Watercross event renewed

Council was tasked with approving the Western Canadian Watercross Association which was passed after discussion at their regular Wed. Feb. 6 meeting.

The annual event uses a large portion of Alix Lake in mid-July and has drawn many new faces to the area for a weekend away to use their water equipment for races and leisure.

This event has also received a complaint regarding a number of reasons including noise levels, potential loss of revenue, riparian health and environmental damage to the lake.

Event organizers were notified of the complaints and actively took steps to correct these concerns.

For this year, they have rerouted their course to remain away from the shoreline for bank stabilization and nesting areas for birds while using the water surface.

While Calgary and Edmonton bylaws state 96 decibels or greater is an “objectionable noise”, levels at the beach were monitored and recorded at an average of 77 decibels with the machines running.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White also mentioned that July was a particularly good month for the Village last year as the campground made $8,000 in deposits compared to $5,000 to $6,000 per month. Weather played a significant role in its success.

Any source of water whether it is a lake or river is considered crown land which is under federal jurisdiction, meaning the Village of Alix does not hold any control over activities on the lake.

Red Deer River Municipal Users Group contact Keith Rider reminded the CAO that they only control what is municipally owned.

“You’re essentially deciding whether or not this organization will have access to the municipally-owned land adjacent to the lake,” said CAO White.

Talks of regulations spurred as more details unfolded.

Councillors agreed to add in that the association and all of its members follow the Canadian Boating

Regulations like cleaning and drying their boat before accessing the lake as invasive species can travel and spread this way.

Mayor Rob Fehr felt the association is “reasonable to work with.”

Outstanding fees to taxes

Outstanding utility accounts have been transferred to taxes when they are 45 days past due.

All other accounts with outstanding amounts are transferred on Jan. 1 of the new year. Over the years, this procedure done by village staff has become part of the normal operations of the village.

CAO White brought this forward to formally put this practice into bylaw and to gain any feedback from how it is currently run.

The proposed bylaw gave timelines and other guidelines to help residents understand the procedure itself.

It also creates a clear statement of repercussions for not making timely payment.

The only issue Council raised was the legality of who was the actual homeowner as some homes are rented out.

Council made a resolution to have the taxes moved to the owner of the home rather than the tenant and to have transference owed on account onto taxes against the owner of real property.

Amendment to procedural bylaw

Many people have been confused when it comes to the terms “in-camera” and “out of camera” when it comes to council meetings.

As a way to alleviate this confusion, CAO White brought the procedural bylaw to the table where Council could review the terms.

Councillors and staff have been approached by residents before about the meaning.

They agreed to replace the term “in-camera” with “closed meeting” to help the public understand the agenda more thoroughly.

“Be confused no more,” said Mayor Fehr.

Any in-camera or closed meeting session is a time for Council, staff, and possibly other parties to talk about issues that may be harmful to one or more if discussed in the public eye.

The Municipal Government Act (MGA) allows specific reasons like personnel or land issues to be discussed behind closed doors.

Traffic Bylaw

A 20-year-old bylaw has come to the surface after two updates to the MGA among other items have prompted change.

There were minimal references to Recreation Vehicles, trailers, and heavy truck parking and some sections within the bylaw were in contradiction with the current land use bylaw making enforcement difficult.

The bylaw has been sent to Lacombe County Bylaw Enforcement to see if the fines associated and rules outlined can be enforced.

The definition of a Fire Lane was added instead of the use of ‘fire’ when it comes to covering emergency services.

A Buffer Strip is considered the space between two properties so Council felt it was important to add this in to add clarity to the definition.

This bylaw will be brought back for review at a later council meeting after councillors gather input from residents on how they feel about the possible amendments.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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