Friday, June 30, 2017

COUNTY COUNCIL HIGHLIGHTS


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

By Marianne Cole

1.  Possibly the most notable highlight was Earl Graham’s news at the beginning of the meeting that he would not be seeking re-election this fall.  He noted that he had spoken to a couple of others that might be interested in running in his division.

2.  The council voted to uphold their previous practise of not providing maintenance on undeveloped road allowances.

3.  Three readings were given, and passed, to the Crimson lake Cottage Association’s request for a dust control agreement whereby dust control would be provided in 2017 and that a special tax to cover this cost would be applied to their taxes beginning in 2018 for the following three years.

4.  A delegation from the Rocky Ag. Society gave a brief report on the recent public meetings they had held to provide information and gather input on their proposed new Rocky Ag. Rec Facility. They had met with various potential user groups (4-H, equine groups, general public, and contractors/potential sponsors). In his report Art Terpsma stated that the attendance averaged 20-35 at these meetings.  I attended three out of the 4 meetings and at only one of them was there an attendance over 20 (23) and that was that the equine meeting but the count also included the Ag. Society members/presenters.  At the last one for the contractors/sponsors there was a total of 12 people, 5 of whom were Ag. Society members.

Art did mention that they had visited the new facility in Claresholm and that it is only 150 feet wide and geared for a competitor arena.  The previous feasibility study done for the proposed one here had suggested a width of 250 feet.

He also mentioned that a representative from Rimbey had attended one of the meetings to describe the hoops they had had to go through in building their facility.

In conclusion, Art mentioned that there is still lots of work to do and items to be ironed out.  This includes ownership of the land (who will hold title) and the operation procedure.  He was hoping that it could be a community building run by a community board.

Comments from the council included ones from Councillor Laing who asked about grant possibilities; Councillor Duncan who expressed concern about dropping the width as we don’t want to be hindering future possibilities; and Councillor Alexander who suggested that the Ag. Society meet with administration to address some of the concerns, admitting that there is lots of work to be done yet but we need to keep it going.


5.  A delegation from the Cartier Creek Subdivision (in the southwest area of the county, along the Red Deer River) attended to give an opposing point of view to the “encroachment” issues on municipal reserve in that development.  Previously a delegation had attended in December 2016 regarding violations on municipal reserve.  While a different perspective was presented on Tuesday, council decided to uphold their decision to follow guidelines set out in Municipal Government Act and enforce those regulations with their Land Use Bylaw Amendment for Enforcement Provisions. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Tri-Council Meeting Notes

By Helge Nome

A meeting involving the councils of Clearwater County, the Town of Rocky Mountain House and the Village of Caroline was held in the Clearwater County Chambers on Wednesday, June 28. Regional issues were discussed and dealt with. 

On top of the agenda was a presentation on the geothermal potential of formations located several kilometers below county communities, including Caroline and Rocky Mountain House. 

A report prepared by Jonathan Banks, Research Scientist at the University of Alberta, was presented by its author who noted that the extraction of heat from brine that resides in local underground formations could be made commercially viable, especially if existing depleted deep oil/gas wells were used.

The three councils approved some administrative changes to the way regional fire rescue services are delivered in the area: Clearwater County will become the “managing partner” with direct managerial control of the service. The Regional Advisory Committee will not be involved in operational matters. To that end, the three councils individually gave 1st. 2nd. and 3rd. reading to a bylaw that sets out the committee parameters.

In a follow-up to this item. the three councils approved a new Intermunicipal  Regional Fire Rescue Services Agreement.

In line with the changes noted above, this time concerning the Rocky Mountain Regional Solid Waste Authority, the newly appointed manager is now reporting directly to Clearwater County’s Public Works Manager, Marshall Morton, rather than to a committee. This after major problems were uncovered with the operation and governance of the authority in the past.


Alberta’s proposed new electoral boundaries were discussed with a general concern being expressed over the inclusion of the Drayton Valley area in the local electorate. This would add some 14,000 people to the electorate and make it the most populous and unmanagable in Alberta, with Calgary and Edmonton benefiting from the changes.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Clearwater County Council Meeting Notes

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

By Helge Nome

Chickens won the day at the regular meeting of County Council when any household within a county hamlet or country residential acreage was given the green light to keep a maximum of six chickens (but no rooster!).
The decision was unanimous.

Greg Neale and Tom Daniels from Sundre Forest Products/ West Fraser told council about their problems in regards to new American duties of 24.12% slapped on their exports to the US and the pine beetle infestation in BC and Western Alberta, which is not expected to show more than a temporary setback due to a relatively cold winter.

Council was given an update on an invigorated Rocky/Kamikawa Japanese student exchange program by coordinator Kim Hastings.

Bill Shaw from Bill Shaw Consulting presented council with a revised draft of the North Rocky Major Area Structure Plan which covers the area between Highway 22 and the Rocky Airport. This is a work in its early stages with much consultation ahead involving the public and the Rocky Town Council. Many issues remain to be resolved.

New provincial electoral boundaries were discussed with concern being expressed over large urban municipalities benefiting at the expense of rural ones.


Council decided against changing its 2/3 majority requirement in regards to a request from the Hamlet of Withrow to connect it to a municipal wastewater system.

Friday, June 9, 2017


IN THE NEWS

By Marianne Cole

1. MASP  Work continues on finalizing the draft of the Major Area Structure Plan. This is a document that will govern future development to the north of Rocky. As mentioned in our March Beacon, this area covers 11 quarters of land that could potentially be used for commercial, industrial, and community services development.

According to a news release posted on the county’s website on May 31, 2017, the next steps in the process are:

· Review of the plan by the town and county councils

· Finalize the draft MASP

· Public review and input at one or more public meetings

· Sending the plan to stakeholders for additional comments

· Public hearing where the public can make official presentations

Although not mentioned in the news release, the final step after the public hearing would be for council to either adopt or reject the plan.

Note: Following the open house meeting in February, county residents had an opportunity to submit comments and suggestions on the proposed plan. While no public report of the survey results has been given, the results were presented to the Inter-municipal Development Committee on April 24, 2017 and a copy of the comment summary has been received by the CCTA. Many of the concerns raised focussed on need and the cost of the proposed development. Positive comments were expressed relating to encouraging business development.

