By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Protocol items and announcements
Councilor Clawson congratulated Rob and Shannon Mossey for winning the achievement of Vauxhall Ag Volunteer of the year and they also congratulated Haven Agencies for winning Vauxhall Chamber Business of the Year and thanked them both for their dedication to the community of Vauxhall.
Sergeant Stu Gemmill of the R.C.M.P. presented the October 2023 statistics for the detachment and said that during the month of October, they responded to 165 calls for service with 144 of those calls being within the M.D. of Taber. There was also one impaired driver and five criminal code violations, Gemmill said, as well as 14 9-1-1 hang-ups within the M.D. of Taber and 18 elsewhere. Gemmill stated that the detachment also did three criminal record checks and seven fingerprints for the general public. As far as patrols go, Gemmill said, the detachment conducted 14 patrols in Enchant, 31 in Grassy Lake, 14 in Hays, one patrol of the M.D. Park, one patrol of the Enchant campground, and 137 patrols throughout the M.D. of Taber. The detachment wrote 23 tickets in the M.D. of Taber and eight were written by Traffic Services, Gemmill says. Charges were laid in five criminal investigations during the month, Gemmill added, and the detachment also responded to two complaints of family violence in October, laying charges where evidence existed that an offense had been committed. Gemmill emphasized that all available support was provided to the victims. Gemmill also compared crime stats from January to October 2022 to 2023; he said person’s crimes are up 11 percent, property crime is down 33 percent, other criminal code violations are up 20 percent, break and enters have seen a 68 percent decrease with 17 fewer instances, there has been two fewer thefts of motor vehicles, and there is a 16 percent decrease in theft under $5,000.
In addition to the statistics, Gemmill also reported that Constable Gant gave a presentation on road safety at the Barnwell school to the students of the Driver’s Education class.
Councilor Harris moved to accept the R.C.M.P. report for information and the motion was carried.
CAO Report Highlights
In his report to Council, Chief Administrative Officer Arlos Crofts showed Council the Horsefly Project Transaction Report and explained that it is essentially the transactions up to the period ending in October showing the expenditures associated with the Horsefly Project. Crofts also showed Council several other reports including the Operating Financial Statement, the Capital Transaction Report, and Reconciliation Report.
Reeve Miyanaga Report
Reeve Tamara Miyanaga reported to Council that the Alberta government’s looking at the potential legislative changes on how to maintain accountability and public trust in local elections and elected officials, so there is a survey that they’re asking for people to give their input on and the survey December 6, 2023. Miyanaga said that the government survey is available at: https://www.abmunis.ca/news/surveys-potential-changes-laea-mga-close-dec-6. Miyanaga also reported that the Food Bank’s Stuff-A-Bus was on December 5, 2023.
Councilor Hildebrand Report Highlights
Councilor Brian Hildebrand reported to Council that the Highway 3 twinning from Taber to Burdett that will proceed in the spring has awarded its first contract to Ledcor Construction, so construction will be starting in Spring 2023. This news, Hildebrand said, is really good for the residents with regards to safety of the highway, economic development, and for agriculture production, and value added.
Administration reported to Council that on March 21, 2023, the M.D. did experience a cyber incident that did render some of the network technology inaccessible for a time. Administration stated that the M.D. primary financial software was not impacted by the incident, but the Windows server was. However, Administration said that the M.D. was essentially able to restore most data that was rendered inaccessible. Administration said that following the incident, the M.D. chose to self-report the incident to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, and they responded by doing their own investigation. The Commissioner’s office, Administration said, provided an official response to their official investigation in August 2023, determining that the M.D. of Taber had responded reasonably to the incident, reemphasizing that local public bodies have a voluntary requirement to self-report such scenarios and they also provided a recommendation to have public notification of the incident, hence why it was brought before Council. Council did express concern about data being accessed from outside, but Administration said the investigation found no proof of that and Council also asked if there was any data destroyed during the incident. Administration did confirm that there were small storage devices that were in an operating environment that were not recoverable, but an inventory was taken, and the damage was minimal. A motion was made to accept the memo and carried.
Medical First Response Program Participation
Council reviewed a Request For Decision that the M.D. of Taber approve the Regional Fire Services participation in the Alberta Health Services (AHS) Medical First Response (MFR) Program and request a 12-month program review and evaluation, intended to support future decision making related to MFR program continuation. Nathan Cote, Regional Fire Chief for the M.D. of Taber, expressed hope that the Regional Fire Services could provide whatever was needed for a decision and explained that the Alberta Medical First Response Program has been requested by the members of the M.D.’s Regional Fire Service to provide help to the M.D.’s citizens in times of need. The members of the M.D.’s Fire Service, Cote said, would like to participate in a program where they would have the ability to provide essential help during an emergency before an ambulance arrives on the scene. Council stated that they had previously expressed concern over the increased amount of volunteer hours and work this would cause and the risk that the M.D. would take on as a municipality if something were to go wrong. The M.D. also expressed concern about how much time volunteers who were involved in this program would spend away from their families or their work. Ultimately, Council expressed interest in participating in a trial run because it would give them an opportunity to try it and go back to the way things are if it doesn’t work. A motion was made that the M.D of Taber approve the Regional Fire Services participation in Alberta Health Services Medical First Responders Program and request a 12-month program review and evaluation intended to support future decision making related to the MFR program. The motion was carried.