County social media usage established

Social media such as Facebook and Twitter have become a part of daily life for most of the civilized world.

Communication stems from these sites in a quick and unique fashion.

Paintearth County wants to jump on the bandwagon to give ratepayers and media easier access to pertinent information.

The policy put forth to council on Tues. Oct. 2 outlined rules of engagement and for who is responsible for what when relaying information. The policy makes the rules consistent.

Councillors who possess their own Facebook page are solely responsible for their own page and maintain it themselves which does not reflect on the county.

“Sometimes it’s a good tool if you’re media savvy and you can have a strong social media website or website on Facebook as a councillor,” said Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michael Simpson. “It’s a good tool for dialogue between you and your ratepayers if those are the kind of ratepayers that use it.

“It just needs to be understood by the person who has the site that the people that they are communicating with they are not speaking on behalf of the county. That’s why we set this policy up for that purpose.”

A long-range media plan will be put in place to make it easier for the county to communicate with residents.

The CAO will oversee this so no contracted work will be needed. Council made a motion to accept the new policy which was carried.

Intermunicipal Development Plans/ICF’s carried

After a lunch break, council reconvened to hold a public hearing for the Intermunicipal Development Plan’s (IDP) and Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF) between the County and Provost, Coronation, and Castor.

No one from the public attended the hearing or gave letters of approval or disapproval.

They then closed the hearing before moving into second and third reading of the IDP’s and ICF’s for all three communities.

Council carried all six bylaws forward.

Battle River Power Plant

A letter supplied by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) gave council a glimpse into what the future of ATCO’s Battle River Power Plant would look like as some of the unit’s transition from coal-power to gas-power.

The energy company applied to the AUC in May to conduct alterations on the site located near Forestburg.

The alterations will convert Unit 5 from coal-fuelled to gas-fuelled and would allow for the additional use of natural gas as a supplemental fuel for Unit 3 and Unit 4.

These changes will consist of two 150-megawatt (MW) coal-fuelled generating units which can also use natural gas and one 375 MW natural gas-fuelled generating unit with the generating capacity of 675MW.

“It’s a go-ahead so that is good news in respect to the on-going Units 3 and 4,” said CAO Simpson.

“Three won’t have a lot of life but if the bitcoin mine goes that will pretty much use up everything in (Unit) Three and Four. At least Unit 5 gives it some life. It’s been extended now to 2037 for its age of life,” said Reeve Stan Schulmeister.

The alterations are expected to be completed by December 31, 2022.

Council accepted the letter as information.

Livestock Tax Deferral Provision

An initial list of prescribed drought or flood regions showed many areas near Paintearth County except the county itself.

Camrose County, Mountain View County, Kneehill County, Lacombe County, Red Deer County were among the recipients of the tax deferral as rainfall is way down.

Councillors found the information to be misleading as they mentioned the low level of precipitation received this summer within Paintearth County and that the numbers did not correlate with this amount of rainfall.

“It really didn’t seem to correlate with where the rainfall shortages were,” said the Reeve.

Huber Dam Committee disbands

The Huber Dam Committee notified council of he official disbanding of the group at the end of the 2018 season in September.

Keys have since been returned to county administration where the county will take direct control of the area once again.

Before the group took charge of the area, vandalism was prevalent.

Many of the councillors recognized the group for their countless years of service to the area and noted how much hard work had been put in to make the dam a better place.

CAO Simpson mentioned the reasoning for the disbandment as old age.

“Their members are ageing out in terms of their desire to drive and so we’ll basically take on the maintenance of that part with existing staff,” said Simpson.

“Well they have done a lot of work there in the last few years,” said Coun. George Glazier.

Everyone chimed in agreeance.

“It’s just the guys are getting older and have worked really hard at it and are now getting tired of it,” said Reeve Schulmeister.

The council also agreed to live up to the committee’s legacy they left behind.

“I hope it doesn’t revert to what it was before they took over,” said Coun. Tyrrill Hewitt.

“That park had a terrible time with vandalism before that committee stepped up and took ownership of it. Once that happened it all stopped. In my opinion, it’s a damn shame these guys are stepping away. If we had some young people step in and keep it going…” said Hewitt.

Council may look to potentially make the space a free place for snowbirds to park their trailers or RV’s while they go south for the winter.

Nothing has been determined at this time.

Council accepted the letter as information.


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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ECA Review