2. Rocky Ag. Rec. Facility  The Rocky Ag. Society held their fourth open house meeting on Wednesday, May 24, this time encouraging attendance by businesses that might be interested in support/sponsorship of the proposed facilities. Again, attendance was dismal with only 12 people in attendance (5 Ag. Society members and 7 general public). Strong opposition by a businessman was stated, noting the tough economy at this time. Other comments suggested concern that the Ag. Society would not hold title to the land, potentially hindering grant funding, and that the push for this building on the county’s north property may be a “ploy” to begin development that would then promote the building of the administration building.

The Ag. Society will be making a presentation to County Council sometime in June regarding further plans/action.

3. Improving Broadband Service  In May the Clearwater Broadband Foundation made presentations to both county council and the CCTA monthly meeting explaining their proposed plans. They continue to work hard to research the most efficient methods of providing service through a combination of towers and fibre optic cable. They had plans for a pilot project in 2017 but unfortunately these plans were stymied when county council turned down a request for a loan to support this project at their May 9th meeting.

During further discussion at that meeting two additional motions were put forward: a. To have administration contact the town of Olds to see how they approached the legalities of funding O’net, and b. To accept the CBF’s proposal for the establishment of a three party consulting/tech review committee to verify the most efficient provision of services. Both motions were defeated in recorded votes where Councillors Vandermeer, Duncan, and Laing voted in favor while Councillors Maki, Alexander, Graham, and Greenwood were opposed.

The CBF will continue to investigate further options and the county council has instructed administration to seek out other available options to improve broadband service in the county.

ROSES A very special bouquet of roses goes out this month to all the Rocky REA and Fortis line workers for their efforts during the recent wind and rain storm. When many of us were sitting inside bemoaning our loss of power for a few hours these dedicated people were outside in nasty, potentially dangerous conditions working to ensure our services were restored as quickly as possible. We send you a HUGE thank you for constantly putting your lives “on the line” for our benefit.

RANT Recently it was reported in the news that the city of Calgary was asking for resident opinion on two proposed ventures---bidding for the 2026 Winter Olympics and building a new arena to replace the Saddledome. Public opinion was being sought BEFORE any action was being taken.

I thought how differently a path had been taken here in Clearwater County when residents were kept “in the dark” about building plans until expensive land had been purchased and costly architectural designs created.

What if there had been a different perspective here, to seek--- and value--- the opinions of those paying the bill? Could money have been saved, and trust increased, if a survey had been mailed out with tax notices in May of 2015??

Hind sight is always 20-20, but likewise there is always clear opportunity to move forward in a positive direction. Maybe the civic elections in October might be the first step to initiate a change of attitude and “modus operandi” (method of operation) for Clearwater County.

Coming Events

Regular monthly meetings, 7:30PM, Leslieville Elks’ Hall: June 15, 2017, September 14, 2017; October 12, 2017

Also keep eyes open for further open house/public meeting on the Major Area Structure Plan.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

May 23, 2017 COUNTY COUNCIL MEETING HILITE SUMMARY

By Dan Warkentin

D1. Some concern was expressed by local contractors that rates paid by the county are too low. County pays 75% of Industry guide. Motion to keep rates same as 2016 passed.

D2. Council passed motion to take over a 400 meter section of Industry resource road. Council will also review the policy regarding this type of road issue.

D3. Report from Withrow Waste water delegation accepted as information. An interesting example of the long term effect of small lot subdivisions.

D4. Womens shelter delegation reported that they will be conducting a “Homelessness” survey on Sept 13 and 14th. E1. Council passed a motion to reimburse the $300 application fee, for PRIVATE use communication towers (less than 50ft).

G1. Recommendation passed. We are not too bad off, sounds like Ponoka and Stettler have Hundreds of thousands that can’t be collected!

G2. Council passed a motion to approve an additional $100,000 for new financial software as recommended. The software total is $168,000. $70,000 had already been budgeted.

G3. Recommendation passed ALL THREE readings! Looks like administration now has a blank check for $5 million.

H3. Telus Delegation by Teresa. - regarding cell coverage, 4 towers now in service with another one under construction. - the fiber backbone “ring” is not yet complete. Currently one leg is from Red Deer to Rocky, and the one from Calg only goes to Caroline, there is no fiber now from Caroline to Rocky. Completing this would bring Cell coverage to the Caroline area. - she indicated the “Smart Hub” should work great if you can get Two bars on your cell phone. They have wireless Hi speed plans of 50Gb for $60/mth. - no immediate plans to develop further west * it would appear they may be asking for $$ to help complete the fiber from Caroline to Rocky in the “In camera” session?

Note: D1 - H3 are references to agenda items

Monday, May 15, 2017

IN THE NEWS

By Marianne Cole

1. Clearwater Broadband Foundation
The Clearwater Broadband Foundation continues to work diligently to present their vision for improved broadband/internet service within the county. They have made presentations to both the town and county councils and will be attending the May meeting of the CCTA on May 11, 2017 to describe their plans. In short, they are proposing a combination of fibre optic cable and towers to bring high quality service to county residents. According to information they have gathered, combining fibre optics with towers is a much more sustainable, efficient method of service than can be provided by towers alone. We really want to encourage everyone to attend this information session, and especially welcome the younger generation. They are the ones that will be most impacted by the service (or lack of it) in the future. As a bit of further enticement, we are offering two $75.00 gift certificates to The Source as door prizes.


2. Rocky Ag. Rec. Facility
The Rocky Ag. Society has been working hard to promote the building of an Ag. Rec. Facility on the county’s newly purchased land north of Rocky. Phase 1 would provide an indoor riding arena, lobby space, meeting room, wash racks, temporary indoor stabling (box stalls), administration offices, storage, and a concession area. The estimated cost of these “indoor spaces” (as per the feasibility study conducted by RC Strategies in 2015) would be $9, 283, 750. Phase 2 would include additional spectator seating, more box stalls, 1000 seating banquet hall, commercial kitchen, and more office space. The cost of the “indoor spaces” for Phase 2 would be $7, 527, 500. In addition to these indoor costs there would be outdoor costs to develop parking areas for vehicles and trailers.
The Rocky Ag. Society recently held three public meetings to promote their vision and urge community involvement. Attendance was marginal with only 15-20 people at each one. Highlights of the meetings were:
* At the meeting on Wednesday, April 19 a question was asked if this facility was necessary given that there are several private arenas that are available for rent in our area and perhaps we should be supporting them . (Note: In the feasibility study it listed 8 public indoor facilities within approximately 150 km. of Rocky---Thorsby, Rimbey, Ponoka, Stettler, etc.. No numbers were given in the study for privately owned facilities but “our” count is that there are 7 indoor
riding arenas within Clearwater County. Perhaps the Rocky Ag. Society could buy one of these if they want their own facility.)
* At the meeting on Wednesday, April 26 a guest from the Rimbey Ag. Society provided excellent information from their experience with building/operating a new indoor facility. He brought forward concerns relating to ownership of the land for this proposed building, the operation/managerial format, and how these issues could affect liability, permitting, and the accessability of grant funding.


