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Didsbury council approves new recognition policy

Purpose is to recognize individuals, groups and businesses who have contributed to enriching local life

DIDSBURY — Town council has approved a new recognition policy to replace the existing community recognition policy.

The move came by way of motion at a recent regularly scheduled council meeting.

The purpose of the new policy is to “recognize individuals, groups and businesses for their exemplary commitment to demonstrating excellence which contributes to enriching the quality of life in Didsbury, making it ‘The Place to Grow’.”

Principles of the policy state that, “at the discretion of the mayor, signed certificates on significant milestones will be provided” and “all other recognitions that may be considered from time to time will be at the discretion of the town and issued by the mayor.”

The former community recognition policy included a section on levels of recognition for citizen recognition certificates, special recognition awards and letters of recognition.

The new policy has been made much briefer than the former policy as part ongoing red tape reduction efforts, said Ethan Gorner, the town's chief administrative officer.

Council approved the new policy and rescinded the former policy.

Utility framework approved

Meanwhile, council approved a new policy framework for the utilities department that will be used to develop a utility rates and fees bylaw.

Administration developed the framework for the utility department for each service — water, wastewater and solid waste — to be self-supported.

Two principal concepts are outlined in the framework:

• Utility departments in the Town of Didsbury are self-supported, therefore are not subsidized by taxes.

• For rate accuracy and justification, each utility service is its own product line and are budgeted for and accounted separately. A year-end surplus generated by an individual utility department is reserved in that department’s reserve (and) a year-end deficit generated by an individual utility department is funded by that department’s reserve.

The policy framework has now been referred to the policy and governance committee for review.

Ranking approved

In other news, council has accepted an administration-prepared ranking of proposed projects in town, including the skatepark, which is ranked first on the nine-item list.

“Administration is working on updating the multi-year capital plan and is looking at including more accurate timelines and costs for the elements proposed in the outlying plan,” said Gorner.

“To achieve this, administration received council’s (proposed) ranking of the outlying plan items. This information, as well as the survey result from the 2019 recreation and culture survey, was provided to the strategic planning committee for review.”

The committee reviewed the information and agreed to recommend to council the following rankings in terms of priority: skatepark; Jet’s playground; Jet’s ball diamond; dog park; four seasons washroom/picnic shelter; parking lot and road improvements (south side); multi-court system (tennis, pickleball, basketball and volleyball); additional parking (north side); pathways construction and landscaping; and spray park.

“This recommendation also includes the removal of the Japanese Garden development from the plan, and relocation of the Central Event Plaza to be explored, including Memorial Park, downtown, and others,” he said.

Dan Singleton

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