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Picture Butte council meeting briefs from Feb. 26

Posted on March 5, 2024 by Sunny South News

By Heather Cameron
Southern Alberta Newspapers

The following are selected briefs from the Town of Picture Butte Council Meeting that took place on February 26, 2024.

Development Permit 2024-01 Garage Height and Lot Coverage Waiver Request

Keith Davis, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Picture Butte, reported to Council that the owner of 514 Watson Avenue applied for approval for a three percent lot coverage waiver to construct a detached garage. The Land Use Bylaw, Davis said, only allows for a maximum of 10 percent coverage for accessory buildings, and the waiver would bring them to a 13 percent coverage. The owner, Davis stated, is also seeking approval for a two-foot height waver on their garage and the same bylaw permits accessory buildings to be a maximum of 15 feet high; the waiver would grant permission for the garage to be built to 17 feet high. Davis said Administration did notify adjacent landowners of the potential development via a letter, but no feedback was received. Given that, Davis said, that Administration’s recommendation was to allow the owner to build the proposed detached garage with the lot coverage waiver and the height waiver. Ultimately, a motion was made to approve Development Permit 2024-01 and the motion was carried.

Delegation Visit – Staff Sergeant Mike Numan report highlights

Coaldale-Picture Butte RCMP Staff Sergeant Mike Numan presented the quarterly community Policing Report that covers the October 1 to December 31, 2023 statistics for the Picture Butte Detachment. 

Numan also provided an update on the Victims Services Program, stating that the province is dividing it into four regions: south, central, east, and west, and they’ve already hired the director, and are also starting to hire those who will work under the director. 

The detachment, Numan said, also continues to do a lot of crime reduction initiatives, they take part in many meetings, as well as proactive enforcements with their partners, which include Blood Tribe Police, Alberta Sheriffs, Lethbridge Police Service, Alberta Corrections, and Probation and Parole. 

The detachment, Numan says, also continues to be in the schools, recently undertaking the task of assigning an officer to each school between the two detachment areas and the expectation is that an officer stops in at least once a month to say hello, provide educational materials, and assist with lockdown procedures, and answer other questions. At this point, Council spoke up with a question regarding the kids who are homeschooled, as they miss the assemblies and other educational opportunities that kids who do attend mainstream school receive. Numan responded by saying that he believed that the provincial government has a representative that oversees those programs, but he could speak to the crime prevention person about it at a later time.

Numan stated that the detachment was also very involved in Remembrance Day in all the communities. The detachment, Numan said, also continues focusing on their priorities, including the amount of crime they are starting to see, as it is picking up and is a more repetitive trend, hence why they are working so hard with their partner agencies.

Numan reported that in terms of resources, he had a staff member who was promoted and relocated at the end of December, but he has a new sergeant, Sean Dutch, starting on March 18 who is coming from High River where he is currently a corporal. 

Numan also highlighted that total persons crimes are down 42 per cent while property crimes are up 38 per cent. Mental Health calls, Numan said, also continue to be prevalent, with seven being made in 2022 and at least 13 being made in 2023. 

Council asked Numan if there was any headway being made with the collaboration between the RCMP and Mental Health and Numan stated that the RCMP is committed to their rural police crisis teams that are strategically placed throughout the province and the detachment has personally had an officer in place for over a year now, but Alberta Health Services has still not provided a mental health nurse, so the police are left to do the work themselves.

Delegation Visit – Mark Lowe, Principal of Picture Butte High School

Mark Lowe, Principal of Picture Butte High School, paid a visit to Council, with a proposal to add livestock to their current farm education program. 

Lowe said that in 2022, Picture Butte High School became one of the first pilot schools in Western Canada to run a farm education program and since that program started, the school has grown it to include apiculture, poultry management, dryland gardening, greenhouse work, aquaponics, and hydroponics. 

Three other schools in Alberta, Lowe said, currently run a FarmEd program, but they have some type of livestock: Altario, Irvine School in Cypress County, and Mountainview School in Cardston County.

Lowe says that in conjunction with community partners, Picture Butte High School hopes to use a 4,800 square foot fenced area within the school’s current FarmEd space to house around 12 larger animals and some smaller animals like turkeys, rabbits, pheasants, or other small animals as part of the programming. 

The animals, Lowe said, would only be on site from September to June and then be distributed out to local farms during the summer.

Council expressed concern about the livestock proving disruptive to nearby residents, but they acknowledged that the school could go and engage with the community before a bylaw was passed, and it could also always be given a trial run to see if it was feasible. Council ultimately encouraged the school to engage in community consultation regarding the matter and Lowe agreed.

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