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M.D. of Taber council meeting briefs from April 23

Posted on May 9, 2024 by Vauxhall Advance

By Heather Cameron
Vauxhall Advance
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The following are select briefs from the M.D. of Taber Council meeting that took place on April 23.

Announcements and Recognition

Deputy Reeve DeGroot brought Council’s attention to the fact that a dedication ceremony was held at the rehashed Vauxhall Rodeo Grounds on Sunday, April 21, where Richard Ferguson and Malcolm Jones were honoured in such a way that the Vauxhall Arena is now called the Malcolm Jones Arena and the new facility that is being built will be dedicated to Richard Ferguson due to the help that the two men gave the community to get that reorganized and going over the last couple of years.

CAO Report Highlights

As part of the Chief Administrative Officer Report he gave Council, Arlos Crofts, Chief Administrative Officer for the M.D. of Taber, shared with Council that planning and coordinating for the M.D.’s 70th Anniversary Barbecue in June. Crofts said that planning and coordinating is also underway for putting together a commemorative video for the M.D.’s 70th anniversary, so some footage of the M.D. of Taber will be gathered and there will also be some communication with the current Reeve, past Reeves, and collection of Agricultural industry footage.

RCS Partnership Annual Review

Arlos Crofts, Chief Administrative Officer for the M.D. of Taber, shared a memo relating to the RCS Partnership Annual Review, stating that it was prepared in coordination with Chief Graham Abela of the TPS and his team to provide an annual overview of approximately the first 18 months of the partnership. That said, Crofts turned the time over to Bryce Surina, Director of Community Services for the M.D. of Taber, and Chief Abela. 

Surina began by explaining to Council that the partnership involved an expectation that they would bring a yearly review in front of Council to encourage the partnership and take a look at some of the things that they have accomplished over the time, in this case 18 months, and also take a look at what they’ve learned, the categories of the report, what’s been working really well, and share some successes, as well as some learns. 

Chief Abela his part of the presentation began by focusing on lessons learned, stating that RCSU has learned that the M.D. of Taber’s physical jurisdiction is huge and that large amounts of time are taken up driving to complaints, leading Abela to explain some strategies to assist with time management including having more than one task in an area before heading that way, or having effective phone conversations with people, and email assists. Abela used a map and shared a report provided by Public Safety Communications Manager Dana Bell to show Council a quick glimpse of the number of calls that have occurred within the M.D. from rate payers to the organization. 

Abela then focused on the Online Service Tracker request functionality and stated that it doesn’t work the best for Taber Police Service dispatch, and they attempted to use a service tracker but find that its functionality overly complicates the process in capturing the needs of clients attempting to reach RCSU services. Although they attempted to streamline some process, Abela said, the organization is recommending a best practice to have the complainant call the Taber Police Service directly. 

Abela also stated that Taber Police Service recommends additional fines associated with the M.D.’s Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw to increase penalties for repeat offenders, as current fines are seen as insufficient to curb this behaviour, and a trend of abandoning dogs within the M.D. has increased calls for service and impacted the Lost Paws Society capacity. Aside from continuing to support the Society, Abela said, there has not been a solution found to this issue.

Village of Barnwell’s addition to the RCSU has not impacted services in the MDT, Abela said, but something to note is that dogs in the M.D. do act differently than those within in town and personal protective equipment is on order to make sure that officers don’t get bitten, and with two instances of officers being bitten, training in that area is being increased.

In terms of what is working well, Abela said, there have been no formal complaints received regarding RCSU work from residents within the M.D., but the organization has been approached twice with minor concerns, both of which have been addressed at the organizational level through effective communication between managers. 

In addition to that, Abela said, there have been no costs related to prosecutors by the M.D. for matter in which charges have been laid by the RCSU officers. There has also been excellent communication and meetings between department heads, Abela says, with the R.C.M.P. providing feedback that the partnership is working well, and they have no complaints and appreciate the work Taber Police Service does to provide them with more time for serious criminal matters. 

Training and onboarding of officers continues to meet timelines and the RCSU is at full capacity, Abela reported, with training, equipment, and facilities acknowledged as an expected economy of scale advantage provided through partnership. 

The partnerships, Abela says, have also been a success in supporting municipal bylaws, and additional services have accommodated with quick support to farmers and ranchers who need help to move cattle across roadways safely. In addition to that, Abela says, requests for M.D. including weed control and soil conservation have been transitioned smoothly to M.D. departments.

A motion was made to accept the RCS Partnership Annual Review for information and the motion was carried.

Councillor Harris Report Highlights

As part of his report to Council, Councillor Merrill Harris highlighted that during a TCAPS meeting, the Taber Food Bank reported that almost 10 percent of Taber homes accessed the food bank last month and Harris stated that such a number was quite alarming. The food bank, Harris said is trying to do their best to keep food stocked in supply and if any donations can be made, the food bank will accept them gratefully. In response to the comments on the food bank, Reeve Miyanaga stated that the planting of the community garden, which Councillor Harris is very involved in, will be on May 11, 2024 starting at 9 a.m. The food from the community garden, Miyanaga said, has such a huge impact to the Taber Food Bank and also food banks in the surrounding areas because the numbers of those who utilize it are very high; this is an issue that is everywhere, so the success of the garden is very important and Miyanaga encouraged Council to assist with it as they can.

Request For Decision – Summer Games Sponsorship

Council discussed a Request For Decision regarding whether or not the M.D. of Taber support the Alberta Summer Games (SASG) through the Town of Taber by contributing $4,200.00 for Town of Taber and M.D. of Taber participant t-shirts. Council quickly established that in previous years, the M.D. of Taber has donated funds to purchase t-shirts for Town of Taber and M.D. of Taber participants who enter in the Games. Council also established that the 2024 Southern Alberta Summer Games are being hosted in the Town of Coaldale, and quotes for t-shirts were gathered by the Town of Taber and came out to approximately $14/t-shirt. Council declared that the M.D. of Taber has historically had the most number of athletes and cultural participants of any region, so they believe to donate the money is a favorable idea. That said, Council made a motion that the M.D. of Taber support the Alberta Summer Games (SASG) through the Town of Taber by contributing $4,200.00 for Town of Taber and M.D. of Taber participant t-shirts and the motion was carried.

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