3. Condor/Leslieville Fire Hall Plans
Discussion/planning continues with regards to the amalgamated facility for the Condor/Leslieville fire departments. At the April 11 county council meeting it was noted that PIVOTAL Project has been hired to fulfill the project management role (no cost for service given). They, in turn, have hired BR2 Architects to do the design work at a cost of $291, 165. The proposed land purchase price is $403, 992 and the building cost is approximately $2.1 million for a total of $2, 795, 157.
An alternate plan has, however, recently been suggested--- one which would keep the firehalls in their respective communities at a significantly reduced price.
As the Condor facility is in greater need of replacing, this “new” plan suggests that construction be done there first---on donated land. Information has been gathered to suggest a viable facility could be built there for $700,000 - $800,000. Because architectural fees are calculated according to building costs (normally @10%) those fees could be reduced as well. Building on donated land would eliminate the land cost. Ultimately you could have a new fire hall in Condor for less than half the cost of an amalgamated facility.
Another benefit of this second suggestion is that travel time to the various incidents could be potentially reduced by operating out of the two facilities. Furthermore, when necessary, a new facility could be built in Leslieville with money saved on the first go-round. In the meantime, money would be spent more efficiently and both communities get to keep their own fire departments.



Coming Events:
May 11, 2017 , regular monthly meeting

June 15, 2017, regular monthly meeting

September 14, 2017

(All meetings at 7:30PM at Leslieville Elks’ Hall)
HIGHLIGHTS OF COUNTY COUNCIL MEETING, MAY 9, 2017

By Marianne Cole

1. Development on County land in Caroline.
> Phase 1 (planned for the northern part of the property) included the creation of 11 industrial lots and the county’s lot for its salt/sand storage facility.
> Phase 2 includes the southern portion, along Highway 54, with 10 proposed highway commercial lots.
> Phase 1 development has been approved by council but Phase 2 development was contingent upon the county and village receiving the Small Communities Fund (SCF) grant. This was unsuccessful.
> About 75% of Phase 1 infrastructure construction was completed last fall but weather prevented completion. Northside Construction Partnership is scheduled to return shortly to complete the earthwork. Then the construction of the salt/sand storage facility will proceed.
> Discussion took place on servicing the lots in both Phase 1 and 2, focussing on the impact on Caroline’s water/sewer system as well as receiving approval from Alberta Environment re the impact on nearby wetlands.
> A motion was made directing administration to discuss Phase 2 development with the village, investigate the water/sewer implications, and bring back a more detailed report for approval.

2. Land Use Bylaw Amendment passes first reading.
> This draft bylaw would establish penalties and definite courses of action for those whose developments contravene development bylaws (encroachment on neighboring properties, not abiding by building permits, etc.)
> Action here is usually complaint driven and begins with a letter informing the offender of contraventions. This is followed up, if necessary, by further action and penalties.

3. Condor Community Centre Request.
> Council approved the granting of $18,000.00 to assist Condor Community with renovations to their hall. (Approximate cost $53,000. The community has the remaining funds.)

4. Compassionate Care Hospice Society Letter of Support.
> The Society was formed in 2016 and is now actively working to establish a hospice center in Rocky that would provide compassionate, quality comfort care for people with a life-limiting illness and their families.
> Steve Taylor, Vice Chair of the Society attended council to ask that a letter of support from the County be sent to Alberta Health Services on behalf of the Society. This request was granted.

5. Town on Rocky Recreation Master Plan
> Roger Smolnicky, Director of Recreation for the town, and a representative from McElhanney Consulting were present to discuss the process the town is engaged in to provide a framework for future recreation programs used by the town and county.
> Recently a survey re. the available facilities and usage was completed with an approximate 60-40 % split of town-county respondents.
> The results of this survey will be presented to the town on May 16 and to the county following that (likely May 23).

6. Clearwater Broadband Foundation.
> Michelle Swanson, Chairman, made a brief presentation regarding the CBF’s previous request for funding and the county’s subsequent request for a review of the CBF’s proposals.
> Part of the county’s review included getting legal opinion regarding the CBF’s non-profit status and the county’s legal ability to provide a loan to a “for profit” organization.
> Significant discussion took place on the possibility that the legal firm may not have investigated the “non-profit” status as fully as it could have. (It did not investigate the O’Net/Olds Institute system which has non-profit status.)
> Discussion also took place on Michelle’s suggestion that a “Tech Review Committee” be established with the town, county, and the CBF each arranging for a tech consultant to be part of the committee that would evaluate the pro’s and con’s of fibre optics and tower systems. Currently there seems to be a distinct difference of opinion on council on the benefits of each system.
> In the end Council passed a motion to not approve the loan to the CBF. They also passed a motion requesting an administrative report on the available options to improve broadband services in Clearwater County.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

CLEARWATER COUNTY COUNCIL MEETING HIGHLIGHTS

By Marianne Cole

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

1. Summer Tour--- This was first held last year and was organized by our Ag Services Department in cooperation with the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance. It involved a canoe trip on the North Saskatchewan River with provincial rural caucus members and other dignitaries. This year an ATV trip is being planned for August, potentially in the Rig Street or Big Horn areas. The purpose of this would be to promote the benefit of designated Public Land Use Zones (PLUZ), along with advocating for the work the county has been doing on maintaining west country trails.

2. Clearwater Regional Fire Services--- Pivotal Project has been retained as project manager for the construction of the new Condor/Leslieville Fire Hall. They in turn advertised for a request for proposal (RFP) for a Primary Consultant who would be in charge of engineering and design. The successful applicant for this, BR2Architecture, was chosen after to scoring the highest on a summary evaluation. Their fee for service will be $291, 165.
(Note: It is stated in the agenda package that “Section 1.8 of the RFP states that the County is not bound by the lowest bid in evaluation and award of the RFP.” This is most interesting as other instances of RFP’s have noted that the county must accept the lowest bid, which raises the question, why the difference? )

3. Nordegg Historic CIBC Bank Building--- Due to its deteriorated physical state and hazard to public safety, the building had been slated for demolition. A very generous offer from TdB Construction (Ted deBoer)has been put forward to reinvest the demolition cost into stabilizing the structure and maintaining its original fa├žade. This would allow for future development/use of this historic structure.

