Neighbourhood Notes 2022 Year in Review

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Neighborhood Notes January

In this Issue

• RMA Convention P3

• Department Updates P4-11

• Torrington Fire Department Long Service Awards P11

2022 Year In Review

Reeve’s Message

On behalf of Council, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I hope your Christmas and holiday season was safe and filled with joy. I would also like to send a heartfelt thank you to the County operators, shop, and staff who worked to keep the County roads and water services open during the Christmas season and the extreme cold weather that preceded it.

To start the new year, the County continues to develop its finalized budget for 2023. Prior to Christmas, an interim budget was adopted and when further information comes in a final budget will be adopted. We don’t know how tax assessments have changed from 2022, but should receive this information from our assessors and province in February.

Inflation and supply chain issues continue to put pressure on the County, just as they are on your own households, farms, and businesses. Like you, the County is having to adapt as best we can. This can mean ordering equipment earlier than we have in the past and finding different ways of delivering the services that we know you expect.

As the winter goes on and turns to spring we hope that the fields receive the moisture they need and set the stage for seeding and a great harvest in the fall.

2023

Council Contacts

Division 3

Reeve Jerry Wittstock

Phone: 403-312-6196

Email: jerry.wittstock@kneehillcounty.com

Division 7

Deputy Reeve Ken King

Phone: 403-443-0285

Email: kenneth.king@kneehillcounty.com

Division 1

Councillor Faye McGhee

Phone: 403-436-1611

Email: faye.mcghee@kneehillcounty.com

Division 2

Councillor Debbie Penner

Phone: 403-818-3108

Email: debbie.penner@kneehillcounty.com

Cleanfarms

Cleanfarms' ag chem jug recycling program is changing!

Collection sites are transitioning from municipal to retail locations The Cleanfarms <23L container collection program is gradually changing to align it with other provinces, enabling farmers to bring these empty and rinsed containers back to their local agricultural retail outlets. The transition to ag retailers is being phased in over three years.

The transition shifts the responsibility to accept empty containers from the municipality to the ag industry. It also simplifies farm disposal of crop input packaging since many ag retailers already collect other materials like drums, totes, and seed, pesticide & inoculant bags for recycling with Cleanfarms.

Visit cleanfarms.ca for more information.

Division 4

Councillor Carrie Fobes

Phone: 403-588-4624

Email: carrie.fobes@kneehillcounty.com

Division 5

Councillor Laura Lee Machell-Cunningham

Phone: 403-443-0752

Email: lauralee.machell-cunningham @kneehillcounty.com

Division 6

Councillor Wade Christie

Phone: 403-588-1992

Email: wade.christie@kneehillcounty.com

Connect With Us!

• Feb 21

• April 18

• May 16

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @kneehillcounty, and tune in to our YouTube channel to watch Council meetings live!

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us! Upcoming Council Meetings:
Join
Feb 14
28
&
March 14 & 28
April
of the Whole Meetings:
11 & 25 Committee

Rural Municipalities of Alberta

In early winter, Council attended the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) Convention. This event is attended by hundreds of rural municipal Councillors from all parts of Alberta and allows for elected officials to learn about new skills and emerging issues, gain knowledge through networking with elected officials from other municipalities, and lobby the Province and provincial politicians on behalf of our residents and businesses. The RMA acts as the combined voice of all of Alberta’s rural municipalities.

Highlights of the Convention include the Resolution Session in which municipal officials put forward initiatives that they would like the RMA to lobby the Province for. This sets the direction that rural municipalities would like to see the Province move in. Another highlight of the event is the Bear Pit session that is attended by Cabinet Ministers and offers Councillors the ability to pose questions directly to Ministers. Kneehill County Councillors had the opportunity to interact with Ministers and pose

Deputy Reeve King raised concerns regarding Provincial downloading to local Family and Community Support Services. This issue places undo burden upon our local resources and often leaves people without the help they need as our local programs cannot deliver services that the Province is responsible for, even when the Province is failing to deliver.

Councillor Machell Cunningham posed questions to the Ministers around renewable energy developments and requirements for reclamation bonds and preservation of farmland.

Councillor Fobes questioned Ministers about end of life disposal of renewable energy infrastructure such as solar panels and wind turbines, primarily the concern about the potential of that infrastructure ending up in landfills.

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Deputy Reeve King speaking with Jeremy Nixon, Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services

Operations Update

2022 Achievements

• Awarding of the Road Network Study project. This road network study will help the County determine where future years of road reconstruction will take place and set parameters for how these projects are chosen.

• Replaced the culvert and completed pavement patching on Allingham highway. This culvert was replaced to ensure safe and continued travel across a highly travelled road within the County.

• Repaired Carbon cemetery slide. This major road slope repair on Range Road 232 north of Carbon was completed to stabilize the slope and ensure the structure of the road remained protected.

