Press Release - Council Update November 12, 2020
The Town of Whitecourt is debating a new bylaw that would make masks mandatory in all indoor public spaces. Temporary Face Covering Bylaw 1560 received two readings at the November 9 Electronic Regular Meeting of Council, and will be reviewed again by Council at a future meeting. The proposed bylaw would make it mandatory for members of the public, who are not exempt, to wear a face covering or mask at all times while in an indoor, enclosed, or substantially enclosed public place or in a public vehicle.
Administration has been directed to proceed with next steps in the development of the Municipal Centre. The concept plan for the Municipal Centre, which includes the construction of a new administration building, arts & culture centre and library facility, was originally adopted in November 2017, but further planning was paused while awaiting confirmation of grant funding. In October 2020, a formal grant announcement was made by the Government of Alberta for the allocation of $15,612,137 to fund the construction of the Arts & Culture and Library components of the facility. Council has directed Administration to follow the below process as it prepares to make a decision on the direction of the project:
- Confirm location
- Confirm partners
- Re-engage the Ad Hoc Building Steering Committee and community committees that have been involved in the concept design and consultation processes for the project
- Conduct a community education and public engagement campaign
- Report back to Council for further direction
Information on how the community can be involved in the process and share their thoughts on the project will be promoted in the new year.
The Water System Upgrades Contract “B” has been awarded to Alpha Construction Inc. This project involves upgrades to the main pumphouse, and is part of a larger project that will separate the water distribution system into two independent zones to ensure community supply in the event of an emergency or system failure. The project is funded in part by the Building Canada Small Communities Fund.
Canstruct Corporation has been award the contract for the Athabasca River Habitat Offsetting Measures project. In 2016, the Town constructed erosion control works on the south shore of the Athabasca River which were subsequently damaged during an ice jam in 2018. The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Ocean (DFO) requires replacement of habitat enhancement areas. The majority of the project is funded through the Provincial Disaster Relief Program.
Borealis Geopower, in partnership with Scovan Engineering, will be completing the Geothermal Feasibility Study. The project, which the Town of Whitecourt is completing in partnership with Woodlands County, will determine the viability of geothermal resources in the region. It will provide the necessary information to determine if replacing or supplementing existing power with geothermal renewable energy is an option worth pursuing. The project is fully funded by the Alberta Community Partnership grant.
In light of new gathering restrictions implemented by the Province of Alberta, Whitecourt Town Council and Council Committee meetings will be held electronically until further notice. Information on how to access the meetings will be made available to the public on the Event Calendar posted on www.whitecourt.ca.