4. Pine Beetle Resilience Project--- Mr. Rob Friberg, a PhD student from the University of British Columbia outlined his proposal to work with communities on the western side of Alberta to study strategies that might make our forests more resilient to pine beetle attacks. His proposal would involve interviews with local residents, elected officials, and industry personnel as part of a focus group. County council voted to support his endeavors.

5. Financial Matters

 > Federal budget--- Highlights noted were the $28.5 million deficit, funding for “green” water    (mostly for First Nations), affordable housing, and the gas tax fund. Councillor Maki suggested that  our council reps who attend the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference should make  every effort to pass on to the appropriate federal politicians that the “green” infrastructure must  include funding for the internet in rural Canada.

 > Reserve Transfers--- Because some projects budgeted for in 2016 didn’t materialize there is an  unallocated amount of $629, 128 in unrestricted reserves. Discussion took place on what to do with  this…leave as is or put into a restricted fund. Leaving it as unrestricted gives council flexibility as to  its use, and it was also suggested that council can review the current reserve balances at its A & P  (Agenda and Priority) meeting next week. It was also suggested that it may be prudent to review the  tax rate bylaw before making a decision on reserve transfers.

 > 2016 Audited Financial Statements--- Phil Dirks, representative from Hawkings Epp Dumont,  along with Rhonda Serhan from the county, reviewed the 2016 audited financial statements. He  noted that the county is in a healthy position financially, that the county staff was very helpful, and  that accounting procedures are very satisfactory. Two concerns that had been raised by taxpayers  were addressed: a.) The Regional Waste Authority financials will now be under the control of the  county as we are a managing partner, and b.) The debenture servicing costs relate to the renovations  done on the Westview Lodge, and that the penalty for paying off the loan would be greater that the  interest costs. A key note of interest for taxpayers is that revenue last year was $3.3 million higher  than expected, and that the accumulated surplus per capita is $5,500, just over the average of $5, 300  for the jurisdictions Hawkings Epp Dumont compared.


 > Tax Rate Bylaw--- Discussion took place on setting the 2017 tax rates. It was noted that a budget  deficit of $213, 757 could occur due to a decrease in revenue resulting from lower assessments.  However, it was also mentioned that well drilling dollars are already up for 2017 so that could  alleviate a deficit. In the end it was decided that there be no increase in municipal taxes, though there  will be a 1% increase in Education Tax (government controlled).


6. CCTA Letter of Invitation--- Following a motion made at its March meeting, the CCTA had sent a letter to each councillor inviting them, as taxpayers, to attend any of the CCTA’s monthly meetings. Subsequently this letter was discussed today.
It was noted that perhaps a policy is needed before a decision on this is made and that the new MGA is proposing a matrix for such a policy. Councillor Laing suggested it should be left up to each councillor to decide on what community meetings they might attend if invited. It was noted that administration is in the process of preparing a draft policy for the next A & P meeting of council on this matter.
IN THE NEWS

By Marianne Cole

1. Joint Town/County Council Meeting, March 14

Following the County’s February 16th public meeting on the proposed Area Structure Plan for the land north of Rocky, the town requested a joint meeting of town and county councils. Highlights were:

 * Concern was expressed by town councillors that they hadn’t been consulted on the content of        the ASP before it went public.
 * It was noted that all meetings of the Intermunicipal Development Plan committee had been “in  camera” and information was not shared with either council prior to the February meeting.
 * Elected members of the committee are Pat Alexander, Curt Maki, and Jim Duncan from the County  and Fred Nash, Jason Alderson, and Don Verhesen from the Town. The respective CAO’s and    planning department personnel also attended.
 * County councillor Earl Graham suggested that committee level “in camera” sessions could be  brought back to a whole council in camera session. Ron Leaf suggested councils get legal advice on  the matter.
 * County councillors were generally in favor of proceeding with the Area Structure Plan although  one councillor suggested more info was needed on financing and the Rocky’s lagoon system.
 * Town councillors were more reserved, with concerns over financial benefit along with lagoon  issues and transparency of information.
 * In the end Ron Leaf said that there is lots of work, negotiations, and public consultation needed  before final plans are approved.


2. Results of the Town’s Economic Feasibility Study

The results of the town’s economic feasibility study on the Joint Development Agreement with the county on lands to the north of Rocky was recently presented to the town with the following highlights:

 * The JDA could have a positive fiscal impact on the town but there are risks.
 * The timing and magnitude of growth from the JDA is uncertain and subject to current economic  conditions.
 * With current population trends, the town does have plenty of land for residential growth, but has a  limited supply of commercial and industrial land.
 * In further questioning by town councillors it was noted that if the town doesn’t grow, there is no  need for more land.

3. Clearwater County Crime Watch

The Clearwater County Crime Watch held their annual general meeting at the Leslieville Community Centre on Wednesday, March 29. Special highlights of the meeting were:

 * Presentation by a representative of the Action Coalition on Trafficking. She explained that human    trafficking is not limited to young females for the sex trade, but can involve both
 genders in any situation where they are held against their will, under duress, with little or no pay, and  in potentially deplorable living conditions.
 * Presentation by Sgt. Jay Penner of the Rocky RCMP. He indicated that the incidence of domestic  violence has gone up 130% in Clearwater County in the last year. Much of it attributed to drugs and  the economic conditions. The RCMP is working diligently to curb drug use and crime with their  strategy of tracking/watching repeat offenders and those on parole.

The County’s Crime Watch group is desperately needing board members and we encourage anyone interested in helping support this very beneficial group to contact Marianne Cole or Trish Bingham.

ROSES: This month’s bouquet of roses goes out to the Clearwater Broadband Foundation’s board of directors. They have worked diligently to gather information on the benefits and feasibility of improved broadband services to county residents. This has been an issue that area residents have indicated was of significant importance to them. We certainly commend the CBF for their diligence and efforts to work together for the provision of a very beneficial service for county residents.

RANT: As I reflect on the various development discussions/meetings that have taken place this past year I am reminded of the continual opinions of county taxpayers:

 * The CCTA’s survey in February 2016 indicated overwhelming opposition to the county’s building  plans.
 * At the Dovercourt meeting in May the requested show of hands showed huge opposition to the  building developments.
 * The county’s own satisfaction survey this past fall indicated significant opposition to the building  plans but strong support for improved broadband service.
 * At the ASP open house in February the need for additional development and concern for the  economic benefit was again brought forward.

