Counties participating in economic fall out study

All communities in the region of the County of Paintearth and Flagstaff County are participating in a study similar to the one that was done for Hanna regarding the economic fall out from the closure of the coal-generated power stations.
According the CAO Tarolyn Aaesrud, the cost will probably run about $30,000 with a grant application in the works. The report scheduled to be completed by April 2017.
The project will provide the Economic Opportunities Taskforce with a clear picture of the short and long term impacts of the closure of the Battle River generating station and the coal mine as well as identify potential economic development opportunities in the region; determine the social impact, and identify the region’s natural, built, social, financial, political and human assets that can be used to propel the economy of the region forward; and, new opportunity that the regional can capitalize on.
Along with the two counties the other participating communities include Castor, Coronation, Halkirk, and Forestburg.
AUMA meetings
Councillors reported on various meetings they had with government officials noting one of their best meetings was with the Environment department explaining that they asked a lot of questions regarding wind and solar farms and regulations involving protection for the landowner.
Oil and gas is regulated heavily protecting the farmer including a ‘orphan well’ proponent but wind farms have no regulations.  There is no protection, no subsides, nothing in place for when wind farm companies go broke or reaches the end of their life span.
“We’re fortunate that Capital Power (Halkirk Wind Farm) has deep pockets,” said Coun. Rocky Dalmer.
“They listened, took notes.  They were searching for answers,” said Dalmer.
Alberta Transporttion
Discussions with Alberta Transportation confirmed that the Coronation highway should see some pavement in 2017; between Halkirk and Castor in 2018, and between Halkirk and Stettler and Coronation to Veteran in 2022 but Coun. Dalmer stated there was nothing official.
He did, however note that Alberta Transportation had indicated they were back in the weed control business.
Needs Assessment
A final Needs Assessment report is now complete  and in the hands of the Paintearth Seniors Housing board and Assisted Living.
A facilitator from the government will be hired to go through with all stakeholders at the meeting planned for Dec. 1, 2016 with the expectation of how all stakeholders can all work together.
Councillors confirmed they had received the preliminary report but had not received the final report other than board member Walter Weber.
“It [the report] should be available to everybody,” said Coun. Weber.
Paintearth Lodge
The budget for Castor & District Housing Authority settled on a two per cent increase in salaries at the Paintearth Lodge.  Rates for the units have been increased by $5 with a zero per cent vacancy rate.
Budget/landowner dispute
Council went in-camera mid morning to deal with a landowners dispute.
Following the meeting council met as a ‘committee of the whole’ to begin budget deliberations concluding at approximately 4 p.m. in the afternoon.
According the the Municipal Affairs Act, budget deliberations are to be conducted in public.
When questioned by the ECA Review, CAO Tarolyn Aaserud said according to the FOIP Section 16: 17, 23 & 24, prelimiary budget discussions can be held in private.
Aaserud confirmed that council was reflecting over last year’s budget, programs and services considering the state of this year’s economy.

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