County of Wetaskiwin discusses First Nations consultation group

County of Wetaskiwin discusses First Nations consultation group

Council ponders list of Chamber of Commerce events in 2018

The County of Wetaskiwin council looked at a list of upcoming events, decided to send a staff member to an indigenous relations meeting and much more at their regular meeting Apr. 17.

Upcoming events

Staff provided councilors with a list of sponsorship requests for upcoming Wetaskiwin chamber of Commerce events.

The list included: January Chamber Luncheon – Angus Watt $1,000, February National AG Day $500, February Chamber Luncheon $1,000, March Chamber Luncheon $1,000, April Chamber Luncheon $1,000, May State of the City, County and Millet Joint Address $1,000, June Chamber Luncheon $1,000, September Annual Meet in the Millet Luncheon $1,000, October Small Business Week Luncheon Panel $1,000, November Entrepreneurship Luncheon $1,000 and December Business Mixer $500.

Councilor Lyle Seely noted he doesn’t get to as many of these as he’d like; he wanted to ensure the County of Wetaskiwin is recognized for its sponsorship. CAO Rod Hawken said all sponsors are officially recognized. Councilors approved the sponsorships.

Indigenous relations

Councilors were briefed on the upcoming fourth round of discussions for the province’s 2013 First Nations Consultation Policy and 2015 Métis Settlements Consultation Policy on Land and Natural Resource Management, including the Enhance Consultation Capacity Initiative.

An agenda memo stated, “At the upcoming meeting will be a discussion on the outcomes of the third round of technical engagements, as well as proposed policy ideas that could potentially be incorporated into renewed First Nations and Métis Settlements consultation policies. In addition IR intends to develop draft renewed First Nations and Métis Settlements consultation policies shortly after this meeting. As a result, it is important that you attend this meeting to provide your company’s or municipality’s perspectives on IR’s proposed ideas for improving Alberta’s Indigenous consultation processes.”

Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers noted that, despite the group being called “First Nations Consultation,” that at some previous meetings there were no indigenous people present at all. “That’s strange,” said Rooyakkers.

Councilors agreed CAO Hawken would attend the Edmonton meeting and report back to council.

Protective Services

Assistant CAO Jeff Chipley submitted his regular Protective Services report. Councilor Josh Bishop stated he would like to see community peace officers get to every residential subdivision on a regular basis.

Chipley responded, with four CPO’s and one bylaw officer, the department tries to get to every part of the county every month.

Councilor Lyle Seely noted the monthly report listed one “unsightly premises” issue. Chipley responded that one is newly received, and officers are working on about 10 such issues right now. It’s handled on a complaint basis.

Rooyakkers also noted the high number of dog issues that the department deals with.

Award nominations

Hawken noted in the agenda the province is accepting nominations for seniors who volunteer but the nomination window was only 13 days. “On April 10th, 2018, correspondence was received from the Government of Alberta Ministry of Seniors for the County to consider nominating a Senior(s) to receive the 2018 Minister’s Seniors Service Awards. Nominating an individual(s) will require Council involvement to complete the nomination application.

“The Minister’s Seniors Service Awards recognize Albertans who volunteer their time to make a difference in the lives of seniors. The nomination deadline is April 23rd, 2018. A Nomination Review Committee, appointed by the Minister of Seniors, will review the submissions based on established criteria and (certain) criteria.”

Rooyakkers said it’s food for thought because there are many deserving volunteers in this area. “We do have a lot of outstanding people,” said the reeve. Councilors accepted the letter for information.

Red Deer snub?

Councilors discussed a provincial government response to concerns the City of Red Deer had about what they perceived as inadequate new funding for their regional hospital.

An agenda memo stated, “At the Council General meeting held August 15th, 2017 Council discussed a letter received from the City of Red Deer seeking support in canvassing the Provincial Government to prioritize expanding hospital services in the Red Deer region.” The memo summarized Health Minister Sarah Hoffman’s response: “The Province’s goal is to work with communities, through AHS Central Zone planning, to design and deliver together a health system that makes the best use of our acute care resources and improve access to community-based care services.”

Councilor Van de Kraats said it was sad to see as the Red Deer facility is a major hospital in the region and added that, if the county gets a chance, more pressure should put on the provincial government to increase Red Deer Regional Hospital’s resources.

Rooyakkers noted the average wait time at RDRH’s emergency room is six to seven hours. She said for County of Wetaskiwin residents, many major health concerns are forwarded to RDRH.

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca