Town of Slave Lake Council notebook March 7, 2017

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Progress at Pincherry
The proposed re-zoning of a lot in southwest Slave Lake drew a response from the property owners and some of their neighbours. Council heard all about it at public hearing on March 7.
The re-zoning was one of many proposed in a ‘housekeeping’ amendment to the Land-Use Bylaw; as explained by town planning and development director Laurie Skrynyk, the idea in this case was to bring the three-story apartment building at 309 5th St. SW (the so-called ‘Pincherry Park’ site) into compliance.
When the development started in 2011, only one zone existed for high-density residential buildings, the R3. Since then council has created the R3A, putting three and four-story apartment buildings in their own category.
Council approved the recommendation, which brings several properties into compliance.
The residents who spoke at the public hearing seemed particularly concerned that another three-story building not go up at the 309 5th St. site. From what council was told, the developer does not plan to do that.

More industrial uses
After the required public hearing, council approved the re-zoning of an industrial property on Balsam Rd. NE. It’s a 10-bay shop with five tenants. The owner had applied to have the zoning changed from M4 – Small Holdings Industrial District, to M1 – Light Industrial District, “in order to allow more uses to operate on this site.”
No comments were received from the adjacent property owners and besides the applicant, nobody appeared at the public hearing.

Changing tactics at the MRC
One of CAO Brian Vance’s items in his report for council was that a janitor is being sought for the multi-rec centre. Asked if the attendants don’t take care of janitorial, Vance said yes they do, but there has been some trouble getting someone to agree to do cleaning work as part of their job description. So we decided to change tactics, Vance said, and advertised for a janitor, with duties outside of janitorial. There have been some good applicants, he said.

Waterline breaks
Noting the high number of waterline breaks recently, councillor Phil Lokken asked if there were any preventative measures that could be taken. Unfortunately not, said Vance, “other than replacing them with more modern materials.”
Ironically, Vance added, the old concrete lines seem to hold up better than the newer ductile iron pipes, which are the ones springing leaks so regularly.
Regarding 3rd St. SW, which had two recent line breaks, Vance said the line needs replacing, but advised it wouldn’t make sense to do it separately from a re-paving job.

Water improvements
Vance also reported that since the chloramination of town water has been in place, two unwanted compounds are appearing in lower concentrations. These are THM and HAA. Vance said they are down to less than a third of what they were. He said testing by the Sawridge First Nation shows similar good news.
“We’re easily in compliance now,” he said.

Higher speeds at MRC
Wi-Fi speed at the multi-rec centre should be improving. Vance said an upgrade was being done on March 8, which would improve speed to 200 megabytes per second.

Crosswalk approved for $14,000
As requested by council, administration had a report on the cost of various crosswalk improvement options for Main St. at Stu Lafoy Way. This is where a lot of school children cross going to and from E.G. Wahlstrom School. There have been some near misses there and council has been hearing about it.
Acting director of operations Calvin Couturier said of the three options, a solar-powered crossing signal was the preferred one, at $14,000. An overhead crosswalk signal system runs $60,000, and simple crosswalk signs would be about $400.
Council approved the solar-powered option, and directed that the (unbudgeted) money for it come out of the photo traffic enforcement fund. It sits at $28,000, after $120,000 for playground upgrades had recently been earmarked from the same source.
Couturier said the town would also probably highlight the crosswalk by painting two lines across the street.

More and bigger school zone signs
Council had asked for a report on additional signs for school zones, which indicate the times that the 30kph zone is in effect. A couple of options were presented; one was for a single time period, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on school days only. The other lists three time periods during a school day when the lower speed limit is in effect (per the provincial rules). These are 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., on school days only.
Council tossed around various other scenarios including having all school zones and all playground zones at 30kph, 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., seven days a week, all year long.
The first motion (by councillor Darin Busk) was for the 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., school days only option. This was defeated in a 3 – 3 vote. Councillor Joy McGregor countered with a motion to have the signs put up with all the different times. Several of her colleagues were not fans of this approach, thinking that it was too much information on a sign, and unlikely to be remembered by drivers. However, it passed by a 4 – 2 vote. The town expects to spend $1,500 on the signs.

Van replacement
Council approved a recommendation to purchase a new Dodge van to replace a town vehicle that had to be written off after it got run into. The low bidder of the three dealerships in town was Slave Lake Chrysler, at $22,785. A bit less than half of that will come from insurance payout on the vehicle being replaced.

Good news for a change
Mayor Warman reported that negotiations on who would be responsible for fixing deficiencies in the Legacy Centre have produced some favourable results. There’s been a lot of back and forth on it, he said, with disagreements about whether the responsibility lay with the design or the construction.
“It’s cleared up, with no cost to the Legacy Centre,” Warman said.

Not-so-good news
Warman acknowledged the receipt of a letter from the M.D. of Lesser Slave River, making official its decision not to pay its share of upgrades to the multi-rec centre (as previously reported in the Lakeside Leader). He called it “unfortunate,” and predicted it would be a topic of discussion in Inter-municipal Agreement negotiations, “as they move forward.”

Mayor’s caucus
Warman had just returned from a mayor’s caucus in Edmonton, where the group heard from some government ministers. Good news is the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) is to continue, but no dollar figures were given.
On the economic development front, Warman said a presentation on the phase-out of coal-fired power generation, to be replaced by natural gas was “actually quite positive.”

Share this post