County council will be embarking on a multi-community series of public consultations in the next 12 months and are kicking off the project with a meeting in Erskine on Dec. 3.
The meeting will be held at the IOOF hall starting at 7 p.m.
The time and date was solidified at the Nov. 12 county council meeting, explained Niki Thorsteinsson, public relations officer with the county.
“The current council has been in office for a year now and want to touch base with the public,” she said. “It’s a good chance to speak one-on-one with your councillors and for councillors to hear issues and answer questions.”
Shelter belt program starts second year
For the second year in a row, the county is selling saplings through its shelter belt program. People who want to buy trees for their property can order them through the county and have them delivered in the spring, taking advantage of the county’s ability to order in bulk at a better price.
The program, instituted by Quinton Beaumont, the director of agricultural services, was put in place after the province discontinued a similar program.
Kenneth Favrholdt and Forrest Hagen of Donalda made a presentation to council about the benefits of archeological artifact assessments.
The assessment catalogues archeologically relevant sites in a community, which allows the community to take appropriate actions with the property, such as preservation or tourism.
According to the two men, Stettler County is one of the rare communities not to have an assessment completed, and they noted that with the assessment complete, the county may be able to apply for funding opportunities from the government to develop relevant sites, such as the badlands coulees that extend north from the Drumheller area to about Meeting Creek in Camrose County.
The council thanked both gentlemen for the presentation, sending the information back to staff to consider.
Fire and Rescue over budget in purchase
The weak Canadian dollar saw a roughly $14,000 increase in the purchase cost of new air packs for Stettler Regional Fire and Rescue. As with the proposal to the Town of Stettler, the fire department said they could decrease the purchase by two units, which would cover the overage, or take money from other parts of the budget.
Council decided in the end to let the department take money from another part of their budget to cover the cost overrun.
Supporting Buffalo Lake’s shoreline
Representatives from Scenic Sands appeared before council to ask for the county’s support in its application to the Alberta Resiliency Program.
The application is seeking money to help repair a breakwater berm in Buffalo Lake that helps prevent wave-caused shoreline erosion, it was explained. The waves, however, have cut into the breakwater itself, causing it to need repair.
Council was in support of the idea, but in the end agreed to offer support only if it was for all lakeshore communities, not just Scenic Sands, as it could not favour one community over the other.
Property auction coming up
The County will be auctioning off properties on Dec. 3 between 1-4 p.m.
The properties were seized after repeat nonpayment of taxes despite all appropriate attempts to recover the money, explained Thorsteinsson.
The process includes personal letters and public notices in the newspaper. According to Thorsteinsson, notice in the paper had at least one property owner pay up past taxes, decreasing the number of properties up for sale at the auction by one.