Council Emergency Management Training
On Wednesday, Council completed Emergency Management training provided by the province. This was an excellent overview of our responsibilities as a municipality to prevent opportunities for emergency situations, to prepare for the worst, and to respond and coordinate recovery as needed. With an exceptionally well-prepared municipal emergency response team, and two members of our senior leadership team with extensive emergency response experience, we are in good hands.
Council Agenda Overview
Council Motion - Restricted Products
The wildest question & answer from the April 4, 2013 final reading of the bylaw to prevent businesses for selling more than three "restricted" products (click on 11. Bylaw 9/2012 & Bylaw 10/2012) was from then-Councillor Heron asking if businesses like "... Home Outfitters or Bed, Bath, Beyond that would sell a grinder, a scale, and any products or sheets made out of hemp..." would be prevented from operating in St. Albert. The answer from Administration was "kind of", and went on to explain that a business could not sell three or more "restricted" products, which could include coffee grinders, digital scales which are typically used for cooking, or products displaying a hemp leaf - like on many hemp oil and fibre products.
I agree that "obviously, Bed, Bath, and Beyond is not a drug/bong shop." (from the April 4, 2013 council meeting), which is part of the reason why I have moved to lift the restriction on the number of "restricted products" allowed for sale in retail businesses (pharmacies are already exempt), and to remove scales and grinders from the list. If passed, businesses would still be prohibited from selling "any device intended to facilitate smoking activity" or "detoxifying products" to minors.
Council Motion - Public Art Funding
We will debate a motion to change the Public Art Funding policy to remove the 1% allocation from utility capital projects, to be replaced with a fixed $100,000 per year from the capital reserve. For reference, these are the public art contributions from utility capital projects over the last few years:
Council Motion - Tax on Sugar Sweetened Beverages
"Given that the City Council of the City of St. Albert concurs with the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, Diabetes Canada, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Childhood Obesity Foundation and the University of Waterloo Faculty of Applied Health that the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages is an important factor in causing obesity, increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer and leads to a significant number of preventable deaths each year in Canada; That the City Council of the City of St. Albert requests the Government of Canada to rapidly enact an excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages. "
Council Motion - Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission Policies
This motion is to advocate "the provincial government for a provincial review of the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission’s policies regarding equitable access to casino revenues by eligible community organizations as well as equitable wait times between casino events."
The waiting period for charities to hold casino events varies across the Province, from 16 months in Fort McMurray to 34.5 months in Lethbridge (28 months in St. Albert);
Amongst casino regions, charitable proceeds can vary, from an average high of $77,486 in the Edmonton region to $18,011 in the St. Albert/Camrose region (one of the lowest in the province).
Council Motion - Stray Cat Survey
In 2017, Council voted to provide up to $20,000 for a survey on potentially adding cats to the animal bylaw; On Monday, we will debate whether to rescind this motion.
Public Hearing - Residential District/Land Use Bylaw
This hearing has been years in the making, with proposed changes regarding density, lot sizes, secondary suites, building heights, etc. Council took park in a workshop late in 2017 to introduce the proposed new land use districts, and Monday opens the public hearing process. I'm still going through the 400+ pages in the agenda package, but anyone wanting a quick 8-page summary can find one here.
This is a brief high-level overview of our meetings, 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.