Vermilion Town Hall. Photo Elaina John
Vermilion Town Council held a regular meeting on August 11. Council discussed a request for proposal by the Economic Development Committee that the Town of Vermilion should upgrade their website. In the previously held Economic Development Committee meeting, the committee decided to work with eSolutions to develop an app compatible with and easy to use on cellphones. Councillor Pulyk mentioned that eSolutions has previously worked with various other communities including the City of Lloydminster. “They certainly demonstrated their technological abilities to create a site that meets the needs of the community,” Councillor Pulyk explained. A motion that eSolutions develop a new town website for $44,400 in use of the $16,000 CARES grant was carried. By December, the town will have an upgraded website with cellphone compatibility and user-friendly interfacing. The council also discussed options for use of the Municipal Stimulus Program (MSP) initiated by the province. The purpose of the MSP is to “create and sustain local jobs, enhance provincial competitiveness and productivity, position communities to participate in economic growth, reduce municipal red tape to promote job-creating private sector investment,” as stated by alberta.ca. The MSP will provide $500 million capital funding for projects excluding those that have already been submitted under the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) or the Gas Tax fund, and the MSP consists of various other stipulations. The MSP cannot exceed $493,307, the funding total for Vermilion. Due to these and various other eligibility requirements, there were three options as suggested by Vermilion Director of Finance Brian Libel, for use of the MSP by Vermilion: a sewer collection project, the broadband project, or the Beckie Scott Trail project. The recommended option was the sewer collection project, as it would allow the town to reallocate other funds towards other projects, and a higher chance of application approval. The sewer project would allow for the much-needed upgrading of Vermilion’s wastewater system. “There’s a unique opportunity that the province has afforded us to fast track that project,” Leibel comments. Leibel estimates that the project could be completed by fall 2021, but mentions that the MSP would not fully cover the cost of the upgrade. The Council carried the motion to add the $500,000 sewer collection project to the town’s 2020 budget with $493,000 in funding from the MSP. Brought forward by the Public Safety Committee, Councillor Greg Barr presented a motion for the town to write a letter to the Federal Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair and MP Shannon Stubbs suggesting that the proposed changes to federal gun laws and the banning of guns be considered “through a process that includes a full opportunity for parliamentary oversight,” as worded by Councillor Barr. The Council carried the motion and scribing of the letter will be determined at a later date. Community Services Director Kevin Lucas acknowledged a blockage in the sewer trunk main that caused a collapse in the line. Lucas thanked the staff and some local contractors with their assistance in fixing the collapse and flushing out the blockage. As of August 11, there is remaining debris and gravel from the collapsed pipe, which the town is in the process of cleaning out. Mayor Caroline McAuley mentioned that the Vermilion Online Festival held this spring won the AUMA Community Sustainability Award for communities of 2,500-5,000. As reported by Mayor Caroline McAuley, the Vermilion and District Housing Committee is continuing to lobby for an Enhanced Assisted Living (SL4) housing unit in Vermilion. Mayor McAuley met with MLA Garth Rowswell on August 14 to discuss the matter. During Round Table Discussions, Councillor Barr mentioned that as a Waste Management committee that they are looking into holding a meeting to consider the Electronics Collections Pilot Project. Councillor Pulyk reported that the broadband project has been successful. Pulyk stated that the project needed some fine-tuning, but due to COVID-19 have not been able to have an assessment done as the hook-up the Town of Vermilion is working with is from the US. Hopefully, an assessment will be able to occur on September 1. Mayor McAuley reviewed the funding Lakeland College received for Mead Building upgrades and confirmed that Premier Jason Kenney will be re-visiting Vermilion again this year. Mayor McAuley also mentioned that the Doctor Retention and Recruitment Committee met on August 10 with a second year Medical Student who will be receiving a Bursary from the committee over the next four years. The Student has expressed interest in returning to Vermilion in the medical practice after he has completed his studies. Lastly, the Council discussed a letter received by the County of Vermilion River regarding assessment model changes, and are waiting on more information before issuing a response.