South Peace News
Outdoor rink a possibility
Providing a safe place for the community to skate will be discussed at McLennan town council’s Jan. 11 meeting.
Councillor Sue Delaurier asked at council’s Dec. 14 meeting if there was a place in town that could be flooded to provide skating since the arena was closed this winter. She suggested the sport court but it would be quite costly.
Councillor Terry Calliou suggested the pond by the bridge on the walkway, but liability would have to be addressed.
“Lots of communities have outdoor rinks, come on,” said Councillor Marie-Anne Jones.
She suggested the field at Northern Lakes College, where snow could be banked and filled with water. Picnic benches could be used to sit on.
Councillor Dwayne Stout had concerns about the pond location saying children and youth get excited and go farther than they should.
Calliou was hoping for a quicker solution.
“It will give [youth] something to do over the Christmas break,” he said.
Town administration will check for liability, including COVID restrictions, before a decision is made.
Tourism funding to be determined
A decision on how much money Smoky River Tourism will receive will be determined at council’s budget meeting Jan. 18.
Council quickly tabled a decision at its Dec. 14 meeting.
At its Nov. 9 meeting, Francis Lessard, president of Smoky River Tourism, attended to ask for money to fund the group, adding they would like to work with Mighty Peace Tourism, who has more resources to promote McLennan and the region.
Lessard replied Mighty Peace Tourism is receiving $2.65 per person and Smoky River was looking for something similar.
To be specific, based on McLennan’s population of 791, it would be $5.30 or $4,192.30 to fund both groups.
Council now clear on procedure
Councillor Sue Delaurier asked council and/or administration how CAO Lorraine Willier would contact council during an emergency.
Willier replied a special meeting would have to be called to discuss the matter as only council can make motions. Only the mayor can call a special meeting.
She added no discussions should occur through e-mail or telephone.
“It boils down to transparency,” said Willier.
Use of Town vehicles debated
A policy regarding the use of Town vehicles and equipment was discussed.
CAO Lorraine Willier drafted an updated policy for council’s review.
Council heard an employee can take a vehicle home when on call and use it for municipal purposes only. No mobile equipment can leave the town, she added. The GPS system can identify where every vehicle has gone.
However, before passing the policy, council had to examine the town foreman’s job description to ensure it was not contrary to the proposed policy, so the matter was tabled to the Jan. 11 meeting.
Jones selected as rep on CRC
McLennan town council is pleased to welcome the High Prairie and District Children’s Resource Council back to their community.
And as a result, they have accepted an invitation to be part of its board and appointed Councillor Marie-Anne Jones to serve.
“I think it’s fantastic they’re in our school and our community,” said Councillor Sue Delaurier.
Jones said she was impressed when she researched the CRC and discovered all the programs and services they offer.
“Yes, I’m interested,” she said when asked to serve.
The CRC meets the last Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m.
SR Transportation Agreement passed
Calling it a valuable and much-needed service, council unanimously passed the Smoky River Transportation Board Agreement.
Cost to council is $3,200 next year.
The agreement includes operation of the FCSS bus, which provides rides at an affordable cost to users.
Council heard that fees were rising: the cost of a ride to Peace River increases to $30 from $20, and to Grande Prairie to $40 from $35. Both fees are implemented Jan. 1, 2021. The fees will help recoup costs and put some money aside for new bus.
“It’s a really good thing to have,” said Councillor Sue Delaurier.
Cost of living increase tabled
A proposed cost of living increase for staff was tabled pending more information.
CAO Lorraine Willier told council they gave a 1.5 per pent increase in 2019 but none in 2020. She asked council what their wishes were in 2021 while preparing a budget.
Councillor Christen Eckhard reminded council they recently increased benefits, which was like “a big raise.”
“[Staff] can’t say we didn’t give them a raise,” he added.
“We just give it in other ways.”
Before deciding the matter, council wanted to know how much the value was in increased benefits. The figure will be brought back to the Jan. 11 meeting.