July 5, 2022 meeting

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Investing some cash

Council was asked to give its blessing (or not) to a transfer of funds from the operating account into an investment account.

The amount – $950,000 – comes from the sale of the old fire hall to Alberta Health Services (AHS). It’s to become the new ambulance base for Slave Lake.

The report – presented by the town’s director of finance Roland Schmidt – called for the funds to go into the RBC Dominion Securities investment accounts.

Council approved the transfer with no discussion.

Anticipating the sale of the building, council had stipulated in the 2022 budget that the proceeds go into the town’s capital reserve. That’s where they’ll go; in the meantime, they’ll collect a better rate of interest in the investment account.

Work on converting the building to the new ambulance facility is expected to commence in late 2022, according to information from AHS, reported by The Leader in late May. AHS has committed $4.7 million to the purchase and conversion of the property.

Public art policy gets the nod; money also committed for murals

Council adopted a public art policy, as recommended, and approved “up to” $13,000 towards each of two murals proposed by the Regional Arts Council (RAC) in 2022.

This followed a proposal by the Arts Council at a meeting in June, to organize a mural-creation project for Slave Lake. Council decided a policy was needed and asked then CAO Garry Roth to do the legwork.

Council heard admin. looked at similar policies in place in Stony Plain, Lacombe, Edmonton and Grand Prairie.

The policy, as approved, doesn’t tie the town to anything too onerous. For example, it says the town will “consider” an annual operating budget allocation for public art.

Said art should “reflect the values of the community….etc.” It should further “beautify the community” and not be for advertising.

Another thing mentioned in the report, but not in the policy, is the idea of forming a committee to review public art proposals. As it stands, this responsibility belongs to the town’s director of community services.

Whether the Arts Council can find someone to do a mural for $13,000 is a good question. One hundred dollars per square foot is the cost cited by the Town of Stony Plain, as what it expects to pay for such projects.

The last word from the arts council was that it had one wall offered, subject to the owner’s approval of the subject matter.

Looking to improve notifications

As part of his concluding remarks, mayor Tyler Warman mentioned a presentation on “a platform to engage with our residents.” It was by a company called Voyent, which apparently specializes in a system of notification for emergencies as well as ‘day-to-day’ stuff.

Warman called it a “great presentation.”

People would sign up (anonymously) to receive notices on their devices, for such things as fire, flood, bio-hazard and severe weather, what Voyent calls ‘critical incident’ items.

Under the ‘day-to-day’ heading would be such things as road closures, fire bans, facility closures and water advisories.

Warman didn’t say whether council had made any decisions on it or not.

‘Great work’

Warman made a point of thanking the volunteers – and town staff – for putting on special events in the community.

To town staff, “Great job on Canada Day,” he said.

As for other, volunteer-driven events, “Thanks to our volunteers in the community,” Warman said. “I feel like some were taking a beating this week,” he added, without elaborating.

The community is only as strong as the people who are willing to put in the time and effort, he added.

‘One of only 1,331’

Warman turned the floor over for a moment to councillor Shawn Gramlich, “our official hockey guru,” who was sporting a hockey jersey with no orange on it anywhere. On the back it said ‘Aube-Kubel.’

Gramlich said he was doing it in recognition of the first Slave Lake-born player to ever hoist the Stanley Cup – that being Nicolas Aube-Kubel of the Colorado Avalanche.

“Nick was born here, his dad Doug still resides here,” Gramlich said. “He spends a ton of time here in the summer and at Christmas. Congratulations to him and his team and his family.”

Gramlich said Aube-Kubel’s would be one of only 1,331 names of players inscribed on the Stanley Cup.