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Crowsnest Pass Municipal Council briefs

Nicholas L. M. Allen

May 1, 2024

The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass Council Meeting on April 23

The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass recently held a council meeting on April 23, 2024, where several important discussions and decisions were made.

The meeting began with a delegation presentation on the audited financial statements of 2023. A representative for BDO presented the 2023 Audited Financial Statements for the municipality, accompanied by their audit team, and provided an overview of the consolidated financial position of the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass. 

They affirmed that the financial statements fairly represented the municipality’s financial status in accordance with Canadian public sector accounting standards.

The presentation highlighted key changes in revenue and expenses, including increases in net municipal taxes, government transfers, user fees, and investment income. Notable donations and increases in expenses, such as administration and protective services, were also discussed.

Council members were given the opportunity to ask questions regarding the financial statements, ensuring clarity and transparency in the municipality’s financial management.

Amendments to the fees and charges bylaw were proposed, including adjustments to tax rates and commercial recycling fees. Council members engaged in discussion regarding the potential impacts of these amendments on taxpayers and businesses in the community.

A significant discussion revolved around proposed amendments to the zoning bylaw, specifically related to urban and non-urban tourism accommodation and recreation districts. The amendments aimed to align zoning regulations with the municipality’s development and growth strategy, focusing on enhancing tourism opportunities while maintaining environmental sustainability.

Council members raised questions and concerns about the implications of the amendments on existing properties and future developments. Public input was encouraged, with plans for a public hearing scheduled to gather community feedback on the proposed changes.

Another important topic of discussion was amendments to the Water Service Bylaw, particularly regarding lawn and garden watering regulations. The proposed amendments aimed to optimize watering practices for plant health while conserving water resources. Council members deliberated on the proposed watering times and exemptions for hand watering.

Concerns were raised regarding water conservation efforts and the enforcement of watering regulations. Council emphasized the importance of public awareness and education campaigns to promote responsible water usage among residents.

With increasing pressure from provincial authorities to conserve water resources, discussions revolved around potential measures to promote water-saving practices. Topics included revisiting watering schedules, exploring the implementation of water meters, and considering incentives for water-efficient appliances. The council emphasized the importance of community engagement and education in fostering responsible water usage.

The policy aimed to ensure proper display and handling of flags across municipal facilities also came forward. The drafted policy outlined guidelines for flag display, including protocols for half-masting, observing flags and honouring visiting dignitaries. Council members deliberated on various aspects of the policy, such as flag display protocols and exceptions for visiting dignitaries. The council ultimately approved the policy with amendments, including provisions for recognizing former federal prime ministers and provincial premiers.

In addition to policy discussions, council members highlighted recent community events and initiatives. They commended the success of the recent volunteer dinner, where over 200 volunteers were honoured for their contributions to the community. 

Concerns were raised regarding improper use of recycling bins, leading to challenges in waste management. The council discussed potential solutions, including increased public awareness and enforcement measures to address recycling contamination.

Another notable discussion revolved around the formation of a committee to collaborate with the local golf course on water conservation efforts. Council members proposed establishing a dedicated committee to address water usage and sustainability issues within the golf course facility. Plans for committee formation and membership were outlined, emphasizing the importance of engaging stakeholders in water conservation initiatives.

Another significant topic of discussion was the municipality’s public input procedures. Council members debated the effectiveness of the current system, particularly regarding recurring issues brought up during public meetings. While they recognized the importance of public engagement, some members expressed concerns about repetitive discussions on previously addressed matters.

The council considered potential revisions to the public input process to ensure more efficient use of time and resources. Suggestions included limiting discussions on resolved issues and exploring alternative formats for public engagement, such as open houses or stakeholder meetings. The goal was to strike a balance between fostering public participation and streamlining decision-making processes.

An issue arose regarding the disposal of a municipal asset, a truck used for various purposes. The asset in question became a point of contention as council members debated whether to sell it or retain it for use by a local community group, United Riders of Crowsnest (UROC), involved in trail building and maintenance.

Council members expressed differing views on the matter, with some advocating for adherence to established disposal policies and procedures, citing the need for accountability and transparency. Others, however, argued for a more flexible approach, emphasizing the positive impact of supporting community groups and the urgent need for solutions.

Councillors grappled with the decision, weighing the importance of following protocol against the desire to support community initiatives. Ultimately, a motion was put forward to sell the municipal asset to UROC at a minimum price, with the possibility of reimbursing the group through grant funding in the future.

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