Fall has officially arrived, but it feels like old man Winter has beaten him to it. The accumulation of snow has made it anything but favorable for the farmers across the province. We are hoping that the sunshine and milder temperatures will help farmers get their crops off the fields and better prepare for the winter ahead. As we move forward into fall, Council has met with Northern Gateway Public School Division to discuss the current Rural Student Funding Model and how it is not acceptable for today’s rural students. Lac Ste. Anne County Council plans to work in conjunction with the Northern Gateway Public School Division to lobby the Provincial Government to help produce a new funding model that will better represent Rural Alberta.
With the upcoming legalization of Cannabis on October 17, 2018, Council continues to work alongside other municipalities from the area to prepare legislation that will work in everybody’s best interest. This is a subject that we will keep pushing forward on.
At the September 13, 2018, Council Meeting the Agriculture Services Department reported damage sustained to a bridge on Township Road 540. The damage was done while clearing out a beaver dam. Administration completed an internal review after the event and it was determined that all safety procedures and practices were followed. There was only a minimal charge used for this process, which is common practice for the Agriculture Services Department as there is no mechanical way to get underneath a bridge to clear out a beaver dam.
Some members of our Council are off to the Alberta Urban Municipality Some members of our Council are off to the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) Convention in Red Deer, AB this week to meet with other Municipalities and Provincial Ministers to discuss various topics of concern and interest for all Albertans. We look forward to bringing this information back to Lac Ste. Anne.
On behalf of the Lac Ste. Anne County Council I would like to wish each one of you a Happy Thanksgiving! Take time to kick back and relax with your families.
The phrase the “Dog Days” of summer (or better known as the hottest, most humid days of summer) comes to mind as we enter into the month of August. I hope that everyone has taken the opportunities to get out and enjoy some of the great activities Lac Ste. Anne County has to offer, whether it is spending time out on one of the many lakes with friends and family, camping in one of the County owned campgrounds (Lessard Lake Public Campground, Paddle River Dam Campground or the Sangudo Riverside Campground), or attending one of the many parades and fair days, there is always something to do in the County during the summer months.
The Summer Adventure Guide filled with all of the Summer Children’s Special Programs, Drop-In Programs, Kinder and Youth Camps and Day Trips is posted on the website. Make sure you check it out and get your young ones registered into one of the these fantastic summer programs!
As always, the Public Works department has been going flat out as they continue to work on the construction and culvert replacement on Twp Road 544. The paving project has been completed on Range Road 21 and most of Twp. Road 544, except for the bridge. We are also proud to report that we have completed the joint paving project with the Town of Onoway on 47th Avenue. We have opened the tenders for the proposed paving projects completed for the Paddle River Dam, Riverside Campground and Twp. Road 540. We hope to have these approved within the next month.
Council along with the Lac Ste. Anne County Fire Services are pleased with the arrival and set-up of the two Fire Training facilities at the Emergency Response Center at 4814-42 Avenue in Mayerthorpe and at the second facility Ste. Anne East Fire Station at 2317 Township Road 545 in Lac Ste. Anne County. These new purpose-built facilities are designed to support the diverse training needs of multiple Fire Stations in the region. We are appreciative to our corporate For-Profit and Not-for-Profit sponsors for these projects, in addition to the Town of Mayerthorpe for its partnership for the Mayerthorpe site.
Well, finally I want to extend my well-wishes out to all of the farmers in the area that are hard at work trying to getting their hay up in-spite of the weather. Hopefully August will bring some good rains and better second cuts.
It has been a busy month for staff and Council, as we start the summer season off with lots of sunshine and great weather! We began the month with four of our Council members attending this years Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Conference in Halifax, NS. We were engaged in many sessions and opportunities like the one where Deputy Reeve Nick Gelych and I were able to tour with the Fire Chief of the Halifax Regional Fire Services.
I would like to take this time to acknowledge the fact that Councillor Lorne Olsvik has been on the FCM Board and is now stepping down after dedicating ten years to the organization. He has opened a lot of avenues for Lac Ste. Anne County with great connections and information, we wish him well in his retirement from the FCM Board.
