Regular Council Meeting April 23, 2019
Last couple weeks highlights
Chamber of Commerce Luncheon with keynote speaker Mayor of Sturgeon County Alanna Hnatiw.
Urban Development Institute Luncheon with the City Managers of St. Albert, Edmonton, and Strathcona County as the guest speakers.
External Audit Finding Report & 2018 Consolidated Financial Statements
The report from our 2018 auditors repeated the statement that “no misstatements or other findings were identified as a result of performing the above procedures” for almost all areas of the audit.
This recommendation is interesting, and could impact some of our budget processes: “We recommend that as part of the City’s year end process, the cut-off date for reporting contributed tangible capital assets be extended to December 31 <from December 1> to align with its fiscal year-end. We also recommend that Finance and Engineering hold detailed discussions regarding the status of all ongoing projects with developers to ensure all contributed tangible capital assets are appropriately recorded in the correct period.”
Fun fact: The City has received the Government Finance Officers Association’s Canadian Award for Financial Reports for the past 18 years.
Arden Theatre Lighting Console ($83,500)
Bad news: The Arden lighting system failed last month.
Good news: There are sufficient funds in the Arden Theatre Lifecycle Replacement Reserve to cover the cost of replacement. This motion is to approve using the reserve to fund the replacement.
“On March 20th, 2019 two critical equipment failures occurred simultaneously involving the primary and backup lighting consoles as staff prepared to welcome a sold-out audience into the theatre for a commercial rental. The frozen operating systems on both consoles required numerous reboots before staying stabilized long enough to proceed with the rental. After the primary and backup consoles initial failures, Community Services staff ensured basic lighting was available to address the 40+ hours of dance scheduled in The Arden Theatre over the following four days. Had the scheduled dance festival required anything more substantive then a single fixed lighting state Community Services would have been unable to meet service level expectations.”
Public Hearing - Riel “Midtown” Development
As I’ve mentioned before, this proposed development is unlike anything we’ve seen in the region. The Midtown proposal is much more similar to developments that I was familiar with while living in Christchurch, with a wide range of build types and higher density than we’ve seen locally. Anyone who would like to present to Council on this decision may do so Tuesday at 5pm.
Public Hearing - Permanent Supportive Housing
This is a proposal for several changes to the Land Use Bylaw, which governs what can be built where. Public hearings start at 5pm, with all invited to address Council on the matters, but this one won’t be heard until after the Middtown agenda item.
Administration is recommending keeping a minimum 300m distance between group homes. I’ve moved the following: “That Bylaw 12/2019 - Land Use Bylaw Amendment - Supportive Housing be amended to remove the 300m minimum separation distance for group homes.”
We are also considering options for allowing “permanent supportive housing… <that> provide<s> for the needs of individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, including those experiencing the complex and interconnected challenges associated with addiction or mental illness”. This kind of housing is “a development that combines rental or housing assistance with individualized and voluntary support services for people with needs related to physical or mental health, development disabilities, and/or substance use, but does not include a detention or correction facility; group home; supportive housing; transitional residential service; or treatment centre”. Counsellor Hughes has moved the following: “That bylaw 12/2019, Section 10.3 (2) is amended to remove “and/or substance abuse”.
Cemetery Infrastructure Assessment
Admin is providing an update on the infrastructure and upcoming projects at the municipal cemetery:
The gate will be removed this spring.
In June, we’ll put up seasonal planters on each side of the entrance as part of the annual flower program.
In April, we replaced the benches and garbage bins.
Servus Place Walking Track Only Memberships
This is to change the current structure of admissions at Servus to allow for a walking-track-only pass. At this time, there are no discussions to extend amenity-specific passes to other parts of the facility (gym, pool, courts, etc.). The Seniors Committee has recommended that we start with a pilot project, while the Youth & Community Services Advisory Committees recommend moving forward with the change. If it passes, this will result is slightly higher fees for other users, but hopefully increased use/accessibility.
Free Servus/Fountain Passes for 80+ Residents
This motion is to provide free memberships to seniors who are 80+ regardless of financial need. Right now, low-income residents of any age qualify for a subsidy of up to 60% to help offset the cost of a membership. The Seniors Committee and Community Services Advisory Committees are mostly in favour, while the Youth Committee fully supports this change in policy. If it passes, this will result is slightly higher fees for other users, but hopefully increased use/accessibility to 80+ residents.
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.