April 11, 2022 Council Highlights
Posted April 12, 2022
The following is a summary of decisions made by Town Council during its April 11, 2022, Regular Meeting. For an audio recording of this meeting please check the bottom of this page. The agenda and attachments are available here: Peace River – Document Center (civicweb.net)
In the interest of General Aviation, the PRRA is looking for a crosswind runway add-on, and a new hangar space for these smaller aircraft. The PRRA has proposed lots for these small aircraft hangars, with the drawings available in the link directly above.
The runway, new hangars and a flight school are all planned for Summer 2022.
Marc Boychuk, representing himself as a resident, stated his intention to form a Mental Health and Addictions Task Force to examine challenges residents face gaining access to treatment for mental health and substance misuse and the consequences around this lack of services.
Boychuk is asked Council to appoint someone to sit on the committee aside from him, as he will not be sitting on the committee as a councillor, but rather as a member of the community. Boychuk proceeded to state that he has emailed eight different municipalities in our area on this same issue, with the goal of having eight councillors – one from each municipality – on this Task Force.
A motion to direct Administration to bring back a Briefing Note on this matter was carried.
This Request for Decision was presented by Jim McCuaig, Director of Engineering of Infrastructure. As part of the Encroachment Policy process, the Traffic and Streets Bylaw must be amended to ensure that the Town has the authority to manage encroachments onto Road Rights of Way.
Pursuant to section 13(1)(o) of the Traffic Safety Act, the amendment to the Traffic and Streets Bylaw authorizes the Town to manage the temporary occupation or use of a road allowance or highway including encroachments onto Road Rights of Way. The Bylaw is intended to be adopted concurrently with the approval of the new Encroachment Policy.
A motion to provide first, second and third readings to 2112, Amendment to the Traffic and Streets Bylaw No. 1746 was carried.
As per the direction of Council December 13, 2021, administration implemented a formal review of the P-12-21-B Purchasing Policy. This review included the following actions.
- Consultant Review – Mr. Bill McKennan was contracted to provide the review and pass the changes onto our legal firm.
- Legal Review – Our legal representative, Gwendolyn Stewart-Palmer, has spent over 10 hours reviewing and making recommended changes which were incorporated by Mr. McKennan.
- Administration has consulted at length with both drafters and believes this process has produced a robust, sustainable, and high-quality document.
- Public Engagement – posted the opportunity for public feedback on the new web page Public Engagement – Town of Peace River. The engagement was open from February 18th through
March 18th, 2022 at 11:59pm and no comments were received.
The motion to adopt the updated Purchasing Policy as presented was carried.
Fire Chief and Manager of Protective Services Tim Harris presented on the Northern H.E.A.T. Conference and Trade Show, an annual 4-day event that brings together some of North America’s leading fire service experts to provide training that is normally inaccessible to northern fire departments.
This year’s Conference will run from May 4th to May 7th after a 2-year hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic and will have 2 days of Live Fire Training and 2 days of Conference Seminars, Practical Training and Trade Show.
With Firefighter delegates and trades representatives, approximately 200 people will be visiting and staying in Peace River during the conference component and a further 110 Firefighters and support staff during the Live Fire Training. This brings a great economic benefit to the town as the host for this annual event.
A motion to accept the Briefing Note for information was carried.
Chief Harris presented once more, requesting the Mayor (or designate) to attend the opening ceremonies of the Peace Regional Fire Chiefs Annual Conference and Trade Show and to give welcoming remarks on behalf of the Town of Peace River on Friday May 6, 2022, at 8:00 am., at the Chateau Nova Hotel.
The motion to enable the Mayor or designate to attend the opening ceremonies of the Peace Regional Fire Chief’s Annual Conference and bring greetings on behalf of the Town on Friday May 6, 2022, at 8:00 am., at the Chateau Nova Hotel was carried.
Director McCuaig presented the Request for Decision regarding the Policy on Encroachments. Currently, encroachments onto lands that the Town holds an interest in are managed by three outdated policies. A new Encroachment Policy has been drafted to effectively manage encroachments.
The proposed policy provides direction with respect to when the Town may enter into an Encroachment Agreement, allowing the Encroachment to remain, or when the Encroachment should be required to be removed. The Town and this policy do not manage encroachments from one private property to another.
The new Encroachment Policy was shared with the community for public feedback from March 7 to 21, 2022. One comment was received, which was presented to Council for consideration on March 28, 2022. No changes have been made to the new Encroachment Policy.
The motion that Council approves the new Policy on Encroachments as presented was carried.
The motion that Council rescind the current policies relating to encroachments, specifically P-61-2000-01, P31-1990-01 and D-61-1995-01 was carried.
Director McCuaig presented the Request for Decision in regard to l’Ecole des Quatre-Vents (EQV) Construction Startup Ceremony.
The motion that the Mayor or designate be enabled to attend the Construction Start Up ceremony at the new EQV site on Friday, May 6, 2022 and bring greetings on behalf of the Town was carried.
Director McCuaig presented the Request for Decision with regard to the Repeal of Policies and Updates of Directives. This item is to go through the process of reviewing and amending Policies and address several Policies that have been identified as requiring some administrative changes. While technically Directives, the items listed below were in the past sometimes treated as Policies, and the repealing and replacing of them is done in an effort to streamline and clarify the process in which they are managed and executed.
