Alix village council heard a request for funding from the local museum, but hesitated to grant it after looking at the municipal budget. The discussion was held at the Jan. 17 regular meeting of council.

Councillors read a Jan. 10 letter from the Alix Wagon Wheel Museum Association’s representative Charles Andrews, requesting village funds to help install a fire suppression system in the local museum.

“I am writing to you our village council on behalf of the Alix Wagon Wheel Museum Association,” stated the letter signed by Andrews. “As a member of the board of directors I have recommended that we acquire a ‘clean’ fire suppression system (i.e. argon-CO2) for the museum,” stated the letter, which noted later that the system’s estimated cost was $56,000.

“At the direction of the board at our last meeting I have been tasked with seeking grants and contributions to enable us to install an argon-CO2 fire suppression system.

“As you know our museum houses artifacts of both a local and national significance. These include an extensive collection of personal items and interactive program about a local Canadian who played an important role in our political history, Irene Parlby, one of the ‘Famous Five.’

“We also have, to my knowledge, the only record of the Tail Creek Metis Colony of which the only remaining physical evidence is the old cemetery,” added Andrews’ letter.

Andrews went on to note many other valuable resources in the Alix museum, including a collection of dolls dating from the 19th Century, Canadian militaria.

Andrews explained he was concerned about the consequences a fire could have for the museum. 

“Although we have an excellent and very dedicated volunteer fire department, in the event of a fire the damage done prior to their arrival and the subsequent smoke and water damage to our collections and the building would assuredly be the death knell to our museum,” stated Andrews.

He noted his fundraising efforts involved more than requesting village funds: efforts are underway to acquire a provincial government grant, the museum has funds set aside that could be used and museum volunteers were scheduled to work at a casino on Jan. 19 and 20 in addition to other fundraising ideas.

Andrews added he would appreciate a letter of support for the museum’s provincial government grant application as well.

During discussion Coun. Ed Cole stated he understood why the museum wanted a quality fire suppression system as the facility is full of irreplaceable artifacts.

Mayor Rob Fehr cautioned that councillors hadn’t begun discussing their 2024 budget fully. However, the mayor noted he agreed the museum was a very worthy cause.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White noted the village budgets regular funding to the museum every year which is currently set aside in the 2024 interim budget and she felt there might be an extra $500 available to grant to this request in the interim. 

However, she added that anything further should be discussed at budget time in the spring.

Coun. Barb Gilliat suggested contacting Andrews and suggesting he come back to village council in the spring if necessary. The CAO stated she will contact Andrews and let him know what the 2024 budget deliberations schedule will look like.

Councillors unanimously passed a resolution to supply a letter of support for the museum’s provincial government grant efforts.

Major project

During the CAO’s regular submission of financial reports the topic of the Village of Aix lagoon project was mentioned. White stated $2.3 million was spent on the Alix lagoon rehabilitation in 2023.

Acceptable taxes

White submitted the tax trial balance report for council’s consideration which noted that unpaid property taxes for the past three years added up to $132,621.22. 

The CAO noted this was not unusual and was considered an acceptable level of arrears.

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jan 31, 2024 at 13:08

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

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