Roads, Youth Week, Mental Health Week, Broadband and Environmental Stewardship
Sturgeon County Council Recap | April 27, 2021
Here are the highlights from the April 27, 2021, Sturgeon County Council Meeting:
- Mayor Hnatiw made the following proclamations:
- National Youth Week, May 1 – 7, 2021, in recognition of the valuable contributions of youth to community enrichment and to encourage the support of opportunities for youth development.
- Mental Health Week, May 3 – 9, 2021, in recognition of the importance of promoting, protecting, and nurturing our mental health, and that it is okay to not be okay.
- Council heard a presentation from Mehmet Yigit regarding a request for cancellation of a tax penalty. Council will discuss this request at a future Council Meeting.
- Council approved the 2020 Audited Financial Statements as prepared by County administration and audited by the firm of Metrix Group LLP Chartered Professional Accountants. As noted in the presentation, the County ended up with a $12.5 million operating surplus. This was due to many factors, including unanticipated revenues, provincial and federal government grant funding, and decreased expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The $12.5 million has been distributed into various municipal reserves including the Drainage Reserve, Road Network Reserve, and General Operating Reserve, which allows funding for future projects and emergent needs. A portion of the funding was used to cover additional funding requests and donations, including to the Rotary Club and Victim Services; as well as municipal projects and service enhancements including environmental planning, train whistle cessation, and three new fulltime firefighter positions. The 2020 Audited Financial Statements will be posted on the County’s website.
- Sturgeon County’s Broadband Strategy continues to move ahead with Council giving Second and Third Reading to Bylaw 1530/21, which authorizes the use of long-term borrowing to fund the first phase, a pilot project in the Villeneuve region. The County will be selecting a private sector internet service provider through the Request for Proposals (RFP) process taking place later this year.
- The Pine Sands subdivision will be undergoing road rehabilitation after Council gave Second and Third Reading to Bylaw 1532/21 to use long-term borrowing to fund the project. Roadwork will include road widening, installation of perforated pipe drains, and replacing failed subgrade materials. The project is anticipated to cost $2.79 million.
- Sturgeon County will continue to modify public events and workshops through online delivery where possible and delay others until such time as the Province of Alberta lifts restrictions related to COVID-19.
- Agricultural Inspectors were appointed as part of the Council Meeting and will be responsible for conducting inspections under the Alberta Agricultural Pests Act and Weed Control Act. Under the Weed Control Act, landowners are required to control and/or destroy noxious and prohibited noxious weeds on their property. Under the Act, inspectors appointed by the County are permitted to enter private property to check for noxious or prohibited noxious weeds and provide written notice of any weeds identified on the property. Learn more about weeds and weed control measures.
- Council decided against entering into an Encroachment Agreement with the owner of Lot 10, Block 3, Plan 0622408 to allow a retaining wall, firepit, water feature, and fence to remain as built on municipal reserve lands owned by the County. Council did direct Administration to review the County’s existing Encroachment Agreement Policy with a report back to Council later this year.
- Council gave Second and Third Readings to Bylaw 1531/21 to repeal and replace the Sturgeon Valley Area Off-Site Levy Bylaw 1446/19, and Second and Third Readings to Bylaw 1548/21 to repeal and replace the Sturgeon Industrial Park Area Off-Site Bylaw 1445/19. Both bylaws are required for the County to keep the off-site levy rates current and to meet the updated requirements of the Municipal Government Act.
- After approving various sites for dust suppression at the April 23 Meeting, Council expanded the list of locations that would receive dust suppression in 2021 and approved an additional subsidy of $205 per residence for another three locations. The additional dust suppression will cost $70,800, and the subsidy will be a further $27,768. Council also authorized a further $55,390 to cover the cost of the mineral oil product price increase. Funding for the additional dust suppression will come from the General Operating Reserve.
- An embankment in the Crossing at River’s Edge subdivision will receive repairs to address some erosion issues that have caused water to collect in a ditch and impacting the roadway. Council has approved up to $250,000 to cover the cost of the project to be funded from the County’s General Operating Reserve. The County will hold a virtual meeting for residents in the area to outline the project timelines and impacts.
- Sturgeon County will be moving ahead with an additional $4.43 million of infrastructure projects including those to address issues from the severe weather experienced in 2020. Projects include a bridge replacement at 54227 Range Road 263 washed out last year, two projects to address drainage issues, and road rehabilitation projects along Meadowview Drive and Range Road 254, with a number of other roadways receiving pavement preservation treatment including thin lift overlays. Council also approved additional funding that will allow preliminary engineering work to proceed on a number of other projects to prepare for 2022 budget deliberations. Funding for the projects will come from Road Network and Drainage Reserves. View the list of the projects as well as maps of the project areas.
- Sturgeon County continues its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint after Council approved Administration’s exploration of solar photovoltaic opportunities on County buildings or lands eligible for grant funding through the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre. Sturgeon County previously installed a solar photovoltaic system at the Protective Services Building in 2019.
- Sturgeon County will be undertaking remediation efforts on the “Villeneuve Gas Station and Store” property, which was unsold as part of the 2019 tax sale. Council approved up to $70,000 to cover the cost of the underground fuel storage tank as well as soil and groundwater sampling provided the County is able to recover the costs of the remediation. The County will also be applying to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Green Municipal Fund to assist with site remediation project costs.
- After considering a motion brought forward by Mayor Hnatiw, Council approved Administration to research the feasibility of implementing a program, similar to the Province of Alberta’s Clean Energy Improvement Program (CEIP), to help property owners in Sturgeon County make energy efficient upgrades, with costs recovered through the owner’s property taxes. Other municipalities in Alberta have adopted the CEIP program, including the City of Edmonton, City of Leduc, and the Town of Canmore.
- In response to a letter from Dane Lloyd, Member of Parliament for Sturgeon River – Parkland, Mayor Hnatiw will be sending a letter indicating support for a three-digit suicide prevention hotline. The letter will be sent to Mr. Lloyd, as well as Members of the Legislative Assembly, the Federal Minister of Health, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and to other local area municipalities.
Next Council Meeting
The next Sturgeon County Council meeting will be held at 9:00 a.m. on May 11, 2021.
Future agendas and past meeting minutes can be found online.