By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
Water, Sewage, and Garbage Rates
Council approved administration’s recommendation to increase the monthly water rate by one percent from $48.50 to $49. The proposal was presented to council at the Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting and passed during the March 27 meeting of council.
Council also passed a bylaw for all three readings of the 2023 Service Fees and rates Bylaw #933-23 which includes Arena and pool user fees.
The bylaw was not required to be advertised prior to consideration of second or third readings. Council unanimously passed a motion for permission to go for a third reading, after which the bylaw passed third reading and was adopted.
Rural Renewal Stream
The Town has received correspondence from the Province that they have been accepted for designation for the Rural Renewal Stream which will be administered by the Town of Taber, and will support the expansion of the foreign labour force in the region.
Two representatives will be attending the Picture Butte and District’s Chamber of Commerce meeting in May to make a presentation and explain more about the program and outline what businesses can expect and how to participate.
Fundraising for pool umbrellas
Council will begin exploring funding options to install cover shades at the Town’s Aquatic Centre.
Mayor Cathy Moore said, “I sit on the board with the North County Health Foundation, and it’s been brought up a few times about money being donated from North County Health Foundation to the Town of Picture Butte for one of these ‘sun sails.’” Moore noted the Town had not yet sent a letter to them asking for the funds and suggested administration, “send out letters to other organizations, asking if they may want to put some money towards these sun sails as well.”
An estimate obtained in July 2019 quoted the cost for one sun sail at $9,000.
“If we ask for other organizations to pitch in even if it’s just a $1,000 or $2,000 per maybe we can come up with one or two for the pool.”
CAO Keith Davis proposed going back to the drawing board to determine up-to-date accurate cost estimates adding, “it would be nice to put some sort of shading out there.”
Emergency services report
Picture Butte’s Fire Chief, Frank West, presented to council his report covering the first two months of 2023. West said the findings, are, “about on pace with last year’s rates.”
West announced that the Picture Butte Fire Department has been successful in several of their grant applications. Further details are still to come, he noted, “We are working on a couple of projects with AHS that come with some additional funding.”
With several funding streams approved by granting organizations, West said, “things are definitely looking positive, where we’re getting good attention from both AHS and the provincial government. The funding will be coming our way here shortly. “
West said although he is not able to share the detail publicly quite yet, he said, “there will be a lot more to report,” at the next scheduled presentation to council.
West also updated council on the Regional Emergency Management Agreement Partnership (REMAP). He said the framework is underway with partners in the Lethbridge region, and that through the Town of Picture Butte, a grant application was submitted to get the program “kickstarted.”
West said the application specified “up to $200,000, and we received notification this week that we received the full $200,000.”
“Like we discussed during budget time, it definitely assures that it’s going to be a low-cost impact to the Town of Picture Butte.”
“The next steps in this is getting it formalized.”
West said an agreement will be drafted, and then adopted formally though amendments to the Town’s existing Emergency Management bylaw. Changes will reflect the Town’s participation in the regional partnership.
“Then we’re looking to follow it up with a ministerial order from the Minister of Municipal Affairs which solidifies the agreement so that if any one council in the future decides they would like to break the framework and leave the partnership that it would actually have to be done through ministerial order.”
“Hopefully by this summer, we’ll be actually at that working group,” comprised of council representatives from partnering municipalities.