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