Notes from Council, February 28th, 2024

Dear Residents & Ratepayers,

              Two appointments were made in February to the Chinook Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB). Iuliana Morar from the Champion Community and Mike Collins from the Milo Community put their name forward. Both individuals possess unique backgrounds that should lend itself well to this type of appointment. Once they have completed their one-day training they will be able to sit on hearings across the region for member-municipalities of the Chinook SDAB. Under the legislation, non-elected members are in higher demand since only one elected member (which I am) is allowed to sit on any hearing regardless of whether the elected official is from the jurisdiction having the appeal. As such, I thank Ms. Morar and Mr. Collins for their willingness to serve the wider region in this capacity.

              The area set aside for the development of new rodeo grounds southeast of the Town of Vulcan has been rezoned from rural agricultural to rural recreational. We are happy to see this project moving forward and hope that the development of the new rodeo grounds will occur in a timely manner to facilitate the agricultural society’s event schedule. Access to this location should be ideal and Council was pleased to learn that no further traffic impact assessment would be required by Alberta Transportation for this site.

              Administration brought forward for discussion the item of amending the land use bylaw to allow for short-term rentals using two or more recreational vehicles (RVs). There is some interest in operating AirBnB accommodation using recreational vehicles, however, Council believes this is already regulated under the rules and regulations pertaining to campgrounds. Any operator wishing to provide accommodation in two or more RVs will still be required to apply for a development permit as a campground operator. All discretionary considerations and waivers can then be handled by the Municipal Planning Commission as it pertains to each application.

              In the interest of further incentivising the hiring of mechanical and maintenance personnel, Council has approved a tool allowance of $1,000 for permanent staff and $300 for part-time staff. Unused amounts will be able to be carried forward for one additional year. This should help address our difficulty in attracting well-qualified journeyman technicians to come work for Vulcan County. This would take some of the pressure off of the personnel we are fortunate enough to retain.

              At the end of February, we had a public hearing for the tarping bylaw that was proposed last summer. Worthwhile feedback was received from stakeholders and I am looking forward to putting this matter to rest, one way or another. Should you have any thoughts on this item, please feel free to phone me so that we can discuss.

              We also heard from a delegation of the Little Bow Resort and the Southern Alberta Bible Camp regarding the challenging conditions on RR212 and TR151. I was impressed by their presentation and can appreciate their frustration given the traffic volumes regularly using those roadways. Further consultation with stakeholders will now occur as we look at improvement options and consider how these costs could be recovered (i.e. special tax levy).

              Council has opted to support the new arena dressing rooms project by allocating $100,000 from the district capital reserve. This support, along with the $100,000 allocated from the Town, should help the municipal partners secure additional grant funding for this project.


Christopher Northcott

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