The December 5 meeting of Vermilion’s Town Council began with a member of the public requesting the development of a communication strategy to notify the public about irregular meetings, and to increase hospitality at those meetings. Another member of the public notified Council that Young Drive has not received any recycling pickup throughout the month of November. An individual from the Airport Advisory Committee spoke about the cumulative century of aviation experience held by members of the committee and asked that their skills and assets be used for the benefit of the community and the airport.
Director of Infrastructure and Planning Services Ben McPhee explained to Council that the Land and Property Rights Tribunal’s (LPRT) Airport Object Limitation Surface Analysis of Runway shows the height of buildings extending beyond the current approach and found that GPS is no longer a viable option to help improve or extend the runway. Further information is available on the Town’s website.
Brian Leibel, Director of Corporate Services, provided an overview of the Town’s Operating and Capital Budget for 2024, noting a 4.8 percent property tax increase to reflect the 1 percent increase in water, 11 percent increase in sewer, and 10 percent increase in garbage pickup services. To put this number in perspective, this will amount to about $13 added to the monthly property tax bill on a $350,000 home. Council approved an Operating Budget for 2024 of $19,585,424 and a Capital Budget of $3,835,000. Mayor Gregory Throndson said that feedback from the public on the budget is particularly important, as Council aimed to bring the town up to a reasonable service level while maintaining services and facilities that residents rely on, such as snow removal and recreational facilities. Council thanked the Administration for all their hard work.
Councillor Robert Pulyk then provided an update on the Designated Supported Living Level 4 (SL4) housing project they had begun filling out a modernization application for last year. Vermilion was denied this grant because it is not the highest priority in Alberta or the Central Zone, nor does it have an SL4 facility to be modernized. Council will seek to build reserves for the future with the hopes of building an SL4 facility when possible. Fighting back tears, Councillor Pulyk said, “What’s it going to take for our (provincial) government to pay attention to our community and the seniors who deserve better treatment? I encourage the public to write the local housing foundation, the local MLA and government—they need to hear people who have actually lived through their families being split up.”
During their Round Table, Council shared about the Assistant Deputy Minister of Environment’s presentation on drought risk and management. All water basins in Alberta are below normal, with some in serious condition: the entire province is currently in Stage 4 of Drought Management, indicating large-scale water shortage. The provincial government is in the process of determining whether—and if so, how—it will implement a Stage 5 Declaration of Emergency under the Water Act by spring. Alberta Environment’s website has more information. More locally, Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee and its Environment Committee will be combined to form the new Parks and Recreation, Culture and Environment Committee.
Margaret McCormack, Leanne Martin, and Caroline Martin were appointed for a 2-year term on the Vermilion Library Board expiring November 27, 2025.
Council extends congratulations to the St. Jerome’s boys’ volleyball team, who won provincials on their home court November 23–25.