Safer, stronger and more responsive.
During my six-year tenure as a Board Member for the Alberta Beef Producers, I learned time and again the importance of representing all the people of our province – not just my immediate neighbors. From my very first term in Lesser Slave River's municipal council to this very day, I carry this kernel of wisdom with me; a wisdom that is further reinforced by my work with the Tri-Council.
I fully understand – as do my fellow Councillors – that we are entrusted with the care and stewardship of the entire region, not just the specific district or neighbourhood in which each of us resides.
My main responsibility as Reeve is to chair the Council meetings, not guide its decisions. We have seven members with different goals and priorities, but with equal ability to make decisions. We have a number of diverse and equally important issues facing us, but with the help of my fellow Councillors – and of the efficient and hardworking MD staff – we will continue to achieve outcomes that benefit our residents.
Another responsibility I have as Reeve is to be the official spokesperson for Council and the MD. This was required of me a number of times in late May when we found ourselves facing down a handful of wildfires that threatened residents and properties in a number of areas. Regional and national media outlets were deployed to the area to interview me about unfolding events. From the questions some of these reporters were asking, I got the impression they were looking for a story that echoed the devastating events of May 2011. The only stories I could give them, however, were stories of vigilance, preparation and responsiveness – by MD employees and residents alike.
Within moments of detecting the first wildfire, the municipal offices were converted to an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). Our Emergency Broadcast system delivered key messages via local radio stations, and via direct automated phone calls to homes in affected areas. The municipal website switched to Emergency Mode, allowing us to keep citizens apprised of the developing situation in real time. The entire event was managed with calm, calculating precision. I commend everyone involved for their adherence to the policies and procedures we have in place to maximize public safety – and minimize social impact – during critical events such as these.
Looking back at the past year, I wonder where the time went! During these twelve short months your hardworking MD has managed to get a water reservoir completed near Widewater. The MD has also laid water lines into Poplar Lane and Bayer road, and despite some hurdles has completed the much-anticipated Smith Community Complex. There's a brand new firefighter-themed playground in Canyon Creek, and another one in the works for Widewater.
The MD continues to be closely involved with trails development as well as looking at improvements to boat launches and other recreational initiatives and opportunities.
As Council looks forward to the 2016 year, we see many infrastructure wants and needs that must be balanced with our fiscal abilities. We are just beginning our budgeting process for the upcoming year, so at this time I cannot say what capital projects we may be able to start. Ours is a large municipality, and the priorities of all areas within it need to be considered.
I’d like to close by expressing my heartfelt gratitude to all our employees and administrative staff for their steadfast commitment to the Council members and communities of our rugged-and-real municipality
Reeve, MD of Lesser Slave River no.124
We are the MD of Lesser Slave River No. 124. Our land is big, beautiful and clean with green pastures, clear waters, sandy beaches and boreal forests nourished by the Lesser Slave, Pembina and Athabasca rivers. We are rugged and real!
Life, Work and Leisure in Lesser Slave River