‘Early Years Matter’ presentation to council

Alix Council kicked off their regular council meeting on Wed. Sept. 5 with a presentation from Early Years Matter Coalition representative Louise Rellis.

She went over the importance of childhood and how to develop constructive and responsible characteristics of children that will continue later on in life.

The presentation was also directed as a way to determine community decisions when developing a program or service.

A survey on the communities of Lacombe County including Blackfalds, Lacombe, Eckville and Bentley, and Alix and Clive, was done to determine five key factors that lead to a balanced life and maturing ability.

A number or pie charts showed how Alix and Clive were doing compared to the rest of Lacombe County as well as the province.

“Lacombe [County] is doing quite OK and Alberta is quite good in comparison to Canada too, but what we are trying to do is raise the awareness of these results? We are trying to push ‘Okay, what can we do with them? What is the point of us knowing whether 2, 3, 4-year-old’s are developmentally ready for school? What do we want to do with that information?,” said Rellis.

Within Alix, she mentioned the need for a mom-to-mom support network to share information and ideas and help build each other up in an informal setting.

“They find they are doing the best they can with their children but some of them don’t have family in the area, their husbands are working away. I’m getting a sense they want to get together and talk and see ‘OK, what are you doing for child support?,” said Rellis.

Emotional maturity and language skills were also areas that were needed to be focused on in order to have a more successful upbringing.

“We strongly believe that if we can get to the communities through the society, and how we can empower the parents in our community, how we can set them up for success for their kids because, in the first five to six years of life, the tools and the skills that our children have to develop is their foundation for the rest of their life,” said Rellis.

There are currently 98 Early Years Matter coalitions in Alberta.

Rellis recommended council to take a walk through the playschools or other child learning facilities in the area to get a better idea of the conditions.

Red Deer-Lacombe Rural Crime Watch

President Ken Wigmore and Staff Sgt. Bruce Holliday gave a presentation about the need for a partnership between the Red Deer-Lacombe Rural Crime Watch and the Village of Alix. Karen McDermand was also present but remained in the gallery.

The Village recently requested to become a member of the regional watch even though they are out of their jurisdiction.

Wigmore felt it must be a two-way partnership.

“You have requested to join our rural crime watch and we are delighted to have this happen,” said Wigmore. “The other thing that we would really like to know is what do you expect from us?

“That is really quite key because if you’re going to expect something we can’t deliver then I think the conversation is fairly short but we do presentations.”

The watch group has already established a relationship with the Summer Village of Gull Lake.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White offered to coordinate with the rural crime watch to brainstorm some options as to how this partnership agreement will be handled.

Sgt. Holliday added “Going forward, this could be used as an example for the Mirror’s, the other small communities of Alix, rural Lacombe County, Red Deer County, Rural Crime Watch. A ‘Hey, this is how you do it.’ Now we would be able to go to the other communities because we have that template in place so we appreciate your interest and involvement in it because I think other communities will benefit from it as well.”

Service level review

CAO Michelle White gave an overview of service levels within Alix during the regular council meeting to determine if changes are needed.

This has come about as the discussion is prior to starting the 2019 budget process.

Their current strategic plan spanning from 2018 to 2021 outlined complete infrastructure improvements and services within the community:

Proactively communicate to ensure everyone is clear of plans, opportunities and activities; Develop a sense of ‘can do’ of community with citizens and organizations working together; and lastly, Know who they are as a village by solidifying and promoting Alix in a positive light.

There are 33 volunteer firefighters on the force with approximately $49,000 in reserves dedicated to the department.

The fire department was requesting ice rescue to be changed to surface and shore rescue.

If this were to happen, the village would need to supply an extra $3,500 for their suits.

How the volunteer’s courses are taken has been changed as well as increased standards to a new National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) document level training.

Some communities have immediately switched from the old system to this new training but CAO White met with the fire department where they decided it best to reach towards these goals rather than immediately switch.

Six members are currently trained to take care of both shore and ice surface rescues in case of an emergency. All that is lacking is the suits to do the work.

If there was a structural fire, the NFPA dictates who would be able to respond to the internal portion of it until everyone is up to standard.

Alix firefighters would be restricted to only external help but it would be a mutual aid call so ambulance and RCMP will arrive as well as fire for full assistance.

“This is something they can do online with their internet. We’ve looked into getting them a larger screen so they can have a nice viewing area and have multiple people sitting at the table to take this training with more reliable internet,” said White. “The goal is definitely to get them trained up but we don’t want to see happen is that you passed this scope of practice that says NFPA level training and we don’t have that at this time. We don’t want to cut ourselves off.”

Council carried a motion to approve the scope of practice change from ice rescue to surface and shore rescue as amended to accommodate time for training.

Bashaw and District Victim Services Society

Bashaw and District Victim Services Society requested a letter of support as they are applying for a grant through the Solicitor General of Alberta Crime Grant. The society covers areas in and surrounding Bashaw including Alix, Donalda, Edberg, Ferintosh, Mirror and more.

The letter was supposed to be sent before Sept. 1 but council did not review it until the meeting so they made a motion to send a letter regardless just in case the society still needs it or would like to use it for another grant.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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