Regional Enforcement Services and RCMP Year-End Report – Regional Enforcement Services Manager Stuart Rempel and Sargent Stuart Fry presented a report of the department’s activities in 2020.  

  • From 2019 to 2020, tickets decreased from 4,353 to 2,614, which was attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in less motorists on roads as well as employee shortage.  
  • Calls for response were reduced slightly from 11,654 in 2019 to 10,954 in 2020.  
  • Regional Enforcement Services is back to near-full staffing by the end of the year, with current vacancies being one Bylaw and one Seasonal Parkland Patrol officers, as well as a Kennel Attendant.  
  • An education-first approach to public health order violations during COVID-19 which resulted in no charges laid after a number of investigations. 

Representatives from the Beaverlodge and Grande Prairie RCMP updated Council on their detachment’s operations, including new programs to address repeat offenders and steps to reduce property crime.  

Alberta Transportation Update – Ryan Konowalyk, Regional Director for Alberta Transportation in the Peace Region, updated Council on several provincial transportation projects in the region, including the following projects with County contributions: 

  • Twinning of Highway 40 will begin this season thanks to cost-sharing agreements with the County of Grande Prairie and M.D. of Greenview. County Council contributed $10 million to the project, which will take place in two phases and is anticipated to finish by Fall 2023.  
  • Alberta Transportation will include advance warning signs as part of the Twinning of Highway 40 project to notify traffic of delays.  
  • Paving the 10 km stretch of Highway 724 north of the Hamlet of La Glace is anticipated to be out for tender within a month and completed this construction season.  

Supporting Rural Fire Stations – Council approved $894,810 to replace two fire engines located at the La Glace Fire Station and Hythe Fire Department, respectively. The current engines are due for replacement and were approved during the 2021 Interim Budget Deliberations.  

Provincial Funding for COVID-19 Allocated to support Evergreen Park – Council, approved allocating the remaining Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST) grant from the Province of Alberta to cover payroll expenses for the Grande Prairie Regional Agricultural Society (Evergreen Park), as approved during Interim Budget Deliberations. The County of Grande Prairie received $2,283,530 in MOST grant funding to deal with unanticipated financial impacts due to COVID-19. The entire grant amount must be utilized by the municipality by March 31, 2021. The County will have an estimated $281,000 from the total grant amount remaining to be allocated to Evergreen Park. 

Community Contributions – Council approved $50,000 for Beaverlodge Rural Crime Watch to support a one-year crime prevention pilot project to promote the use of the mobile app Lightcatch as a tool to prevent crime throughout the County. Beaverlodge Rural Crime Watch and representatives from Lightcatch will report crime prevention results of the pilot project to Council on a quarterly basis.  

Council approved $14,240 in Community Assistance Grant Funding, approved during Interim Budget Deliberations, be released early to allow for the hiring of summer students. A representative from the Kleskun Hills Museum Society updated Council on their operations during 2020, including increasing visitors to the Museum and County day-use area year over year, maintaining the museum facility and artifacts, and wages for two summer students. Council requested that future grant funding requests include confirmation that the Museum has applied to applicable Federal and Provincial grant programs. 

Wembley Recreation Centre Update – Representatives from the Agricultural Society as well as GEC Architecture updated Council on the Wembley Recreation Centre rebuilds project following the fire in June 2020, which caused $1.8 million in damage to the community facility. The Society is responsible for funding 37 percent of the cost of repairs, an estimated $660,000. The Society requested $661,310 in financial support from the County to advance the project, including re-allocating the previously approved $50,000 in grant funding for 2020, which includes a down payment for a bank loan to remortgage the facility, ice plant repairs, flooring upgrades for the sports courts while facility repairs are underway, and professional drainage assessments. Council deferred the request to Final Budget Deliberations and will initiate discussions with the Town of Wembley to discuss financial contributions before approving funding.  

Speed Limit Increases on Paved Roads – Council directed Administration to increase the speed limit on Township Road 730, between Highway 2 and Range Road 44, from 80 to 100 km per hour. Council also directed Administration to evaluate all paved roads in the County of Grande Prairie with a speed limit of 80 km per hour and to bring recommendations for speed limit increases to a future Council Meeting for consideration.  

Enhanced Standards for Safety Codes Services – Council approved an updated Municipal Quality Management Plan to administer Safety Codes. The Provincial Safety Codes Council, which oversees and provides standards for safety codes in Alberta, updated the Quality Management Plan (QMP) for municipalities, with the requirement to adopt the changes within municipal guidelines and provide a copy to the Provincial Council to retain accreditation for safety codes services. Changes include two electrical inspections for residential properties instead of one. There is no immediate impact to fees for services, as they are currently being evaluated by Administration. 

Tender Award for Landfill Compactor Replacement – Council awarded the contract for the purchase of a landfill compactor to Finning Canada for $1,075,173. This will replace a compactor at the end of its useful life.  

Correspondence – The County of Grande Prairie and Town of Sexsmith Councils will reach out to Municipal Affairs requesting a two-month time extension to complete the required Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) between the two municipalities. The plan is in its final stages, with a specified amount of advertisement to the public required before the public hearing and final approvals can take place.  

Council will send a letter to Alberta Environment and Parks requesting they undertake flood and slope stability studies of Bear Creek from La Glace to the Wapiti River to assist with the County’s planning and flood mitigation activities.  

Council will send a letter to the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General outlining the County’s support for the RCMP as the Provincial police for Alberta. 

Public Hearing – Council held a public hearing for Bylaw 2680-21-006 to redesignate 17.5 acres of land, located east of the Hamlet of La Glace, adjacent to Highways 59 and 724 from an Agricultural (AG) District to a Country Residential (CR-5) District to allow for the subdivision of one lot for residential use. Council gave the bylaw third reading. 

Development Permit Request – Council approved a development request from Pembina Pipeline Corporation to build accessory buildings at their La Glace Pump Station, as long as they meet five conditions:  

  • The site is developed as per the site plan submitted. 
  • The development conforms to the district requirements of the Rural Industrial – Direct Control (RM-DC) District. 
  • The applicant shall obtain Safety Code Permits to ensure the development complies with the Alberta Fire Code and Alberta Building Code.  The applicant shall work with the County Planning and Development Department and the County Fire Department to ensure compliance with all Codes. 
  • All construction debris to be contained within an enclosed area by way of waste bins and /or temporary fencing to be prevented from blowing onto neighbouring lands.  All debris is to be removed from the site within one month of completion of construction.  During the construction of the development works, the Developer, agents, and contractors shall cause all work to be conducted diligently, in a workmanlike manner, according to the requirements and specifications of the County of Grande Prairie No. 1 and so as to not cause more inconvenience to the other residents of the County than is necessary in the circumstances. 
  • Applicant to enter into a Road Use Agreement with the County. 

Green Shirt Day Proclamation – Council declared April 7 as Green Shirt Day in the County of Grande Prairie to promote organ donation and living tissue awareness. Green Shirt Day is in honour of Logan Boulet, a victim of the Humbolt Broncos crash who saved six lives through organ donation. 

The next Regular Council Meeting will take place on April 12, 2021. A Committee of the Whole Meeting will take place on March 25, 2021. A Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) Advisory Board Meeting will take place on April 13, 2021.  

Council and Committee meetings can be accessed electronically through the County website at www.countygp.ab.ca/events