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R.M. of McKillop first Meeting of the New Year

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Council for the R.M. of McKillop met for their first regular meeting of 2022. Declaring conflicts of interest for the list of accounts to be approved were Gary Gilbert for payment to Elanna Gilbert for $362.62. $23.31 for driveway poles on January 11, 2022, and mileage for the same day for $339.31. Reeve Bob Schmidt also declared a conflict of interest for $86.39 for a Grammarly Software Program on November 27, 2021. The CAO explained that Reeve Schmidt uses his own Grammarly when creating the R.M.s newsletters, and the payment was to renew his subscription. Council approved the accounts for payment.

There was some minor debate on how the R.M. wrote the Sun Dale Septic Haul tender. Council wanted to ensure that those who submitted tenders were submitting for the correct measurement in imperial gallons as it wasn’t specified. Four tenders were submitted. Once the administration confirmed that it was in imperial gallons, the Reeve asked for a motion for the lowest bid. Councillor Dixon made a motion to accept the tender from Aquarius “based on previous history and working relationship and matches previous commitment from the R.M. to pay that.” Councillor Arndt pointed out that the bid was not the lowest. Council voted to award the tender to Aquarius. Northshore Septic submitted a lower bid at .046, and Aquarius’ bid was .050. Councillor Arndt asked for a recorded vote. Arndt said that while he agreed with Councillor Dixon, there needs to be sufficient reason other than what he thought was anecdotal reasoning for not accepting the lowest bid. Councillor Arndt and Reeve Schmidt were the only no votes.

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Council went into closed session for 45 minutes to discuss Personnel and Long-Term Strategic Planning. Upon returning from the closed session Council carried a motion to approve the salary and employee wage increases of $12,996.48 effective January 21.

Communications – there were several updates on the agenda, including one from PARCS – Provincial Association of Resort Communities. Councillor Garry Dixon is the President, and Councillor Marilyn Labatte is a Director.

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Council debated an aquatic habitat permit application which Council had previously requested additional information and photos. The applicant confirmed there wouldn’t be any slope excavation, and there wouldn’t be any “in-water work.” The applicant said the rocks wouldn’t be removed from the lots; they “would be placed” on the shore or the beach. The applicant said the only other thing they would do would be levelling. Reeve Bob Schmidt was concerned about the environmental reserve next to the parcels. Schmidt said because of his previous experience he said that “you are not allowed in any way to alter the environmental reserve.”

Schmidt said that levelling could not include the removal of vegetation. Councillor Don Whitrow responded, “I don’t understand what the big deal is here. They are going to move some rocks up, reshore the line and open it up so they can put their lifts and stuff in. I don’t see it to be a big problem here. WSA [Water Security Agency] doesn’t have a problem with it. I don’t understand why we would.”

There was discussion among Council as to what was allowable. CAO Morissette informed Council what other uses allowable for an environmental reserve, including access to navigable water. The CAO said that the WSA needs approval from the R.M. before approving the permit. Reeve Schmidt said many people had been stopped from altering environmental reserves in the R.M. and others in the Province fined. Councillor Dixon said that was true, but people do it all the time. Dixon reminded Schmidt that the R.M. had allowed it in the past, such as at Sundale. Schmidt said that Sundale didn’t have an environmental reserve, Dixon corrected him – saying that there is E.R. around every lake. Whitrow reiterated that previous approvals regarding Sundale were no different from this application. Schmidt said it was primarily trees and shrubs. Councillor Whitrow made a motion to approve. Schmidt said that he wouldn’t approve something he knew wasn’t right. “We can’t break the rules in other acts by any of our motions.”

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Schmidt reiterated that he wanted to confirm this was happening. Dixon said from the WSA request they are aware of it; they just want the R.M.’s approval first. Whitrow modified his motion saying the R.M. wants a before and after photo and that Council approves the permit based on the information the applicant provided. Councillor Arndt requested a recorded vote. Councillor Labatte abstained – which is equal to a no, Whitrow – yes, Gilbert -no, Dixon – yes, Arndt – no, Romanyk – yes, and Schmidt – no. The motion was defeated. Reeve Schmidt motioned to defer the decision, and he would investigate to find out more information.

Schmidt said, “You know the course we took Brandi. He said we can’t make a motion that circumvents any of the acts.” The CAO responded, “But I don’t know that you are circumventing any regulations…There are all different kinds of uses of the dedicated lands of an E.R. as long as they are done in compliance.” The motion carried.

After months of debate, a delegation, a drone flyover, and a report, the R.M. finally released ASL’s reclamation bond.

Council, passed the second and third and final reading of the amendment to the council procedure bylaw.

Council made further changes to the building bylaw because it was considered a minor change council and approved second and third readings with those changes.

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Council made several appointments for the new year. Development Appeals Board and Board of Revision– Western Municipal Consulting, R.M. Solicitor – MLT Aikens, Financial Auditor – Census Chartered Professional Accountant, R.M. Assessor – CAO Brandi Morissette, Pest Control Officer – Lorne White, Weed Inspector – Fred Stein.

Council made a motion to approve the allotments for the Organized Hamlets. It was noted that these are subject to change and are just for the current budget. All organized hamlets were at 43% to the Hamlet and 57% to the R.M., with Spring Bay’s at 40% – Hamlet 60 % – R.M., which was by special agreement.

There were a few changes to the Chair positions. Howard Arndt is moving to the Ag Committee, and Garry Dixon is going back into the position that he resigned from and moving back into chairing the Hamlet Committee. Craig Romanyk is moving to Chair of Public Works.

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