By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
The Village of Halkirk held their annual organizational meeting and regular meeting of council on Oct 28th,2020.
The meeting scheduled earlier in October was forced to be rescheduled due to illness.
The annual organizational meeting is a requirement under section 192 of the Municipal Government Act and provides an opportunity for council members to change committee appointments, and potentially change whoever sits in the mayor or deputy mayor positions.
During the 2020 Village of Halkirk organizational meeting, it was decided by council that Dale Kent would retain the mantle of mayor, that Sherry Jamieson would remain as his deputy, and that committees for the year would remain the same.
After the organizational meeting concluded, the regular meeting of council, rescheduled from Oct. 14th, was held. To open the meeting, council received a delegation consisting of Keri Pothier, her mother Shirley, and Pothier’s husband, James, who wished to speak about the community’s Dog Control Bylaw and discuss a traffic complaint, stemming back to the same individual.
Pothier stated that a new neighbour of her mother was continually letting his small dog roam free, and that it was continually ending up in her mom’s back yard, creating a tripping hazard for her mom.
Despite repeated requests from Pothier, other family, and letters from the village, Pothier alleges that the behavior of the neighbour continues, and that the RCMP have become involved; however, due to the Village of Halkirk’s outdated animal control bylaw, there is very little that they, or the RCMP can do.
“With this dog being in there every day, it’s a problem,” said Pothier.
“Mom hasn’t been able to go out into her backyard since the neighbours moved in since they won’t keep the dog out.”
Currently, according to the current Village of Halkirk Animal Control Bylaw, the maximum fine for an animal running at large is $25, a sum that Pothier finds way too low.
“The police came out and said they would issue a ticket…the police did mention that the current dog bylaw is not much of a deterrent,” said Pothier.
“The fee is $25. If he fails to pay the fee, you have to go court to prosecute it. It costs more than $25 to do that. That’s one reason a lot of places have updated their animal control bylaws.”
As a comparison, the fine for an animal being at large in the Town of Castor is $100, raised to $200 if the second offence occurs within one year of the first.
Pothiers’ first request was that council look at updating the Animal Control Bylaw so that the fines are more significant.
After the delegation concluded, council accepted the presentation as information, before carrying onto other matters.
The final numbers are in for the sidewalk project which saw several sidewalks in the village re-done.The total cost for the project was around $236,500 after taxes, around $13,500 under the approved $250,000 budget.
Municipal Operating Support Transfer
The Village of Halkirk has been approved for a $16,341 grant from the Government of Alberta to offset costs associated with the ongoing health crisis gripping the world.
In order to use the funds, the Village of Halkirk is required to sign a memorandum of agreement with the provincial government.
The only restriction to the funding is that the funds must be used somehow in relation to the pandemic. Discussion was held by council, brainstorming on projects that the funds could be used for, before settling on potential renovations to the village office, allowing for greater social distancing.
Village of Halkirk council members will be undergoing councillor training with Castor Chief Administrative Officer Christopher Robblee, who is an authorized Municipal Affairs trainer.
He will be donating his time for the training, and once the training has concluded, will set further dates with council to help guide them through strategic planning sessions.