Friday, January 26, 2018


By Marianne Cole

It continues to be a “breath of fresh air” to attend county council meetings. There is very respectful, open discussion on all agenda topics with a visible effort to make fiscally responsible decisions along with a desire to promote public engagement. Highlights from the January 23rd meeting are:

1. Recommendations from the January 15th Agenda & Priorities Meeting
Broadband Policy Framework: Council directed Administration to prepare a Terms of Reference for council with a direction for the development of enhanced broadband coverage for the county. The project will involve public engagement through education articles in local newspapers and on the county’s website as well as community hall meetings.

CPO Program: Significant discussion took place on the Community Police Officer program and its focus/limitations. Suggestions were made that while the CPO’s are limited to bylaw enforcement rather than criminal matters, it might be beneficial to have them “out there” as extra eyes. Discussion took place on possibly arranging for more night shifts. In the end a motion to hire a 5th CPO was defeated but a motion to continue discussion on ways to improve the program was passed.

Leslieville/Condor Fire Halls: The county’s fire chief reported that the members want to maintain two stations. Discussion took place on the benefits of having two stations with potentially similar designs but different footprints as the facilities do not need to be identical. Council made it clear that they will engage the public before decisions are made and there is no time line of action.

2. Presentation by Sgt. Jason Penner, Acting Detachment Commander, RCMP
Sgt. Penner noted some staff changes with Staff Sgt. Groves working on a Central Alberta Crime Protection committee/initiative, one corporal assisting in Rimbey, and one corporal retiring.

The local detachment continues to work on their goals to meet with/interact with the communities they serve while focussing on property protection and identifying/monitoring criminals.
To that end they are looking at crime hotspots and a crime analyst/investigator will hopefully be on staff by May.

Another public engagement effort is the recently started “Coffee with a Cop” opportunity that will be held at McDonald’s from 10-11AM once a month. Information will be coming out shortly on the dates.

3. Presentation by Cole Thomson, Community Area Lead, TransCanada NOVA Transmission Ltd.
Mr. Thomson outlined their operation, focussing on the proposed new Natural Gas Transmision Line for the west side of the province. This will involve two large scale projects in Clearwater County---one near Nordegg and the other near Caroline. This was very positive news as it will not only increase the tax revenue for the county but will provide extensive work opportunities along with a large economic benefit for hotels, restaurants, and other businesses in our area. Mr. Thomson will also be making a presentation to the West Central Stakeholders Association meeting at Leslieville Community Hall at 3:30PM on February 1, 2018.

4. Presentation by Jessica Reilly, Senior Fisheries Biologist, Alberta Environment and Parks
Ms. Reilly outlined here research on the various trout numbers in Clearwater County waterways and the causes for the decline in some populations. They will be working with the county’s Public Works Department to help fix some of the problems where culverts/road crossings are interfering with the trout movements.

5. Council Board &Committee Remuneration Policy
Earlier in the fall the 2018 remuneration had been established so the discussion focussed mainly on the establishment of a committee to review compensation in subsequent years. In the end it was decided that a Council Compensation Committee be established. It would be made up of no more than 5 public members who would meet a maximum of 3 times while working with administration to research the necessary information. Ads would be posted on the county’s website asking for interested parties to apply. A final draft of this policy will be prepared by administration and brought back to council for approval.

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