Kneehill County Council Report

Kneehill Logo 2019

Kneehill County held a regular meeting of council on Tuesday Nov. 9, 2021, which was called to order by Reeve Jerry Wittstock.

The first item on the Kneehill Council’s agenda was delegation, Nonfiction Studios, presented by Jacqueline Buchanan, EDO.

Notification Studios provided Kneehill County with a virtual review on the Explore Kneehill tourism campaign.

The goals of the campaign were to grow awareness of the Kneehill Region as a tourism destination for “local” visitors, to increase tourism traffic to the Kneehill Region, both to municipal-owned destinations and private operators, to promote authentic experiences in the region utilizing user-generated content, and to develop a foundation for further regional tourism initiatives through collaboration.

Further to the portion of the project managed by Nonfiction Studios, the campaign has seen additional benefits: QR signage located at Horseshoe Canyon and in the ratepayer newsletter and distributed to municipal partners to post at rec facilities and campgrounds have generated over 300 views. A central inventory of all the region’s tourism assets was developed and posted online. A total of 60 professional photos were taken in each of the communities to increase marketing content for each.

The Explore Kneehill photo contest generated over 70 submissions, further creating content for the region. A location map is currently in progress for future promotion of the region. Both Kiever’s Lake Campground and Linden Coulee Campground (used in our Travel Alberta reporting) saw increased bookings.

Multiple businesses have reported increases in traffic and sales. Kneehill County facilitated complimentary training programs for operators in collaboration with Community Futures Wild Rose, Travel Alberta, Travel Drumheller, Alberta Health Services, Drumheller and District Chamber of Commerce and Food Tourism Strategies and Strong Coffee Marketing.

Later this year Kneehill County Council will be presented with a request to provide the Kneehill Regional Partnership with proposed projects for 2022 and Explore Kneehill will once again be recommended for consideration. The 2022 budget request will include funds allocated to the second year of the Explore Kneehill Regional Campaign.

Council received for information the Nonfiction Studios, Explore Kneehill project report for information as presented.

Next on the Council's agenda was item 5.4.1, Central Alberta Economic Partnership, CanExport Grant Support, presented by Buchanan.

The Central Alberta Economic Partnership (CAEP) will be making an application for the CanExport grant to improve the region's attractiveness to Foreign Direct Investors (FDI’s). CAEP is Central Alberta’s Regional Economic Development Alliance (REDA). Kneehill County is a paid member of the organization and works closely with them to stimulate economic growth through strategic regional partnerships.

In preparation for this grant application, Kneehill County participated in a project planning round table with CAEP and various partners in the region, to assist in identifying the gaps in Central Alberta’s ability to attract FDI’s as well as brainstorm several projects that could improve our collective investment readiness moving forward

Funding to a maximum of $5000.00 is dependent on the proposed project budget and the specific phases Kneehill County chooses to participate in. If the final project costs exceed $5000.00, Council will be presented with a new funding request.

Council provided a letter of support backing Central Alberta Economic Partnerships CanExport Investment Attraction grant application and Council agreed to fund Kneehill County’s share of the Central Alberta Economic Partnerships.

Next on the agenda was item 5.4.2, Central Alberta Economic Partnership Board Member Nominations, presented by Buchanan.

The Central Alberta Partnership sent out a request for Board Member Nominations on Nov. 3, 2021. The CAEP’s Board of Directors is made up of 15 volunteer representatives from member municipalities, associates, and businesses across the CAEP region. Board Members are responsible for providing strategic direction and fiduciary governance to CAEP. CAEP’s Board of Directors is comprised of members representing economic development views from across the central Alberta region to collaboratively accelerate economic development to benefit the region. There are seven Director seats open for election at the Dec. 1, Fall General Meeting.

Council nominated Councillor Faye McGhee to put her name forward for the Central Alberta Economic Partnership Board Member Nomination.

Next item on the Council’s agenda was item 6.1, Quarterly Financial Reporting, presented by Marika von Mirbach, Financial Planning Coordinator.

Council receives quarterly financial reports during the year. These reports are intended to inform Council of financial transactions to-date and how expenditures, revenues and other financial indicators compared to the annual operating budget and plan which Council has previously approved.

Council authorized the cancellation of 2021 taxes in the total amount of $3,579.23 for the Gas Co-Op owned properties, rolls: 32272431200, 33232920400, 34241720510, 35240620400, 29222241500, 29230920610, 30212040900, 30241931300, 30253510100, 31220841600, 31221141600, 31250241500 as per Council Policy #16-15.

Council authorized the cancellation of 2021 taxes in the amount not paid by the province for roll 30211533000 as per the directive from the Province regarding the Grants in Place of Taxes program.

Council authorized that the net proceeds from the sale of the Sundre (McCall) land be contributed to the gravel reserve.

