County of Wetaskiwin Council – January 11th, 2011

  • Jan. 18, 2011 3:00 p.m.

Pipestone Flyer

Vol. 15 Issue 3, Leduc-Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer

Health and Safety Program fails internal audit

In October of 2010 the County of Wetaskiwin underwent an internal safety audit, conducted over the course of a month period, involving interviews with staff and review of program documentation such as inspections, hazard assessments, and incident investigations. The audit was based on the County’s Health and Safety Program Elements, developed through the Tri-County Health and Safety Program and the County of Wetaskiwin. In order to pass the audit an overall score of 80% had to be obtained, with no less than 50% being scored in any of the eight program elements.

Upon compilation of the results, the County failed the internal audit, receiving an overall score of 72%, with no less than 57% in any one element. The County’s tri-annual external audit is scheduled for 2011 and must be passed for the County to retain its Certificate of Recognition (COR). Management recognizes that changes must occur within the organization in order to ensure that the County can maintain its designation, and that the municipality remains a safe place for staff, contractors, and visitors to the area.

Effective December 13, 2010, Mr. Adam Tittemore accepted the position of Director of Emergency Services for the County of Wetaskiwin. This position will eventually take the place of the Fire Chief position, currently held by Mr. Ken Carlson who has formally announced his intentions to retire at the end of March 2011.

With the recent failure of the internal audit the County is taking full ownership of its Health and Safety Program, to be headed by the Director of Emergency Services position. The role of the Tri-County Health and Safety Officer is reduced to one of training, serious incident investigation, and as a legislative resource as required. By making these changes the County feels it is in a better position to address the issues identified in the audit. In moving forward to address the issues identified in the audit Administration has put together a Health and Safety Action Plan, designed to identify problem areas within each Health and Safety Element, the cause of the problems, and rectifying actions to solve the problems. Many of the issues within the current program are a result of confusion as to the roles and responsibilities of staff and management within the program, and lack of documentation. While in no way is the County operating in an overly unsafe manner, the motto in this case is “If its not written down it never happened”.

By following the recommendations of the Action Plan, and moving forward with the new Health and Safety structure the County will be able to continue its operations in a safe manner, maintaining all safety designations and the associated bonuses. Council accepted this report as information.

22nd Annual Rona MS Bike Tour

Keltie Tichkowsky, Bike Tour Manager, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada sent correspondence to the County advising them that the Society will be hosting their 22nd annual bike tour on June 11 and 12, 2011. Ms. Tichkowsky states this bike tour is the largest in Canada having raised a record-breaking $1.6 million dollars last year. 

The bike tour is conducted as a 2-day event. Day one begins at Ritchie Brothers Auction House in Nisku, heading south on Sparrow Drive, East on Township Road 402, south on S814, crossing Highway 13 to enter Wetaskiwin for lunch. Cyclists continue east on Highway 13 to finish day one at the Camrose Regional Exhibition Grounds.

All cycling on Day 2 takes place in the County of Camrose and Leduc County. The MS Society has forwarded details of the tour to the Counties of Leduc, Camrose, Cities of Leduc, Camrose, and Wetaskiwin, hospitals, fire departments and ambulance services. Wetaskiwin Rural, Leduc and Camrose RCMP have been notified of the event.

Community Police Radio Network Association (CPRN) and the Canadian Ski Patrol will assist with communications and safety.

County Council accepted this announcement as information.

Tax Arrears – Fair Sky Resources Inc. (LSD 8 SE-20-45-2-W5M)

Fair Sky Resources Inc. has owned linear property legally described as LSD 8 SE-20-45-2-W5M since 2007. It was only assessed in 2006 (2007 tax year) and 2007 (2008 tax year). At the end of 2008, the account became inactive and no tax levy was generated for 2009, or 2010.

The subject property tax account currently has an outstanding balance of $20,582.16. There has been no evidence of any property tax payments ever being made to the subject account.

In March 2008, paperwork was sent to Nor-Don for collection of tax arrears. On December 11, 2008 Nor-Don Collection Network faxed back correspondence confirming Fair Sky Resources Inc. was in receivership. Since receivership, Fair Sky Resources Inc. has sold their assets but did not receive enough funds to pay the bank back in full, therefore, were unable to pay back any of their secured creditors.

Since there are no additional option(s) to obtain recovery of tax arrears, Council, per authority provided with section 347 of the Municipal Government Act, cancel property tax arrears in the amount of $20,582.16 for property described as LSD 8 SE-20-45-2-W5M.

