As this will be the last reeve's report prior to this fall’s election I will take this opportunity to reflect on my time serving you since I was elected two years ago, and some key initiatives that will help to promote growth and development for the future of our county. In addition, your current Council has been serving you for four years now.
Along with funding the four key areas of roads, water, waste water and waste management Council has supported the following significant initiatives:
• 30% reduction in residential and farmland taxes which has been supported for the last 2 years;
• A 40% rebate in commercial taxes in 2016 and a 30% rebate in 2017;
• A free amnesty in 2017 for most permits and Planning & Development documents;
• A new streamlined Land Use Bylaw (which will require further refining by the next Council);
• The adoption of the Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) program in Brazeau County; this program promotes environmental management on private farmland and is funded by three levels of government and donations by the private sector. The goal is to help landowners by partnering with them, not legislating them.
• An increase in the herbicide rebate from 20% to 30%;
• Fence line spraying expanded from one metre to 5 metres, and expanded to include fences along provincial highways;
• Solar array installation on County buildings to save money and show environmental leadership;
• Upgraded outdoor rinks in Rocky Rapids and Cynthia. Looking forward, Council is working on a number of initiatives to support our economy and serve residents, including:
• Supporting a proposed TransAlta pumped hydro project, this project will take 5 years employing 500 to 600 people annually and will help shape how power is used and provide additional emergency power to the province.
• Supporting a deep well geothermal project, which can utilize existing infrastructure of suspended or abandoned well sites and produce deep well geothermal power. There are over 20,000 wells that would be possible candidates for this technology and significant investment to bring new life to Brazeau and surrounding areas.
• Supporting and promoting the commercialization of industrial hemp and the corresponding value-chain opportunities in our community.
I encourage everyone to participate in the municipal election on Oct. 16th, either by running for Council, or by becoming informed and voting. Please take the time to learn who the candidates in your division are, and what they could bring to the Council table, and then vote. As I often say, this is your County, and voting is one way to have your voice heard. You can shape the County by choosing the people at the Council table.
You will find plenty of helpful information in this issue about the nomination and voting processes. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the County at 780-542-7777 and have your questions answered.
Congratulations to Linda Floden and Sherry Schmidt, who were recognized with Senator’s Contribution Award from Senator Doug Black earlier this summer. Council was honoured to present the awards to Linda and Sherry on the Senator’s behalf to two very deserving residents. Linda has served on the board for Beehive Support Services for 25 years. She also serves on the Rural Electrification Association board and the Buck Mountain Co-op board. Sherry has been faithfully volunteering at the Drayton Valley Hospital and Care Centre in long term care for more than 20 years. Thank you for everything you do!
Now that summer vacations are over and kids are back to school, there will be more traffic on our roads. Please be careful and safe. Have a great fall season!
Bart Guyon Reeve, Brazeau County