Last week + GPFC Meeting December 10, 2018
I spoke with Steve from tv7, St. Albert’s IPTV channel about St. Albert’s Public Art Committee, related recruitment challenges, and the optics of having primarily non-residents on the committee without any particular connection to City Council. We also discussed my proposal to replace the committee with a committee of Council comprised of residents with a direct link to Council.
Internal Audit Steering Committee
The IASC met to further discuss the appointment of an internal auditor.
VASA All-Member Winter Show
It was great seeing the VASA crew celebrating their latest exhibition!
St. Albert Housing Society MOA
Earlier this year, Administration presented a proposed memorandum of understanding between the St. Albert Housing Society and the City of St. Albert. The SAHS opposed the proposal. Three of their requests include that rent revenue is not taken into consideration when calculating an eligible grant so that they don’t have to use revenue to pay operating expenses, that their funding be considered separately from other organizations applying for operating grants, and that we waive property taxes. “The Society’s current financial and operational model is wholly dependent on the City supporting the Society’s operational costs, with the Society retaining their income earned towards debt repayment or future growth. The Society has purchased additional units assuming the City would cover other costs. This model is not sustainable and was not an arrangement the City agreed to.”
Separately from the agenda report, Administration has also provided a report on different affordable housing operating models that are in place in St. Albert and in the region. Of note, affordable housing activities in St. Albert over the last decade include the following:
SAHS operating funding (15 units originally, 12 added over the last couple years - $1,096,860 in municipal funding)
Big Lake Point (15 units SAHS, 63 units BPD - $849,744 in municipal funding)
Habitat for Humanity Aurora Place (30 units - $126,568 in municipal funding)
Homeland Housing North Ridge Place - Phase 1 (48 units - $204,510 in municipal fee rebates)
Homeland Housing North Ridge Place - Phase 2 (24 units - $0 in municipal funding)
Heritage Hills Housing Cooperative (49 units, $0 in municipal funding)
Liberton Terrace Housing Cooperative (43 units, $0 in municipal funding)
In 2017, the city started a backyard hen pilot project to consider the impact of backyard hens as an allowed use at private residences. “The City has received no complaints from neighbours or the public during the pilot project. Neighbours were consulted, when present during inspections, and neighbours have indicated no concerns.” I’ve been to 2/3 of the pilots personally and witnessed similar situations to what was reported in the administrative report.
On Monday, we’ll consider a bylaw to make hens an allowed use. Proposed guidelines include:
Hen owners require a hen licence from the city;
Hen owners require education/experience in hen care;
Adjoining neighbour notification is required;
Hen keepers must provide good husbandry and maintenance practices;
The sale of egg products is not allowed;
A maximum of four hens is permitted;
Roosters are not permitted;
Coops are only permitted in rear fenced yards;
If passed, Admin is expecting approximately 40 applications next year, based on interest in other municipalities (Edmonton, Red Deer, etc.).
(Full disclosure: One of the pilot families includes two of my immediate family members.)
Traffic Bylaw Amendments
This is to consider amending the Traffic Bylaw by reducing the speed limit in all of Erin Ridge, Erin Ridge North, Lacombe Park East, and parts of downtown to 40km/h. This recommendation is based on traffic calming research and public feedback.
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.