Notes from Council, June 30, 2022

Dear Residents & Ratepayers,

It’s amazing the difference a little rain will bring! Everything is much greener in Vulcan County.

There were two meetings of the County Council this month, as well as an all-day Governance and Priorities meeting to work on our strategic plan for the next four years. All councillors were provided the opportunity to identify key priorities and staff provided input from each of their departments. It was a long but insightful day. We plan to review a draft document with staff at the next Governance and Priorities meeting.

Discussion was had at the first meeting of the month regarding the implementation of a waiting period for re-application of land use bylaw amendments that are refused by council. A majority of Council believes that a 6-month waiting period will ensure that county resources are not over-subscribed by developer applications that require significant modification or an entirely different approach. This waiting period will also ensure that respect is given to the time and effort made by adjacent landowners (and stakeholders) in responding to public hearings before Second Reading of a land use bylaw amendment.

County Council commenced the re-zoning process for three parcels of land where the Alberta Utilities Commission has approved the placement of wind towers; this approval takes precedence over County bylaws. These three sites were not previously supported by County Council because of how they were zoned. After significant discussion, County Council has opted to hold a public hearing for two of the parcels currently zoned Urban Fringe for the Village of Lomond. It is believed that there are significant inter-municipal considerations and that it is in the public interest for there to be a public hearing on this re-zoning. The Modernized Municipal Government Act clearly establishes the significance of collaboration between adjacent municipalities. Vulcan County Council is interested in hearing from other municipalities and interested stakeholders that are impacted by this particular rezoning or similar types of decisions impacting Urban Fringe into the future.

Finally, between now and October, I would like to hear from ratepayers their thoughts on council remuneration. The previous County Council hired Improve Consulting Group to provide a report comparing Vulcan County to other jurisdictions on the financial compensation of municipal councillors. The report was presented at the June 15th meeting and Council moved that the recommended increase to council remuneration be included “for consideration” in the 2023 operating budget. On my website I have posted the Request for Decision (RFD) that was made to County Council, and this includes the report by Improve Consulting Group. I am happy to discuss council remuneration with any ratepayers interested in contacting me, be it with concerns regarding the analysis presented in the report, the timing of this adjustment, or thoughts on reasonable compensation regardless of the report.

Congratulations to the Village of Champion on their 111th Anniversary! I am looking forward to participating in the parade on July 2nd.


Christopher Northcott

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