Town of Trochu Council report

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Trochu Town Council held a regular meeting on January 24th, 2022. This was newly elected Councillor Cerilo De La Cruz’s first Council meeting. All Councillors were present either by Zoom or in-person, along with CAO Carl Peterson, Recording Secretary Toni Nelson, and Director of Operations Dave Nelson.

Council accepted the meeting’s agenda and moved previous meeting minutes.

Council was appreciative of Toni Nelson who has updated the Housekeeping Report in each meeting package to include committee schedules.

CAO Carl Peterson presented his report. About the Senior’s Housing project, Peterson mentioned that Jamie Collins is in the process of drafting support templates to be sent to the various levels of government.

The Kneehill Regional Emergency Management Association (KREMA) has scheduled virtual training for Municipal Elected Officials on the morning of February 1st. Peterson attended a virtual session with officials from other communities in the County where they identified hazards in each community, as well as how to address them.

Peterson extended a welcome to Cerilo De La Cruz as the newest member of Council, the winner of the 2022 By-Election. There was excellent turnout for the advanced poll, with 46 people voting on the 18th.

Peterson and Toni Nelson met with Trochu Fire Chief Richard Hoppins to review and amend the proposed Fire Services Bylaw. Hoppins and Peterson agree that it would be best to have Council review the lengthy document at the next Committee of the Whole meeting before bringing it forward for approval as a bylaw.

Peterson attended a virtual meeting through Alberta Municipalities to discuss the potential replacement of the RCMP by a Provincial Police Force. The Provincial Government is hosting a series of in-person Town Halls about this topic, and Peterson and Mayor Kletke are scheduled to attend the February 7 session in Red Deer. Although this new Force is being endorsed by the Provincial Government, Peterson has heard much pushback from municipalities.

Councillor Chris Armstrong then shared his report. He mentioned that he attended a Community Futures Wildrose training session in Strathmore led by the Executive Director. CFWR will provide information for the Town to be included with the next monthly mail-out.

Councillor Jaime Martel noted that the Arboretum has increased prices on rentals, which are now denoted on their website.

Councilor Chris Reeds attended his first Palliser Board meeting, which was an organizational meeting. He heard an overview of the Palliser organization and their functions. The first item was a request for decision for raises for Palliser staff which will be voted on at the next meeting in March. Trochu’s Land Use Bylaw is high on Palliser’s to-do list.

Deputy Mayor Bill Cunningham had a busy week of meetings. He noted that Bill Chandler, recent mayor of Delburne and head of the Police Advisory Committee has regretfully resigned from all positions, as he is moving out of the area. Cunningham expressed that Chandler will be missed.

Cunningham received crime statistics from the RCMP and forwarded them on to Council. The RCMP have seen a big jump in the occurrence of “uttering threats”, though there is not usually charges laid for this offence. As well, there has been another successful bait car captured, and another successful capture of rural criminals. Cunningham mentioned that Sergeant Day would like to come back to Trochu Council in early spring to give another update, to hear from Council, and to set priorities for the next quarter. CAO Peterson and Sergeant Day would choose a mutually convenient date for Day to attend a Council meeting.

Cunningham attended the Red Deer River Municipal Users Group Meeting. The group has $71K in the bank. It was reported that in the last year, the river flow was only 70% of normal. While one year is not a great concern, if this becomes a pattern it would be concerning.

Cunningham also attended a meeting with Alberta Municipalities regarding a potential Provincial Police Force. He noted that during the hour and a half long meeting, the only thing close to an answered question was that perhaps the decision to either keep the RCMP or start with a new Provincial force would come as a referendum vote at the next Provincial election in Spring 2023. Questions regarding costs, infrastructure and the most common question of “what are we trying to fix by investigating a Provincial force?” were left unanswered.

Cunningham was asked by Director of Operations Dave Nelson to again approach the individual who was interested in installing Electric Vehicle charging stations in town, to see if he is still interested in this project. Although his grant application was denied, he is still planning to install a charging station at the Ladysmith Café, in addition to a few others around the Province. The total cost to install the fastest charging station is $150K. Council carried a motion for the Town to apply for a grant for rebate from the Province for up to $3M, through The Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC). If the Town should receive the grant, they would pay the individual back after installation of the charging station. Council carried this motion with all in favour.

Mayor Barry Kletke also sat in on the call about the RCMP with Alberta Municipalities. He is of the same opinion as Deputy Mayor Cunningham that the Alberta Provincial Police Force is unlikely to succeed, and that in fact there has been no information released that would support switching to this kind of force. Kletke expressed his own opinion that this process is a waste of time and money; not only has he heard no support of the provincial force, but that it seems highly unlikely to be logistically possible.

CAO Carl Peterson and Mayor Kletke attended a meeting with Enhanced Energy out of Clive, AB. Kletke had brought this group to the attention of the previous Council, and still is very interested in supporting the group who are aiming to capture carbon from across the Province, taking advantage of the carbon tax. Enhanced Energy is asking for help and support for their application to the Alberta Government to see this project come to fruition. Kletke shared more information about the company, who hope to attract carbon-intensive industries who require a carbon solution. There are few places in the world where carbon can be captured and stored like in this area, which sits atop the Duvernay Formation Cavern.

Pumping the liquefied carbon into the cavern will help push oil up, giving new life to abandoned wells that have been shut-in. This would be a positive for all communities in Central Alberta. Council would vote on this item later in the agenda.

Council filed their Correspondence Listing with nothing requiring discussion.

In Finance, Council had a donation request from the Trochu Ag Society for their rodeo event. Council motioned to donate $500 as they’ve done in the past. This motion was passed unanimously.

Council had one bylaw and one policy for decision. Bylaw 2022-02 on the Municipal Planning Commission was a motion to move to a five person panel, three of whom will be from Council, and two would be members at large. Council passed all three readings, brought the motion forward, and carried the bylaw. The Town will immediately begin to advertise for members at large to join the commission.

Policy 2022-01-21-01 was regarding the Council and Staff Lotto Club. In the past they have participated in the lotto, where $10 is taken from each month’s paycheck and put toward group tickets which would be split between contributors in the event that there is a winning ticket. However, there was previously not an official policy. Those who do not wish to take part must sign a waiver to this effect. The Town is also a contributor and is eligible to receive a part of the winnings.

In New Business, Council had a request from the Senior’s Drop-In Centre for monthly donut donation and delivery. The total cost for the year is $150. Council motioned to continuing to participate in the monthly donut delivery to the Drop-In Centre. This was passed unanimously.

Council discussed LocalIntel, a quality of life marketing tool that they thought might be helpful for Trochu. The cost for three years with the company is $1,950 annually, or a one-year deal for $2,500. Council decided to wait to make a decision until they have had more discussion about their strategic plan, specifically about how they will handle the community plan portion of the strategic plan.

Council had the opportunity to purchase a membership for the Alberta Association of Police Governance which would give oversight of the police. Council did not feel it necessary to join this group.

Council voted with all in favour to write a letter of support for Enhanced Energy, to be sent to all appropriate government officials.

Council had a request from the Girl Guides to light the Town Office blue on February 22nd for “World Thinking Day; a day of international friendship celebrated by Girl Guides and Scouts around the globe, since 1926.” There are some members from Trochu in a Girl Guides group, and Dave Nelson affirmed that it would not be difficult to install blue lights at the Town for the day. Council voted with one opposed to the motion, and therefore the motion was carried.

The open portion of the meeting adjourned at 7:00pm. Council had several items to discuss in Closed Session dealing, noted as contract items and staff labour issues. The next meeting of Trochu Town Council is scheduled for February 14th.