Council received the Quarterly Financial Report, for the Period ending Sept. 30, 2021, for information.

Next on the agenda was item 6.2, Vantage Point Resources Inc. Tax Agreement Request, presented by Caroline Siverson, Property Tax Officer.

Vantage Point Resources Inc. has approached Kneehill County regarding a Tax Agreement payment plan for their outstanding and future levies to the end of 2023. They would like to enter into an agreement for equal monthly installments, and not be charged any late penalties.

Council has authorized a Tax Penalty Bylaw that provides for penalties on Nov. 1, for current taxes and on the first of each month thereafter for all tax arrears at a rate of 2 per cent.

Council agreed to enter into a Tax Agreement with Vantage Point Resources Inc. for the payment of their current tax arrears and 2021, 2022, and 2023 levies over a 29-month payment plan, from Oct. 31, 2021, to Feb. 28, 2024, and no penalties be assessed.

Next item on Council’s agenda was item 6.3, Additional Named Insured Requests, presented by Siverson.

RMA Insurance, the County’s insurance provider, offers coverage for small community groups as an Additional Named Insured (ANI); Kneehill Adult Learning Society have requested to have access to this coverage. An initial application has been completed, and a quote has been provided by RMA. All the documents required by RMA from Kneehill Adult Learning Society has been received. The next step is to receive Council approval for the addition of Kneehill Adult Learning Society as an ANI.

The ANI option allows small community groups access to the same group pricing and broad coverage that Kneehill County has by being a member of RMA. This results in better coverage for the community group, as well as a decrease in their annual premiums.

Council approved Kneehill Adult Learning Society to be added as an ANI under the County’s Insurance policy.

Next on the agenda was item 8.1, 2021 Fall RMA Resolutions, presented by Mike Haugen, CAO.

The Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) advocates on behalf of rural municipalities in meeting with government and ensures that provincial decisionmakers, as well as industry and other relevant stakeholders, understand and incorporate the best interests of rural Alberta in their policies.

The resolutions that will be presented during the resolutions session at the RMA Fall 2021 Convention are attached for Council’s review and consideration.

Resolutions were submitted for the following: Emergency Medical Services Capacity and Service Delivery in Rural Alberta (Wheatland County), Disaster Recovery Program Cost Allocations (Brazeau County), Vegetation Management on Alberta Provincial Highways (County of Two Hills), Provincial Health Restriction Decisions (Lac la Biche County), Seniors’ Foundation Requisitions (Wheatland County), Historical Resources Impact Assessments (MD of Willow Creek), Awareness Campaign for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) (Starland County), Privatization of Land Titles (County of Barrhead), Increasing Knowledge-Sharing Among Regulators of Cannabis Production Facilities (Kneehill County and Wheatland County), and for Site C Dam – BC Hydro (County of Northern Lights).

Details for each resolution can be found in the Kneehill County’s agenda package, that can be found on the Kneehill County webpage.

Council received for information the 2021 Rural Municipalities of Alberta Fall Resolutions Listing.

The next item on the agenda was item 8.2, 2021 Christmas Closure, presented by Haugen.

In following the guidelines of the Human Resources Policy, Kneehill County will be closed Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021, through to Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, at 8:30 a.m. In the past we have also closed the office at noon on Dec. 24.

Council approved closing the Kneehill County Office at noon on Friday, Dec. 24 and that Council receive for information the 2021 Christmas Closure report as presented.

Next on the Council’s agenda was item 8.3, Cancellation of November 16, 2021, Committee of the Whole Meeting, presented by Haugen.

At the 2020 Organizational Meeting, Council approved Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, as a Committee of the Whole Meeting Date.

As there are no agenda topics for this meeting scheduled, Administration recommends that this meeting date be cancelled.

Council cancelled the Committee of the Whole Meeting scheduled for Nov. 16, 2021.

The next item on the Council’s agenda was item 8.4, Capital Mailing, presented by Christine Anderson, Communications Officer.

In April of 2020, the Three Hills Capital changed the way their weekly newspaper is delivered due to an increase in Canada Post mailing rates. It is now delivered for free to every resident living within Kneehill County. As the County has many residents that live outside of the County’s borders, or have mailing addresses outside of the borders, since the change in April we have been mailing a Capital each week to those residents who request the service. In Feb. of 2021, Council directed administration to continue mailing the Capital out on a cost-recovery basis. The Three Hills Capital has no interest in offering subscriptions again. The Capital is still available to residents for free online and for free pick up at various locations throughout the County

Council decided to continue the Capital Mailing service until the end of Dec. 2021 and offer residents a weekly “E-News” Bulletin delivered by email starting Jan. 2022.

Council directed administration to bring this agenda item back to the 2022 budget deliberations.

The next Kneehill Council Meeting will be held on Nov. 30, 2021, at 8:30 am in the Council Chambers.