Trochu Operations Equipment Winterized

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Trochu Town Council’s November 8, 2021 Regular Meeting was called to order by Mayor Barry Kletke at 6:00pm. Joining Mayor Kletke were councilors Chris Armstrong, Jenny Lyver, Jamie Martel, Chris Reeds, and Deputy Mayor Bill Cunningham. Recording Secretary Toni Nelson, Director of Operations Dave Nelson, and CAO Carl Peterson joined the Councilors.

After accepting the meeting agenda, previous minutes, and discussing upcoming dates relevant for Councilors, Council heard from Sergeant Jamie Day, Commander of the Three Hills RCMP Detachment who was on the agenda as a delegation. Sergeant Day shared with Council for almost an hour.

Mayor Kletke introduced Trochu’s new councilors to Sergeant Day, and Sgt. Day, in turn introduced himself and his history in policing, including as a provincial constable, Parks Canada Ranger, as a Corrections Officer for the Remand Centre, and in the military.

Sergeant Day manages five constables and two support staff at the Three Hills detachment. A new member will join the detachment mid-November, and one will leave in February. The detachment has been averaging 230 calls per month which is a heavy load for just six people.

Time and again, Sgt. Day has seen rural crime prevention as the main area of concern for this area, as well as road safety and impaired driving, which has been especially prevalent in the Trochu area, in the past year. Day mentioned that the local RCMP try to have a presence in the community, at events, in schools when possible, and with local councils so that the citizens are part of their policing.

Theft at oil leases, and particularly theft of copper wire, has been prevalent. There are teams and resources specially appointed to work on these issues. Teams have found that criminals are coming from cities to rural areas to commit these types of crimes, and the Three Hills Detachment has been catching 15-20 of these travelling criminals per month, detaining them because of outstanding warrants for their arrest.

The Detachment has had recent success with a bait car, catching travelling criminals and directing them away from community vehicles and property.

There have been numerous mental health calls in the area, domestic violence and domestic verbal disturbance calls, and Covid-19 violations also fall on the RCMP.

Sergeant Day said “These Constables care about your communities and put your safety first; I see that every day. We are very lucky to have these officers with us.”

Council asked Sergeant Day about his thoughts about an Alberta police force versus the RCMP. Sgt. Day noted that the RCMP has recently received a raise which was a long time coming, having had fallen behind other police agencies in terms of pay. Even still, the RCMP is very cheap compared to other police services, with 30% of costs coming from municipalities and 70% of funding from the federal government. Because an Alberta police force would be solely funded by the Province and municipalities, says Day, it would cost more money for Alberta, and have fewer resources and services. “The RCMP is not perfect,” said Sgt. Day, “but I feel it’s the best organization in the world.”

Council thanked Sergeant Day for coming to the meeting and sharing with them. Sergeant Day asked Council to let him know how the local RCMP can better serve them.

The second delegation was from Harvey and Edna Stankievech regarding the Elevator Road Subdivision which was previously on Council’s agenda.

The Stankeiveches desired to purchase the land on which their elevator sits, but as it was CN’s property, being leased to the Stankieveches, CN had them purchase that parcel plus the two parcels beside it. CN wants to sell the land without caveats; to either have them waived or paid out in the sale. Stankieveches are left in a position to try to interpret and understand how to proceed with the sale, with a lot of confusing land legalities. Council had to make a decision about whether to waive the caveat. Council needed more time to investigate, and to confirm, through Palliser, whether CN wanted the caveat removed, paid out, or waived. CAO Carl Peterson said he would get back to Stankieveches after the meeting.

After the delegations, Council heard staff reports. Council moved the Grant Writer’s report with no discussion. Mayor Kletke asked that a new column be added to the Grant Writer’s report to show which grants have been applied for and denied so the Council is aware and can reapply.

Director of Operations Dave Nelson was next to present his report.

Nelson mentioned that the arena is open for KMHA, the Three Hills Thrashers, Three Hills Figure Skating, PHL Phantoms, the Three Hills Brutes, Olds Minor Hockey, and for free public skating and hockey. Trochu is providing security and check-in for their games which has been working well.

The Three Hills arena is now open and the Thrashers and KMHA are going back and forth between the arenas.

Council mentioned to Nelson that they noticed recycling blowing around after trucks came by that week. Dave noted complications with the garbage trucks which will be addressed.

Operations crews have winterized mowers, vehicles, waterlines, and parks equipment, have installed a snow fence on North Road, prepared snow plows and sand/salt spreader, completed final mowing, and winterized Kay’s Garden and the raised garden plots.

Operations crews have been working on upgrades at the pump house which are expected to be completed in November. Nelson mentioned that Three Hills is upgrading plumbing at their pump house, causing water to Trochu to be shut off for 36 hours starting Wednesday, November 10th. Nelson assured Council that the Trochu reservoir had enough supply to last for four days. Should a major structure fire arise necessitating use of large quantities of water, Trochu would be able to find other water sources to battle a blaze.

In current projects, Nelson noted that a contractor is working on upgrades to the exterior of the Town Office building and doing a great job.

Mayor Kletke requested that Council tour the water and lagoon facilities, and Nelson was happy to make this happen. Council accepted and carried the Director of Operations report.

Council filed the water and waste water report with no discussion required.

CAO Carl Peterson presented a brief report. There were several items that had to do with the Kneehill Regional Emergency Management Association (KREMA). There is a Municipal Elected Officials Course which is mandatory for all Councilors to take once during their Council term. It will be held in person and online on December 2nd.

As part of KREMA, a Regional Fire Training Agreement has been circulated to various municipalities for review. This agreement is for rental of the fire structure in Trochu; Trochu will handle bookings and will ensure there is someone to provide training.

