiece from the federal and provincial governments, the $1 million noted above from FCM, a $6.7 million debenture from the FCM and a $575,100 debenture from the Alberta Capital Finance Authority.

The upgrade of the sewage treatment system became necessary when tests showed the existing system wasn’t getting the job done and effluent limits were being exceeded. If the numbers show the new system works well enough, that will be the end of it for the time being. If the numbers are still too high, the town would have to spend another $2 million or so for further work.

Photo courtesy Town of Slave Lake

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