Special Areas Advisory council wrapped up 3-day meetings

Council met with ratepayers regarding proposed renewable energy projects and more
Press release
Meeting quarterly, or more often if needed, the locally elected council uses these public meetings to review performance, address challenges facing the region, discuss issues related to governance, and provide input into the overall direction for the Special Areas Board.
Some areas touched upon over the three-day meeting included councillor orientation and governance, 2018 budgeting and 2017 interim financial statements, economic development and new opportunities for the region, regional service provision and intermunicipal cooperation, and the overall role Special Areas plays in this part of the province.
Presentations provided a needed change of pace throughout the three days of meetings, with the council welcoming representatives from local ratepayer groups, industry, government agencies and emergency services.
Local economic development officers presented annual reports, providing insight into local successes and challenges. Key 2018 projects were discussed, with economic development officers continuing to focus on the regions strengths while developing new opportunities.
STARS Senior Municipal Relations Liaison, Glenda Farnden, was on hand to present the STARS annual impact report, and to thank the Special Areas for their continued leadership supporting air rescue services.
Assistant Deputy Minister Gary Sandberg, the Special Areas liaison in Municipal Affairs, joined the meeting to outline the impact of recent changes to legislation on Special Areas and to discuss some local issues.
The council appreciated the opportunity to address some of the specific challenges and concerns facing ratepayers in the Special Areas, and to highlight key partnerships which support effective service provision to area ratepayers.
On the final day of meetings, the council discussed regional impacts and opportunities resulting from the provincial Climate Change Strategy, met with ratepayers regarding proposed renewable energy projects and welcomed presentations from regional partners.
Other areas of discussion included continued advocacy for ratepayers impacted by the Elk populations, anticipated changes to community pastures for 2018 in response to the fire damage to pastures, and how to effectively work with the provincial government in support of the region.
Medical clinic operations and funding were also talked about over the three days, including some upcoming changes to the composition and operations of some medical clinic boards.
As a part of the meeting, council made decisions related to the 2018 budget, 2018 road construction and surfacing program, 2018 rates in effect, emergency service projects, and intermunicipal projects were made.
Required because of the 2017 fall elections, Daryl Swenson (SA2-SD7) and Doug Noble (SA4-SD3) were recommended to be appointed to the Special Areas Board for a 4-year term.
The Special Areas Advisory Council is planning the next council meeting in the spring.

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