M.D. of Smoky River notebook

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Culvert sales suspended

Citizens wanting to buy culverts can no longer go to the M.D. of Smoky River to purchase one.
Council decided at its May 12 meeting to temporarily suspend sales immediately.
“When were this short we don’t like to sell culverts,” said Kevin Cymbaluk, director of operations.
He added other municipalities have done the same, all due to short supply. Council agreed and passed a motion supporting administration’s decision.

Tourism funding approved

A request for money to operate tourism programs in the Smoky River region was approved and denied at council’s May 12 meeting.
Smoky River Tourism wrote council asking for $2 per capita population to run their organization, but another $2.65 to become members of the Mighty Peace Tourism Association.
CAO Rita Therriault reminded council they contributed $3 per capita last year.
“I think we give them $3,” said Councillor Donald Dumont.
Therriault added it might benefit council to support both.
However, Dumont stood firm saying in the past Peace River “just dominated” Mighty Peace’s operations.
Councillor Luc Levesque opposed the motion to provide $3 per capita.

Hemp grant application supported

Council agreed to support Smoky River Regional Economic Development in its application for a grant to support the ongoing hemp project.
The Pan-West Francophone Economic Development Fund program is intended for organizations that operate in French and that contribute to the development and enhancement of Francophone service delivery in Western Canada.
Projects eligible for funding are intended to serve Francophone clientele in the official language minority communities of Western Canada such as Falher.
“It’s another stream of funding,” said Reeve Brochu.
There is no cost to council to support the application.

“Big impact” to bridge limits

M.D. director of operations Kevin Cymbaluk reported to council the changes to bridge loading.
“On Jan 1, the Commercial Vehicle Dimension and Weight Regulation was amended,” Cymbaluk wrote to council.
“Part of the changes involved the removal of previous weight restrictions for tri-drive and tridem axles on non-highway [local roads] roadways.
“As a result, the legal C3S truck load for local roads previously had 54 tonnes rating will now have the same 63.5-tonne rating as for the provincial highways.”
Cymbaluk was not positive of the effect on the M.D.
“. . .but all bridges may need to be inspected for load rating and some may need to be posted or upgraded,” he wrote.
“There was little or no consultation on this change and there could be significant cost implications to inspect, post and upgrade structures,” he added.
The M.D. has 105 bridges or bridge-size culverts.
Council gave its blessing to Cymbaluk to write a letter citing council’s concerns.

Public Works Week declaration

Council decided May 12 to declare May 16-22 as National Public Works Week.
The declaration gives council a chance to thank its public works employees for a job well done.
The M.D. placed a banner outside its office to let the public know of the declaration, plus to give them a chance to also recognize staff.
“Stronger Together” is the theme of 2021 National Public Works Week, which is designed to give citizens a chance to think about the role public works plays in creating better communities by providing services such as roads, water and sewer, and natural gas. Services offered vary by community.

Airport budget passed

The Smoky River Airport Commission has passed its 2021 budget, but some are not happy with it.
The M.D. of Smoky River and Town of Falher passed the budget, but the Town of McLennan denied.
However, the M.D., which operates the airport, will continue to do so as negotiations continue.
“We’ll still operate the airport,” says CAO Rita Therriault.
“We need to operate the airport,” she adds.
The M.D.’s contribution is unchanged from 2020.

Smoke-Free policy amended

Council amended its Smoke-Free workplace policy slightly at its May 12 meeting.
All M.D. employees must now recognize they have received a copy of the policy, that they have read it, understood it, and it is their responsibility to adhere to it.
During discussion, CAO Rita Therriault told council there were new employees who would get a copy.
All employees will be advised of the amendment.

Dumont, Gosselin to provide feedback

Alberta Energy Regulator wants feedback and council is complying by agreeing to fill out a survey.
Councillors Donald Dumont and Donald Gosselin agreed to complete the survey on behalf of council after CAO Rita Therriault recommended council do so.
“We should do it. We are affected quite a bit by their regulations,” she said.
AER regulates reclamation activities on private and public land. They issue reclamation certificates after companies demonstrate they can reclaim land to how it was before it was disturbed and no longer need intervention.

Council agrees to status quo

The M.D. is still a member of the Water North Coalition, at least for a few more months.
Councillor Andy Trudeau reported to council that the board decided at a recent meeting to continue operations.
“Do we want to be part of that?” he asked council.
“It hasn’t helped us a whole lot.”
After a short discussion, council decided to stay.
“Attend a couple more [meetings] and see and then we’ll decide,” said Reeve Robert Brochu.
Water North Coalition serves northern Alberta. Its goal is to find and implement northern solutions to water sourcing and water challenges through advocacy, public education, training and more.

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