Lac Ste. Anne County is here to support you in teaming up with your friends, family and neighbors to help create litter free neighborhoods in our Hamlets. For weekends in July and August, we will provide two large bins in which residents can place their awkward waste items in the bins and the County will retrieve and dispose of them appropriately. The bins can be used for tires, furniture, appliances, wood items, metal items etc., however please do not use the bins for hazardous waste. The bins will be delivered on Friday afternoon and picked up on Monday. Watch the website for dates and locations.
As always we are proud of the staff that work for us at Lac Ste. Anne County and would like to welcome the many new smiling faces that have joined the team. Administration has been filling some much needed positions to better assist the residents of our County. Two Community Peace Officers will be attending six weeks of training this month to fulfill the requirements to better assist the residents as well, good luck everyone!
Public Works has been busy out on the roads, and have now completed the patching and dust control projects. Just in time to move onto the road and bridge construction that is set to begin at the beginning of July and will continue throughout the summer of 2018. Check out the website for locations and information. Remember, drive with caution, slow down, observe traffic signs, save a life!
And finally, on behalf of Council and myself, I would like to wish all of the Grade 12 students graduating this weekend within Lac Ste. Anne County and surrounding areas a huge Congratulations on a job well done! Have a great Canada Day long weekend to celebrate your accomplishments!
The overland flooding has receded and the hot weather has once again returned, but with it comes the risk of fire. Lac Ste. Anne County is now under a Complete Fire Ban so please ensure that you follow the rules and report any wildfire to 9-1-1 with exact location to assist Lac Ste. Anne County Fire Personnel in locating and extinguishing these fires in a timely fashion. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
Speaking of fire, Council wishes to congratulate Firefighter Dale Deschepper – Station 3 Rich Valley, and District Fire Chief Eugene Lewis, Station 5 Darwell for each receiving the Federal Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal for 20 years of exemplary service to Canadians on behalf of the Governor General of Canada. Great job guys, you make us proud!
After much deliberation and discussion with Administration, County Council passed the 2018-2020 Operating and 2018-2027 Capital Budget at the April 26th, 2018 Regular County Council meeting. Also at this meeting, we were joined by the Darwell Grade Six students as they are currently learning about Municipal Government in school. They were given a guided tour of the new Administration Office and were able to attend part of the Regular County Council meeting, where they had a first-hand look at how a proper Council meeting is run. We were happy to host the students for a hot dog lunch prepared by Council and staff! What a great opportunity to learn about local government.
The Public Works staff have been out on the County roads patching and applying dust control; please slow down and watch for workers.
And finally, on behalf of Council and myself, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Senior’s Week June 3-9, 2018! We invite everyone to attend the Lac Ste. Anne County Senior’s Tea Celebration which is happening at the Lessard Lake Outdoor Education center on Friday, June 8th, 2018. There will be a light lunch and refreshments served between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., and we are proud to be hosting HOJA as the entertainment. Please check out our website for more information and to pre-book for your FREE transportation to the event. We hope to see you there!
During the month of March, Lac Ste. Anne County Council attended the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts (AAMDC) Conference, which will now be known as the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) as their name has changed. At this conference, we were able to meet with the Council of Woodlands County to discuss mutual concerns both municipalities are currently facing. We also had a chance to meet with the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Shaye Anderson regarding MSI funding and the continuing struggles of a sustainable rural Alberta. There were many opportunities for discussions with our neighboring municipalities, the event was very worthwhile. We were also able to attend an Economic Development conference with representatives from the Town of Onoway and our Economic Development consultants, Keystone Strategies. At the March 29th, 2018 Regular County Council meeting we passed the first reading of the Tax Rate Bylaw and were presented with the Draft 2018-2020 Operating and 2018-2027 Capital Budget and will begin deliberation next week. Council also made a motion for Administration to do a full departmental review of our Fire Services and Public Works departments as soon as possible. We have a great Council made-up of a very diverse group of individuals full of pride and passion when it comes to moving forward
in our County.
On behalf of the Lac Ste. Anne County Council and our great staff, we wish everyone a safe and Happy Easter and hope that you get to enjoy the time with family and friends! Don’t forget that April is Cancer Awareness Month – to raise awareness and funds for Cancer, please support a great cause.
~~ Joe Blakeman, Division 5 Councillor