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Committees report successes, challenges to county

Area library and rec boards among those detailing year's work

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY – County council has been given an update on the activities, successes and some of the challenges facing committees of council.

The move came during the recent regularly scheduled council meeting, held in person at the county office and by teleconference.

During the recent regularly scheduled council meeting, councillors received reports from seven committees, as required annually.

In his report, Brian Rodger, the chairman of the county's agricultural service board (ASB), outlined seven activities, including the following:

• The board approved funding in 2019 for seven REEP (riparian and environmental program) projects totalling $10,303.58 and for nine producers for ALUS (alternative land use services) projects totalling $37,248. This year one REEP project for $1,850 and six producers for ALUS projects totalling $36,809 have been approved.

• The board has partnered with Mountain View BearSmart to create two on-farm carcass composting demonstration sites.

He identified a number of challenges, including the loss of Mountain View County ‘s ASB key contact due to Alberta Agriculture and Forestry “staffing cuts that also impact the Ag-Info Centre.”

• A long-standing pest control program will soon no longer be available to farmers with Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency's decision to cancel registration of two per cent liquid strychnine concentrate product for the control of Richardson’s ground squirrels.

The county’s Subdivision and Development Appeal Board report was submitted by chair Alana Gibson.

The board heard seven appeals, including four for development and one animal control appeal.

Regarding challenges, she said, “Due to the unfortunate circumstances this year, I would assume that not many training opportunities were scheduled. That said, as chair, I would like to see more training opportunities for the board in general, but also specifically for duties required by the chairperson.

“This board is a quasi-judicial entity and I don’t think any of the members take that role lightly. Adequate training for the members and for the chair is essential in arriving at a well thoughtout and organized decision.”

In terms of land use bylaw review consideration, “we saw, and continue to see throughout the county, an influx of concerns with solid board fences. We believe that this item should be reviewed,” she said.

“We have also seen more than one appeal resulting from the residential farmstead designation. We believe there may be some ‘grey areas’ that need to be reviewed in regards to this district.”

Dan Richmond is the chairman of the Cremona and District Recreational and Culture Board.

“Each year is always a challenge when applications for funding are higher than what is available to allocate,” Richmond said in his report. “This year given our resources we were well equipped to handle requests. Each year we are able to allocate funds in such a way that it believe meets the needs of the community and still maintain an appropriate reserve.”

Lesley Morasch is the county representative on the Carstairs Library Board.

Highlights over the past year included the development of a new video surveillance policy reflective of the Chinook’s Edge School Division administrative procedures for video surveillance in schools and on school buses, said Morasch.

Work was also done in the library to ensure physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This included the children’s area, magazine area, new book area and the shelves and desks,” said Morasch.

Gerald Ingeveld is the chairman of the county’s municipal planning commission, which is the municipality’s approving authority.

Committee meetings operated “smoothly for the most part. The added challenges of having to go to electronic meetings have been difficult for those whose internet connections are not always reliable,” Ingeveld said in his report.

“Staff have made every effort to help deal with the challenges encountered. We look forward to returning to in-person meetings as soon as possible.”

A “robust training day for new members” would be helpful in bringing them up to speed on their roles as MCP members, he said.

The Sundre Municipal Library report outlined a number of challenges.

“Due to COVID-19, all fundraisers have been cancelled,” the report states, “leaving a hole in our budget. There have been extra expenses buying protective equipment to keep patrons and staff safe as well as ongoing costs from hand sanitizers and masks.”

Lynda Lyster, the county’s representative on the Sundre library board, told council on Oct. 7 that there is an ongoing need for volunteers at the facility.

The Strings & Keys Music Education Fund Committee plans to meet this month to make decisions regarding awards for 2020, the committee said in its report.

Music and music teaching in the region has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee said.

“Most school and community bands and choirs which would have been active in the spring and restarted in September are not yet operating due to concerns over spreading the virus through singing or via wind instruments,” the report states.

Council received the committee reports as information.