Annual Information Meeting (AIM) Update
The Rainy Creek Hall was unavailable on Saturday May 28th, the first Saturday following the May long weekend. This has been our past AIM scheduled date. Though we did consider various alternatives, Council felt we should stay with the same venue at Rainy Creek Hall and June 25th was the first available date that would work.
We had the largest turnout in my memory with 51 signed in guests and a few more who arrived a bit later. The Hall was packed and we almost ran out of chairs. Unfortunately, we did not have sufficient coffee & donuts for those who attended, but we got by. Following a quick look out the window to ensure there was no vat of tar being heated and no bails of feathers in site, we convened the meeting shortly after 10:00 AM as scheduled.
Our original agenda included having a number of updates on the various files of Council and Administration as well as a presentation by Michael Wuetherick regarding our Wastewater initiative. Following that, we had planned to have an approximate 3/4 of an hour break-out session, with those in attendance split out into 3 working discussion groups. We had selected 6 topics that we felt would have a broad interest to our ratepayers and were hoping to foster some good dialogue and exchanging of ideas. However, with the unexpected large turnout, it was obvious that would be unworkable. So we implemented Plan "B", totally unplanned, and spoke to each of the selected 6 topics & then opened the floor for questions, discussion, and comments.
Following the meeting and after those in attendance had left, Council and Administration met briefly and thought it would be prudent to post on our website the 6 topics we had planned for the break-out session along with some of the types of questions we were hoping our ratepayers could address. This has been done along with some financial data and Michael Wuetherick’s presentation - more on this later. Please visit the website and complete the Break Out Session Survey at your earliest convenience as your perspective and comments on these topics will be most beneficial in our future planning.
In conclusion, Council and Administration were extremely pleased with the tremendous turn-out at this year's AIM as well as the amount of ratepayer engagement. In our view, it reinforces our perception that we have a large population of both permanent and seasonal residents who have a keen interest in our community and a desire to keep current with our various activities. This bodes well for our future and sustainability as a Summer Village.
Pathway Improvement Project
During the meeting, Council advised that they had unanimously agreed to proceed with the pathway improvement project and that we were currently in the tendering phase. Ratepayers were advised that some surveying and actual improvement work would commence during the summer months.
Several questions were asked about what types of work were to be undertaken for specific paths and trails within the Village. In hindsight, we should have anticipated this and had some maps available of where specific improvements were to be made. To correct this oversight of Council, our Administration Team has agreed to have a few maps prepared showing some of this detail and have them posted on our website.
However, in fairly generic terms, the work to be completed includes additional signage at trail or pathway entrances, some trail head widening to make our trails and pathways more welcoming, some dangerous and impeding branch removal, some root removal where there is a risk of danger, and the placement of mulch or other type of surface materials to make the trails safer for walking, particularly after a rainfall when some sections become extremely slippery. In short, improved signage identifying our pathway locations, some widening at the trail heads to make them more welcoming and some general improvements focused on safety have been the focus of our pathway improvement project.
Wastewater Initiative Update
We are delighted that Michael Wuetherick has agreed to volunteer some of his time and expertise to assist Council and Administration with our wastewater initiative. Michael has been coming to Sunbreaker Cove for about 46 years and has been a permanent resident for the last 4 years. He brings to us more than 25 years of Facilities Management and Project Engineering experience which will be of tremendous assistance to both Council and Administration as we move forward with our wastewater project.
A copy of the presentation that Michael gave at our AIM can be found on our website. It’s a very informative and thorough piece of work and answers many questions that our residents have had about this critical phase of the project. Than you again, Michael.
Piers and Hoists
This topic probably generated the most questions and discussion, with concerns raised regarding the size of the roped off swimming area at Glenn's Cove through to how we best manage the need to provide access to the lake via piers and boat hoists. At our recent Council Meeting, this matter was discussed at some length, and we have agreed to form a Piers and Hoists Committee comprised of several ratepayers to research this matter and bring to Council some recommendations for consideration. This approach worked out very well with the work done by our Open Spaces Master Plan (OSMP) Committee, so it appeared sensible to follow a successful past practice. Our plan is to have 4 citizens at large form the nucleus of this committee to be chaired with a Council appointee. If this is something in which you have an interest, please contact our Administration Office for further information and how you can apply. We will close applications August 31, 2016 with the intent of making selections to this committee at our September Council Meeting. Hopefully, the first meeting of that committee can occur sometime in early October.
We are a SUMMER VILLAGE!
During the AIM, a few questions were asked which suggested that some of our ratepayers may not have a full appreciation of our governance structure.
We are not a condominium board or a home owners association, often referred to as an HOA.
We are a Summer Village and our governance structure is exactly the same as other Alberta municipalities including our Cities, Towns, and Villages. We are guided by the Municipal Government Act (MGA) of Alberta as well as the Elections Act of Alberta. Like any other municipality in the province, elections are currently held every 4 years with the next election occurring in 2017. Summer Villages, because of seasonal populations, typically hold their elections in the summer months, whereas other Alberta municipalities have a set date sometime in October.
Since next year is an election year, I encourage anyone who now has or may have in the future an interest in serving on Council to contact our Administration Office for further information.
Hopefully, the above will help to provide some clarity as to Sunbreaker Cove's governance model and more importantly how we function and operate.
Annual Regatta Reminder
Please remember that our Annual Regatta will again be held over the August long weekend. It is my understanding that our committees of volunteers from last year have essentially remained intact. Last year's organizing volunteers included Mike Keat and his family who coordinated the land races as well as the Bocce Ball and Horse Shoe competitions, Patty and Dennis Ganske and their family & friends who hosted our lunch, and Lyle & Joann Swanson and their family who looked after the the scavenger hunt, and the sand castle building competition. In addition, Peter Schmaltz and his team of volunteers put together another fabulous fireworks show on the Saturday evening and many of us look forward to this weekend all year.
Volunteers are always needed and if you would like to get more involved, I urge you to contact any of the families mentioned above. Though I may sound a bit like a broken record, this is one of Sunbreaker Cove's traditions that I believe defines the personality of our community. So make sure to mark the date on your calendar and we'll see you there.
Bill Carr, Mayor