With the next municipal elections scheduled for October, municipalities are adapting to the long nomination period brought in by the provincial government this year.
At their regular meeting Feb. 17 the Village of Alix decided it will post at the village office the names of those who are running for council seats in 2021.
The meeting was conducted through Zoom to meet pandemic rules.
Councillors read a report from village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White that one major change to the Local Authorities Election Act, the large boost to the nomination period, means people can announce their candidacy beginning Jan. 1, rather than just one month prior to the election.
She noted the provincial government requires the village to publicly post nominees within 48 hours of the close of nominations.
White suggested posting the nominations at the village office as soon as possible so citizens know who put their name forward.
She pointed out with the pandemic, some people may not want to come into the office to look at nominations, and this way they can see the names from outside.
Councillors approved posting council nominations publicly as soon as they come in.
Mayor Rob Fehr reported on a recent arena committee meeting by noting the Alix arena remains open for use while many others in the region have already removed their skating ice for the season due to COVID-19 restrictions.
He stated, as far as he knows, Alix arena is one of the only ones still open for ice rentals.
The mayor stated it appears the strategy is paying off as groups are coming to Alix to rent the ice.
CAO White stated she also heard the ice rentals are going well, as people have been calling the village office for information on renting the arena.
Councillors discussed the possibility of holding in-person council meetings rather than Zoom ones.
White stated she got two different stories when investigating this.
The health inspector stated it was okay to meet in the community hall but Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw told municipalities in a conference call that it’s not allowed.
Mayor Fehr stated he predicted council would only have to use Zoom one or two more times before going back to in-person meetings.
Coun. Ed Cole stated going back to in-person meetings would show things are getting back to normal, but Mayor Fehr stated things are far from normal regardless.
Coun. Vicki Soltermann stated Zoom has its advantages, as anyone in Alix can attend a council meeting simply by turning on their computer.
Councillors read the report filed by security contractor Cyberus Services.
White noted that the report stated Cyberus had located a stolen vehicle in Alix.
Coun. Tim Besuijen stated he’s very happy with the security service. “I think this was a good idea for us to do this,” said Besuijen.
Big plan review
White stated she received a proposal from Parkland Community Planning Services (PCPS) to review the village’s Municipal Development Plan (MDP), and as White noted in her report the MDP dates back to 2009.
PCPS’ suggestion was linked to the provincial government’s 2017 review of the village operations.
The CAO noted the Municipal Government Act has undergone a number of changes since 2009 so a review to ensure compatibility is likely a good idea.
She estimated the project cost at about $20,000 and could take two years.
Mayor Fehr noted it sounds expensive but should be done because the MDP is a very important document and noted a serious development problem could cost the village a lot more than $20,000.
Councillors approved the review.
Councillors approved a motion to appoint CAO White as the Assessment Review Board clerk. The change was necessary as the village switched its assessment review board services to Lacombe County.
It was noted that the work will be included as part of White’s regular pay and work schedule.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter