October 1, 2020

COUNCIL HIGHLIGHTS September 22, 2020

Big Horn Mine Impact Assessment Letter / Municipal Stimulus Program Projects / Family Resource Network Letter / Pembina Agricultural & Recreation Society (PARS) Funding Model Update / 2020 Property Tax Auction and Date

Big Horn Mine Impact Assessment Letter – The Vista Mine Project (Bighorn Mining), a notable local employer, is considering submitting a permit for surface mining expansion (Phase II). Formerly, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency did not find that Phase II would meet criteria for designation under the Impact Assessment Act. (Projects designated under the Impact Assessment Act are considered to have potential for adverse and complex effects in areas of federal jurisdiction related to the environment, and may be mired by federal oversight.) Likewise, the Federal Impact Assessment Agency concluded that the underground mine expansion activities would be addressed through provincial processes rather than federal.

In July of 2020, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada reversed the previous federal decision and decided that the underground mine and Phase II expansion warrant designation under the Impact Assessment Act, leading to worries that the project may come under scrutiny and operations may be hampered. Yellowhead County council endorsed a letter to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change asking to keep the project under provincial oversight due to worries of potential job and regional economic loss.  

Municipal Stimulus Program Projects – The province is providing capital infrastructure funding to municipalities meant to sustain and create local jobs, enhance competitiveness and productivity and to reduce red tape. Yellowhead County has submitted three projects for funding consideration under the Municipal Stimulus Program: replacement salt/sand sheds for both Edson and Wildwood (approximately $600,000 each) and a live-fire training burn room (approximately $100,000). Council ratified these three projects and entered into a Municipal Stimulus Program agreement with the provincial government.

Family Resource Network Letter – The Ministry of Children’s Services developed a new system to provide prevention and early intervention support to children, youth and families, called the Family Resource Network. Following this, the Ministry cancelled all contracts and agreements, including the county’s Parent Link, Early Childhood Development, Diversion and Home Visitation programs. Yellowhead County council supported a letter to the Minister of Children’s Services detailing concerns with this significant service reduction in the region, and asking for comment.             

Pembina Agricultural & Recreation Society (PARS) Funding Model Update – Council approved the one-time bridging payment to PARS in the amount of $31,652.67 by a transfer from the Recreation Grant budget. Transitioning PARS from a deficit model of funding to the same budget model used by Yellowhead County with all of its other partners means more budgeting certainty and pre-approval by council and requires the aforementioned one-time bridging payment.

2020 Property Tax Auction and Date – As per MGA Section 419 (a) council must set, for each parcel of land to be offered for sale at a public auction, a reserve bid that is as close as reasonably possible to the market value of the parcel. Council for Yellowhead County adopted the reserve bids and sale conditions as presented for the 2020 Property Tax Auction, and set the auction date for November 26, 2020, 10:00 AM local time at the Edson Administration Building. Click here to view the auction listing.