• Completed annual gravel crushing of 78,736 cubic meters while utilizing a new more versatile spec of gravel which is more suitable to County soil conditions.

• Completed annual maintenance on every bridge in the County, including sweeping bridge decks, clearing guardrails, and repairing bridge decks.

• Provided enhanced hands-on training to grader operators.

• Specialized grader training was taken by County operators to further hone their skills and ensure consistency in their operations.

• Approximately 415 miles of gravel roads were regravelled by County forces. This remained consistent with Kneehill County Policy 13-2.

• Implemented Engineering Vendor of Record Contract. This method of contracted engineering services selection provides the environment where prequalified engineering consultants compete for management of County capital and operating projects.

2023 Department Goals

• Complete BF6948 - SE 1-30-25. This is a project which is grant funded through the provincial Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program.

• Complete the Road Network Study. This study will be completed in 2023 and will help guide the future reconstruction of County gravel roads based on a technical decision matrix and taking into account various parameters such as traffic counts, excessive annual maintenance costs and future development pressures.

• Complete major maintenance on one major and two standard bridges. These bridges include BF 895 SW-6-24-26-W4, BF 2170 SW-29-33-26-W4 and BF1876 NW-10-30-25-W4

• Complete Gorr Road overlay project. Substantial completion of the Gorr Road overlay including potential replacement of two bridge file structures and widening of the road surface to meet the 9.0m standard.

• Continue annual gravel crushing program. This ensures the County has adequate supply of gravel to maintain the road network.

• Replacement of BF75910 - NW 2-32-24-W4. Replacement of a single span bridge structure with a bridge sized culvert which will allow for unrestricted width travel for the agricultural and energy industries.

• Gravel Inventory Replacement Strategy. The development of a gravel replacement strategy to allow for the continuous replenishment of the County's gravel inventory. This may include the development of new pits or potential hauling and stockpiling of outside gravel.

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Environmental Services Update

2022 Achievements

• Swalwell Dam Safety Classification: a provincially regulated requirement to determine the impacts on property, infrastructure and residents downstream of the Dam in the event the dam structure was to fail.

• Performed upgrades on the Swalwell Pumphouse Fire Pump to respond to emergency situations in a more efficient and effective manner. Back-up power to be available to ensure continuous operation.

• Diverting materials from Class III Landfill by ensuring materials brought to landfill site are sorted and directed to available recycling options.

• Constructed a new office building at the Linden transfer site to replace the existing office shack that was in disrepair

• Constructed and installed stairs at the Linden Transfer to allow access to the top of the hill in a safe and efficient manner

• Made available to ratepayers a single use recycling bin to accept plastics, tin, aluminum, paper and cardboard. Bin is available at the Three Hills Transfer Site

• Performed sewer main flushing in the Hamlets of Swalwell, Torrington and Wimborne to ensure the sewer lines are able to flow freely without blockages and tree roots.

• Performed water main flushing within the Hamlets of Huxley, Swalwell, Torrington and Wimborne to maintain water quality delivered to the residents.

• Undertook an engineer study to determine options and costs of providing potable water servicing to residents in the Eastern portion of County.

• Provided contracted services to the Aqua 7 Water Commission for maintenance and performance of regulatory requirements at the pumphouse, reservoir and transmission water line.

2023 Department Goals

• Water Rate Review: Begin undertaking a review of water and wastewater rates within the various systems operated by Kneehill County

• Facilitate Engagement on Three Hills East Water: Attend and relay information to ratepayers at an engagement meeting on the options and costs to progress with a water system to provide potable water to residents.

• Torrington Lagoon Rehabilitation: Begin engineering to complete some rehabilitation work on the Hamlet of Torrington waste water lagoon to optimize the operation of the infrastructure

• Huxley Wastewater Assessment: Engage with a consultant to perform an assessment of the current wastewater system in the Hamlet of Huxley. Provide recommendations to maximize the current system, provide possible alternative wastewater solutions and probable costs associated with them

• Wimborne Fluoride Reduction Study: This consultation is a part of a provincial requirement to reduce naturally occurring fluoride in drinking water. The consultation will provide options to reduce/remove the naturally occurring fluoride in the groundwater serving the Hamlet of Wimborne and become compliant with the regulations that will be enforced in the future.

West view of the top of the wall at Swalwell Dam.

Planning and Development Department

Subdivisions, Developments & Redesignations

Construction Costs

Kneehill County received 3 redesignations for commercial uses in 2022 which is an increase over 2021. Planning has seen a declining trend in subdivision applications since the Land Use Bylaw was changed to reduce the number of subdivisions residents can have on a quarter section. The Planning Department has also seen a reduction in discretionary uses, but an increase in permitted uses have kept overall development permit numbers fairly consistent.

