On a historic day in Canada, Wed. Oct. 17, Alix Council added to the excitement over the legalization of cannabis.
Both the cannabis consumption bylaw and land use bylaw were passed after extensive consultation with residents and prior conversation.
A public survey regarding the legalized drug was handed out during a public forum held earlier this month at the Alix Community Hall.
An Alberta Health Services representative also gave an informative presentation on the drug before the survey was distributed.
Questions like ‘Where should the Village of Alix allow public consumption of cannabis?’ and ‘Should the Village of Alix completely prohibit the public consumption of cannabis, thereby limiting it to private residences and property only?’ were on the survey.
Twelve surveys were filled and handed in.
Most answers were agreed upon as many believed a restrictive approach to the bylaws was the best route to take according to these results, while others were more lenient.
“It does give you a fair representation across the board as far as it was multiple sectors that were interested in filling them out so I think that we, despite the small numbers, have some information for you to consider,” said Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White.
Council took the information into account and passed second and third reading of both bylaws.
This means that no one will be allowed to smoke cannabis anywhere on public property within the village and that potential cannabis-related businesses must be located at least 200 metres away from the school.
Glenna Carlson of the Alix Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) made a presentation to council about the current state of the program, a list of jobs they do, future programming and its success within the village.
Mayor Rob Fehr asked about the collaboration between FCSS and other organizations.
“Oh yes, we partner with the Recreation Board, the Chamber, and the School,” said Carlson.
The list provided focused on continuous ongoing programs that can be done in the budget.
Coun. Ed Cole asked if they pursue grants at the provincial and federal level.
Carlson explained that the larger FCSS branches will apply and typically receive funding which is then divided amongst smaller branches.
“We are almost like a satellite to Lacombe in a way. They get those grants and so it trickles down to us,” said Carlson.
Alix’s FCSS is open two days a week as Carlson is working those two days, then in school for the other two days with the final day left for odds and ends work from either.
She will get calls ‘all the time’ as well and meets outside the regular hours.
Council urged Carlson to track her hours doing this because it could lead to more funding as the services are noticeably getting more usage.
“Oh I know I should,” said Carlson. “You should because there has to be a funding cut down the road just for example,” said Coun. Cole. “If you could show us well okay we got paid for 20 hours but I’m actually working 40, I would be more apt not to cut your funding, you know what I mean?”
Cole recommended a tiny log of all her times outside of office hours including the ‘Flex Friday’ which she happily agreed to.
Mayor Fehr also recommended she keep track of the headcount of people who actually attended any of the events they host as well as the dollar figure for that program for budget purposes.
CAO White brought up an idea to have a few of the organizations in town that put on events to come together and coordinate on times, dates, topics, et cetera in an effort to avoid overlap between them. FCSS would coordinate this meeting.
Council accepted the presentation as information.
Red Deer/Lacombe Rural Crime Watch
The village had been looking for ways to get involved with the local Red Deer/Lacombe Rural Crime Watch group.
Through consultation with crime watch board members, it was determined the village may be named an honorary member.
Council made a resolution in support of the Red Deer Lacombe Rural Crime Watch, recognizing the current 500 members from both counties who belong to the organization.
Alix residents are encouraged to join the organization in an effort to protect the area and the people and the belongings in it.
Fire Chief selection process confirmed
During the last council meeting, council instructed administration to create a draft policy for the selection process of the fire chief.
In order to prevent the current Lacombe County fire chief from recreating an entirely new manual that all seven other parties would have to review over a month-long period, Alix council decided to move forward with a policy that is specific only to Alix and the county department.
At the last council meeting, Alix Fire Department Fire Chief Darren Hiron was concerned with the level of control the village and county would have over the decision making of the new fire chief as they would essentially choose the person they see fit first by interview before sending a name for election within the fire hall.
A compromise was made to create a draft policy that would allow someone from the local fire department to sit on the board alongside the village and county.
Council approved the policy.