By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Regional Community Standards Program
Bryce Serena, the Director of IT for the M.D. of Taber, shared information about the Regional Community Standards Program with those in attendance.
Serena said he has had the unique opportunity to work with these relationships locally here in the community and help to develop them not only in the technology role but also in the coordination role of the M.D. of Taber. The Regional Community Standards Program, Serena said, was implemented in October 2022 and with it, the IT and M.D. have been able to build a really strong partnership. Some of the services that the program provides, Serena says, are assisting with bylaw enforcement, supporting provincial statutes, and supporting rural crime watch with regards to regional community standards.
Infrastructure/Capital Projects Information
Michael Keeler, Director of Operations for the M.D., presented information about some capital projects that the Department of Operations is doing through the M.D. of Taber.
The Enchant subdivision was the first project Keeler touched upon and he said that the project is due to be completed mid-summer and will add an additional 36 lots to that community. The next project, Keeler shared an update about Range Road 18-1 and Township Road 15-2 near the surface speed lock, saying that it should be completed in June 2023 after construction there was started in late 2022. The progress on Range Road 14-3 was also addressed by Keeler and he said a 0.7 kilometre section of it is being widened due to the increased traffic on Highway 3.
Keeler then addressed the 2023 line painting project and said that a contractor is going to be hired to complete the line painting for the M.D.’s and Lethbridge County’s hard surface roads. The M.D. of Taber’s basketball patching program contractor, Keeler said, will also be hired for various locations to apply more large-scale patches to it.
Keeler also stated that the Grassy Lake Landfill Reclamation Project, which is an abandoned landfill on the north edge of Grassy Lake, is being reclaimed to allow for future development. Along with that, Keeler said, the Grassy Lake North subdivision is currently in design phase and the M.D is simply waiting for A.E.D. approvals before the final design can be completed.
Keeler then shared some information about some infrastructure projects that were completed in 2022: The Taber Municipal Park Irrigation Supply, the Highway 513 Sand and Seal, the 2022 Taber Asphalt Patching Program, The Highway 3 Corridor West of Taber for the potable water supply, Township Road 9-5 between Range Road 17-1 and 17-2, and soil stabilization and cement.
The 2023 Public Works Operating Plans, Keeler said, include continuing with heavy maintenance on the shoulder pulls, ditch cleanouts, intersection improvements, culvert repairs, and gravel recovery. Keeler also provided everyone in attendance with a map of the work that the M.D.’s Operations staff will be doing for shoulder pull and gravel recovery within the M.D. of Taber.
New Land Use Bylaw in the works
Tom Anderson, the Development officer for the M.D. of Taber, spoke about the new Land Use Bylaw. The original bylaw, Anderson said, was adopted in 2004 and is now 20 years old, so it is definitely time to revisit it given that changes have happened since then.
Anderson began by defining the Land Use Bylaw as a regulatory document that implements the policies that are outlined in the community’s Municipal Development Plan.
The Land Use Bylaw, Anderson said, picks up where the MDP Area Structure Plans and Area Redevelopment Plans leave off by dividing the municipality into land use districts. General and specific standards of the development, Anderson said, can be prescribed while establishing permitted discretionary and where necessary prohibited uses within each district.
The Land Use Bylaw, Anderson said, is part of a larger framework that are the provincial statutes and regional plans, specifically the Alberta Land and Regulation Act and the Municipal Government Act. Those, Anderson said, are currently some of the legislative documents that give the M.D. some direction on the Land Use Bylaw.
Anderson also stated that the M.D. of Taber has Intermunicipal Development plans with each of their neighbouring rural municipalities and urban neighbours. The M.D. of Taber’s plan, Anderson said, is the framework that ultimately directs and guides the Land Use Bylaw.
The M.D. of Taber, Anderson said, has area structure plans for different areas and subdivisions within the M.D. and all of those subdivision approvals, and development approval process goes up starting through the Land Use Bylaw.
Anderson said that the Land Use Bylaw Development process requires thoughtful and in-depth discussion with elected officials to establish the municipality’s desired policy direction and such discussions are done through a series of workshops that focus on different areas within the Land Use Bylaw. Feedback from Administration, and the public, will also be used to further inform and build the document, Anderson said. Currently, Anderson said, the M.D., is working through the process of developing a framework and looking at different regulation policy directions that they can go with the Land Use Bylaw.
Anderson then admitted that there is currently no timeline for this bylaw to be implemented, but the hope is to establish or reach third reading by this time next year. In the meantime, Anderson said, the M.D is doing lots of research into trends, opportunities, and background information regarding policy direction workshops that the M.D. could host as well as how to engage the public in the process.
M.D. of Taber Regional Fire Service Statistics For 2022
Regional Fire Chief Nathan Coté took a moment to provide a few of the M.D. of Taber’s Regional Fire Service statistics from 2022.
In 2022, Coté said, the Regional Fire Service responded to a total of 240 calls.
Fifty-five of those calls were Vehicle Accidents; 66 calls were Rubbish or Grass Fires; 2 calls were Resuscitation calls, namely heart attacks; 3 of the calls were miscellaneous Rescue calls; 1 was a miscellaneous Public Service call; 60 were Public Service calls that were assisting police or other agencies; and 6 were Public Hazard calls dealing with downed power lines. Six calls were unclassified incident situations; 1 was a carbon monoxide alarm alerting about a gas leak; 1 was a propane gas leak; two were natural gas leaks; and one was a miscellaneous gas leak.
Thirteen calls, Coté says, were actually for fire while 1 call was a false alarm via the telephone, 1 was a miscellaneous false alarm, 2 were no fire alarms with smoke or steam being the triggers for the alarm, 1 was a miscellaneous no fire alarm, 10 were no fire alarms that were caused by an activated detector, and 5 were no fire alarms that were caused by miscellaneous accidents.