Development Trends

Residential developments (which include 2nd residences and garden suites) have increased substantially. Accessory buildings include barns, and shops, etc. Home occupations have stayed pretty steady.

There was a huge jump in construction costs in 2018. This included GrainsConnect, the large grain elevator by Huxley which was up and operational in the fall of 2019 ($36.8 million). The costs in 2018 also included a development permit for a solar generation facility. 2022 construction costs are at $19,655,935 which is an increase of 20% over 2021.

Safety Codes

2022 has seen a significant decrease over last years totals in safety code permits issued. Agriculture buildings do not require a Building Permit which may account for the reduction. These numbers include Building, Electric, Gas, Plumbing and Private Sewage and Disposal permits.

Facilities

The Kneehill County Facilities department maintains buildings related to our operations. With 33 facilities and a total of 45 serviced structures, the Facilities Department assures compliance to regulatory authorities in their operation, and responds to the needs and concerns of staff and tenants as they arise. Utilizing a maintenance management program to focus resources on preventative maintenance, staff keep costly reactionary maintenance to a minimum. Smaller in-house construction and renovation projects are common, and contractors are hired for larger construction projects, looking after these projects from RFP to completion. Other responsibilities include building and structural inspections, facility safety inspections, facility certification and permitting, energy audits, maintaining fuel depots, facilities snow removal, Configure and install office equipment, Ron Gorr Memorial Arena ice plant operation, utility demand logging and invoicing. Above all, fostering a welcoming, safe and practical environment for staff and tenants in all Kneehill County Facilities.

2022 Achievements

Ron Gorr Memorial Arena exterior renovation

• Ron Gorr Memorial Arena Zamboni Shop renovation

• Redland Grader Shop exterior renovation

• Attendant buildings construction (2)

• Zero facility down time

• Tenant Satisfaction Levels High

• Energy audits completion major facilities (Admin, Shop, FCSS, RGMA, Trochu FD).

• Fostering welcoming, safe and practical environment for staff and tenants in all Kneehill County Facilities

• Zero safety incidents

Information Technology

The Information Technology Unit is responsible for all aspects of the County’s information technology infrastructure. The unit also supports the numerous business applications and assists in business planning analysis. This is accomplished by ensuring a secure and reliable network that connects workstations, printers and scanners at sites throughout the County and provides users with access to essential software tools, integrated data sources, and the internet; databases that house and protect extensive data collections across the corporation; software applications that streamline processes and services; websites that extend electronic information access and online services to staff and citizens; telephone, cell phone, voice mail, and handheld devices that facilitate effective communications. The unit also provides a range of Geographic Information Services (GIS) to operational units such as roads, water and sewer, and support units such as planning and property taxation.

2022 Achievements

• Moved servers to Cloud enhanced redundancy, security and improved business continuity

• Implemented new recording equipment for off-site meetings

• Increased live streaming of Council meetings

• Review and realignment of IT equipment replacement strategy to manage resources more effectively

• New Aerial Photography

• Data Collection and Analysis to support Asset Management advancement

• Collaborated with Records Management to improve online document access to ratepayers

• Implemented WebMap for rate Payers

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Redland Grader Shop Exterior Renovation

Corporate Services

The primary function of Financial Services is to handle all of the financial affairs of the County as directed by the CAO and Director of Corporate Services, on behalf of Council and in accordance with the Municipal Government Act. In addition, Financial Services provides advice to Council, the Chief Administrative Officer and department managers on the status of the County’s finances and the actions required to meet the County’s financial obligations and objectives.

Financial Services is responsible for: accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, purchasing and procurement, property taxes, budgeting, financial audit compliance, and long term financial planning.

2022 Achievements

• Received the GFOA "Distinguished Budget Presentation Award" for the 2nd year.

• Improved communications with residents and enhanced internal efficiencies through electronic tax notices and invoicing. Residents can now sign up to receive their tax notices, utility bills and other invoices via e-mail.

• Through increased utilization of tax payment agreements we have realized an improvement in our tax recovery ratio.

• Implemented electronic invoice management to improve efficiency of A/P function.

Kneehill County has received GFOA's Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its 2022 budget.

Pictured: Acting Manager of Financial Services

Marika Von Mirbach and Reeve Jerry Wittstock.

• Set up vendor of record for general engineering services enabling timely identification of vendors for engineering projects

• Pre-Approval of Capital Projects to mitigate inflationary impacts.