Peterson mentioned that Council had a full day orientation by George Cuff about roles of Councilors and CAOs. Lastly, Peterson noted that he participated in a webinar earlier in the day about high performance planning strategies; planning based on community priorities and not solely on budget. Peterson planned to send the recording to Council.

Council filed the Administrator’s Report with all in favour.

Councilor Chris Armstrong was the first to present his councilor report. Armstrong attended the Community Futures Wild Rose meeting where articles of association and bylaws were discussed. He noted that there are 15 directors, 9 of whom are new. CFWR distributed $1.13M in loans in the past year, $900K of which was given under the Rural Relief and Recovery Fund for Covid recovery. The Federal Government is asking CFWR to make riskier loan decisions; CFWR is supposed to be for high risk loans for businesses who otherwise can’t get loans. The organization has $4M to loan out and the Government would like them to have no more than $1M left. Armstrong noted that during small business week at the end of October, 171 participants took part in online training; it is estimated that 6,000 people total were reached through CFWR’s social media.

Councilor Jenny Lyver attended the Library Board meeting in the previous week. She reported that the Board discussed potential partnerships for the Library. The Library had 18 new members in the month of October, and are finalizing the calendar project. Insurance and budget were discussed, with nothing decided.

Councilor Jamie Martel had not yet attended meetings, but did have several ideas to bring to Council. First, she wondered if local service groups and organizations could be invited to share in Council meetings, so that Council could know how to help them in the work they are doing; perhaps to have one group per month. Council was interested in this idea. She also wondered about applying for a beautification grant for the rock bed area at the entrance to the Town.

Councilor Chris Reeds attended the Trochu Housing Corporation meeting as well as the Central Alberta Economic Partnership (CAEP) meet and greet in Didsbury. He noted that he appreciated being in the same room with elected officials in other communities once again after a lengthy Covid-imposed virtualization of such events.

Deputy Mayor Bill Cunningham met with the Trochu School Principal to discuss ideas to gain student involvement and education about Council. This idea was excitedly accepted at the school, and Cunningham was appointed by Council to share with the students in the coming weeks.

Mayor Barry Kletke attended the (CAEP) meet and greet in Didsbury. MPs and MLAs, including MLA Nathan Cooper, were in attendance, as well as mayors and councilors from across Central Alberta; he felt it was a good meeting. Kletke also commented on the Trochu Housing Corporation Annual General Meeting held previous to the Council meeting; funding for the project could come as early as January. The next THC meeting is scheduled for January 17th.

Kletke mentioned the passing of Debi Moon, long-time reporter for the Three Hills Capital who covered Trochu Council meetings. Mayor Kletke motioned to have a donation in her memory come from the Town of Trochu; Council was unanimous in their support of this motion.

Council filed the Councilor Reports with all in favour.

In Finance, Council passed their October 21 Bank Reconciliation, noting that the Town is back in the black after receiving $1M, part of the Federal Grant for the sewage lagoon project. $160K - $200K more is still expected

Next was the Financial Summary. Mayor Kletke noted that at the last regular Council meeting before the election, Council felt that financial summaries should be circulated to the public as an open meeting document but that it would be discussed by the incoming Council. The new Council at the November 8 meeting agreed that these documents should be publically available and therefore will be moving forward.

Lavinia Henderson of Civic Solutions, who is a contractor hired to work on the Town’s financials, was present during the finance portion of the meeting. She went through all the Town’s accounts, and also broke down financials by project, as part of her quarterly financial summary. All in all, the Town is in good financial shape with a bit of a cash shortfall, but much helped with the Federal Grant having finally arrived.

Henderson will return to meet with Council in December to establish a budget for the coming year. Council accepted Henderson’s quarterly financial summary with all in favour.

Council had a couple of bylaws to review and vote on. Bylaw 2021-12 is a bylaw to amend the Land Use Bylaw 2015-09 which states that manufactured homes older than 1998 would not be approved. Instead, the new bylaw says that manufactured homes older than 10 years would only be allowed at the discretion of the Municipal Planning Committee. Council moved first reading of this bylaw.

Council’s second motion was to set the date of the public hearing for bylaw 2021-12 as November 22nd during the next regular council meeting. Council passed this motion with all in favour. Notice of this public hearing will be advertised.

For Council’s information and annual review, Director of Operations Dave Nelson presented the Snow Removal Priority Policy. The route map is found on the Town’s website. Essentially, routes that are cleared first are those that lead to the fire department, school, and hospital. Council reviewed the policy and carried it unanimously for another year.

In New Business, Council motioned to accept the resignation of Councilor Cheryl Lumley who resigned her position due to health complications. Council then motioned to appoint Jamie Collins as Returning Officer, and Kim Hellmer as Deputy Returning Officer, for the upcoming municipal by-election. Council set the closing date of nominations for 12:00pm on December 20th. The Institutional Vote was set for January 18th for 8:00am at St. Mary’s Health Care Centre, and Advanced Polling at the Trochu Town Office from 3:00pm-7:00pm on January 18th. Finally, the By-election will be January 20th from 9:00am-7:00pm at the Trochu Arena Complex. All of these motions were made with all Councilors in favour.

Secondly, Council had a request to fly the Metis Nation Flag on November 11th, below the Canadian Flag, to recognize and honour Metis Week, November 15-21. The Federal Government and other communities will be flying this flag. Given the large amount of Metis in the Trochu area, and in support of the Truth and Reconciliation movement, Council motioned, with all in favour, to fly the Metis Nation flag.

Thus ended Open Session of the meeting, at 9:20pm. The next Regular Meeting of Trochu Town Council, as well as the Public Hearing for Bylaw 2021-12, will take place on November 22nd at 6:00pm.