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  • Caylie Gnyra

May 21 Town Council


The regularly scheduled Vermilion Town Council meeting on May 21 opened with Interim Chief Administrative Officer Mike van der Torre recommending to Council to give second and third readings to the 4.2024 Urban Laying Hens Bylaw. Council discussed concerns from citizens, such as the ratio of 1 out of every 100 people being able to keep chickens, and defeated the motion to approve the second reading. They voted instead to ask Administration about increasing the ratio of hen licenses and decreasing the cost per license, which is currently set at $28 per hen.

Sgt. Corey Buckingham then provided his report on behalf of the Vermilion RCMP detachment, outlining the ways they had been reaching their goals. He explained that property crimes have been trending downwards; however, persons crimes, such as assaults, uttering threats, and harassment, are trending upward. He also discussed incoming personnel.

There was no public commentary at this meeting. Interim CAO van der Torre recommended that Council proclaim June 3–9, 2024 as Seniors’ Week. Council voted in favour and Deputy Mayor Kevin Martin proclaimed the week as Seniors’ Week, recognizing the many contributions seniors have made to our community.

Manager Economic Development Mary Lee Prior provided an update to Council on a pylon sign to be designed and installed at Junction Sixteen 41. As part of the 2024 capital budget, the purchase of a new pylon sign was included as long as grant funding could be obtained for up to half of the cost of the pylon sign. Earlier this year Economic Development applied to the Northern and Regional Economic Development (NRED) Program for grant funding and was successfully awarded $56,400. The funds have been received. The Town then sent out an RFP (request for proposals), to which four companies responded.

After scoring the entries according to predetermined criteria, the winning score belonged to City Image. The proposed sign meets all the requirements requested and installation will be completed within the 2024 season.

Council then discussed the MSR (municipal and school reserve) designation in Brennan Gardens, and asked if there was a mesage they could convey to the public about the plans for the parks in the gardens. Director of Community Services Mike van der Torre said that individuals can call the Town and ask for clarification about what is being done, to minimize rumours and allay fears about the loss of park spaces.

Van der Torre then provided his Interim CAO report, saying he had been meeting a lot more faces and getting a lot more comfortable each day in the position he has temporarily taken over for the past month. He then provided his Director of Community Services report, elaborating on issues with gophers and highlighting the work of community groups working together and picking up supplies from the Town to do town cleanup.

Councillor Robert Snow talked about citizens’ concerns about the lack of handicap curb accessibility and parking along 49 Ave. He also spoke about the Economic Developmet Committee’s recommendation to the Council to support the Provincial Park Stakeholders Group, which he explained had some creative ideas and community-based solutions for the park, incorporating recreation and group work bees. Council saw the value in the group’s proposals and voted to provide a letter of support for the group to forward to provincial and federal officials.

Accounts payable for May 8–21, 2024 was $522,291.87.

During Council Round Table, Councillors spoke enthusiastically about the upcoming ribbon cuttings for new businesses in town. Councillor Kirby Whitlock noted that he and Greg Smith had spent some time showing the town’s two incoming doctors some housing options, and requested the public’s input if anyone has any suitable housing coming available upon the doctors’ arrivals in June and July.

Council also discussed a letter to the Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors Devin Dreeshen, signed by County of Vermilion River Reeve Marty Baker and Deputy Mayor Kevin Martin, about the importance of access points to Highway 16 on Range Roads 63, 70, and 73. In doing so, the County of Vermilion River and Town of Vermilion hope to reiterate their stance on the Roadside Planning and Development Guideline for the Yellowhead Highway or Highway 16. This guideline states the Government of Alberta will be determining appropriate connections of municipal roads and related provincial access management policies and standards (including access removals) on access-controlled highways.

Just prior to closing the public portion of the meeting, Council discussed a letter to C/Supt. Gary Graham, District Officer for the Eastern Alberta District of the RCMP.

Signed by County of Vermilion Reeve Marty Baker and Deputy Mayor Kevin Martin, the letter outlines concerning increases in Criminal Code persons files, Mental Health Act files, spousal abuse calls, and other Criminal Code violations within the jurisdiction and requests additional personnel to more effectively address these issues. While supporting the letter, Council questioned why the Village of Innisfree and other locales were listed on the letterhead but not yet informed of the letter.

The public portion of the meeting closed at 7 p.m.

Regular Vermilion Town Council run the first and third Tuesday of every month beginning at 6 p.m. Members of the public are welcome to attend in person at the Town Office, or may register to watch on Zoom at https://www.vermilion.ca/en/your-government/council-livestream.aspx

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