A few Highlights of the Council Meeting held on November 7, 2017....

Please feel free to contact Chief Administrative Officer, Tarolyn Aaserud at 403.882.3211 with any questions or for additional information.

RFD – County Policy 270 Maternity/Parental/Adoption Leave – The County’s previous policy provided the minimum standards that apply to the majority of employers and employees. Changes have been made to the Employment Standards Code that will come into effect in January 2018. Council received a copy of the highlighted changes that reflect the minimum standards outlined by Employment Standards Code as follows: the length of continuous employment to be entitled to maternity and parental leave has been reduced from 1 year to 90 days and the length of the health related portion of leave has been extended from 15 weeks to 16 weeks to reflect the change in EI waiting period from 2 weeks to 1 week.

To better align our maternity leave/parental leave policy with our other leave policies we recommend the following changes: previously, after the health related portion of the leave an employee could remain on County benefits at the employees cost. We have changed the policy to read that the employee remain on County benefits during the health and parental portion of the leave (full leave).  If the employee does not return to work after the leave they will be required to pay back in full the costs of both the employee and employer portions of the benefits. D. Elliott moved the recommended changes that were highlighted in County Policy 270 Maternity/Parental/Adoption Leave and presented to Council be adopted.

Councillor Code of Conduct Bylaw 659-17 and Schedule “A” – Council received a Draft Bylaw and Schedule “A” for the Establishment of Councillor Code of Conduct. The required Bylaw meets all the current legislative requirements of the Modern Municipal Government Act. The Bylaw is quite lengthy and a shorter policy version of the Bylaw will be presented to Council at an upcoming meeting. T. Hewitt moved First Reading of Bylaw No. 659-17.

Westmoreland Coal Company – Representatives Kyle Hobbs and Richard Sveahun from Westmoreland Coal Company entered the meeting at 9:37 a.m. R. Sveahun presented the highlights of the mining operation at Westmoreland. They now have two drag lines that are operational at Battle River. Due to demand they are down to three crews from four crews in their operation. Between the two mines there are approximately 200 fulltime jobs with the management staff being shared between the two sites.

K. Hobbs then presented the 5 year plan. They will be mining through Twp Rd 404 in 2021 and plan to replace Twp Rd 601 west in 2020. The 9L20 power line will not be relocated in 2022 as the plan has been changed to mine back to the north in the old pit.

The final conceptual reclamation plan was reviewed. The fly ash is being removed from the pits for retail. An agreement is in place with ATCO for the supply of coal till 2022 and after that date the area will be reviewed with the respective parties to determine the potential for recreational use.

Battle River and Sounding Creek Watershed Alliance - A letter was received from the Battle River and Sounding Creek Watershed Alliance requesting a financial commitment to support the Alliance for fiscal year 2018. The contribution from the County is the same as last year at 50 cents per capita which would amount to $827.83. G. Glazier moved the County support the Battle River and Sounding Creek Watershed Alliance through providing municipal support of a contribution of 50 cents per capita for a total of $827.83.

Wind Energy Resolution – Due to the lack of legislation and regulations to protect landowners Council entertained the following motion. G. Glazier moved that Administration work on a Resolution to bring forward to the Spring AAMDC Conference.

Avila Exploration & Development Ltd. – Leonard Van Betuw and James Nixon entered the meeting at 10:52 a.m. Council received a letter from Leonard Van Betuw regarding their request for Cancellation of the Unsecured Debts Owing the County. They provided Council with some background information on reviewing the data and recently negotiated acquisition of assets owned by Quattro Exploration and Production Ltd. in the County of Paintearth.  They are requesting Council’s consideration to accept the secured amount of $11,967.09 as payment in full, with the balance, being the unsecured amount of $36,740.94 to be cancelled. T. Hewitt moved the County seek a legal opinion and Administration bring forward a recommendation on the request at the next Council meeting.

Upcoming Meetings – Council Meetings – December 5, 2017 and December 19, 2017 (if required), PROPOSED 2018 MEETING DATES - January 3, 2018 (Wednesday), January 23, 2018, February 6, 2018, and February 21, 2018 (Wednesday), March 13, 2018, March 27, 2018, April 4, 2018 (Wednesday), April 17, 2018, May 1, 2018, May 15, 2018, June 5, 2018, June 19, 2018, July 24, 2018 and August 14, 2018  commencing at 9:00 a.m.