With the county taxpayer sentiments being so clearly expressed in opposition, I continue to wonder why the county presses on with their development plans. Isn’t there a cost to the continual consultant work? Why continue if there is so much opposition? OR… Do the opinions of county taxpayers, those footing the bill, have absolutely no relevance? Is there any validity to the promise that we would be consulted before any decisions are made? Even after consultation, will the decisions made follow the wishes of the majority??? Perhaps the fall election will be the only real way to ensure our voice is heard and definitive answers to this whole quandary are provided. One could only hope.

Coming Events:

April 13, 2017, Regular monthly meeting, 7:00PM

May 11, 2017, Regular monthly meeting, 7:30PM

Note: Meeting time change in May from 7:00PM to 7:30pm

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

HIGHLIGHTS FROM JOINT TOWN AND COUNTY COUNCIL MEETING, MARCH 14, 2017

By Marianne Cole

The meeting began with all members of each council present and about 23 people in the “gallery”. These are the highlights of the meeting:

1. Presentation by Clearwater Broadband Foundation Michelle Swanson and John Reid gave a brief outline of their vision and efforts to promote the improvement of broadband services in the area. This is the first time that the town has heard, publicly, about their efforts so it was suggested by Councillor Mizera that the town needed more information on the costs involved before making a decision to get involved financially.

2. Area Structure Plan The meeting then proceeded to the main item on the agenda which was discussion on developments to the north. These are the highlights of that discussion:

Ron Leaf gave a brief introduction indicating that the Open House meeting on February 16 was to introduce the Area Structure Plan and gather information. There was no intent to short circuit the process. He then asked that the councils consider 2 questions:

                    Do you agree with what the 2 councils are doing?

                    Would you review the documents in that context?

Mayor Nash said he believed that the process is there and he is willing to look at the plans but that there are more questions that need to be considered. He indicated that this if for the long term and that we’re here to do what’s best for the area.

Reeve Alexander said that the whole reason for this development is for the town. This development could have been taken a 5 miles or more out of town but that wouldn’t be helpful. He further added that we are only one community and he thinks we can find a solution.

Rick Emmons then gave a history of the process that lead up to the presentation of the Area Structure Plan in February. Both councils had met in 2014 to discuss future development. From there an Intermunicipal Development Committee was struck with representatives from both the town and county administration and councils. They met “in camera” and no information about their discussions was presented to either council. Neither council had heard/seen the information on the ASP prior to the open house on February 16.

Bill Shaw, planning consultant, then addressed the meeting and presented information on the ASP and the process that had taken place.

The meeting then proceeded with each member of each council giving their opinion on the process and the plans. Below is a summary of the general feelings of each council:

Town: Generally the town council was in favor of moving forward with the development plans but concerns were raised about:

    The process (the lack of information/transparency given to both councils)

    The need for more information on the economics of the plan and the status of the lagoon

    The economic benefit has to be equal for both areas; unfair to kill development/business in one
     area in favor of another

County: Generally the county council was in favor of moving forward with the following a summary of their comments:

    Being ready for development (have infrastructure in place for developers) is necessary • Need to be     careful not to over invest

    Moving forward together is better than individually
   
    Need results of the lagoon study and the economic feasibility study before any final decisions are
    made

    Concern with tone expressed by some of the town councillors

    Disappointment with the blame for lack of transparency on the county as the town also had
    representation on the Intermunicipal Development Committee

Towards the end of the discussion the question was raised if there will be a new Intermunicipal Development Plan or will the Joint Development Agreement take precedence? Ron Leaf indicated that there would be a new IDP but that involves due process and public consultation. Todd Becker, town CAO, indicated that the Joint Service Agreement also needs to be approved.

Town councillor Mizera suggested that in order to promote greater transparency that joint council meetings be held instead of the planning/discussions/decisions being made by the Intermunicipal Development Committee. Discussion took place suggesting that a joint council group is too large to effectively manage so it is best that the committee meet with better communication to follow. Ron Leaf concluded the session by saying that a public hearing will be held on these documents before any final decisions are made. If the hearing went in September/October a second one would be needed after the election if there were new councillors that hadn’t been given the opportunity to be involved.

The meeting then proceeded “in camera”.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM COUNTY COUNCIL, MARCH 14, 2017

By Marianne Cole


1. Clearwater Regional Fire Rescue Services The new Regional Fire Chief, Seven Debienne, was introduced. He comes to our area with significant experience and a passion for his job. He explained that Fire Season is just around the corner but with the wet fall and recent snowfall we are in a much better situation with less fire hazard risk.

2.Assessment and Tax Implications There was growth in the residential assessment that resulted in increased revenue in that category of $62, 000 for 2017. There is, however, some assessment that is at risk, mainly in the Machinery and Equipment category with potentially 5 companies making up uncollectables of about $200,000. The 2017 Tax Rate Bylaw will be discussed in Council on April 11, 2017.

3. Reserve Transfer for Broadband Administrative Report At the Council meeting on February 28, the Clearwater Broadband Foundation made an excellent presentation on their work and efforts to promote the improvement of broadband service in the county. At that time they asked the county for a loan of $3.48 million to begin their projects for 2017. This request was tabled until council could be provided with an administrative report. That was given today and it suggested that in order to move forward the following steps must be taken:

     A Business Plan Review must be undertaken to assess the feasibility and viability of the plan.

     A Legal Review must be done to evaluate the legality of the county lending the Foundation
      money              

    A Technical Review must be done to compare the Foundation’s proposals to new and emerging  
      technologies

The costs for this broadband evaluation report was not budgeted for so a motion was passed that the $35, 000 cost come from the Internet Reserve.

4. Clearwater County hamlet Residential Chicken Bylaw A request had been made by a resident in a hamlet to obtain a permit for having chickens in a hamlet. As the county does not have a bylaw in this regard the matter was brought to council for discussion. It was suggested that the bylaw should also apply to multi-lot Country Residential areas as well so the matter was tabled in order to make that addition to the bylaw.

