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MD Briefs: Municipal Planning Commission dissolved

The MD of Bonnyville council will now be able to hear matters relating to development during regular meetings or call special council meetings to address matters involving municipal development. Other matter discussed relate to unforeseen policing costs related to ID 349 and the tendering of MD fire apparatuses.
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The MD of Bonnyville council will now be able to hear matters relating to development during regular meetings or call special council meetings to address matters involving municipal development. 

Following the third reading of Bylaws 1794 and 1795 on April 13, the MD of Bonnyville council is now designated as the Development Authority and Subdivision Authority. 

This authority previously fell under the mandate of the Municipal Planning Commision (MPC), which was made up of select council members. 

At a regular council meeting on Jan. 12, council approved redesignating the MD’s Development Authority and Subdivision Authority from MPC to council.  

As a result, Bylaw No. 1344 that had established the commission was repealed, effectively dissolving the commission.  

“This decision-making process will be more efficient as the hearings can now be held twice a month instead of the previous once a month,” according to information provided by administration. 

Falling under the department for planning and development, council heard that this year’s first-quarter report showed 20 building and development permits had been issued in the first three months of the year, for a total development value of more than $2.39 million.  

The MD also received two new subdivision applications and had issued 58 safety codes permit in relation to plumbing, gas, electrical, and more. 

Following the repeal of the MPC, April 27 marked the first time that council held a Development Discretionary Use Hearings during a regular council meeting. 

At that meeting, council approved three discretionary use applications: one to allow for a dog breeding kennel, another for a shop building with a secondary suite, and a third for a yurt with a secondary suite, as per the MD’s Land Use Bylaw. 

Surprise policing costs 

In conjunction with the Government of Alberta and Canada, each municipality contributes a portion of the frontline policing costs to the Police Funding Model (PFM). 

In addition to policing costs paid out by the MD to the province under the Police Funding Model (PFM), the MD received a separate PFM invoice for ID 349. 

The province is requiring $143,752 from the municipality for ID 349 for the 2021-22 fiscal year. 

Council agreed to fund a $100,000 payment for policing costs from the 2022 Operating Budget. However, they also directed administration to draft a letter to the three urban neighbours who also receive economic benefits from the annexed land, to request funding support to cover the increased policing costs. 

The MD is also on the hook to pay $568,682 in PFM costs for the 2021-22 fiscal year for policing within the district.

Firetrucks to tender 

After a lengthy discussion involving the Regional Fire Chief Dan Heney from the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority (BRFA), council approved a request to tender for the replacement of five MD fire trucks. 

The estimated cost for this equipment if tendered is expected to come in at just over $2.9 million for all five vehicles. 

This decision followed comments by the fire chief indicating that two pumpers and three tankers from the MD’s fleet will be nearing the end of their lifecycle by 2023 and 2024, respectively. 

By ordering the fire response vehicles this year, potential savings could allow the BRFA to save two to three per cent per truck, as well as the potential inflation costs that could be incurred if the municipality waits to place an order. 

Although council unanimously agreed to allow for the tendering of the five fire apparatuses, there was uncertainty amongst councillors over how regularly equipment should be replaced. 

Discussions around equipment replacement metrics are expected to take place at a future council meeting.

Jazmin Tremblay

About the Author: Jazmin Tremblay

Jazmin completed a minor in journalism at Hanze University in the Netherlands and completed her Communication Studies degree from MacEwan University with a major in journalism.
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