Botha Community Centre closing

Correction: Mon. Dec. 24, 10:35 a.m.

Council has decided to take on the leadership role of the Botha Community Centre as the group currently running the facility can no longer make ends meet.

They conducted a trial run over the past year, utilizing the former Botha Municipal Office and church as a community facility.

The Botha Community Hall Group, outlining in their letter, simply did not have enough outside interest in renting the facility to continue running as the expenses far exceeded the revenue which could not be sustained by the group.  The group itself is not dissolving as they only wish to pass the responsibilities of the facility back to the County.

County Administration noted at their regular meeting on Wed. Dec. 12 the operational costs including utilities, maintenance and cleaning would cost approximately $4,500 per year if they wanted to continue operations.

Council instructed administration to seek out all options to manage the property and then bring those recommendations back to council.

They also requested the water and heating be turned off to save on costs during this time of limbo.

This action is meant to give the group time to remove items that may be of value as well.

They also hoped to save as many historical artifacts as they can by donating them to the Stettler Museum.

This will most likely be accomplished in the spring.

Botha Mercantile update

The investigation into the Botha Mercantile Building has been ongoing since the middle of August due to the ‘hiccup’ of the building being registered as a Historical Resource.

The building has been cluttered with piles of material surrounding the building which has become an issue for neighbouring properties.

After two enforcement orders were issued by Protective Services, the property owner has complied.

The property is no longer in an unsightly condition and back into compliance with the County of Stettler Nuisance Bylaw.

The County has contacted the original complainant to inform her of the results, which, according to the County, she was pleased with.

The investigation into the store has now concluded.

County council easily accepted the 2019 Interim Operating budget. Each year, it is required to have an interim budget adopted in order to purchase, issue cheques and advance payroll after Dec. 31.

The first draft of the 2019 Operating and Capital budgets was also publicly presented on Mon. Dec. 17 and will be debated on by council in January 2019.

Policing update

Staff Sergeant Phil Penny attended council to give an update on current happenings in and around the County of Stettler.

A pilot program for crime reduction units had officers collaborating with Wetaskiwin, sharing tips and strategies.

Penny found the program to work decently but found the Wetaskiwin members were geared towards larger centres as they are located near an aboriginal reserve and Leduc.

“We used it as a learning experience,” said Penny.

A recent success has come from partnering with nearby detachments such as Hanna and Drumheller. Penny reported lots of success from communicating with Drumheller as criminals have a tendency to manoeuvre from one place to the other.

Probation checks have been on track. Six people have been identified.

Of those, only three have gone against their orders in various degrees. One went as far as fleeing the area going under warrant status.

Councillors asked about what was the most prominent substance or substances that are being used in the County.

Meth, cocaine, fentanyl and ecstasy were the most notable while cannabis is no longer their focus anymore since legalization took effect in October.

Check stops have become more prevalent as well. Officers have been pairing up with Alberta Fish and Wildlife to learn more about commercial vehicles, hunting season and more to strengthen their relationship.

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