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Coalhurst Christmas decorating contest underway for 2023

Posted on December 14, 2023 by Sunny South News

By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News

The following are selected briefs from the regular Dec. 5 meeting of Coalhurst town council.

Community Services Report

Director of Corporate Service’s Mike Passey’s report included the following highlights:

• There has been a focus has been the 2024 budget preparation. A preliminary budget document was provided to council during the Nov. 14 Committee of the Whole meeting, after which town staff has been putting the final touches on the Budget Consultation Survey and the Open House.

• The Budget Survey went live on Nov. 22, and was opened until Dec. 4. Survey results will be presented to council at the Dec. 12 Committee of the Whole meeting.

• The Nov. 28 Open House on November 28 had a Budget Consultation component where residents could come and learn about the budget and talk with Council. 

• The Government Finance Officers of Alberta (GFOA) organization held a webinar regarding reserves, which Passey participated in. 

• The town has been approved to host a Finance Intern through the Municipal Affairs Internship Program. Interested applicants can begin applying in January 2024, with the successful applicant begging in late April or May for the 18-month program. For more information on the internship program, visit http://www.alberta.ca/municipal-internship-program.

When asked how many survey results they had received, Passey said when it closed they had received 93 responses, four of which were from non-town residents. Additionally, some of the survey responses were incomplete.

Council passed a motion to receive the report for information. 

Community Development report

Council received Director of Community Development, Christy Henning, first report to council. Highlights from the report include:

Onboarding and orientation

• Woring with town staff to learn about the community and history, the Town’s policies and processes and council’s Strategic Plan. 

• An area of focus has been the town’s corporate communication practices and needs, becoming familiar with the available communication channels, audiences, and past practices. This includes promoting initiatives such as the open house, 2024 Budget Survey and using resources such as the Town’s website, LED sign and Facebook page. 

• Although the new Community Celebration Committee hasn’t been formed yet, town administration is preparing to host a series of Canada Day activities in 2024. While the details of the event will be decided by the committee, to meet a federal grant deadline, administration submitted an application to the Celebrate Canada Fund, for $7,000. If successful, eligible expenses for the grant funding include advertising, outreach and signage; cake and cake eating supplies; decorations; live entertainment; and kids games such as inflatables

• The Recreation Master Plan (RMP) sub-committee held its first meeting with RC Strategies in November, to review the process for developing Coalhurst’s RMP and gather initial feedback. The development process for the RMP will include community engagement, and more information will be provided as details become available.

Council received the Community Development report for information.

Christmas House Decorating Contest

Council was presented was a request for decision over whether to hold a Christmas house decoraton contest this year.

The town has hosted such a contest in previous years. For it, members of council would travel throughout the community looking for homes decorated for Christmas, and choose three winners for best decorated properties. Administration is recommending that they use the same cash prize amounts as they did for the 2023 Halloween house decorating contest – first place is $75, second is $50 and third is $25 – for the Christmas decorating contest.

Additionally, administration recommended that all residences be automatically entered in the contest, with no pre-registration required, to ensure that every house is eligible to win. 

Council members would travel throughout the community on a set date to choose the top three properties and provide the winning addresses to administration. Administration will contact the property owners to advise them of the contest results and prizing, and request permission to publish their addresses on social media.

Council passed a motion to approve the hosting of a Coalhurst Christmas House Decorating Contest, to take place on Monday, Dec. 18, as well as the expenditure of $150 from the Community Events budget for cash prizing, to be distributed to the first, second, and third place winners of the contest in the amounts of $75, $50, and $25, respectively.

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