All members present.

Request For Decision (RFD)

Council reviewed five RFDs:

· Cancellation of Meetings: Council typically cancels two meetings in the summer to assist with holidays, etc. Council passed a motion to cancel the last Council meetings in July (Jul. 26) and August (Aug. 23).

· CAO Vacation: The CAO’s employment contract states that any vacation greater than a week’s duration must be approved by a motion passed by Council. These holidays would be in two sets over the summer. Council passed a motion approving the CAO’s vacations from July 17 – 28 and August 14 – September 1.

· Hillcrest Thank You: The Town of Swan Hills will be sending the Concerts in Care cello musicians that will perform for the community’s seniors on the afternoon of June 19 to the Hillcrest Lodge in Barrhead in the evening of the same day to perform for their residents. The second performance is a thank you to the Hillcrest Lodge for taking in our evacuees during the wildfire evacuation. Concerts in Care has added this second performance at no extra cost to the Town. Council passed a motion to send Councillor Bob Clermont to attend the Concerts in Care performance at the Hillcrest Lodge on June 19.

· RCMP Quarterly Report, Jan 1. – Mar. 31, 2023: The RCMP submitted their quarterly report covering from Jan. 1 to Mar 31, 2023. Some key takeaways include an increase in assault incidents, with six reported in 2023 compared to only four reported last year. Also of note was a rise in Fail to Comply & Breaches incidents (failing to meet the requirements of a probation order or bail conditions), climbing to 9 in 2023 compared to 6 in 2021. Council received this report as information.

· GROWTH AB Application For Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP): GROWTH AB is applying for the AAIP – Rural Renewal Stream for the region. The Town approved this application as a GROWTH member, writing a letter of support in February. As part of the application process, each of the three included municipalities must agree to create and fulfil ten types of events and ongoing activities throughout 2023 and 2024. These activities include conducting tours and introductions to key community figures, keeping up-to-date rental and real estate contact information on the municipal website, and orientations with FCSS and the library. Council passed a motion to approve the commitment to fulfill the ten items required by each municipality for the AAIP.

CAO Report

· The Town was evacuated on May 16 at 1:20 PM due to a wildfire northwest of town. Residents were allowed to return to the community on May 24 at 9:00 AM. A State of Local Emergency was declared during this time, and the Town’s Emergency Management Plan was implemented.

· Bell did a site visit on June 1 in prep for the SuperNet changeover and is scheduled to complete the conversion with Trinus on June 20.

· Submitted the yearly FOIPPA statistics for the province. 

· The provincial election was held on May 29, with the United Conservative Party remaining in power. Our MLA remains Glenn van Dijken. The New Minister of Municipal Affairs is Ric McIver. 

· Met with Gary Gordon on June 14 from Gordon and Associates. He is working for BDSHA on completing a housing needs assessment for the area. 

· Cardinal Energy has donated a Defender Mobile water trailer to the Fire Department ($7,500) to help with hard-to-reach areas. This unit has its own pump and can be pulled behind an OHV.

· Lemonade Day is Saturday, June 17.

· The Town and FCSS will hold an event for our seniors on June 19 at the Keyano Centre as a delayed seniors’ week celebration. The event will include lunch, entertainment, and activities. The same entertainment will also perform at the Hillcrest Lodge in Barrhead in the evening as a thank you from the Town for supporting our evacuees.

· The Tourist Booth is open for the season.

· Began working on Canada Day BBQ preparations.

· Began working through the costing associated with the wildfire evacuation in preparation for payments and potential disaster recovery qualifying costs.

Operations And Infrastructure

· The new gas regulator for the reservoir upgrade project has been installed. We await a date from engineering to resume the project.

· The culvert on the corner of Kowalski and Freeman has been delayed as we catch up from the evacuation. This project should resume before the end of June.

· One CC, water main saddle, and sewer repairs were performed during this reporting period.

· Advertisements have been placed for summer students. We will begin interviews in the third week of June.

