Council Notes From All Over

CITY OF LEDUC COUNTY
Lorna Lowe

    Council was called to order at 7:02 pm with Councillor Smith and Mayor Krischke absent.
    There were no changes to the agenda, and two public commentaries.
Public Commentary #1:             Mrs. Diane Maneschyn, grandmother to Daniel McPherson, the young man who was killed by a train behind the City's Emergency Services Building almost exactly one year ago, came before Council asking for an update from Council on what, if anything, was happening with her request to install a pedestrian crossing behind No Frills. 
    She stated that it was frustrating to not have heard anything after almost a year. Mrs. Maneschyn quoted statistics that showed Southpark, the residential area to the east of the tracks behind No Frills, has the highest concentration of school aged kids anywhere in Leduc, with 395 young people of school age living in this area. 
    She said that she felt it was just a matter of time until she hears of another tragedy occurring along the tracks, especially once the skatepark opens up again. 
    Mrs. Maneschyn then inquired as to whether Council had also spoken with Alberta Transportation in an effort to speed up the process, as she understood that CP Rail was not moving quickly on this. She finished her presentations with the statement that it is our City, our kids, and it's a personal issue here. 
    Councillor Lazowski commiserated with Mrs. Maneschyn on her loss, but said that unfortunately there was nothing that the City could do to speed up the process with CP Rail. He stated that some things were put into motion last year but he was not able to speak on the specifics at the moment.
    City Manager, Paul Benedetto, averred that the City concurred whole heartedly with Mrs. Maneschyn's frustration with the length of the process. He also could not comment on any conversations the City has had with Alberta Transportation but said that the primary talks about this issue are with CP Rail.  
    Councillor Mishio assured Mrs. Maneschyn that this was an issue that was not "getting lost" in the shuffle, and commended her for continuing to keep it in the public eye and also before Council. 
    Councillor Lazowski asked administration to establish more frequent contact with Mrs. Maneschyn and keep her updated on any progress made. Mr. Benedetto said that he would be sure to make that happen.
Public Commentary #2:             Ms. Melanie Nesimiuk came before Council with two issues she wished to discuss. The first was to inform Council that she is on the committee that will be choosing the recipients of the 2012 Citizens of Distinction Awards, but she felt the nominating criteria was unfair to new residents of Leduc. One of the nominating criteria states that a nominee must have been a resident of Leduc for at least three years prior to being nominated. Ms. Nesimiuk stated that she was not speaking about herself, but there were newer people in the city that have significantly contributed toward making Leduc the wonderful community that it is. So she would like to see the three years of residence criteria removed. 
    Councillor Finstad responded that there were a great many people within Leduc who have lived here for a very long time, putting in years of service to the community, who have yet to be honoured. Almost a backlog of potential honourees if you will, that he feels should not be overlooked. He then made the suggestion that maybe a new category could be created to honour new residents of the City. Ms. Nesimiuk appeared to approve of that suggestion.
    The second issue Ms. Nesimiuk raised with Council was to state that some residents within the communities of Southfork, Suntree, and Bridgeport had held some discussions about wanting "a seat at the table" with the City during discussions regarding the planning and development of new neighbourhoods. She used several examples of how Edmonton dealt with community leagues in their planning processes and asked why Leduc did not do the same.
    Councillor Lazowksi responded that the City makes every effort in their planning process to be transparent and involve the public via open houses and information evenings. However, in spite of the fact that this is something the City strives to do, quite often people do not show up.
    City Manager Paul Benedetto also explained to Ms. Nesimiuk that certain constraints were set in place by legislation as to how public input was allowed in regard to development issues. He also stated that he would be pleased to meet with Ms. Nesimiuk for continued discussions on this issue. Ms. Nesimiuk seemed content with the answers she received from Council and administration.
Land Use Bylaw - First Reading: 
    Leduc's Land Use Bylaw had not been updated since 2002 and this process has been in the works for over a year now. This was also the first for a municipal government in that it was a partnership with Fort Saskatchewan for information and cost sharing purposes. 
    Due to the fast growth and changes within the City of Leduc, administration had made several substantial changes to the LUB, including changes to the Business License Bylaw, types of land uses in different areas of the City, the addition of mixed use districts, and the creation of residential shallow lot districts. 
    Council unanimously passed the First Reading of the LUB.
Redistricting Part Of The East 1/2 Of NW-36-49-25-W4 - First Reading: 
    This Redistricting would change 32.3 hectares of land along 65 Ave. east of 43 St. from Agricultural-Urban Reserve to Light Industrial and Urban Utilities.
Council unanimously approved the Redistricting.
Amendment To Meadowview/Tribute ASP - First Reading: 
    Director of Planning and Development, Ken Woitt, informed Council that the proposed amendments were to incorporate some new values, design features, and minor changes to the roadways to make the planned community more walkable. Council unanimously approved the First Reading of these amendments.

    Council was adjourned at 8:16 pm with no in camera items. 

