Alix village council heard that census and population numbers are still causing controversy at regional library board meetings. The report was made at the March 6 regular meeting of council.

During regular committee reports, Coun. Barb Gilliat noted at a recent Parkland Regional Library System (PRLS) board meeting, “Population figures were raised again. The proposed changes to the population figures used was defeated at the February board meeting, the six month waiting period to review again has lapsed.

“A motion was made by the representative from the City of Camrose to review the numbers used again. A committee will be formed and a presentation given at a future board meeting.” 

Readers should note the six month lapse refers to the waiting period a defeated motion must endure before being considered again.

The controversy surrounding regional library board population numbers stems from the fact requisitions and some major grants are per capita-based; that is, how much money is paid or received for programming is based on a community’s population. 

Some communities are unhappy with the census numbers used, as interestingly enough different levels of government apparently have different census results, meaning some communities have different populations depending on which census is used.

Gilliat also pointed out she was elected chair of the PRLS. “Vice chair Gilliat chaired the Zoom meeting as the Chair Teresa Rillings was not reappointed to the PRLS by her municipal council,” stated Gilliat’s report.

For future clarity

Councillors unanimously approved updates to the village’s policy for sale of municipal lands. 

Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White noted this policy was to be reviewed in 2025, but appeared early because the Municipal Government Act (MGA) underwent changes which affect this document.

Staff pointed out this policy defines how the village handles the sale of public lands, including the sale of public land below market value, with White noting an important change was being made: public advertisements will also include information on how the public can start a petition in response.

The CAO noted the Village of Alix has actually had a few recent instances where public land was proposed to be sold below market value, then resulted in counter-offers. 

It was noted previous public advertising didn’t include information on how the public can oppose this process if they wish.

During discussion councillors noted the status of petitions submitted over land sales of these kinds; White stated the sale of land doesn’t immediately stop when a petition is received; the petition still has to be examined and validated, with all MGA rules for petitions applying.

Coun. Ed Cole asked what happens if it’s found some signatures are, for example, from non-Alix residents, meaning they’re not valid. White responded those signatures are removed and if the threshold for signatures is still met, the petition moves forward.

Councillors also discussed clarity of petitions to ensure the public knows what they are signing. 

As well, councillors tweaked the proposed policy to include a suggestion from the public which was the village may review an offer to purchase in any form. Councillors unanimously approved the policy.

Who’s behind the wheel?

Councillors discussed a resolution from lobby group Alberta Municipalities (AM), which represents urban communities in Alberta; a letter referred to the group’s opposition and concerns about the proposal to introduce political parties into local politics.

Coun. Cole noted AM has opposed the idea and he’s heard no support for it anywhere, and wondered why the idea is still being discussed. “Who wants this?” Cole asked his peers.

During discussion councillors agreed they’ve also heard virtually no support for the idea.

Mayor Rob Fehr stated the idea sounds to him like American-style politics which he doesn’t agree with at the grassroots level.

Cole noted people ask him about the proposal and he’s not sure what to say. 

Fehr responded AM has already passed a resolution soundly defeating the idea and the provincial government should respect that decision.

Drought forecasts

During committee reports councillors discussed drought forecasts for the summer of 2024. 

The CAO noted snowpack in the mountains is said to be much better than anticipated, which suggests drought conditions may not be as bad as feared.

Coun. Tim Besuijen noted he attended a recent Red Deer River Municipal User Group meeting and it was stated there their namesake waterbody isn’t in as bad a shape as some southern Alberta rivers such as the Bow and Old Man.

As they discussed the issue of drought councillors suggested Village of Alix bylaws which apply to water restrictions be checked for enforceability.

Garbage pick-up

Coun. Gilliat reported on the Lacombe Regional Solid Waste Commission meeting she recently attended; the topic of large campgrounds and their generation of garbage was discussed.

Gilliat observed some very large campgrounds haven’t been paying anything for garbage pick-up. 

The commission decided a change was in order, and starting this summer a threshold of 200 campsites will decide whether a campground must pay something for garbage pick-up.

It was also noted the commission has seen crime reduction after the introduction of security cameras.

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 20, 2024 at 13:17

This item reprinted with permission from   East Central Alberta Review   Coronation, Alberta

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