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Council Highlights - Feb 21, 2024

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Payment of Outstanding Canadian National Railway (CN) Invoice

In 2021, Beaver County entered into agreements with CN for warning systems to be installed at three locations. Unfortunately, the projects were not completed in 2021, but were delayed until 2023. Due to changes in project scope by CN, cost overruns occurred for the crossing installation at Mile Marker 196.70 in Bruce and were substantially higher than the agreed upon costs.

A motion that Council should not pay the outstanding invoice from CN for the warning system upgrade at Mile Marker 196.70, until further investigation is conducted by Transport Canada, was defeated.

Subsequently another motion was proposed that Council cover the costs of warning system upgrades at all three locations, Mile Markers 196.70, 197.16, and 232.39 totaling $42,414 along with requesting Transport Canada investigate the cost overruns at Mile Marker 196.70. This motion was also defeated.

The next motion proposed was that Council pay the outstanding invoice of $78,247.15 to CN for the upgrade at Mile Marker 196.70, which was approved. Additionally, another motion was proposed that Council enter into new agreements with CN for Mile Markers 167.53 and 171.13 (two upgrades currently being completed by CN). These agreements are to stipulate that CN will cover 100% of the annual maintenance costs for the crossing warning systems indefinitely. Further to that Council have requested CN be responsible for all maintenance costs on future new crossing warning systems. This motion was also carried.


Agricultural Water Sources in Times of Water Restrictions

Council received a letter from the Agricultural Service Board recommending that the County investigate alternative plans to secure a usable water source for agricultural and fire resource uses in preparation for potential water restrictions. Council accepted the letter for information, and directed Administration to work with other municipalities, organizations, and private industries to plan for drought mitigation affecting fire services and agriculture uses. Council also moved to include the recommendation in the County’s Water Viability Project.


Paragon Theatre

Much discussion has been had in Closed Session over the last few Council meetings regarding the Paragon Theatre, and the damages resulting from last summer's flood and subsequent closure due to safety concerns highlighted by our insurance company. After engaging an engineering firm to explore repair options, it was found that solutions ranged from basic fixes that would repair some critical items but wouldn't address flood damage, to comprehensive repairs costing between $800,000 and $1 million. Alternatively, the demolition of the theatre was considered.

After much consideration, at the February 21st Council Meeting, Council made the difficult decision to proceed with the demolition of the Paragon Theatre. This decision was not made lightly, and Council is committed to exploring new avenues to support the arts and community groups affected by this loss.


Request for Funding - Holden Agricultural Society

Council approved a request for support from Holden Ag Society to provide financial support. The County will provide for 50% of the cost of the Holden Complex's power bills for the months of January, February, and March to a maximum of $12,000, so that the ice arena is able to remain operational for the remainder of the hockey season.


Request for Funding – Tofield Golden Club

Council received a request to provide funding for the Golden Club’s expansion project. Administration was directed to gather additional information about the expansion project, including detailed financial planning, and provide a report at a future meeting.


Victim Services Advisory Board

Council approved a motion for the Reeve to sign a letter, in collaboration with the Towns of Tofield and Viking and the Villages of Ryley and Holden, requesting the Beaver County Victim Services Board to serve as an advisory group to the Eastern Alberta Victim Servicing Society. Additionally, should the Victim Services Board be interested in this role, the Reeve is authorized to join the Towns and Villages in sending a follow-up letter to Alberta Public Safety and Emergency Services, offering the advisory group's services and office space for the Victim Services management team.


Clean Harbors' Funding for Interpretation of Annual Reports

Council passed a motion recommending that the Village of Ryley accept Clean Harbors' proposal for yearly funding. This funding will allow for hiring an independent consultant to assess and explain Clean Harbors' annual operating reports and other accessible documents. The findings will be shared with both the County and Village Councils as well as the public.


Rescheduling of May 15, 2024, Regular Council Meeting

The May 15, 2024, Regular Council Meeting was moved to May 22, 2024.


Administration and Councillor Activity Reports

Council received the activity reports provided by Administration. Each Councillor also gave their own report of meetings and events attended in the past month, including Provincial Agricultural Services Board Conference, RMA District 5 Meeting, Beaver Ambulance Services, Ag Society Conference, Council Workshop, Highway 14 Water Services Commission, Claystone Public Advisory Committee Meeting, Holden Library Board Meeting, Brownlee LLP Emerging Trends Session, Ryley Intermunicipal Committee Meeting, Economic Development Advisory Committee Direction Setting Meeting, Beaver Emergency Services Committee, RMA Resolutions Committee, FCSS Viking Board Meeting, Viking Library Board, Battle River Watershed Alliance Meeting, Beaver Hills Biosphere Meeting, Seniors Connector Project, and Holden Seniors Housing Open House.


For more information on items discussed at the Council Meeting, please review the full Agenda Package for this meeting. New and/or amended Policies and Bylaws are uploaded to the website after they have been signed.