MSI Approval

Correspondence was received on December 20, 2010 from the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Hector Goudreau regarding a 2010 County of Wetaskiwin Municipal Sustainability Initiative capital funding application for amendments made to two local projects.

“I am pleased to inform you that the following projects have been accepted as qualifying projects under the capital funding guidelines. Your municipality may apply the following amounts of your MSI capital funding allocation to the qualifying costs of these projects:

  • Pigeon Lake Athletic Cultural and Ed. Society (amended) $49,591.00
  • Lone Ridge Community Hall Association (amended) $18,250.00.”

Use of County Owned Vehicles – Policy #1307

County rate payers have expressed concern that County employees could be perceived to be using a County vehicle for personal purposes at taxpayers’ expense.

Council authorizes the use of County vehicles for transportation from home to work on a daily basis for the following County employees; Director of Public Works, Assistant Director of Public Works, Public Works Maintenance Foreman – West End & East End, Beaver Trapper (seasonal employment), Utilities  Foreman, Special Projects Coordinator, County vehicles can not be used: To transport passengers, for a purpose unrelated to the conduct of County business. For family vacations, general shopping, movement of household goods, socializing or any other purpose which is clearly personal and unrelated to the delivery of County services.

Authorization may be permitted by the CAO or designate the use of a County vehicle for an employee to take home on a temporary basis, up to three (3) work days, to attend an early morning event of an employees next scheduled work day (i.e.: meeting, conference, training session, starting work earlier than normal working hours for emergent or special conditions where it would be advantageous to the County for the employee to leave directly from home to work, seminar or any other event deem to be applicable by the CAO.

If permission is granted, during non work hours, the County vehicle must never leave the personal residence of the employee to transport passengers or for purposes unrelated to the conduct of County business. For example family vacations, general shopping, movement of household goods, socializing or any other purpose which is clearly personal and unrelated to the delivery of County services.

Council approved the amendment to the “Use of County Owned Vehicles – Policy #1307” as presented.

The Honourable Hector Goudreau, Minister of Alberta Municipal Affairs regarding recent discussions about property rights and recent legislation.

On December 13th, 2010 a letter was received from the Honourable Hector Goudreau outlining clarification on three of these issues:

  • The Land Assembly Project Area Act clarifies how government acquires land for major long term transportation and water management projects like ring roads and reservoirs. Under this law, government must notify and consult landowners when their land is being considered as part of a project area. Government must also make a decision about the use of the land within two years after a plan is made public and enter into negotiations to purchase land as soon as a landowner within a project area chooses to sell.
  • The Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA) allows for the creation of regional plans that outline land use across the province. These plans may direct conservation of an exceptional environmental or ecological landscape or viewscape on private land, if doing so is deemed to be in the public interest Landowners retain title to their land if this happens and are entitled to compensation as set out in the ALSA.
  • The Electric Statutes Amendment Act , 2009, states that government is responsible for approving the need for critical transmission, just as it is responsible for ensuring other important infrastructure is in place, such as roads, schools and hospitals.  Landowners continue to have the right to have their concerns heard and have impacts mitigated to the extent possible. They also continue to have the right to receive fair compensation for transmission facilities located on their property.

Administration was instructed to draft a letter to present to Council in response to the Minister’s request for input. 

MRTA Grant Funding

Each year the County of Wetaskiwin submits applications to the Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks & Wildlife Foundation for a Municipal Recreation/Tourism Areas (MRTA) Operating Grant. The Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks & Wildlife Foundation receives an annual allocation from the Alberta Lottery Fund, as well as support from the private and corporate sectors.

The MRTA Operating Grant is applied for Battle Lake Park (in the amount of $4,000.00), Winfield Park ($2,000.00 to Winfield Pioneer Park, $2,000.00 to Winfield Agriplex) and Alder Flats Fish & Game (in the amount of $800.00).

Correspondence was received on December 29, 2010 from Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks & Wildlife announcing support to the Battle Lake Park and Winfield Park in the amount to $4,000.00 respectively under the 2010 Municipal Recreation/Tourism Area annual operating grant.

The County of Wetaskiwin is waiting for a confirmation of support for Alder Flats Fish & Game in the amount of $800.00, as there were a few questions on the application.

Copies of the support letters were provided for Council’s review. Council approved as information.