As of October 2017, municipalities are expected to develop a Public Participation Policy. The town of Hardisty does have a Citizen Engagement Policy but are working on revising it to meet the requirements set out in the amended Municipal Government Act.
At the May 22 council meeting Kristie Buelow, the summer works assistant for the town of Hardisty provided council with a thorough power point presentation reviewing Hardisty’s existing policy and showing council what her research indicated should be in the new policy and some examples of what other communities were doing.
The councillors were very appreciative of the work she put forward in providing them with information.
The policy is to be available to the public and must identify how, when, where, why and what the public will be notified about when participation is requested.
Newspapers, social media, emails, town websites, bulletin board posts, fliers and public open houses are some of the ways the public can be informed when new programs are being introduced, existing policies are being revised and council priorities are being identified.
Social media is a newly added approved form of communication.
An open house in June for the public to discuss the policy further and inform council on what they feel is important to be notified about and what is the best way they like to receive the information.
The council will be available to discuss a variety of topics at this time.
Library well utilized
Ricci Matthews, board chair of the Hardisty and District Public Library, Billi-Jo Wildeboer Library Manager and Belva Dosdall auditor for the library attended the council meeting to present the council with a detailed look at the 2017 library statistics and their goals and plans for the year ahead and to discuss ways the library can find more efficiencies in their operating costs.
In 2017 there were 5,750 visitors, 1,502 online visitors, 366 people of all ages participated in 15 hands-on programs and 242 members borrowed 3,089 books, DVD’s, audiobooks and eBooks from the library.
Library staff answered 210 questions and added 463 new items to the system which include bestselling books, audiobooks, blockbuster movies and binge worthy TV series.
The library has Wifi available 365 days of the year and on average there are 25 free Wifi sessions a day with the computers being used for school assignments, job hunting, entertainment and research.
“It is a lot more than just books,” stated Ricci Matthews when describing all what the library provides the community.
Children come to the library afterschool to interact, read and use the computers in a safe environment. Computer courses, iPhone courses, and horticultural talks have been recently offered, a job board has been posted and a Spanish course is being considered soon.
The library is very important to the many temporary oilfield workers who come to work in Hardisty and don’t have offices. They often access the libraries photocopying machine, computers and fax machine to complete business and required courses.
In an effort to help the library with cost saving measures council has agreed to set the library up with Voice Over Internet Protocol phone system (VOIP).
The town will give the library a new phone to hook into their internet connection and the phone and fax number will stay the same. This will significantly reduce the monthly phone bill.
Capital expenditures have been approved for the 2018 year. Projects that have been started and others to begin soon are a Traffic Impact Assessment, Storm Water Master Plan, Offsite Levy Bylaw Development, Waterline Extension 48th Ave. between 50th Street and 51st Street (arena), Water Treatment Plant Electrical and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Upgrade and Gibson Energy Center-Dressing Room Upgrade—Project Mgr. Fee.