April 2, 2024 meeting

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Taking a look at Slave Lake’s competitiveness

A prominent aspect of the meeting was economic development officer Jason Swanson’s report on the Slave Lake Industrial Park Market Study. A separate story on it appears elsewhere in this edition of The Leader. The item takes up 82 pages in the April 2 council meeting agenda. One part of it that didn’t make it into the story on Page1 & 3 has to do with ‘municipal competitiveness.’

The study found that when it comes to development fees, Slave Lake’s are ‘competitive’ with other similar municipalities. The ones surveyed include High Prairie, Lac La Biche, Grande Prairie, Athabasca, Westlock County, the M.D. of Opportunity and the County of Grande Prairie.

The cost of industrial lots, on the other hand, is steeper in Slave Lake than in most of those other places. This is due to “the scarcity of developed light industrial shops,” says the report.

There is an idea ‘out there’ that the town’s development feels are higher than many other municipalities, and that this discourages development. Not so, said Swanson. “We’re in the ballpark.”

Patching pavement

The town allocates $100,000 each year for asphalt patching (this is on top of the pothole-patching program). Up for council’s consideration were the results of a request for proposals on the work. Three companies responded, and the recommendation was to give the work to Slave Lake’s Paveit Construction. The other two bidders also have local operations, although they are not headquartered here.

Paveit’s bid happened to be the lowest of the three, at $104,850, although price was only one of the evaluation factors, council heard. The other two were past experience on similar projects and proposed start/completion dates.

Council voted in favour of a motion to award the work to Paveit, with no discussion.

Concrete proposal on 2024 curb and gutter work

Also with a $100,000 budget allocation this year is a program to fix up sidewalks, curbs and gutters. Two companies bid on the work, and the bids were not close.

The winner is Duro Contracting of St. Albert, for a price of $92,650. The other bid was $218,607.

Duro is the same company that did concrete work all over town last year, in addition to the downtown revitalization project.

Council approved the recommendation, but this time one of them had a question. Is it possible, asked Councillor Ali Mouallem, to include a condition in the contract about hiring local people?

No, came the answer. We can’t insist on that. We can recommend it, but not require it.

The intent of the annual concrete program is to “improve conditions of existing sidewalks and curbs, minimizing tripping hazards and providing safer surface for pedestrians.”

Naming advisory committee

Council was asked to approve an updated version of the Naming Advisory Bylaw, plus an associated policy. Also requested was the formal appointment of the three public members to staggered terms, so as to ensure continuity.

The Naming Advisory Committee does as its name suggests – advises council on naming things in the community – parks, trails, streets and so on – as needed.

State of the Lake

Councillor Mouallem gave (yet another) plug for the Slave Lake U13 1 hockey team, which had hosted a highly successful provincial Tier 2 championship tournament on the March 23 weekend. The Thunder won silver in the tournament, Mouallem said. He congratulated the team, the tournament organizers and town staff for all doing such a fine job.

Following on that theme, Councillor Gramlich congratulated the winning teams in the Treaty 8 First Nations Cup hockey tournament, which had just concluded in Slave Lake on the Easter weekend. Loon River, Sturgeon Lake and Wabasca teams won the three divisions.

“It’s a big deal for our community,” Gramlich said. “It was great to see all our friends from around the region.”

Finally, Gramlich congratulated Grayson Conrad of Slave Lake, who has been chosen for the Alberta Cup? It is a competition between elite U15 players that takes place later this month.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” Gramlich said.