Cannabis information session: I attended the St. Albert Cannabis Information Session, where Admin shared details of our bylaws, approved retail locations, and information about how to talk to kids about drugs.
Community Services Advisory Committee appreciation: Counsellors Hansen, McKay, Hughes, Brodhead, and myself stopped into the CSAC meeting to thank our volunteers. This is the board that I used to sit on, so I appreciate how much work committee members put into this volunteer role!
Migration Public Art event: With most of Council away at the AUMA conference, I was the only member of Council available to introduce St. Albert’s newest acquisition. It has been installed in the traffic circle near the courthouse and St. Albert Place.
Governance, Priorities, Finance Committee Meeting October 9
This meeting is going to be packed, so a motion has been proposed to have the meeting start at noon rather than 3pm.
Seniors' Advisory Committee (Approx. $50,000)
This is first reading of the proposed Seniors’ Advisory Committee bylaw. If this passes, a motion to grant funding for $2000/year, in addition to a part-time administrative support position that would cost around $50,000 including benefits is required. I’ve reached out to a couple of the seniors-serving and seniors’ advocacy groups in the city, but have yet to find any residents who support the formation of the committee - the recurring comments are that seniors are already well-represented on boards, committees, as volunteers, through involvement with the Strategy and Mobilization Committee, and on Council. If this motion fails, the independent St. Albert Seniors Advocating for Seniors group has expressed openness to formalizing our existing relationship.
Variance Fees (elimination)
“A variance is a relaxation of a specific requirement of the Land Use Bylaw (LUB).” This motion is to eliminate specific variance fees from the 2019 schedule of fees.
So, if your deck is designed too close to your fence, your house is designed to be taller than the allowed height, or your cannabis retail store is too close to another similar store… You need to apply for a variance that may or may not be granted. Right now, the fee is $35 (a generic development permit fee), but Administration is recommending creating a specific variance fee and increasing the cost to $150. The new fee would cover costs to review the request, contact neighbouring properties to advise of the potential variance, and to issue the decision(s).
Variance Fees (reduction)
My understanding is that if the previous motion fails, a related motion to reduce variance fees from the flat $150 to “$100 for structures over 120 square feet” and “$25 for structures with an area of 120 square feet or less” will be moved.
Amendment to Development Agreement Fees
This motion is to reduce the Development Agreement and Development Agreement Amendment fees from $4040 to $1000. Based on averages from the last couple years, this change would result in the loss of about $36,000/year and would move the expense of reviewing a development application (building houses, commercial areas) from developers to the tax base.
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.