Vermilion Town Council
A number of items were up for discussion at the Vermilion Town Council meeting on February 7, including a delegation by RCMP Sgt. Dunsmore, a street sale, a realty incentive, and a letter of support for the Legion.
Sergeant Dunsmore delivered his quarterly report with statistics from October – December of 2022. Because they are shared late, he noted it was the first time last year they had seen an increase, but that it was not a unique trend for the town, county or province.
“In short, things are going well with the detachment,” said Dunsmore. “Significant challenges that RCMP and other forces are facing is to attract and retain employees. We maintain fully staffed with one position on long-term leave which we aim to fill by next quarter. This does not affect service delivery, but affects the schedule with the existing members picking up the slack and making do with what we have.”
In crime, theft over $5,000 was up 1,200 per cent in the last quarter. That included one heavy equipment theft that another detachment was able to recover. Overall he said in the 5 -year trend there was almost a 30 per cent decrease, and a 14 per cent decrease when compared to last quarter of 2021.
To fulfill their community engagement, the Vermilion RCMP will be planning another Coffee With A Cop in partnership with Lakeland College in March.
Councillor Snow asked if they had seen any changes since Citizens on Patrol had been dissolved or with the other rural crime groups making reports in the area.
“We rely on the public to report things to us whether by an individual or an organized group. This a message we try and reaffirm any time we get the chance,” said Dunsmore, “Do they make a difference? Absolutely they make a difference. If we don’t know something is going on we can’t do anything about it. You never know what small piece of the puzzle fits into the bigger picture.”
A motion was made to give first reading of Road Closure Bylaw #3-3023, to proceed with the public hearing process and obtain approval from the Minister of Alberta Transportation. The proposed road closure would be for 49A Street from 49 Avenue to Railway Avenue. According to the Town, the closure will allow Ireland Farm Equipment (the landowner to the east and west) to purchase the road for additional space for their agricultural equipment business as per their purchase agreement dated December 16, 2019.
Councillor Snow asked if there had been any consultation with other businesses around that area, and Director of Infrastructure and Planning, Ben McPhee, said a portion of this project was before his time here, but a portion is in the consultation process and to allow them to come talk to the Town. Councillor Pulyk noted it has been discussed for quite some time and well before the Cheesery was built. McPhee noted that it will take approximately one year for Alberta Transportation to approve the project.
Mayor Throndson asked, “What are we going to see there for change? For example, is there going to be sidewalk removal or are those things going to go through their property? This is a first time for a lot of communities; most communities don’t sell streets to businesses. There will be a lot of questions on this – it is going to be a positive thing, but is going to take a long time,” said Throndson.
With one opposed and six in favour, the motion was carried.
Since 2018, the Town of Vermilion has been offering a $3,000 realty incentive to local real estate agents for their property sales within the Town of Vermilion.
Manager of Economic Development, Mary Lee Prior said, “To date, the program has been very successful for residential lots only. The staff recommends that the council approve an increase of the realty incentive to $5,000 per transaction only for industrial or commercial lot sales. They will be made once the sale is paid in full and the incentive will be reviewed annually.”
The motion was carried.
The Field Marshall Alexander Royal Canadian Legion Branch #11 submitted a request for a letter of support as they venture to obtain a Community Facility Enhancement Program Grant for $25,000. Director of Community Services, Sarah Paterson, said the grant will fund the second phase of the Soldier’s Plot at the Vermilion Public Cemetery, including landscaping, and a concrete walkway for signage stands for soldiers who lost their lives during WWI and WWII. It was noted the letter was received after the required date but another round of funding would be coming available for them.
Mayor Thondson said, “I think it’s a wonderful project; a wonderful display for the soldiers of the past.” The motion was carried.