Before our meeting last night, I was trying to put together a blog post about the meeting, but couldn't figure out what to write about - We had no public presentations registered and the only agenda items of substance were the divisional presentations for the City Manager's Office and Corporate Services (Assessment & Taxation, HR, Finance, Innovation & Tech., and Strategic Services.) I wasn't expecting any big revelations, but it turned out to be a good night for public presentations and for budget questions relating to Corporate Services:
November 16 highlights:
Public Presentations - St. Albert Pickleball Club
There is a project recommended by administration (and supported by Council as far as I know) to repurpose the Akinsdale tennis courts, which are currently in very poor condition, by turning them into pickleball courts; The club presented in support of this project. It was wonderful seeing the raucous enthusiasm in the gallery, and I appreciated learning a bit more about the club!
Public Presentations - David Walker Re: Wildland Urban Interface Fire Fighting Vehicle Capital Project Charter
When I was reading through the recommended 2018 projects last week, I reached out to a few of my contacts who have extensive experience in structural and wildfire management to get different perspectives on the handful of Fire Services investments; Dave, a lifelong St. Albert resident, was one of them. I was surprised to see Dave at yesterday's meeting specially speaking against the proposal to purchase this specialized vehicle. Dave's comments were informative and may give Council pause to have further debate on this project. (If you go to the 2018 budget page, there is an awesome document called Proposed 2018-20 Business Plan + 2018 Budget – Full Document (12.6 MB); the Wildland Urban Interface Fire Fighting Vehicle project charter is on page 439.)
Divisional Presentations - Corporate Services
I recommend watching the presentation and resulting questions from Council if you get a chance. There were many questions asked, but several of us asked specifically about funding for surveys relating to how residents want to get information (print, website, social media, etc.) and about communications/public participation.
November 20 highlights
8.1 Utility Relief Grant Program Outcomes
This is a program the city has offered to both low-income homeowners and renters to help offset the cost of utilities. This program is in addition to the Rental Assistance Program and the Senior Homeowners Property Tax Assistance Grant program to assist low-income seniors, in addition to programs through Recreation and Transit.
10.1 Public Hearing - Road Closure of Surplus Roadway Along Villeneuve Road
10.2 Public Hearing - Sturgeon Road Redevelopment
During the election, I met with Braeside residents to discuss their concerns about the request to exchange a piece of a public Braeside park along Sturgeon Road with a piece of nearby private land along the river, and a request to redistrict the private land to allow the construction of higher-density housing. Currently, single-family homes sit on the private lot. This public hearing is to hear information about the proposal; I expect that both the developer and concerned residents will address Council.
12.4 Stray Cats
We will address the motion "that Administration negotiate a formal agreement with an organization or agency to accept St. Albert stray cats by the end of Q2 or 2018."
12.5 Appointment of Councillor Brodhead as Chair to the Transit Board Member's Committee
We will address a motion to support Councillor Brodhead in this role, which will include financial support for the meetings where travel is required.
12.6 Facilitated Strategic Planning Session
We will address a motion to support an externally-facilitated strategic planning session for Council in the new year.
As always, I also encourage everyone who is able to tune in the the live-stream of the meeting (3pm here) or attend in-person (3rd floor of St. Albert Place, hang a right getting out of the elevator). You can also register to speak if you have information to present to council. Full agenda packages can be found on the stalbert.ca website.