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Notes from Blackfalds town council

 Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

Fortis and EQUS


Town Council has been wrapped up in an ongoing battle between Fortis and Equs over the right to distribute services within the municipality, but they’re now leaving the argument to the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC).

Council previously made the decision to enter into an agreement with Fortis in 2013 which gave them the right to distribute their services.

Within the past year, however, Fortis has pressured EQUS to relinquish their existing systems within the town. Recently, EQUS asked council to let their services remain, which is counter to the existing franchise agreement.

Blackfalds had yet to make a decision on the issue, although administration said they had reason to back Fortis given their agreement. However, the company has since applied to AUC for confirmation of boundaries in exclusive municipal franchise areas, and AUC is expected to make a decision on the subject by the end of March.

“Administration feels it’s really not our issue,” said Chief Administrative Officer Myron Thompson. “We’re kind of caught in the middle of it. We’re looking forward to AUC resolving this matter and putting it to rest.”

It was a possibility that Blackfalds could cancel the agreement with Fortis, however, it would result with the 2017 budget being underfunded. In 2016, the Town of Blackfalds collected $804,000 from Fortis under the agreement.

Blackfalds Community Hall expansion update

Further upgrades and changes will be happening to the Blackfalds Community Hall during its expansion.

During their regular meeting on Tuesday, council made the decision to change the existing VCT tile flooring which was installed in 1983.

The divider wall, which was only set to take up 70 per cent of the wall between the main hall and program area, has increased to 90 per cent, resulting in the current wooden stage being removed and needing to be replaced with a new stage or portable structure following the completion of the expansion project.

Energy efficiencies are being incorporated into the building, which now surpasses the Shadow Silver LEED criteria. Efficiencies include LED lighting, improved insulation, in-floor heating and energy efficient HVAC systems.

Currently, the project is at the 15 per cent completion point, with screw piles and foundation work being completed.

According to Director of Community Services Sean Barnes, steel was delivered Tuesday and is set to be erected in the next two weeks.

The project is expected to be completed under the $1,878,750 budget, which includes $250,000 from Lacombe County, by May 2017.

2017 Municipal Election

Blackfalds is getting set to get the ball rolling for 2017’s municipal election.

Election Day is set for Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 with polls open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. at the Blackfalds Community Centre, with nomination day set for Sept. 18.

Although preliminary approvals for returning officers, dates, and locations of election signage were brought before council during their regular meeting, council decided to discuss the matter further at a standing committee meeting, following the discovery of an out-of-date map being used for where signage could be placed, and an advanced polling date that fell on Thanksgiving Monday.

During the previous election, council was elected by acclimation and Mayor Melodie Stol defeated Wayne Tutty with a total of 519 votes to 250.

National Healthand Fitness Day

Blackfalds Town Council will be proclaiming the first Saturday in June – June 3 – as National Health and Fitness Day.

The day, aimed at raising awareness of the importance of increasing physical activity, coincides with what will be the 8th Annual Fun Run and Walk in the town. 

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