ELK POINT - Anita Fagnan , a consultant with the Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP), was first on the agenda at Elk Point town council’s March 13 meeting, outlining that group’s ongoing efforts to give attraction and retention support to rural communities across the province.
RhPAP has programs offering financial incentives for rural staff training as well as support for students entering the healthcare professions, funding for locum physicians and a pilot project called RESIDE, which stands for rural education supplement and integrated doctor experience. Fagnan said, adding that it “can be a community effort” with the formation of rural community attraction and retention committees to positively influence health care professionals and students. She cited last fall’s visit to St. Paul and Elk Point by a group of bilingual students as an example and thanked “Wanda (Coun. Cochrane) and the others for a great job of showing off the community to entice them to come back.”
Along with RhPAP’s ‘Discovering Rural’ sessions for post-secondary students, such as that weekend experience, they also have ‘Grow Your Own’ sessions hosted by rural communities for students in grades nine through 12 to entice them to choose careers in the health professions.
Listing representatives of municipal governments, Alberta Health Services, site managers, physicians and primary care network representatives that typically make up local health providers attraction and retention committees, Fagnan wrapped up her visit by urging council to consider the formation of a committee in Elk Point.
Later in the meeting, Couns. Cochrane and Jason Boorse said they felt it would be worthwhile to set up such a committee, and Coun. Dwayne Yaremkevich noted, “We have a committee already, we need to re-activate it.”
A second delegation attending the meeting was a resident who had received a fine from the bylaw enforcement officer for reportedly cutting off a sanding truck when the resident instead had walked up to the stopped truck and inquired why the streets were being sanded instead of only the intersections and stop signs, which Manager of Operations Jay Duffee had told the resident would take place, in order to have enough sand available for the rest of the season.
Council later discussed the matter in closed session and moved to delete the fine levied by the bylaw enforcement officer and to direct CAO Ken Gwozdz to inform the appellant that proper procedures need to be followed.
Wednesday, May 17 has been set as the date for the annual Town Cleanup, when volunteers from the community and community groups will be invited to pick up garbage bags and gloves provided by the town with a 4 p.m. start for their efforts to clean up the community of debris .
Amendment of the land use bylaw to allow for a group home in the R2 district was moved to April 11, with Gwozdz telling council that he is still receiving correspondence in regards to the change.
50 Ave. usage
Gwozdz reported to council that signage prohibiting vehicles over one ton except for delivery vehicles to use 50 Ave. west of Highway 41, contacting businesses that previously used the street with large trucks, and meeting with the ECMP detachment to discuss the matter had been completed, and he could now inform the resident who had expressed concerns for the safety aspect of such traffic that the matter had been taken care of.
No changes needed
Policies involving the Council – CAO Covenant, employee codes of ethics and conflict of interest, hours of work and rest and tax incentives were all passed for another year with no changes required.
The CAO told council he had good news for them, with the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) operating funding had been doubled for 2023, while capital support would remain the same as last year. “We need it,” he said, “it’s great news for municipalities.”
Arena parking lot
After a number of years when town officials felt the parking lot at A. G. Ross Arena belonged to the arena, they have now learned that this belongs to the town, while the back alley belongs to the Ag Society. Council has asked the County of St. Paul to assist with oiling or cold mix on both, as a benefit to the facility and its users. Duffee was present on ZOOM by this point, and pointed out that oiling would work, but “we would never get a firm surface” with cold mix due to the soil conditions in the area.
Communities in Bloom
Elk Point Chamber of Commerce has applied on behalf of the Town for Communities in Bloom, and has passed on the $300 invoice for registration, which Deputy Mayor Tim Smereka said is “a minimal fee to get it started.” The town will work with the chamber to support Communities in Bloom this year.
Coun Cochrane reported that plans are underway to establish community gardens and an application has been made for a Co-op grant. Elk Point Further Education is interested in being involved with the project, which would involve 4’ x 8’ x 2’ tall raised beds, located west of Elk Point Municipal Library.
Manager of Operations
Duffee reported that the town’s garbage truck is back in operation, with cost of repairs “not as bad as expected,” and added “a big thank you to the Town of St. Paul for loaning us one of theirs while ours was being repaired.” He also reported that his department now has remote access to the lift station, and that they will be concentrating on drainage as spring arrives and snow melt begins.