5. SuperNet and Broadband Internet Mr. Stephen Ball, Assistant Deputy Minister of the SuperNet Secretariat, Service Alberta made an excellent presentation on the history, development, and current status of the SuperNet (a system of fibre optic cables and wireless towers formed into a network of electronics carrying signals to public facilities). In 2001 the government committed $193 million to build and own a network connecting facilities in rural communities. At the same time Bell committed $102 million to an urban network. By 2005 the government had run out of money and renegotiated contracts transferring the majority of rural infrastructure to Bell. Axia was given the exclusive license to use and operate the SuperNet until June 30, 2018. (So at the moment Bell owns the “parts” and Axia manages the “operation”.) By allowing this type of arrangement/control the province has created an unequal playing base as it is a financial problem for ISPs (Independent Service Providers) to access the SuperNet.

Currently there is work being done on the future of the SuperNet contract and discussions are taking place on what needs to be done to enhance rural broadband services. Mr. Ball suggested that a provincial broadband strategy is necessary and is working with AAMDC on this. Many municipalities are considering the role they should play in providing broadband services.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

IN THE NEWS 

1. Area Structure Plan 
The county held an Open House in Rocky on February 16 with about 100 people in attendance. The Area Structure Plan is a document which lays out a plan for future land usage for 11 quarters of land north of Rocky. It stipulates allowable locations for various uses such as industrial, business services, commercial, community services, and recreation lodging facilities. Following the presentation by Bill Shaw, consultant for the plan development, attendees were given an opportunity to ask questions or express concerns. Topics brought forward were the need for these developments, the costs of infrastructure, potential return on “investments”, and issues with Rocky’s water/waste water system. No financial information was available at the meeting. Further steps in approving the plan include:

 • another open house once a final draft is completed, (financial information available then)
 • first reading to approve the document,
 • second reading with an official public hearing where      residents can make public presentation
 • third reading to approve/reject the document This process could take several months to complete.

 We will keep you posted on all future events.

2. Rocky’s Waste Water System
 It recently came to light that there may be potential problems with Rocky’s waste water system, a service that has definite implications for the county’s development plans. As such, representatives from the town made a presentation on this topic at county council’s meeting on Tuesday, February 28. According to their information, tests done in the fall of 2016 identified that levels of total suspended solids and un-ionized levels of ammonia entering the North Saskatchewan River exceeded federal government standards. Consequently the town has commissioned an investigation of the situation with possible fixes and their costs. The results of this study will be known in March. Concerns were raised at the meeting as to when the county was made aware of the problem, what the costs of fixing the situation might be, and how these costs could affect the county budget/future development plans. Apparently the county was made aware of the problem last fall but the information was not shared with council at that time or during budget deliberations.

3. Clearwater Broadband Society
 Clayton Berg and John Reid, members of the Clearwater Broadband Society, made an excellent presentation at council’s last meeting on the need for, and benefit of, improved broadband service in a community. The statistics they presented clearly indicated the very positive economic benefits, along with resident service advantages, from improved technology. The CBS is suggesting a combination of fibre optic cable and communication towers be used to provide the improved service. They hope to establish 6 “ground testing projects” in 2017 and asked the county for $3.48 million to help fund their efforts.

*** Note: On the County’s Service Level Feedback Survey completed last fall, internet/telecommunications mobility was the most highly mentioned “desired enhancement”.

ROSES A special bouquet of roses goes out this month to town councillor Manfred Ullman for taking the initiative to publicly address concerns with the Rocky north developments as well as bringing to light issues with Rocky’s sewage lagoon. Both topics have significant implication for both the town and county finances. As such, the very people that provide the funding, the taxpayers, deserve complete, accurate financial disclosure. Special thanks Manfred for initiating the process.

 RANT With the recent events described throughout this newsletter, I am reminded about the importance of transparency in any form of interpersonal relations. Certainly for two municipalities to work cohesively there has to be clear, complete communication on any shared responsibilities, but most importantly, financial ones. In addition, there should be equally substantial information given to those providing the funding… the taxpayer. As such I leave you with these valuable quotes that reiterate the value of open communication.

• A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity. Dalai Lama
• Trust, honesty, humility, transparency, and accountability are the building blocks of a positive
reputation. Mike Paul
• Truth never damages a cause that is just. Mahatma Gandhi

 May these thoughts become guidelines for future action within our community.

Coming Events
March 9, 2017 April 13, 2017 Regular monthly meetings, 7:00PM, Leslieville Elks’ Hall

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Clearwater County Council Meeting Notes

by Helge Nome

All councillors were present at the regular meeting on February 28 to hear a delegation from the Town of Rocky Mountain House report on public concerns over a discharge from the Town sewage lagoon into the North Saskatchewan River.
The Town’s Director of Engineering and Operations, Rod Fraser, reported that levels of solids and ammonia products, exceeding new federal regulations, had indeed been discharged into the river and that the Town is working to identify the causes. Several county councillors expressed concern over a lack of communications between the Town and County in light of the fact that the two municipalities are sharing the cost and use of the Rocky Mountain House wastewater treatment facility.

Maintenance of another shared facility, the Credit Union Co-op Aquatic Centre in Rocky Mountain House, was discussed as well with a request for an additional $61,400 to shore up the deck around the pool in 2017. Doing all the work needed in 2017, rather than spreading it out over two years as originally planned, will result in an overall cost saving. Council approved the additional funding. 

A delegation from the Clearwater Broadband Foundation, a local recently formed not-for-profit society, made a video presentation arguing for the case of optical fibre as the solution for local residents’ access to the internet. John Reid, Secretary/Treasurer of the foundation, stated the intention of the group of digging in fibre clusters to serve six different areas of the county, including one in Nordegg. These clusters would initially be served by signals from/to adjacent microwave towers to be erected by the group. Funding, in the form of $3.48 million of loans guaranteed by the County, would be needed for these projects. Council accepted the presentation as information.


Based on a recommendation from Public Works, Council decided to post “No winter maintenance” signs on roads in the west country that are not being graded in the winter. It was noted that snowmobilers can and do use these snowy roads.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

HIGHLIGHTS OF COUNTY’S AREA STRUCTURE PLAN OPEN HOUSE

By Marianne Cole

Clearwater County held an open house/meeting at the Christensen Wellness Centre on Thursday, February 16, 2017. The purpose of this meeting was to introduce and gather resident input into the proposed Area Structure Plan that would guide development to the north of Rocky Mtn. House. There were about 80 people present with standing room only in the Subway Room. Noticeably absent were the Reeve, Deputy Reeve and two other councillors. The only councillors present were Theresa Laing, John Vandermeer, and Kyle Greenwood.

