Notes from Council, April 30, 2024

Dear Residents & Ratepayers,

We had two public delegations at our first meeting in April. STARS Air Ambulance pays us an annual visit and the County is a paying contributor to this service, as it is for HALO Air Ambulance. Successive Councils have long recognized how important emergency airlift is to saving lives in our region. Communities hosting special events this summer can register a unique Site ID with STARS for a moderate fee, making access to this service more streamlined should it be required. The STARS Emergency Link Centre, dispatching all emergency airlift ambulances in Alberta, responds to 36,000 requests per year.

 Shirley Spanke with the Vulcan Healthcare Auxiliary Transportation updated us on their van program and the very tight fiscal constraints within which it operates. Moving forward, there could be discussions regarding potential funding models that will ensure vehicle maintenance and replacement.

Deanna Heather was presented her first annual report for the Agricultural Services Board (ASB) in her capacity as the new Director. She provided a comprehensive overview of all ASB activities throughout the year. This is a very busy department and our local agricultural producers benefit from their range of equipment and expertise.

While my Councillor Report is also available on my website, I am happy report here that the Local History Night in Milo on April 5th was a tremendous success. Dr. Craig Coburn provided an update on the MITACS Missing Graves cemetery project and a six-month extension request for this project is submitted to the MITACS program. This project has also received funding from the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta to complete the investigation and reporting, however, the funding will mostly go towards updating and development of eight cemetery profiles in the Geographic Information System (GIS) that is provided to us by Oldman River Regional Services Commission. The grant amount awarded is $14,950.00 under the Varley Fund for Rural Life. This will have a significant long-term benefit for the ongoing management of eight local cemeteries.

Our second meeting in April saw the presentation of our 2023 financial statements by the County’s new auditor KPMG. This was the first year where the County had a report on Asset Retirement Obligations (ARO) and thanks to our Director of Corporate Services, Mark DeBoer, both the transition to a new auditor and ARO reporting went seamlessly. Should you be interested in learning more about the County’s financial reporting, our municipality has been recognized several times over for clear and accessible information. Interactive Online Dashboards are available on the County’s website providing a thorough overview of municipal operations.

Council passed a resolution recognizing May 6th through 10th as Economic Development Week. Various local businesses will be showcased throughout the week, as well as the development potential of the Vulcan County Industrial Park. The contests run last year were a great success and we are hoping for similar engagement this year.

Given concerns over drought and the need for better water management practices, Council approved a new Water Conservation Bylaw for the Hamlet of Kirkaldy and the Vulcan County Industrial Park. This new bylaw streamlines water conservation practices across the membership of the Twin Valley Water Commission, providing the necessary tools to conserve water should this be necessary.


Christopher Northcott

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