Press Release - Whitecourt Town Council Update September 24, 2019
Whitecourt Town Council thanks all of those that provided input on the 2020 Budget at last night’s Public Input Session and through written submissions. Your feedback will be reviewed by Town Council during budget deliberations which begin next week. Early in 2020, Council will be hosting its annual Budget Open House which will provide ratepayers with further opportunity to share comments and learn about the budget. Watch for further details on the open house in the new year.
Council is recruiting for public appointments to Council Committees. Share your voice and help shape our community by applying to serve on a Council Committee. Information on public appointment vacancies can be found on www.whitecourt.ca.
The Province of Alberta recently called for public feedback on Section 11: Species At Risk Act Agreement. The proposed document is required by the federal government to satisfy conservation requirements of Woodland Caribou. The Whitecourt & District Chamber of Commerce has worked with local businesses, industry and other stakeholders to review the document, and has recommended a number of amendments to the Province due to the potential socio-economic impacts it could have on the region. The Town of Whitecourt has endorsed the proposed revision by the Chamber, and will be providing a letter of support for the amendments to the provincial government. For information on Section 11, the Chamber’s submission, and impacts Section 11 could have on our region, visit www.whitecourtchamber.com/section11/.
Whitecourt and Woodlands County have contracted B&A Planning Group, in partnership with Nichols Applied Management and McElhanney, to complete a Regional Business Park Feasibility Study. This study will provide valuable information on how our region can meet current and future needs of industry, and provide direction on possible locations for a future business park. The project is fully funded by the Alberta Community Partnership (ACP) grant, and is anticipated to be complete in spring of 2020.
The 2019 Whitecourt Career & Education Expo is scheduled for October 3 at the Allan & Jean Millar Centre. The event will provide youth an opportunity to explore various careers available in the community; and also provide job seekers an opportunity to meet with employers. Details on the event can be found on Facebook at Whitecourt Career & Education Expo.
Whitecourt has submitted an Expression of Interest to the Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA) for a proposed FireSmart program in 2020-2021. The proposed project conducts vegetation management on previously treated FireSmart areas that have experienced regrowth in order to reduce the amount of vegetation that can fuel a fire, and to enhance firefighter access routes during a fire response. The project is estimated to cost $186,560; and if approved will be fully funded by FRIAA. For more information on the FireSmart program and practices, visit www.firesmartcanada.ca.
The Town of Whitecourt will be requesting a meeting with MLA Martin Long to discuss the importance of Family & Community Support Services (FCSS) in our community, and to advocate for continued provincial funding at levels not less than what is currently being granted. FCSS programs support the delivery of community-based preventative social programming. The FCSS program in Whitecourt works with many community partners, including the Whitecourt Cancer Support Group, Lac Ste. Anne Foundation, Boys & Girls Club of Whitecourt & District; Habitat for Humanity and many more. Currently, the Province contributes 80% of the cost of the local FCSS program up to a maximum amount of $264,769; however, due to local need Whitecourt’s 2019 FCSS overall budget was $648,786. This has led to a funding shortfall that was supported through taxation to Whitecourt ratepayers.
Council has approved the closure of a portion of 51 Avenue (from the Whitecourt Legion to Rainbow Restaurant) on October 26, 2019 for a Trunk or Treat event. This is a new event for our community, and involves local businesses purchasing a spot on the street to bring a decorated vehicle to serve treats to children as they come up to “trunk or treat”.
An amendment to Bylaw 1245 – Snow Removal Bylaw has been adopted to allow for improved
enforcement of sidewalk snow removal during the winter months.
Council has appointed Metrix Group LLP as the Town’s auditor for a three-year term
commencing with the 2019 fiscal year audit.