Prior to the start of the meeting attendees could look at the various maps and stands of information that had been set up by Bill Shaw of BPS Consulting, the consultant doing the work on drafting the plan. He, along with Rick Emmons and Keith McCrae from the county’s planning department, were available to answer questions/discuss concerns.

Rick Emmons opened the meeting and welcomed everyone before turning the meeting over to Bill Shaw. Bill presented information on planning discussions that had taken place with the county and the need for future development along with giving detailed descriptions of the various types of commercial/industrial development that could take place on the lands to be governed by the Area Structure Plan.

Then the floor was opened for questions. The questions/concerns focussed on:
* Whether there is a need
* What would be the infrastructure cost
* Should taxpayers be on the hook for development
* Concerns with Rocky’s waste water system
* When could there be financial return on investment
* That maybe a plebiscite should take place to gather info on actual public support

When the issues with Rocky’s sewage lagoon were brought up Ron Leaf stepped forward and indicated that he had contacted the town’s administration Thursday morning and there aren’t any issues. In speaking to a town councillor, however, the town has initiated a $30,000 study to evaluate the functioning of the sewage lagoon and this study hasn’t been finalized yet.

In conclusion, there were a few people that expressed support for future development but it seemed that the majority were opposed due to questionable need and financial return in this economic environment. There will be another open house as well as a public hearing before the document is finally approved.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Clearwater County Council Meeting Notes

by Helge Nome


All councillors except Kurt Maki were present at the February 14 County Council meeting where a major decision regarding Nordegg development was made:  Based on a presentation and recommendation from West Country Manager Rick Emmons, Council gave the green light to the development of a 29 lot mobile home park in the vicinity of the municipal building in Nordegg at a cost of $2.55 million. 

Council also approved 5.2 km grading and other work to the Northfork Road. A bid from Netook Construction Ltd. for a total of $1.354 million was accepted.

Councillor Theresa Laing brought a concern over Town of Rocky Mountain House lagoon use to the attention of Council. It has been suggested that county based sewage trucks may have exceeded the capacity of the sewage treatment plant when dumping their loads resulting in raw sewage being discharged into the North Saskatchewan River. CAO Leaf was asked to look into the matter by Council.

A decision by the Clearwater County Council on December 13, 2016 to amend an agreement with the Sundre Fire Department to provide fire suppression and rescue services to the southern part of Clearwater County has generated a negative response from the Sundre area: Based on a rationale of cost savings, it was decided that the Caroline Fire Station should be the first responder in this area, rather than Sundre.
Clearwater Regional Fire Rescue Services Chief Jesse Kurtz made a presentation to Council in response to this unexpected development. CAO Leaf is scheduled to meet with the Town of Sundre CAO to deal with the matter. For the time being, the Sundre Fire Department will continue to be the fire service provider for the area south of Highway 587 and west of Sundre.

An "In Camera" session at the end of the meeting was labelled "Third Party Interest" in the agenda. Judging by the group present in the council chamber at that time it is assumed that the "third party" is the Clearwater Broadband Foundation as represented by its board.

Monday, February 6, 2017

IN THE NEWS

1. Leslieville-Condor Fire Hall It has been eight months since the May 4, 2016 public meeting was held to discuss the future of the Leslieville-Condor Fire Halls. Recently it came to light that the County has approved the process to purchase land for a new facility. This is rather interesting as potentially suitable land had been generously offered for free when this issue was discussed last spring.


2. Municipal Inspection A letter from the Minister of Municipal Affairs was discussed at the January 10, 2017 council meeting. While the letter acknowledged some concerns that had been brought forward during the preliminary review in October, it stated that they were “not of sufficient concern to warrant a municipal inspection.” The letter did, however, go on to state, “I encourage you to consider initiating a legal review of recent land decisions as well as governance or organizational review. I also encourage you to make the results of each review available to the public.”

In discussing the letter council decided not to proceed with further legal review.


3. Joint Development Agreement/Joint Service Agreement These are joint Town of Rocky/Clearwater County development agreements. The Joint Development Area Agreement identifies areas north and south of Rocky that would be potential long term annexation areas that would “help in furthering its growth in urban residential and highway commercial development.” It further states that “The County or the Town, either jointly or separately, may consider undertaking the development of lands in the Joint Development Area themselves…”


To support the JDA, a Joint Service Agreement is currently being worked on and was discussed at a joint meeting of town and county councils on January 24, 2017. This document deals with the provision of water and waste water services to the areas mentioned in the JDA. Following “in camera” discussion at the meeting, motions were passed publicly that more information was needed before a decision on the JSA could be made.


Interesting information presented in these documents states:

* “The Town currently has a supply of 32 hectares” (@79 acres) “for industrial land within its boundaries, none of which is serviced.”

* “Industrial and commercial land ready for development has been identified as a priority of both the town and county…”

* “The proposed JDA meets this goal with the addition of over 600 hectares” (@1480 acres) “of serviced commercial and industrial land…”

(Note: All quotes are from the Draft Joint Development Area Agreement and Intermunicipal Development Plan update found on the County’s website under the ”Council” tab.)

The town is currently doing an economic feasibility study related to the JSA but no economic plan has been/or is being done by the county.

ROSES: With Valentine’s Day coming up shortly, we’d like to send huge bouquets of roses out to all the home care workers as well as facility nurses and care attendants that lovingly care for our residents either in their own homes or in care facilities. We certainly admire your compassionate attitudes. As well, we appreciate and commend you on your efforts to make these peoples’ lives as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

RANT: First of all, it is a beneficial goal to have available commercial/industrial land for development in order to stimulate business, provide jobs, and assist with tax revenues. How much is necessary and at what cost remain questionable. The JDA and JSA currently being worked on by the town and county raise huge red flags as far as need, cost recovery, and financial sustainability are concerned. Let’s look at some related figures:

* Industrial/commercial lots available in town: Falcon Ridge (east side of town on south side of SH 598): 23 light industrial and 8 general industrial, along with large highway commercial area; East side of town, north side of SH 598: 3 highway commercial lots, serviced, building ready. Total lots currently available: 34

(Note: Other lands in town are zoned for commercial/industrial development but no calculation of lots was given. The information here was taken from the town’s economic brochure found on their web-site.)

* Industrial/commercial lots available in county: Metaldog Industrial Park (north of Rocky on Airport Road) 12 lots available (info from the town’s economic brochure); Caroline: 10 industrial lots of 3 acres each; 12 smaller highway commercial lots. (Info from The Mountaineer, April 26, 2016.) Total lots available in the county: 34

* Even though most of these lots are unserviced the majority are close to services and would be much cheaper to service than those in the JDA.

