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Safety And Accessibility Highlight Of Town Council

Following the call to order and adoption of the agenda and the previous meeting’s minutes, the regularly scheduled Vermilion Town Council meeting on Tuesday, October 3 began with a Quarter 1 report by Sergeant Corey Buckingham of the Vermilion RCMP Detachment.

Sgt. Buckingham highlighted new online reporting initiatives, including the Alberta RCMP app available on both Google and Apple app stores. He encouraged members of the public to check out the app and report everything that is happening in the area. Although not all crimes can be reported through the app, doing so for those that are applicable (e.g., thefts under $5,000) frees up operators to take more urgent calls while still ensuring that crimes can be analyzed and mapped without unnecessarily straining resources.

Sgt. Buckingham then outlined the Vermilion RCMP department’s community priorities for this fiscal year. First, the department aims to reduce property crimes by performing curfew checks to hold offenders accountable. Second, the detachment seeks to communicate to the public effectively through public communications and town halls. Finally, the local RCMP aim to enhance road safety and improve police visibility through vehicle stops.

Council discussed pros and cons of a nighttime self-governing citizens’ patrol and the use of various technologies to help manage the increase of thefts occurring throughout the province, and suggested a public workshop to educate residents and businesses on site-specific crime prevention techniques. Sgt. Buckingham expressed his support of both an educational workshop for the public and the establishment of a Citizens on Patrol group. To learn more, visit Alberta Citizens on Patrol Association (ACOPA) at ACOPA will also be hosting a workshop and annual general meeting at the Lloydminster Agricultural Exhibition Association on October 13, 14, and 15, with registrations due on or before Tuesday, October 10.

Vermilion Public Library Manager Stuart Pauls and board member Brad Gallamore then presented to council on the library’s budget and latest offerings. They highlighted the library’s free tax clinic, which fills a gap in the community. Gallamore enthusiastically described their upcoming Library of Things, with first acquisitions including a laser level, a stud finder, and a vinyl cutting machine for making stickers and other projects. Each of these items can be taken out from the library, just like a book.

Gallamore and Pauls also thanked council for its advocacy around an elevator for the library, explaining it as critical in providing accessible programs to the community in the library’s basement. The Vermilion Rotary Club has already pledged $10,000 to the library elevator, but the project is still $72,000 short. Gallamore is hopeful that the Community Facility Enhancement Program grant they had applied for would cover a large majority of that amount.

Accessibility remained the focus for the public commentary section of the meeting. One individual requested additional benches along Railway Avenue to serve as resting places for long walks across town, and another noted that the room that Council meets in has acoustics that are troublesome for those who are hard of hearing. The mayor and council extended appreciation for bringing these concerns forward, and encouraged others to bring forward similar accessibility issues so they can be addressed.

The updated snow removal and ice control policy was approved.

Manager of Economic Development Mary Lee Prior reported on the upcoming visit by Oilers Entertainment Group on November 1, noting the time spent by the planning committee and the excitement building in the community.

A motion supporting a $1,000 grant for sound equipment for the Vermilion Folk Club was carried.

The mayor, deputy mayor, and councillors reported on the Alberta Municipalities Convention and Trade Show they attended at the Edmonton Convention Centre September 27–29. They highlighted learning about technology for on-site biowaste disposal at the waste treatment plant, the shortage of both housing and skilled labourers in Vermilion, and the fact that municipal elected officials are and should remain non-partisan. “We networked with a lot of people over those three days, and in the coming weeks and months, we’ll start to see the benefits,” said Mayor Gregory Throndson.

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