By Landin Chambers The Stettler Independent
Speed limit change
Council passed a bylaw to change the speed on the paved road into Halkirk from Highway 855. The speed limit will now be set at 70 kms/hr, and will then be 50 kms/hr from the transfer station to the entrance into Halkirk.
Social media use
Council also reviewed a draft policy on social media use by the County. As this did not address individual councilors use of social media, this policy was defeated in a tie vote. As per the new provincial M-G-A, councilor’s social media use will be addressed in the Councilor Code of Conduct.
Code of Conduct
County of Paintearth councilors also reviewed a draft bylaw of a Councilor Code of Conduct. This addressed all of the needed areas that will be required under the new M-G-A. A shorter version of the policy will be brought forward to a future meeting.
Council also passed an updated bylaw concerning appointments to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Boards. The amended bylaw allows the board to have members selected from a wider pool of appointed members for the two appeal boards, the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board, as well as the Inter-Municipal Subdivision and Development Appeal Board.
Coal Transition grant application
Council also discussed assisting the Village of Halkirk with support for a regional grant application to apply for provincial coal transition funding. Terms of reference are being developed and will have one member for each municipality and the Paintearth Economic Partnership Society. This will allow the County to assist Halkirk with financial assistance if necessary. “Urban Systems” is creating the application on behalf of each municipality at a cost of $2,500.
The County of Paintearth has also moved ahead with applications to replace two bridges with corrugated steel pipe structures.(SSW 6-37-13 W4)(WNW 12-38-12 W4) WSP Engineering will apply for $2000 in funding from the S-T-I-P program(Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program). Both projects will cost approximately $250,000. While awaiting this S-T-I-P funding, the $2000 cost for the applications will come from the County’s engineering operating budget.
The County also approved a motion to donate $250 to support “Waste Connections Canada” to provide bikes for children in the area.
Councilors also approved supporting the Battle River and Sounding Creek Watershed Alliance to the same amount next year as in 2017. This is assessed on a fifty cent per capita basis, for a total of $827.83.
Wind turbines and landowner’s rights
Concerns over a lack of legislation and regulations to protect landowners regarding wind energy projects was also highlighted. As such, a motion was passed to bring the issue forward to the spring AAMDC conference.
Who’s obligated to pay this bill?
The County of Paintearth will seek a legal opinion on a cancellation of unsecured debts to the County. This is in regards to assets acquired by “Avila Exploration and Development Ltd.” that previously belonged to “Quattro Exploration and Production Ltd.” A request was made for the County to accept $11,967.09 as payment in full, while forgiving the outstanding $36,740.94.
Officials from around the county met for a debrief last month, after a snow storm knocked out the power for a couple of days in early October. Multiple agencies met in Castor on November 9th, to go over the situation they faced during the storm that began on October 2nd. Utility representatives, as well as staff members of the RCMP, fire departments, and area municipalities met to outline the challenges they faced. Heavy and wet snow knocked out the power, which then brought down communications for Alberta Transportation who were trying to clear the roads. This caused a domino effect as roadways became impassable for the utility crews trying to restore services. An afternoon training session looked at this same type of event, with hypothetical scenarios to help officials plan for a more severe situation. County council also met with the provincial Minister of Transportation at the recent AAMDC convention to address the issue, and to find ways to alleviate the pressures seen during this fall’s snow storm.
Rural crime watch
The County will be reaching out to the public soon for feedback on starting a Rural Crime Watch. Residents are being asked to give it some thought as a voluntary commitment from the public would be needed to get it off the ground. In the meantime, you are reminded not to leave your keys in your vehicles or items that could tempt a break-in.