Special Areas Advisory Council held their first fall council meeting under the provincial Restrictions Exemption Program from Dec. 1-3 in Hanna.
Advisory Council recommended Daryl Swenson and Doug Noble be appointed for additional terms to the Special Areas Board.
Ric McIver, Minister of Municipal Affairs attended and shared his insight into some of the challenges Special Areas is facing.
Minister McIver highlighted how highly he values feedback from council and shared how positively Special Areas is regarded in relation to partnerships with other municipalities and agencies.
The Minister appreciated Special Areas for the work on transitioning Cereal into the Special Areas over the past year.
Minister McIver presented John Armstrong, Community Peace Officer, with the Alberta Police Long Service Recognition Medal, and congratulated him for his service to the people of the Special Areas.
The extreme dry conditions continuing throughout the region were discussed, along with the impacts these conditions may have on the upcoming grazing season.
Council welcomed Nolan Ball, Rangeland Agrologist, to the meeting to provide an update on the supports being provided to producers.
A draft policy for a proposed Tax Recovery Land Sale was reviewed, with administration highlighting some key policy differences from prior sales.
Council discussed how this policy would support the stability and security of agricultural producers in the region.
The group noted how important it is to get feedback from Special Areas residents on the draft policy.
Administration confirmed public engagement will be planned in the new year once details of the draft policy are finalized.
The Cereal transition team updated council on their work and brought forward information on community facilities in the hamlet.
Council recognized how important it is to have a sustainable community facility which will be led by community members using funding provided through the Special Areas recreation grant program.
The group reviewed recommendations on community facilities, with more information about future use expected in the new year.
Council reviewed the proposed 2022 budget and discussed the impacts supply chain challenges are creating.
Municipal partnerships, including industrial tax transfers and recreation funding, were highlighted as critical supports to communities in the region.
The proposed 2022 road program was recommended to be taken out to road committees.
This plan will be finalized based on input from local road committees and brought back for approval at the Spring 2022 Advisory Council meeting.
The Special Areas Board meets bi-monthly throughout the Special Areas.