Clearwater County Council Meeting Notes
by Helge Nome
All councillors, except Councillor Graham, were present at the regular meeting on September 13. Several delegations made presentations at the meeting including local MLA Jason Nixon; Michelle Swanson and Bob Haagsma from the Clearwater Broadband Foundation and Alice Murray and Ryan d‘Abadie from Shell Canada.
Jason Nixon responded to various issues raised by council and noted that while the upgrading of the Rocky Hospital is on the top of his agenda, it is not even on the priority list of the Provincial Government.
Michelle Swanson and Bob Haagsma said that they represent a group of local people dedicated to the improvement of internet services in the local area and asked for county support in this. They invited someone from the County Council to join the group
which is currently in the process of formulating bylaws and registering itself as a society.
Reeve Alexander responded by saying that Council will conduct an organizational meeting in late October and the request would be considered at that time. He also intimated that there are other folks in the area working to improve internet service at this time.
As a sign of the times, Community Liason Officer Alice Murray from Shell Canada informed Council that the Shell Caroline Gas Plant is scheduled to shut down income producing operations in 2018. During the last 25 years or so Shell has used its privately constructed road (TWP Rd. 35-1A), running west from Highwy 22 through privately owned land for about 1600 meters. The company is now looking to turn this road over to someone for ownership and maintenance. It currently serves as the access road for 8 shareholders in the land it traverses and some of them were present at the meeting.
The question for Council to resolve is: Should this industrial road, which is currently the only access road for several county residents, be taken over and maintained by the County, or can some other resolution be found? Public Works staff will discuss this matter with Shell and residents before Council makes any decisions.
Councillor Laing raised the issue of needing more time to study the agenda package for upcoming council meetings, suggesting that the package be made available on Thursdays, rather than Fridays, prior to the Tuesday meeting the following week. There was a lot of discussion and little support for this idea from the other councillors and CAO Leaf. The matter was tabled untill the September 22 council meeting, at which time the Procedures Bylaw will be examined.
Another item of interest to taxpayers is a request from Wilderness Village to have changes made to their property taxes for 2016. Councillor Laing presented their case but had no luck in reducing the whopping tax increase of some $20,000 (if I heard it right)