City FCSS offers help for seniors doing tax returns

City of Wetaskiwin council heard about the annual popularity of many city facilities and programs being offered...

Wetaskiwin city hall

City of Wetaskiwin council heard about the annual popularity of many city facilities and programs being offered or organized by the municipal Community Services Department. Department manager Kevin Lucas submitted the report for council’s consideration.

Lucas’ report summarized many recreation facility numbers for the previous year. It stated Manluk Centre usage from January to December, 2016 included 5,499 total memberships, 48,161 total membership uses, 58,775 non-member day passes and 2,522 program participations.

The report also noted the use of arena 1 and 2 from January to December, 2016 was totaled at 4,660 hrs. The ball diamonds usage for the same time period was 2,045 hours.

Lucas also noted the cross country ski trails are set at Montgomery Glens Golf course, the ski skate track is groomed on the track around Norm Brown field and the inaugural Festival of Trees at the Manluk Centre was a huge success with 11 trees entered.

“Customer appreciation week is approaching at the Manluk Centre January 16-21,” stated Lucas in his report. “Lots of fun and games happening all week long, including a movie night in the pool.”

During the meeting, Lucas was asked how the cross-country ski trails can be accessed. He said users park in the golf course parking lot, and the access is from there. Typically, the trails are open during daylight hours and no pets are allowed on the trails.

Councilor Tyler Gandam asked if snowshoeing was allowed on the golf course. Lucas confirmed it is allowed.

He also mentioned a few ongoing projects in his report. “All capital projects have been satisfied with the exception of the Memorial Centre roof and drink service area,” stated Lucas in his report.

“Final roof work has been staged for completion by Knights Roofing when the winter weather breaks. Drink service area is being completed locally (Berron Builders) in conjunction with city facilities crew.”

FCSS report

Lucas’ report also included two monthly summaries of the city FCSS department, written by manager Linda Mueller.

Her November monthly reported stated, “the Volunteer Income Tax Program provides support to individuals living with low income. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has clearly defined eligibility criteria for anyone wanting to participate in this program and provides training for all volunteers that want to prepare simple income tax forms for eligible individuals.

“Volunteer recruiting has begun and the training for volunteers is scheduled for December.”

Councilor Bert Horvey asked how seniors can access the tax help program; Lucas said just call the FCSS office at 780-361-4425 to get the ball rolling.

She also toured Neighbors Outreach, a non-profit organization in Wetaskiwin that is facilitated by volunteers who provide lunch from 10:30 to 1:30 p.m. Monday to Friday to those in need. Mueller also met with senior volunteers who are beginning to plan and organize the Seniors Wellness Conference for 2017 and began contacting presenters for the upcoming conference. The conference will be held in Millet.

Her December report noted the office received an announcement from the FCSS Association of Alberta stating that the Wetaskiwin Early Years Coalition submitted a successful grant application, and will receive funding to continue their programs in 2017. FCSS supports the Early Years project in Wetaskiwin.

Mueller also stated the Community Solutions committee met to discuss and respond to social needs in the city.

The report also listed some highlights in Community Development programs: the Secret Santa committee planned their campaign for 2016. Approximately 154 hampers were applied for through the Salvation Army food bank. Hampers were delivered by 41 volunteer drivers on the evening of December 20. The department collected names and addresses for people needing rides to annual Good Cheer dinner. 15 people were picked up and taken to the dinner.

The report closed with a summary of the Aboriginal Youth Leadership coordinator summary report. Organizers held the first information meeting at the Manluk Centre for the Aboriginal Youth Leadership Group on October 5. The coordinator went to Wetaskiwin Composite High School, Sacred Heart Elementary and Clear Vista School to hand out information about the next group meeting. Met with the aboriginal liaisons at the schools as well. Attended a meeting with Heather McTaggart from Classroom Connections and discussed the work being done with high risk Aboriginal youth in the Maskwacis area.

Councilor June Boyda asked if the aboriginal youth program is exclusively aboriginal. Lucas answered no, anyone is welcome to participate, but the program is geared towards native youth living off the reserve.

Councilors accepted the reports for information.