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October 28, 2017

This week, I felt like a kid in a candy shop. I've always enjoyed learning and talking about our City in my spare time. Now that I am on Council, I get to do it almost-full-time. I also have easy access to information and knowledgeable people. It has been a lot of fun for me! I want to share some of it with you.


Throughout my term, I plan to write regular updates about what I have been up to. Those will be contained in this blog.

For now, I will also be maintaining two other blogs. One with random stories, thoughts, and questions. And one with background information on and ways you can give input into upcoming Council decisions.

I am flexible on how to keep you informed about my work. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what this should look like.

Here is my first update:

 

What I Did This Week

  • On Monday, Council was officially sworn in

  • Council held an Organisational Meeting to establish its schedule and make appointments. I will serve as deputy mayor December 10 - January 20th. I got appointed to the following committees:

    • Community Living Committee: an internal City Council committee responsible for advising Council on: Community Social Development, Culture and Heritage, Eastlink Centre, Fleet, Parks, Recreation and Sport, Revolution Place, Transit, and other matters as referred by Council.

    • Assessment Review Board: responsible for hearing complaints about assessments made on property and businesses.

    • Subdivision & Development Appeal Board: hears appeals regarding decisions made by the City's subdivision and development authorities and renders decisions based on the evidence presented.

    • Inter-City Forum on Social Policy: an organisation used by member municipalities to share information, network, and undertake advocacy on social issues.

    • Joint Regional Emergency Management Committee: provides oversight to a formal partnership setup to allow local municipalities to coordinate their responses to large emergencies or disasters.

  • I spent four days with the rest of Council in orientation. Part of the program had us reviewing provincially mandated material, part of it had us getting caught up on what the City of Grande Prairie is up to. Sessions included:

    • Financial administration in the City of Grande Prairie

    • The role of Council and the role of Administration

    • A full day on legal and legislative matters with City lawyers

    • The current challenges, opportunities, and strategic focuses of the City of Grande Prairie

  • I attended several community events. Two highlights:

    • An open house collecting public feedback on skateboarding in Grande Prairie. We have two projects already funded and in process: an expansion to the Muskoseepi Park skate park and development of a Skateboarding Master Plan.

    • The Legion launched a fundraising campaign meant to help modernize its building. Major areas of concern: current bathrooms are not handicap accessible and a chairlift is needed to make the basement accessible. The Legion does important work. I’d encourage you to learn more about their campaign by clicking here.

 

Some Interesting Facts I Came Across

Some information I came across this week which you might be interested to know:

  • You probably often hear people asking “why don’t we just hire local companies to do work for the City?” This is because of trade agreements we are forced to abide by. For example, the New West Partnership Trade Agreement involves the four western provinces. With some exceptions (such as emergency services), it prevents us from giving preference to local companies on projects worth more than $75,000 for goods or services or worth more than $200,000 for construction. This also means that other municipalities cannot discriminate against our companies.

  • With the 6000 sq ft expansion to the Muskoseepi Skatepark, we will have about 18,000 sq ft of skate space in Grande Prairie. A study done in Southern Ontario found that municipalities of our size there usually have about 25,000 sq ft.