* At a rate of 2 or 3 commercial/industrial lot sales per year it would take 20-30 years to sell all 68 lots currently available in the town and county.

* Are additional lots necessary?

* If servicing of the JDA proceeds, what will it cost and how many lots will need to be sold to recoup those costs and in what timeline???

* Will this be just another “White Elephant” that the taxpayer will be “on the hook” for???
In conclusion, I leave you with these final questions: Should taxpayer dollars be cast into the wind of highly risky development ventures??? AND/OR Are these development proposals simply a ruse/scheme to get services to the county’s new land and proposed Taj Mahal???

Coming Events: February 9, 2017 and March 9, 2017 Regular monthly meetings. 7:00PM Leslieville Elks Hall.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

CLEARWATER COUNTY COUNCIL MEETING HIGHLIGHTS, January 24, 2017
The main highlights of the council meeting were as follows:
 Request from Confluence Heritage Society for assistance with snow clearing for the Canada 150 celebrations to be held at the Rocky Historic Park on February 18 & 19 was supported.
2.    Cartier Creek Subdivision.  The matter of resident encroachment on the Municipal Reserve  (discussed at the December 13 council meeting) was brought forward again for clarification.  It was noted that on two of the lots in question, the decks of the dwellings are intruding onto municipal reserve land.  On one of the lots their satellite dish is also located on reserve land.  There was excellent discussion on resolving this issue and Councillor Greenwood brought forward a notable question, wondering how this could have been allowed on a building permit.  The response was that there had been no building permit.  Other comments focussed on the need to make the rules fair and apply to everyone. In the end Councillor Maki made a motion to uphold the original motion that guidelines set out in the MGA must be followed.  County staff will notify the residents about the need to rectify the situation by July 31.
3.  Presentation by/discussion with the Rocky Mountain Chuckwagon Association and the Rocky Stampede Board. Brad Smith, Milton Elliott, Shane Closs, and Ernie Closs presented information on the work that had been done at the rodeo grounds at the North Saskatchewan River Park and what the significant benefit the events held there are to the community.  They then posed questions focussed on the plans that the county has for their land and a potential timeline for development. The questions were returned with suggestions that these groups work with the Rocky Agricultural Society and other stakeholders to formulate a plan of action.  Reeve Alexander suggested that this needs to be a community vision and that all groups need to work together as it should be a community driven issue.  In the end Councillor Lang made a motion that county administration work together with these groups in developing a plan of action.
4.  Clearwater County Highway Patrol Annual Report.  Sgt. Terri Miller presented information on the year’s activities of the CPO’s in our county.  Figures were given to suggest that there is still lots of commercial movement in the county even though numbers are down.  She also presented information showing that there has been a steady increase in the number of traffic safety violations in the last three years.  Questions were raised as to the amount of time used in prepping for court cases when necessary.  Sgt. Miller indicated that the prep time is rather minimal (1- 1 1/2 hours), but the time in court is frustrating as an officer might wait a lengthy time for the case he is involved in to be heard, sometimes to no avail as the witness doesn’t show up.  Discussions are taking place with the province to try to deal with the shortage of commissionaires and crown prosecutors.
A very successful, positive program initiated by our CPO’s is the “Positive Ride Program” where the CPO’s will hand out a “Positive Ride” ticket to people who are following all the proper guidelines/rules of riding OHV’s and these people are eligible to win a prize.  It can also have an interesting “peer pressure” impact if one person in a group is not following the rules and this consequently disallows members in that group from getting a “Positive Ride” ticket.
5.  Audit Planning. Hawkings Epp will once again be doing the financial audit for the county for the 2016 year.  They will be working in the county on March 27th and the year end report should be available at the end of April.

SPECIAL JOINT COUNTY/TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
A special joint Town of Rocky/Clearwater County Council meeting was held in county council chambers in the afternoon of January 24, 2017.  The purpose of this meeting was to:
 Review the activities that have taken place to date in relation to the Intermunicipal Development Plan and the Joint Development Area which target specific industrial and commercial growth for this region.  The IDP and the JDP focus on land which the town could annex to the north of Rocky and the County’s newly purchased land on the Airport Road.
AND
 Work on drafting the Joint Servicing Agreement.  The JSA would focus largely on the method of providing and financing the provision of water/waste water services in the area mentioned above.
Meghan Jenkins, Planning Manager, Parkland Community Planning Services gave a brief presentation on what had taken place with developing the IDP and JDP, and then the meeting went “in camera” to discuss the Joint Service Agreement.  After an hour and ten minutes we were allowed back into the meeting only to find out that more “administration information” is needed before final decisions can be made.  It is anticipated that this might be available late in February or early March.
Following the meeting it was learned that the town is waiting for the results of an “Economic Feasability Study” in relation to the development in this area and they are to be commended for going through that process.  No “Economic Plan” for the development of the county’s land has been undertaken.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Clearwater County Council Meeting Notes

by Helge Nome

There was discussion right from the outset at the first regular meeting in 2017 on Tuesday, January 10: Councillor Vandermeer pointed to a discrepancy in the minutes from the December 13 regular meeting pertaining to a motion from Vandermeer for the county to go ahead with a broadband demonstration program in 2017. The minutes, as presented to council for ratification, did not reflect this intent and the minutes, as amended by Vandermeer, were adopted by council.

Detailed information on the 2017 winter gravel program was presented by Public Works, where it was noted that the amount of graveling done would depend on weather conditions.

Alberta Municipal Affairs’ recommendation for Council to hire a consultant to carry out a review of county operations was turned down unanimously on a motion from Councillor Duncan. The sentiment was that Council already had a good idea of where there are shortcomings, notably in its communications with the public strategy, as identified in the municipal inspection of the Town of Rocky Mountain House where improvements were recommended. Also, Councillor Vandermeer believed that $75,000 could be better spent elsewhere.

Based on a recommendation from Regional Fire/Rescue, Council decided to go ahead with the purchase of a replacement fire engine for the one that was written off following a rollover in October. The cost to the County will be $163,851, the remainder of the total purchase price of $588,851 being covered by insurance.

A delegation from the “Clearwater Regional Tourism Working Group” presented the newly designed logo to be used to promote the region. The logo depicts voyageurs in a canoe and asks the visitor to David Thompson Country to ”challenge your inner explorer”.