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  • Caylie Gnyra

April 16 Town Council

Updated: Apr 25

Following the adoption of the agenda and the previous minutes that opened the Town Council’s regular meeting on April 16, Chris Down from Travel Alberta spoke to the Council about tourism-related challenges and opportunities for the region. Councillor Robert Pulyk said that Vermilion has been described by visitors as “Canmore without the mountains,” which is a very positive reflection of the experiences visitors are having here.

Director of Finance and Administration Brian Leibel recommended that the Council give Bylaw 2.2024 - Trunk Line Borrowing Bylaw second and third readings. The proposed bylaw permits the Town of Vermilion to take on a $1.4 million debt to cover the Sanitary Trunk Main Replacement. Council discussed applying for grants, but the Administration confirmed that they had sought but not found grants that the project would be eligible for. Council emphasized the need for the sanitary trunk main replacement to get done to develop the North Brennan neighbourhood, which is necessary for housing development. Interest rates will not be confirmed until after the bylaw is approved.

The issue was heavily debated. Councillor Pulyk noted that delays to funding could risk storm overspill that could flood neighbourhoods along the line. Councillor Joshua Rayment moved to postpone the second reading, to give time for the Administration to come back to Council with details on potential delay costs. Mayor Greg Throndson emphasized that applying for grants could save the next 25 years of taxpayers a substantial amount in interest and supported postponing the reading. After further discussion, Councillor Rayment rescinded his motion. The original motion to approve the second reading was carried. Council then moved for the Administration to bring information forward to understand the construction and engineering costs before the third reading at the next meeting, as well as correspondence with the provincial government about whether the Town does or does not qualify for grants for this project. The motion was carried.

Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Lucas spoke on Bylaw 3.2024 - Remote Attendance Bylaw, outlining the changes and clarifications to the bylaw since the second reading. Council’s motion to approve the third reading of the bylaw was carried.

Leibel recommended that Council give first reading to Bylaw 5.2024 – Tax Rate Bylaw, which authorizes several rates of taxation to be levied against assessable property for the 2024 tax year. Council approved the first, second, and third readings of the bylaw.

No public commentary or correspondence was presented at this meeting.

Leibel recommended an amendment to the 2024 Capital Budget to change the funding source of the Sewer Treatment Demolition budget to the Local Government Fiscal Framework (LGFF) grant funded from debt. Council approved this amendment.

Director of Community Services Mike van der Torre provided background on the scoring of the quotes on the one-ton tilt deck truck sought by Council. Administration is proceeding with the purchase of a 2024 Ford F-550 Chassis 4x4 SD Crew Cab 179” WB DRW XL from Metro Ford Sales Ltd. in Calgary. This non-local sale is governed by the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA). The truck meets all of the requirements of the Town and provides the overall best value. The unit will come with an 8’ hydraulic flat deck with toolboxes, backup camera, beacon light, command start package, and the diesel upgrade for a purchase price of $112,223 excluding GST. The delivery of the new unit is approximately August 2024.

Mayor Throndson argued passionately that Council must find a way to support the local businesses that have supported our community for generations. “I am blown away and I want the public to know that I am adamantly against this decision to purchase this truck from Calgary… This is so wrong. These businesses support us every day and support our kids and grandkids. I think we’ve made a big mistake here. Bad mistake… It is wrong to be spending money in Calgary that does not support this town. Completely wrong.” Mayor Throndson recommended reopening the RFP. Councillors countered that they have done the best they can following the provincial and national regulations that govern municipal decision-making.

CAO Kevin Lucas provided background on the Alberta Disability Workers Association, and Mayor Throndson proclaimed May 20–26 to be Alberta Disability Services Professional Appreciation Week.

The Economic Development Committee recommended that Council update the price of the Town’s commercial land to $130,000 per acre excluding GST from $350,000 per acre. Council voted with the amendment of no additional incentives. The motion was carried.

Councillor Pulyk spoke about the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance’s (NSWA) nomination to their board of directors, and asked for Council’s formal support in his nomination to the board, as well as covering mileage and meals. He noted that the directors do not receive any remuneration for their involvement. Councillor Pulyk emphasized that the Vermilion River is part of the North Saskatchewan Watershed, and noted his involvement on the Sustainability and Environment Committee. Council voted to support Councillor Pulyk’s nomination to the NSWA’s board of directors but voted against providing remuneration for attending these meetings.

CAO Lucas highlighted completing the town’s Annual Disaster Management review, completing training for Director of Emergency Management (DEM) as required by the Province of Alberta, and his participation in an afternoon information session on potential changes to Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF) requirements in the Municipal Government Act. Council asked to be updated on emergency management planning.

Director of Community Services Mike van der Torre spoke briefly about the leak in one of the filter intakes in the bottom of the pool at Lakeland College, resulting in the pool having to be drained.

Mike van der Torre addressed the fire-damaged garbage truck in the Director of Infrastructure and Planning Services report, and said the truck should be repaired and returned within 4–6 weeks.

Director of Corporate Services Brian Leibel reminded citizens to pay utility bills 3–5 days in advance of deadlines so funds are received in time.

Council congratulated Manager Economic Development Mary Lee Prior on receiving the Gerry Gabinet Mentorship Award for economic development.

Accounts payable for the period of April 3–16, 2024 totalled $393,001.69.

Councillor Kirby Whitlock extended his sincere gratitude to the volunteers in this community, noting, in particular, the teams seen out recently picking garbage. He also highlighted the then-upcoming Rotary Garage Sale, saying “We’ve got so many good treasures in there. Without all of your support and your treasures, we wouldn’t have such a great sale, and we are able to do all these things in the community because of you.”

Councillor Pulyk noted that he will be updated by the Minister of Environment about the upcoming drought situation.

Councillor Conlon reported that he will be working with his employer to attend more Council meetings in person.

Deputy Mayor Kevin Martin also highlighted the Rotary Garage Sale, saying, “It will be almost like Vermilion Fair coming through the gates there.”

Councillor Robert Snow extended gratitude to emergency dispatchers and expressed being pleasantly surprised at the quality of students’ performances when judging elementary students’ public speaking recently.

Mayor Greg Throndson highlighted the Town’s relationship with Lakeland College, saying, “We have such a great partnership with the college. We make them look really good and they make us look really good.” In the coming days, he will be attending the Public Risk Conference. He reminded citizens that children are out enjoying the spring weather, so be sure to remain attentive to school zone and residential neighbourhood speed limits. “Other than that, enjoy Vermilion,” he said. “Things are going great in the town of Vermilion.”

Council moved to write the Office of Red Tape Reduction to discuss the issues they have been experiencing over the past three years regarding the removal of municipal school reserve designation and to copy the premier and Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Garth Rowswell in the correspondence.

The public portion of the meeting concluded at 9:21 p.m.


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