The last couple weeks during the Council “break” have been busy!
Budget World Cafe: Several members of Council attended the annual Budget ‘World Cafe’ where randomly selected residents participate in a moderated discussion about the upcoming budget and city priorities. I’ve attended this both as a resident and now twice as a councillor - They are a great way to get a wide view of how residents feel about the direction of the city.
Emergency Operations Centre exercise: The city has extensive emergency preparedness plans, both to respond to local emergencies (severe weather, chemical spills, etc.) and to respond when neighbouring communities are facing emergencies (like fire evacuations). A few councillors were able to attend the exercise to better understand the scope of the work required and our role in emergencies.
Environmental Advisory Committee: I joined our EAC both for my first regular meeting and part of our 3-year planning session. This is a passionate and thoughtful group - I look forward to working with them over the next year.
Baleen demonstration: Along with at Councillor MacKay and a member of Administration, I attended a demonstration of portable/scaleable water treatment technology.
Fundraiser for the Friends of the St. Albert Housing Society: Most of Council attended a fundraiser breakfast for the organization that operates the Home Connections program, a rent subsidy program that supports residents who cannot afford market rents of the 10%-below-market rent offered by certain landlords.
Open House to show conceptual designs for St. Albert Trail North: It was great seeing many residents attending this open house to give input about changes coming to St. Albert Trail from Boudreau Road to the northern boundary of the city.
Inter-municipal Affairs Committee meeting: Most of Council attended our regular meeting with Sturgeon Country.
Outside Agency Grants ($594,700)
We have many wonderful not-for-profit organizations that serve St. Albert residents, and we budget to support these organizations through a grant process where out Community Services Advisory Board considers applications and makes a recommendation to Council. Changes to the grant process mean that this is the first year that this isn’t an invitation-only grant. The CSAC has recommended the following for 2019:
St. Albert Bereavement Fellowship: $5,472
St. Albert Housing Association (the landlord, not the subsidy organization): $53,375
St. Albert Seniors Association: $239,617
St. Albert Victim Services: $66,402
St. Albert Community Village & Food Bank: $73,763
Stop Abuse in Families: $46,592 (first-time applicant)
Michif Cultural Connections: $9,560
St. Albert Community & Volunteer Info Centre: $29,491
St. Albert Family Resource Centre: $43,050 (first-time applicant)
Visual Arts Studio Association: $27,378
(I sat on the CSAC for many years - this is an incredibly thoughtful group who take their role as an advisory committee seriously.)
Smoking Bylaw - Public Participation ($15,000)
We will debate whether to approved an expenditure of $15,000 to fund “the public participation activity necessary to gain public input into Council’s decision-making as it relates to potential future amendments to the Smoking Bylaw”.
Land Use Bylaw - 30 Gate Ave - Firehall 1
This is first reading of a bylaw that would allow construction of a replacement firehall at 30 Gate Ave, the current location of the Village Landing bus depot.
Lakeview Business District and Badger Lands ASP ($110,000)
This motion is to consider whether to move forward with “background technical studies for the proposed Area Structure Plan area that encompasses both the City owned portion of the Lakeview Business District and the Badger Lands, with $110,000 funded from Capital Funding reserves.”
Administration is recommending that instead, we start work on a larger area to be named “St. Albert West”, with the suggested funding amount still being sufficient to undertake the required Geotechnical Report, Historical Resources Overview, and Environmental Assessment.
Closure of Coalmine Road
This is to debate whether we should move forward on the closure of Calming Road at Eastgate Way N. by December 31, 2018. Admin is recommending that we wait a bit longer to allow for public feedback at an open house, as described in “Option 1” below. “Option 2” is an alternative where public feedback would be welcome at the Public Hearing, in addition to extensive consultation already completed through engagement lead by the Erin Ridge Traffic Calming Neighbourhood Consultation Task Force.
This is a brief high-level overview of highlights from our meeting agenda, with my personal comments sprinkled in - In no way are my opinions representative of the official direction of council or the City of St. Albert. Please let me know of any typos or errors. 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.