LEDUC COUNTY COUNCIL

Lorna Lowe

    Council was called to order at 1:33, with all Councillors present.
    The were no changes to the agenda and no public presentations.
Election Declaration:             Councillor Clay Stumph presented press with a press release announcing that he will be running for re-election in October.
Employee Introduction:              Jennifer Hourihan from FCSS came before Council to introduce their new Administrative Assistant Corrie Richer. Ms. Richer has been working with the Planning and Development department for the previous two months before moving over to FCSS. Prior to that Ms. Richer has also worked as a conveyancer in British Columbia.
Mayor At Large Plebiscite:     This previously deferred motion was brought back for discussion in Council at this meeting. 
    Councillor Kelto was the first Councillor to make a statement regarding this motion. She commented on how this was not the first time this issue was brought before Council,  and how there is a lot of concern in the west end of the county about this. She said that the west is a large area with a small population, and that the large electoral base in the east end could override the west's vote. Councillor Kelto then stated "It just makes sense in my world that we would follow the laws that stand. We need to carefully consider what the fallout could be, and who is really asking for this. It could be premature at this time."
    Councillor Glassman then made the comment of how she could empathize with Councillor Kelto's points, but that the County was growing, the issues are getting larger, and the time and efforts demanded of the Mayoral position are becoming bigger. She then commented that, "I can see how this could be needed in the future."  
    Councillor Schonewille joined in the conversation by stating "Personally, I like the way the situation is today but I do believe the people should have a say. I want to hear what my ratepayers want."
    Councillor Mackay broke into the discussion by pointing out that "This is not a question of if we will have a Mayor At Large, but rather if we give our ratepayers the opportunity to vote on it." 
    At that point the vote was called and Council defeated the motion with Councillors Glassman, Schonewille, and Mackay voting in favour.
    Electoral Divisional Boundaries: It was brought before Council to discuss the possibility of changing the electoral boundaries within Leduc County to more evenly spread the electoral base between Divisions.
    Councillor Mackay made a heated comment on this issue when she stated to Council, "All I have is sympathy for Division 1 voters as they are highly underrepresented, and the next person elected in this area will be running around with their head cut off. If you put Divisions 1 & 2 together we have 2/3 of the county's population. I definitely oppose this motion!"
    Councillor Glassman asked administration how often this issue was looked at, and was informed that Council could re-open it at any time, and it could be put into use as long as it was ratified 108 days prior to an election.
    Councillor Kelto motioned to have the boundaries remain the same and the motion was passed with Councillor Mackay opposed.
Public Hearing For Pt. SW-27-48-23-W4 (Darvin Vestby): 
    In November of 2012 the County received a complaint that the property at this address, which is zoned as agricultural, was being used as an overflow pipe storage yard. The County issued a Stop Order on November 21, 2012 and asked that all pipe and materials be removed from the property. On November 28, 2012 Mr. Vestby applied for the property to be rezoned as Direct Control. 
    Since then, the County had received 37 pieces of communication from area residents objecting to the Redistricting.
    Ms. Janice McKinney, a neighbour to the property, spoke to Council on behalf of all the area residents. She informed Council that she was very uncomfortable opposing a neighbour but she had the backing of the rest of the area residents, and felt it was necessary for the future of her family's property, as well as the integrity of the area. She went on to state that it was a farming/agricultural community and that the residents that live there did not choose to have the industrial noise and large truck traffic continually around their homes. She also cited several instances of traffic safety issues between school buses and semi trucks on the rural roads.
    The County had notified the applicant, but neither Mr. Vestby, nor a representative for him, was present at the Public Hearing on this afternoon.  
    Councillor Stumph motioned to deny the application for Direct Control and Council unanimously agreed.
Public Hearing For Hungarian Catholic Assoc. Application For Direct Control: 
    Representatives from the CHA were present for the Hearing and stated that they were comfortable with all of the guidelines set out by the County except one. This provision stated that the 68 sites currently on the property needed to be reduced to 15 to comply with the Pigeon Lake ASP. 
    After a lengthy discussion where both sides were amenable to all but this one issue, Councillor Harrison motioned to strike this condition from the DC document after Mayor Whaley pointed out that any improvements or additions to the property would have to come before Council for approval with a Direct Control property anyway. 
    Council then unanimously passed all three Readings to move the property into Direct Control, whereupon Council spontaneously broke into a round of applause for the completion of this issue which had been ongoing for many years.
Parks And Rec. Advisory Committee: 
    Ms. Christina Caskey was appointed for a two year term as the Warburg Representative on the PRAC.
Thorsby & Dist. Recreation Advisory Committee:     Mr. Randy Fischer, Ms. Laurie Abel, Mr. Aaron Baynes, and Ms. Tracy Musson were all appointed to the Thorsby & District RAC for a two year term.
Thorsby Recreation Cost Share Agreement: 
    The Director of Parks and Recreation for the County, Mr. Dean Ohnysty, came before Council with an amendment to the Thorsby RCSA. Due to revenues being significantly lower this year in the Thorsby arena the cost share came in slightly over budget. The County's portion would now be $107,906.00 for the final payment for 2011. Councillor Kelto motioned for approval of the payment and it was passed unanimously.
2012 Thorsby Ice Pant Repair: 
    The final bill for the Thorsby Ice Plant repairs was presented to Council and the County's portion came in at $122,822.00.
    Councillor Stumph was very unhappy with the fact that the list of repairs done was not very detailed. He felt it was inadequate and there should be a better accounting for the use of County dollars. He was informed by Dean Ohnysty that the Town had been asked for a more detailed accounting of repairs but the list placed before Council on this day was more than likely the most they were going to receive. 
    Councillor Mackay motioned to pay the bill as received and the motion passed unanimously.
    Council was adjourned at 4:13 with no in camera items.

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