· Pothole patching and road tarring will continue as weather allows.

· The new Plaza Park construction has resumed. This project should wrap up before the end of June. Installation of trees, landscaping, and hardware are the remaining targets in this initiative.

· We have been experiencing sustained vandalism at the Reservoir building/Tennis Court. There has been damage to the roof structure, heating exhaust system, spray painting of the building and equipment, destruction of security cameras, tennis net and backdrop, as well as the basketball net.

· The Town of Swan Hills would like to sincerely thank Amy Zhang. During her vacation, Amy worked remotely from Japan to keep the town water supply working during the evacuation. At times she was required to work in the very early hours and during the day to keep the system working properly. Thank you for your dedication, Amy!

· Public Works is currently recruiting for the Supervisor position.

Protective Services

· The Town was evacuated from May 16, 2023, to May 24, 2023

· Managed evacuation in the Incident Command Post for the duration of the evacuation of the Town of Swan Hills.

· There were 2 Fire Department calls for the month of May 2023.

· The Swan Hills Fire Department provided Manpower and equipment to aid with the emergency response efforts during the town’s evacuation.

· Cardinal Energy donated a water trailer and pump to the SHFD to aid with remote fire suppression capability.


· Mayor Craig Wilson commended everyone who worked on the evacuation of the Town and the Town’s emergency response. Mayor Wilson also praised the people of Swan Hills for their orderly evacuation; the vast majority of the population was evacuated within a couple of hours. He has reached out to thank the communities of Barrhead and Westlock for their hospitality in welcoming and supporting our evacuees and to the surrounding counties and communities that assisted with the Town’s emergency response and damage mitigation efforts.

-Mayor Wilson attended a Barrhead District and Social Housing meeting on June 7 at Hillcrest Lodge. The meeting coincided with senior’s week, and there was a BBQ afterward where Mayor Wilson was able to thank all the staff and residents for their hospitality to the Swan Hills evacuees who had stayed there.

· All of the councillors also commended all of the people who coordinated and assisted with the Town’s evacuation in May and everyone who stayed behind and was a part of the Town’s emergency response as well as those who supported these efforts. They also expressed gratitude for the communities who welcomed the Swan Hills evacuees and the communities who assisted in the Town’s emergency response.

· Councillor Jeff Goebel reported that two RNs will be coming in mid-September, one from England and one from the Philippines. 

· Councillor Daryn Watson reported that the Fire Department participated in the P.A.R.T.Y. (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth) Program with the school.

· Councillor Dean LaBerge reported on a Chamber of Commerce meeting on May 11. They are sponsoring two of the three awards for Lemonade Day and will be repainting the frames on the highway signs with the local business listings. 

-Councillor LaBerge also reported on attending the SiteLink conference in Lac La Biche from May 31 – June 2. It was a phenomenal event with seven site selectors from the US who specialize in representing major companies in searching for appropriate locations for large-scale projects, which brings considerable investment and stimulation to the local economies. The selectors each delivered presentations with a wealth of information about what they are looking for when researching new sites, strategies for communities to become project investment-ready, and strategies for attracting and pursuing large and small-scale projects. The conference also offered plenty of opportunities to network with the site selectors and attending representatives from municipalities, countries, and organizations from across Alberta.

· Councillor Terry Kuyek reported on attending an Interagency meeting on June 7. Swan Hills School will have a new principal starting in September as Principal Sheila Gardiner will be stepping down. June is brain injury awareness month. 

· Councillor Liz Krawiec reported on Community in Bloom’s (CiB) efforts in planting trees and plants in Devonian Park. They planted over 350 plants, 3 trees, and placed 60 planters.

-Councillor Krawiec also reported on the Economic Development Committee (EDC) meeting on June 12. The first proof of the Town tourism map had come in; the EDC reviewed the map, making corrections and revisions. The two EDC members who attended the SiteLink conference presented the information they had gained from the event.

By Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 21, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Grizzly Gazette   Swan Hills, Alberta

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