D-12-2004-01 Processing of Payments for Related Parties
This was established by Council in 2004. It provides direction to staff on financial transactions for related parties. As this is an internal practice, staff recommended that it be repealed and replaced by an updated Directive.
D-12-2007-02 Computer Disposal Policy (and update of related Asset Disposal Directive)
The Computer Disposal Directive was established as a Policy in 2007 and reflects a time when computers and similar electronics might represent higher value assets than other office equipment.
The Policy also considered the handling of information that might be contained on these assets.
The Town established new standards of asset disposal in 2017 and administration intends to apply this process to computers as well. However, as the current D-12-43-A Asset Disposal Directive does not address information security or disposal, that Directive has been updated.
D-12-1991-01 Use of Public Works Equipment
The Town has an existing Vehicle Use Policy which governs use of Town equipment by Town employees. However, that Policy applies only to Town staff and does not relate to any public use. The
attached Directive has been updated to provide specific direction regarding public use of Town equipment.
D-56-1996-02 Cemetery – Closing of Rows 3-23
Although not an emergent issue, it remains relevant that the noted rows of the cemetery are closed. The Directive provides a formal record of this status.
A motion to repeal D-12-2004-01 Processing of Payments for Related Parties, D-12-2007-02 Computer Disposal Policy, D-12-1991-01 Use of Public Works Equipment, and D-56-1996-02 Cemetery – Closing of Rows 3-23 was carried.
Director McCuaig and Legislative Services Coordinator Ruth McCuaig presented a Briefing Note regarding LGAA Conference Sessions.
While at the conference, members of staff were able to discuss several important topics with Alberta Municipalities, including questions of when and how GST is imposed on intermunicipal agreements.
Other such topics discussed at the conference included Future of Municipal Government, Organizational Culture, Hybrid Workplaces, and more.
Chris Koch, an inspirational speaker, presented both at this event and to RMA earlier this Spring. Northern Sunrise County asked if the Town (they are approaching other neighbouring municipalities as well) would be interested in partnering with them to bring Chris to speak in the local schools. The cost for this is $7,500 per day plus travel to and from Grande Prairie (pick up and return would be required).
A motion to bring a review of the Code of Conduct and Procedural Bylaw to a future Governance and Priorities Meeting was carried.
A motion to support Councillor Boychuk to investigate on Council’s behalf to see Chris Koch visit and bring the findings back to Council was carried.
Director McCuaig and Terry Websdale, Director of Corporate Services, presented the proposed budgets, with options for items to cut in order to reduce tax increases.
Administration presented a balanced Operational Budget for 2022. The budget includes a 4.7% tax increase for this year and is based on the following precepts: moving to full cost recovery for water, wastewater and storm rates over two years phasing in the fixed cost amount; moving to a $19 solid waste charge for residential garbage and recycling pickup; and adding in a $29.00 levy for utility bills July 2022 to December 2022 to cover the PRWMC operating shortfall.
Administration also presented the Capital budget for 2022. Council has approved two time-sensitive projects at a previous Council meeting. No further changes were made.
Administration reviewed the contractor (GFL) fees, PRWMC charges and landfill tipping fees for 2022 to determine increases in the residential pickup fee for 2022. As discussed, the Town was invoiced for $373,000 for their operation shortfall, which is now included in the Town’s Operational budget for 2022.
Rate increase to $19 per month plus a levy for the PRWMC charge for six months of an additional $29 per month. 2023 rates would be evaluated in October 2022 to evaluate any changes in the PRWMC budget. This does not include any future amounts for PRWMC shortfalls which would be handled in a similar fashion – by a one year levy within the 2023 year.
A motion to take half of the allocation from the Disaster Recovery Program Reimbursement – approximately $250,000 – and apply it to the 2022 Operating Budget in order to reduce the proposed tax increase from 4.7% to ~2% was debated. (The Disaster Recovery Program Reimbursement was for costs related to the 2019 wildfires.) The motion was amended to take $300,000 from the Disaster Recovery Program Reimbursement and apply it to the 2022 Operating Budget in order to reduce the proposed tax increase from 4.7% to ~2% and was carried.
A motion to direct administration to write letters to the province and our MLA requesting their assistance in having the payment expedited was carried.
After Council previously indicated they wished to explore further options to reduce the proposed tax increase. Administration presented a table containing proposed options for Council to consider, which is also available within the document listed above. Presented with these options, Council discussed the merit to eliminating these items from the current budget, with options for them to be revised and be included in upcoming budget years.
A motion that the Council Grants to Organizations program remaining amount of $37,000 be suspended for the 2022 fiscal year and reallocated to operating reserves was carried.
A motion to direct administration to bring the Grants to Organizations grant program back to Council to be discussed was carried.
A motion to approve the 2022 Operating Budget in the amount of $29,573,270 was carried.
A motion to approve the 2022 Capital Budget in the amount of $7,184,062 was carried.
A motion that the solid waste charge be set at $19 effective July 1, 2022 was carried.
A motion that a solid waste levy of $29 per month to recover the $373,000 charge from PRWMC be imposed effective July 1, 2022, for a period of 6 months was carried.