2024 Spring Wildfire Mitigation Strategies The Committee directed administration to bring back to a future Council meeting the costs and funding options for spring wildfire mitigation strategiesCounty Fire Chief Trevor Grant provided a review of the 2023 fire season versus early 2024 wildfire projections for the County. Without significant precipitation for the next six weeks, the region will be in high to extreme fire risk. The County follows Alberta Fire Advisories and Bans and residents can expect they will be very likely in the spring and summer. County Regional Fire has been preparing equipment apparatus and proactively exploring options for support, including expanding the utilization of local resources. 

ATCO Fire Cadet Program – The Committee received a report from Regional Fire Service and Communications and Marketing on the new ATCO Fire Cadet Program that launched in January 2024, bringing in more than 50 applications, with 21 qualifying candidates accepted into the program. The program is supported by a three-year $18,000 commitment from ATCO spanning 2023 to 2026. In addition to advertising, high school presentations in January introduced the program to students at Beaverlodge Regional High School, Peace Wapiti Academy, St. John Paul II School, St. Joseph Catholic High School, and Sexsmith Secondary School. Intake will be ongoing with new cadets entering the program each semester. To learn more about the program and apply online, visit www.countygp.ab.ca/cadets  

2023 Campground Report – The Committee recommended to Council to direct administration to reallocate up to $21,000 of the Bear Lake Improvement Capital funds toward purchasing trees, shrubs and landscaping materials as presented. The Committee also recommended to Council to direct administration to extend the current day use hours for the Old Bezanson Townsite to include Thursday and Friday access from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for the 2024 season, with outcomes to be reviewed in the 2024 Campground Report. The 2023 Campground Report included an overview of improvements to various County campgrounds, budget status, and visitor counts for the 2023 season.   

Sportsplex 2023 Year-End Report – The Committee received the year-end report on the Crosslink County Sportsplex 2023 Operations and Capital projects. The 2023 revenues came in ahead of budget due to stronger-than-anticipated arena and fieldhouse revenues, and efficient management of expenses and the facility. Completed capital projects included new LED lights in the fieldhouse, new bouncy castles, washroom refurbishment, blinds and window tinting for the gym, roof repairs, and paving. 

Capital Project Identification Signs The Committee took no action on the information regarding signage to identify capital projects. The Committee reviewed Government of Alberta guidelines to only place a sign at projects valued over $5 million that will take more than six months to complete.  

Welcoming, Licensing New Businesses in the County The Committee received an information update from administration and discussed a business license program and a welcome program for new businesses in the County. 

Economic Development Quarterly Report – The Committee received a comprehensive overview of Economic Development’s activities and progress during the fourth quarter of 2023. To support the growth and success of the local economy, administration hosted grant sessions and business networking and support meetingslaunched a remote worker attraction website in partnership with Yolo Nomads and the towns of Beaverlodge, Sexsmith and Wembley; facilitated the ongoing Blue Pin Program to improve customer service and the Rural Renewal Stream of the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program to endorse employers and immigrant employees; and various investment attraction activities. 

Geothermal Pilot Project Study Complete The Committee received an information report on the Deep Geothermal Study completed in partnership with the University of Alberta. The findings, which showcase potential investment opportunities, have been shared on the County’s Economic Development webpage.  

Funding Request The Committee recommended to Council to approve the $39,250 Capital Grant funding request from the Emmaus Church and Cemetery Society, which will be seeking a name change in the future to the North Kleskun Community Society. The funds will be used to improve the building’s water and septic system. Representatives from the Society confirmed that the building hosts community events and no longer operates as a church. 

Alberta Day EventThe Committee recommended to Council that administration reallocate up to $10,000 of Frostival funding to hosting Alberta Day events on September 1, 2024, and to apply for a grant if one is offered. 

The next Regular Council Meeting will take place on March 11, 2024. The next Committee of the Whole Meeting will take place on March 28, 2024. 
Council and Committee meetings are available to the public via live stream. Find connection instructions and meeting agendas through the events calendar on the County website.