Saturday, September 22, 2012

Council Meeting Highlights Sept. 11, 2012

In order to review the full agenda, reports and Council decisions, I ask you to go to the following link: Information on all of the background reports and minutes.
To get the full flavour of how decisions are made tune into the webcast. The webcast is timed and titled so that you can refer immediately to the specific agenda items.

RCMP & Enforcement Services January to June Statistical Report
The 56% increase in traffic enforcement has had an impact in helping to reduce collisions involving injuries by over 20%.

Drug abuse is perhaps society’s greatest problem. Drug enforcement related to drug trafficking is still on the rise, up 78% midyear. Break and Enters have also increased by 39% (from 124 to 172 in the first six months of the year).

As of this July the new RCMP Family Violence Unit has been operating in Strathcona County, working closely with Family and Community Services and other local agencies. Thirty nine files have been opened with over half of elder abuse investigations involving fraud, credit card scams, and cyber crime. Complete report.

Social Services Grants Policy
This policy ensures the distribution of over two hundred thousand dollars of grant funding annually. From 1993 to 1999 an average of 14 groups applied annually. Applications have decreased somewhat. In 2000 to 2006 an average of 10 groups applied annually. Groups such as these represent valid community needs and are supported by hundreds of volunteers.

I support the policy’s focus on sustainable practice including long range planning, sound financial planning and accountability but found the policy detail, clarity and definition lacking. I also have a concern over the decrease of categories under which groups can apply. 

My overarching concern is that neither stakeholders nor the Advisory Committee actually reviewed this policy. Instead they gave out of context reaction to an application form and time line. Input and engagement from appropriate sectors and groups is, in my mind necessary for Council to be able to do due diligence when asked to approve significant changes to a social policy. These non profits support our community, leveraging volunteer hours and corporate support to create value far exceeding the municipal dollars they get.

Administration, in the Council meeting, refused to consider public engagement from involved groups. I believe that affected groups must be apprised of these changes and invited to comment. A great deal of work does need to be done. The stakeholders do need to be engaged. When this policy comes back to Council, I expect to see a much more holistic approach that would include a lot more input from our valued community organizations and a backgrounder from the Advisory Committee on the policy itself, in a holistic approach.  

Wye Road Functional Study - Report
The 2006 council approved Wye Road Functional Plan ground to a halt in 2007/2008 when business owners in the area brought forward concerns of accessibility to long time existing businesses. They objected to plans for a jug handle and road accesses restrictions.
With planners forecasting up to 40% increase in traffic (from 1995 to 2014), traffic flow needs to be addressed with light synchronization and other improvements.

This month, the Strathcona planning department and Al-Tera and Stantec will re-engage the business community in Wye Gardens, Wye Commercial, Wye Crossing and Sherwood Centre to develop a strategy that ensures convenient access and egress to businesses, while creating better flow for the increased traffic volumes at Sherwood Drive intersection.

Councillor Inquiries
Under this agenda section, I asked to have administration to update Council on the accountability process on spending that administration is putting into place for Priority Funds; look into the residents’ concerns being brought forward on secondary suites; and a report on the pet regulations on ‘over the limit’ numbers allowed in urban areas. 

E News Bulletin
I send out an E News Bulletin three times monthly to residents. It is an opportunity for me to inform you of community events and matters of interest to your family and neighbours and keep in touch you. You are welcome to sign up at 

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