Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Dwight Dibben brought forward some information about the Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST) grant provided by the provincial government to offset the lack of income raised due to COVID-19.
The Village of Forestburg received $93,602 to put towards whatever they feel is needed during this time.
CAO Dibben shared at the regular meeting on Wed. Jan. 6 that a few village-owned facilities like the arena and pool had been spoken to about using these funds to help with their operations.
The senior administrator asked council if they would like to continue following this path as administration didn’t want to get too far ahead of themselves without council’s consent.
Council directed administration to create a list of all community groups, societies, nonprofits and facilities including the broader prospect of Valley Ski Hill.
CAO Dibben shared that the funds they received will cover everyone they have identified so far with a little change to spare for village office expenses on top.
This list will be presented at the next council meeting with accompanying amounts for each group.
Meeting dates switched
With the new CAO officially in place, council chose to move their meetings back to Thursday nights.
Council meetings are held every first and third Thursday of the month beginning at 7 p.m.
Locations may vary due to the virus and restrictions put in place but are mostly at the village office or across the street at the Professional Building.
The reason meetings were moved to Wednesdays for a time was to help the interim CAO out with scheduling.
Councillors also agreed Thursdays were the better choice within each of their own schedules as some had other meetings on Wednesdays or personal/work matters to attend to.
Community update pamphlet
Council reviewed the annual community update for a second time.
Only a few tiny corrections were made including the removal of the COVID-19 section and adding an updated image of the community hall with its recent renovations completed in 2020.
Administration will bring the update back with the corrections made before council will approve it for distribution.
Natural Gas strategy
Mayor Blaise Young spoke to the natural gas vision and strategy topic he brought forward as a last minute agenda item.
The village owns a natural gas pipeline known as the Highway 36 pipeline.
This particular line now has two companies (Phoenix Gas and ATCO Gas) interested in purchasing the line and restoring it.
Mayor Young asked council if the companies could come to council to present and see where each other stands on the subject.
He suggested they talk to the economic development committee about a strategy component to ensure the village is ready to handle a possible transaction and hand-off for this infrastructure.
Mayor Young also found a ‘quiet’ announcement from the provincial government made in September about evaluating and revitalizing old lines such as the one the village owns.
A section within the announcement stated that the government would assess current ageing infrastructure to determine its condition so Mayor Young thought that there could be money for communities identified including rural, indigenous and remote areas which they fall under.
“If there is a program maybe that covers money to upgrade and inspect [the line] we should look for that money which would help us considerably,” said Young.
No follow-up communications have been dispersed since then but the mayor was keen to see if the program was still functioning so they could access the funds for their pipeline.
Policy manual review
CAO Dibben and other administration ‘took a deep dive’ into the policy manual for the village, finding a number of policies out of date when compared to their review schedules.
The Cemetery policy, in particular, was pointed out as well as some ‘delinquent ones’ that have not been reviewed since 2015 or 2016.
Reviews will begin at the next meeting for council to see and adjust as needed.
One issue CAO Dibben came across was the rule that administration cannot fix simple spelling errors without council review, so the next meeting will also have that readjusted as well.