Council approve one per cent increase to gas, power bills

Written by Stu Salkeld

Clive village council approved a one per cent increase to power and natural gas bills through franchise agreements that utility companies sign with municipalities. The decision was made at the Oct. 11 regular meeting of council which was held one day later than usual because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Village Chief Administrative officer (CAO) Carla Kenney provided councillors with copies of the annual franchise agreements the village signs with both Fortis for power bills and ATCO for natural gas. She explained the franchise agreement allows each company exclusive rights within the village and in return the company pays a fee.

During discussion councillors mused that the franchise fee may need to be increased to cope with inflationary pressures. The CAO pointed out that the upcoming budget process will likely see the effects of inflation on the village.

Councillors unanimously approved a one per cent increase to both franchise agreements.

Planning conundrum
During her report the CAO told councillors about a recent meeting she participated in with a large planning organization.

Kenney stated Parkland Community Planning Services (PCPS), a non-profit organization that offers planning and development services, has seen a number of staff departures recently. Kenney noted PCPS recently stated its director resigned effective Oct. 31 of this year.

PCPS has put projects on hold or moved to outside consultants as staffing and recruitment for senior planners has been a challenge.

During the meeting other smaller municipalities that can’t afford to have their own planning departments agreed that PCPS is an important resource for them.

RCMP report
Councillors perused the regular Blackfalds RCMP report.

On Sept. 28 the RCMP reported, “A business in Lacombe County reported a suspicious package that was making a beeping noise. Staff evacuated as per their safety plan. The explosives disposal unit was contacted but upon further investigation were not required to attend.

With the owner’s approval the package was opened and determined to be a dog’s e-collar that had turned on.”

On Sept. 30 RCMP reported, “A female lost control of her vehicle southbound on Hwy. 2 near Lacombe. When she entered the median the vehicle caught the culvert, causing it to become airborne and land in northbound traffic. No other vehicles damaged.

The female driver and her passenger were transported by emergency medical services (EMS).”

On Oct. 3 RCMP reported, “An irate man called Blackfalds (RCMP) front counter advising staff he had been locked in a business compound in Lacombe County. Police contacted the business and it was determined the male complainant was refusing to pay for services. A different solution was identified.”

The CAO reported that the village office recently received three animal complaints that were forwarded to the animal control contractor, one dog attack, one unlicensed dog that apparently bit someone and one cat at large.

She also stated that the restorative justice process involving some young people who were involved at a fire at the school yard will begin Oct. 22.

Storage solution
Kenney reported that the village approved a development permit for a sea can or large metal shipping container on Country Lane, including a variance. The variance involved placing the sea can in the front yard.

Crush the box
The CAO stated garbage pick up and recycling services had to be clarified for a resident. The garbage pick up limit is 50 pounds, and large cardboard boxes have to be cut up or crushed before the village staff will take them.

Emergency exercise
Councillors unanimously agreed to close the village office to the public on Oct. 26 as all staff will be involved in an emergency management exercise.

Kenney noted in the event of an actual emergency the village office would also be closed because no staff would be available to deal with the public.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.