M.D. of Lesser Slave River Council notebook

June 29, 2021 meeting

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Council’s special meeting last week was mainly to discuss the 2021 capital budget. Several items of work were proposed, for addition to what’s already been approved. Council approved around $700,000 in additional projects. Some of the discussions about them follow:

Canyon Creek water/sewer upgrades

Various improvements are needed to components of the raw water intake system at Canyon Creek. The items to be improved total $130,000.
Another $30,000 is budgeted for asphalt or concrete aprons at the sewage treatment plant. Trucks delivering chemicals are sinking in, council heard.

Views on regional collaboration

This topic was on the minds of councillors, having met with the regional tri-council just a day or two earlier. No decisions about it were made, but plenty of opinions expressed. There is a standard leeriness among councillors about what a commitment to collaboration might cost the M.D. And a general feeling that while being on good terms is desirable, the M.D. must ‘paddle its own canoe.’

On the more skeptical end of the spectrum of opinion is councillor Robert Esau. We have the assets, he said, and the town gets the profits.

Not true, countered councillor Acton, a supporter of what she called “the tri-council process.“

“It bothers me to hear we need to go our own way. I don’t see that in the cards.”

Reeve Murray Kerik, who has enjoyed notably good relations with the Slave Lake mayor and Sawridge chief since a natural disaster brought them together in 2011, is in favour of the advocacy part of regional collaboration. But not of spending money on projects.

“They want money,” said Pearson.

“They’re not going to get it,” said Kerik, He followed up by echoing former CAO Allan Winarski’s contention that the M.D. already does its bit for regional economic development by “providing the environment” (keeping its taxes low, for example).

More regional collaboration

Something new in the regional collaboration line is a group of five municipalities and five First Nations and Métis colonies getting together to talk about ways to work together for the benefit of the region.

“It seems to be gaining a bit of traction,” Kerik said, adding there is government support for such initiatives.

What the M.D. needs to do is appoint somebody in addition to the reeve to represent the M.D. at the quarterly meetings. Councillor Becky Peiffer accepted the appointment.

Councillor Pearson, true to form, said he’d like to know what the mandate of the group is.

“Is there money involved?” he asked.

“Shouldn’t be,” said Kerik. “It’s a lobbying outfit.”

This item is reprinted with permission from the Slave Lake, AB, Lakeside Leader. For the complete article, click HERE

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