May 21, 2023 meeting

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Deputy Mayor Shawn Gramlich chaired the meeting, with three other councillors in attendance – Councillor Ali Mouallem, Councillor Steve Adams, and Councillor Kim Hughes. Mayor Francesca Ward, Councillor Brice Ferguson and Councillor Andrew Achoba were not at the meeting.

RCMP Quarterly Report

Slave Lake RCMP detachment commander Staff Sergeant Casey Bruyns presented to council on the first quarter (January to March) crime statistics. The full report is Page 10 to 22 of the Council Agenda package which is available on the Town of Slave Lake’s website.

The RCMP stats are based on files, which can have more than one charge.

“There might be thirty charges on one file,” said Staff Sgt. Bruyns.

In January to March, property crime files decreased in Slave Lake, said Staff Sgt. Bruyns. Crimes in the ‘other’ category increased (85 Jan. to Mar. 2024 compared to 50 Jan. To Mar. 2023), this is because the RCMP were doing more conditions checks on prolific offenders. In that period, drug files increased – three instead of two.

Councillor Adams was surprised that it was only three files.

“That seems obscenely low,” he said.

Large scale drug cases take weeks to investigate and hours of surveillance, said Staff Sgt. Bruyns. Also, some drug charges will be part of another file, if the focus is on something else, such as a lot of stolen property.

Council had many questions about property crimes, 24 hour policing, clearing encampments, and making news releases easier to understand.

People are laughing at the one about the working group, said Councillor Hughes.

“I think it caused confusion,” she added. Especially, since it mentioned crime was down, but didn’t clarify the time period. (For the announcement, see the article on Page 8).

Pride flag

Council agreed to raise the LGBTQ2S+ flag the first week in June after a delegation of citizens asked them to.

Expression of interest for Sunset Place

Council directed administration to learn more about a development proposal for southwest Slave Lake and to advertise for more expressions of interest.

Development Permit – Town of Slave Lake Homeless Shelter

Council approved a change to the development permit for a double-wide skid-shack and two sheds on a corner of the fire hall property. This made a 24/7 shelter a permitted use permanently, instead of temporarily.

The decision was made on the location the week before following extensive community consultation.

The location was “chosen by the citizens of Slave Lake,” said Councillor Adams making the motion. “We’ve had a discussion on this.”

Council unanimously carried the motion.

Slightly related homeless shelter motions

After the homeless shelter development permit, Deputy Mayor Shawn Gramlich, said he had several slightly related motions. The long and short of it is the homeless shelter was shut down the next morning until November 1 (by a three to one vote), the shelter staff had one week to transport people to higher level supports, and the town is investigating hiring private security to patrol the town. The first two were carried with Councillor Adams opposed. The third, to look into hiring security, was carried unanimously.

Water Conservation Plan and Strategy

Kush Patel, project manager, presented to council about the town’s Water Conservation Plan and Strategy based on Alberta’s 2024 Drought Forecast. The report looks at responses to minor, major, and critical droughts. Town’s water comes from Lesser Slave Lake. In April 2024, Alberta Environment and Park’s level gauge listed the lake at 575.8 m.

Council accepted the report as information and directed administration and utilities to bring back a policy on water conservation.

State of the Lake

Councillor Adams mentioned the EMS Appreciation barbecue on May 24.

Closed session

Council made a motion to allow the meeting to continue past 10 p.m. and went into closed session to discuss a legal matter to do with development.