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Ag Services, Parks & Cemeteries Department

2022 Accomplishments

• Hosted the Country Market & Long Table Dinner events

• Completed 758 km of the North 1/3rd of the County’s Right of Way spraying program

• 2470 ditch miles mowed as part of the Roadside Mowing Program

• Completed provincial pest surveys, including Clubroot, Fusarium, Bertha Army Worm, and Grasshopper

• Hosted 7 events with 874 total attendees

• Assisted with 7 Environmental Farm Plans and 4 Water Well Decommissioning Projects

• Delivered the Agriculture in the Classroom Program to 99 student participants

• Introduced a Prohibited Animal Bylaw preventing the establishment of Wild Boar in the County

• Completed the 2nd season of the Horseshoe Canyon Pay Parking Pilot Project

• Completed landscaping improvements at Horseshoe Canyon

• Completed cemetery mowing and maintenance of all 13 Kneehill County-owned cemeteries on schedule

• Assisted the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology with a fossil recovery at Horseshoe Canyon

2023 Department Goals

• Complete installation of shade structures and wayfinding trail signage at Horseshoe Canyon

• Complete 3rd pilot season of Horseshoe Canyon Onsite Ambassador Program

• Complete South 1/3rd of County's Road Spraying Program

• Provide safe and well maintained parks, campgrounds, & public spaces for Kneehill County residents and visitors

• Maintain and care for Kneehill County cemeteries as per provincial Cemeteries Act and Kneehill County Cemetery Policy

• Deliver and develop innovative ASB Extension & Land quality agricultural products

• Carry out provincially legislated agricultural duties and responsibilities as well as those directives requested by ASB and Council

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Kneehill County staff from the Parks and Transportation Departments worked with a team from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology to retrieve large dinosaur fossils from a quarry located at Horseshoe Canyon.

Protective Services

Accomplishments

• Fire Level of Service Review Project

• Emergency Communications Project completion, Tower agreements and decommissioning as required

• Fire Tender deliveries for Three Hills and Torrington

• Emergency Preparedness Grant – organized and hosted an emergency exercise in Acme, Carbon, Linden, Trochu, Three Hills, and Kneehill County (6)

• Emergency Training – hosted two ICS 200 Courses, Municipal Elected Officials in Emergencies Course, Economic Resilience and Recovery Course.

• Re-written and implemented Peace Officer Policies, including compliance with the new Alberta Peace Officer/ Public Safety Manual, released in 2022.

• Numerous school presentations on various subjects such as self-awareness, bullying, bike rodeos, party planning safely.

• Attended sessions on policing in Alberta

ENFORCEMENT STATISTICS

• 134 Bylaw Files

• 79 Information Contact Files

• 96 Warnings

• 32 Tickets

• 20 Vehicles received tickets doing between 30km/h-40km/h over the posted speed limit

• 6 Vehicles received tickets doing between 40km/h-50km/h over the posted speed limit

• 4 Vehicles received mandatory court appearances going 51km/h65km/h over the posted speed limit

• 46 hours spent doing targeted patrols for specific complaints

• 30 hours spent doing road ban patrols during road ban season

• 5 Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design property reviews

Torrington Fire Long Service Awards

Kneehill County Council presented members of the Torrington Fire Department with long service awards.

• Firefighters Scott Bauer, Tim Kohler and Brent Leishner were presented with the Alberta Emergency Services Medal for 12 years of service.

• Captain Jeffrey Bauer was presented with the Alberta Emergency Services Medal for 12 years of service and the Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal for 20 years of service.

• Captain Michael Bauer was presented with the Alberta Emergency Services Medal - Bronze Bar for 22 years of service.

• Deputy Chief Derek Benedict was presented with the Alberta Emergency Services Medal - Bronze Bar for 22 years of service, and the Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal for 20 years of service.

• Firefighter Wayne Albrecht was presented with the Alberta Emergency Services Medal - Bronze Bar for 22 years of service, and the Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal - Silver Bar for 30 years of service.

The Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal was created in 1985 by the Canadian Monarch-in-Council. The medal recognizes members of fire services who have served for 20 years, including 10 of those years being served performing duties involving potential risks. The Alberta Emergency Services Medal is awarded to individuals who serve in Alberta and are members of various organizations who are involved with the prevention, preparedness, and response of emergencies.

Council commended the firefighters for their dedication to ensuring the safety of our communities and recognized the families who support them in serving us all.

Rural Fire Chief Dan Marsellus received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal after being nominated through the Alberta Fire Chiefs Association.

FIRE CALLS

• Acme Fire Department: 69

• Carbon Fire Department: 77

• Linden Fire Department: 88

• 3 Hills Fire Department: 149

• Torrington Fire Department: 48

• Trochu Fire Department:104

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2022
Council and staff gather with the Torrington Fire Department members to celebrate the Long Service Medals and the Torrington Tender replacement. Pictured L to R: Award Recipients Brent Leishner, Derek Benedict, Tim Kohler, Mike Bauer, and Jeff Bauer with Rural Fire Chief Dan Marsellus. Book your free CPTED property assessment at 403-443-5541.
Box 400 Three Hills, AB. T0M 2A0
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