Village ‘in safe hands’ during emergencies

Written by Terri Huxley

Elnora village council welcomed Dave Brand, director of emergency management to council chambers Tues. Sept. 14.

Brand is also the Director of Community and Protective Services for Red Deer County but works closely with the municipalities within the county including Elnora.

He gave an update on what is happening at the local and regional level including a regional in-depth training simulation that will encompass the entire central Alberta region.

The village was in compliance with yearly requirements aside from four items.

The first relates to elected officials training in that councillors must have specific training for when emergency strikes.

Because the municipal election is coming on October 18, Brand understood this wouldn’t be fulfilled right away but asked to have this training completed within three months of when the new council is in place.

There may be an option for them to have this training done with Delburne as well for in-person training but time will tell.

The second item was staff training in that village administration needs to complete ISC 100 training within the first six months of them being hired to that position.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Sharon Wesgate has already completed this training but agreed a refresher is always a good thing.

Thirdly, it was suggested that each municipality has a re-entry plan or template. Brand shared that although the village doesn’t have this, neither do almost all 300 municipalities within the province, explaining there were only a handful that have this in place.

He added that Red Deer County is developing one that will hopefully be used by everyone in the future as a standard template.

Tying into the region, Brand hopes to host a regional functional exercise for central Alberta as each municipality is required to participate in one every four years.

A tabletop exercise does not count.

“We want to allow everyone to check that box plus have a really good experience,” he said.

He estimates that all 53 municipalities in the central region can participate at the same time to get this check mark ticked off the list.

The county is planning on having this in March of 2022 depending on pandemic restrictions.

Dep. Mayor Kerrilyn Mose recently undertook the required course for elected officials and shared that she felt “very underprepared as a representative of the community” stating how alarming the program can be.

Brand shared that this is done as a bit of a scare tactic to get people really thinking about possible disasters and what can be done about it.

He added that “Rest assured you are in good hands if something hopefully doesn’t go sideways” saying that they have a good response for Elnora and have ‘contingency plans upon contingency plans’ ready to go should the village experience an emergency disaster.

ATCO fees remain

Council, after recognition of hard times for residents including COVID-19 and lost revenue, has chosen to keep the franchise fees the same for ATCO gas and electric bills.

Annually, council has the opportunity to change these prices to a maximum of 20 per cent.

Elnora collects a 1.5 per cent distribution fee which amounts to an estimated $324,046 for the village general revenue based on amortization when it comes to electricity.

As for gas, the village has a percentage of 16 per cent which gives a revenue figure of $88,648 in 2020. In 2022, the energy company estimates a total revenue of $17,774.

It was brought to the Review’s attention for clarification that the revenue generated by the distribution fees in total is $324,046 and the estimated franchise fee collected by the Village of Elnora is $4,860. As stated, the municipal rate will remain at 1.5 per cent.

Window replacement

Three Hills Glass gave a quote of $750 for the same product as was quoted by Don’s Glass at $886. 

Council previously asked administration to speak with Three Hills Glass to ensure it was the same type of product being quoted.

With it now determined it is the same, the window has been ordered by Three Hills Glass and installation will be undertaken when received approximately six weeks from now.

Council also passed a motion to ratify Lisa Ferguson as the Library board’s newest volunteer member.

Audit quote

Gitzel & Company Chartered Professional Accountants sent in a proposal to lock in five years of auditing services with the company at $14,100 plus cost of living increase.

Council felt they should stick to a one year contract to allow the future council a chance to review.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.