StettlerLocal.com March 5, 2021
Stettler Town Council held their biweekly council meeting on March 2 at 6:30 pm in Council Chambers at 6:30pm. The Mayor, Councillors, the CAO, Communications Manager, library delegation and media were in attendance.
Stettler Public Library Annual Report 2020 - Rhonda O’Neill, Manager and Barb Gano, Treasurer, Stettler Public Library Board of Directors attended the meeting to present and highlight the library’s 2020 annual report and programming. The library provided curbside pickup from the start of the restrictions last year and offered virtual programming and support for so many people this past year. The Mayor and Councillors appreciated and recognized the hard work of the staff. Mayor Nolls and CAO Switenky had the opportunity to provide a tour for MLA Horner of the library and showcase all it offered to the community. Public libraries were originally part of Alberta's A Path Forward, Step 3 and were moved up to Step 2. Public libraries across the province reopened March 1 at 15% of total capacity (not including staff).
Downtown Streetscape/Water Main Replacements Tender - The 2021 capital budget project to replace the water main, water services and sidewalks/curb and upgrade the pedestrian lights on 50 Street from 48 to 49 Avenue was approved and tendered to Wally’s Backhoe Service for $830,077 that includes the tender award, 10% contingency and engineering and testing. Engineering and testing work will be done by Tagish Engineering. Individual mail outs will be sent to the affected businesses, and Melissa Robbins, Director of Operations and her team will meet with the businesses to review the plans and business needs. A few water lines will be pulled and tested prior to beginning the project. Water main and water line work is projected to start at the beginning of June for four to six weeks on one side of the street before moving to the other side followed by the sidewalks and curbs the beginning of July. Pedestrian lights bulbing will be done last after the construction is complete.
2021 Provincial Budget - CAO Switenky reported that the Town will get a little more Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) capital funding this year totalling $1.124 million (which is normally about $900,000) and that next year there will be a 25% reduction in capital funding. Police funding remains stable for one more year $347,000 a year for about $1 million in total costs. Library and FCSS funding are stable. The government is making $10 million available through the Alberta Senate Election and Referendum Act to support costs associated with operating Senate nominee electrons and referendums in conjunction with local elections.
Mayor Nolls and CAO Switenky are scheduled to meet with MLA Horner regarding wastewater funding that was requested four years ago with no funding received to date.
Joint Town Council and County of Stettler No. 6 Council Meeting - The Town and County Councils will be meeting together soon at a community hall to properly social distance. The last meeting was held in December 2019.
Mayor Nolls - Policies are being reviewed with some dated back to 1990 and the policies will be updated over the coming year. The Mayor had a call with Premier Kenney and Minister McIver regarding the budget and COVID 19 related.
Alberta Provincial Police Force - Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) and Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) held a joint virtual session on policing with over 600 municipal leaders on the call. Justice Minister and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu brought opening greetings at the joint session. A poll was requested during the session on municipalities’ desire to change to a provincial police force, and 91% were in favour of staying with the current federal policing service under the RCMP. The province is undertaking a $2 million study for a possible transition to an Alberta provincial police service. Ontario and Quebec are the only two provinces in Canada that have their own police forces. The original Alberta Provincial Police (APP) was founded in 1917 and dissolved in 1932. Alberta currently pays $262.4 million for it’s RCMP Service with the federal government paying $112.4 million in a 70-30 split. A 20-year contract was signed under the Stelmach government that expires March 31, 2032.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Dispatch - Mayor Nolls had sent a letter to the Premier regarding the EMS centralization dispatch from Red Deer Emergency Services to Alberta Health Services South Communications Centre. Minister Shandro responded on behalf of the Premier with reassurance that the AHS EMS dispatch system was the same technology used by the municipal dispatchers and no difficulties with the change would be experienced in rural and remote areas. This was the second round of EMS Dispatch centralizing in the past number of years in Central Alberta, as Camrose and Red Deer previously lost their dispatch centres.
Jody Craig, Reporter