Council looking at possibilities for Elnora Medical Clinic

The Elnora Medical Clinic may be switching hands in the near future.

The building was brought into conversation amongst council and staff at their meeting on Tues. Oct. 13.

A potential renter approached the village to see about renting the vacant clinic for their business.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Sharon Wesgate stated that under the current land use bylaw, it is zoned as R-1 Low Density Residential Family and under recent revisions to this bylaw, it is potentially changing to PS (Public Service).

Neither of these zonings allows for commercial development meaning they cannot rent out the building at this time.

In the past, it was said former commercial ventures who occupied the space were ‘not in compliance with the village’s land use bylaw’.

In speaking with Alberta Health Services (AHS), it was found that the building belongs to the village as the fundraising for this service was all community-run at the time.

It was understood before that it was owned by AHS but turns out, they gave the land to the village allowing them to do what they want with it.

Mayor Leah Nelson mentioned that it should be changed to discretionary use to allow for renting with the regular process of going through the Municipal Planning Commission in place.

Dep. Mayor Kerrilyn Mose mentioned that the upcoming open house for the revised land use bylaw on Nov. 24 would be ‘a perfect time to approach people about this’ to see what residents have to say about its future usage.

Organizational meeting

Council’s across the province are required to review a few key functions of council including leadership and associated costs each October.

Leah Nelson was nominated as mayor with Kerrilyn Mose as deputy mayor and Rob Aellen as councillor.

As for council remuneration, last year they took a deep look at costs changing numbers to better reflect other municipalities in the area.

For 2020/2021, they have chosen to stay the same.

For the mayor, it is $80 per meeting and $75 per meeting for councillors, same with special meetings that are called occasionally.

The annual stipend for mayor is set at $800 with councillors at $750.

Mileage is at 50 cents per km.

Police costs on tax notices

Some confusion has surrounded the provincial downloading of police costs onto municipalities for some time.

It was clarified that Municipal Affairs does not want tax notices to have a special line item area for people to see this increase as they don’t want any ‘heat’ but the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) has been encouraging this because it was the province’s decision.

Lee Johnston of Muniware answered CAO Wesgate’s question by saying another client of theirs asked Municipal Affairs about this and found out it was not allowed.

“I’m not sure what the ramifications would be but I would be interested to push forward because people deserve to know,” said Dep. Mayor Mose.

She suggested they speak with a lawyer about any possible ramifications.

Council tabled the discussion for now, hoping to revisit the next meeting once they get more information.

Land use bylaw revised

Richard Moje, a planner working with Red Deer County has been working away at revisions to Elnora’s land use bylaw.

He came to council to answer any questions and explain what the changes were all about.

These changes included any shortcomings the current one has as well as breaking down the different sections for easier reading, the way different bylaws are being classified, redoing the district map and more.

“We agreed it needs some improvement for effective representation,” said Moje.

Council didn’t have much to add, deciding to pass a motion to accept first reading of the bylaw.

The open house to discuss changes will take place next month.

The bylaw was last updated in 2009.

FCSS worker introduced

Michelle Thiem, Elnora’s newest Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) community worker, introduced herself to council.

She worked with the Red Deer RCMP for 13 years, living in Lacombe during that time.

She and her family made the move to the quiet village on Sept. 1.

Thiem mentioned she has been networking with as many people as she can and learning the ropes of the job and what these smaller communities have to offer.

Dog, cat licensing

Dep. Mayor Mose was approached by a few residents about paying for a full year on cat or dog licenses.

If, for example, a person moves into town eight months or more into the year, they found it unfair to pay for the entire year at $25.

After discussion, council passed a motion to prorate the price quarterly with the notion they will review it again during the land use bylaw discussion.

MOST Grant

The village has found some things worth apply to the Municipal Operating Transfer (MOST) Grant

Elnora is eligible for $35,175.

The grant covers expenses incurred because of COVID-19.

They found that a piece of equipment the public works foreman uses to sanitize the washrooms and office as one item they can apply for as well as signage that is falling apart but is used as a bulletin board for current happenings.

A broad spectrum of uses was highlighted that council may be able to use the funding for.

Council passed a motion to sign the agreement to go with the MOST Grant.


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.