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November 10, 2017

I’ve had a lot of people ask me “so what does the job of Councillor actually look like?” I plan on providing regular updates on the highlights of my work. But for this post, I’m also going to answer that question. Following is a detailed breakdown of my week. It does not include my time answering emails and phone calls or driving (of which there are plenty). It also does not include my work with Young Life or volunteer work I was involved in before being elected.

Here is what I did and plan to do this week:

Monday

  • Re-read the agenda packages for Council and Committee meetings (0.5 hours)
  • Browsed periodicals made available to Council. The most interesting articles I came across: how Airdrie undertook a new communications strategy, an examination of Edmonton’s experience with making outdoor pools free in 2017, and how California municipalities are preparing for recreational cannabis to be made legal on January 1 (1 hour)
  • Training session on serving for the Subdivision Appeal Board (2 hours)
  • Training session on land development (1.5 hours)
  • In-camera Council meeting (0.5 hours)
  • City Council meeting (1.5 hours)

Tuesday

  • Community Living Committee meeting (2 hours)
  • Lunch and Learn on our homelessness Point in Time count (1.5 hours)
  • Community Living Committee meeting (2 hours)
  • Film screening and panel discussion of Us and Them. Afterwards I went out for further discussion with the filmmaker, the event business sponsor (thank you Skyline Well Testing), United Way staff, and Councillor Thiessen (5 hours)

Wednesday

  • Wrote a blog post (1 hour)
  • Coffee meeting with a service provider to discuss homelessness and addiction programs (1 hour)
  • Coffee meeting with a service provider to discuss addiction programs (0.5 hours)

Thursday

  • Composite High School Remembrance Day Ceremony (1 hour)
  • Went on a Council tour of the Downtown Rehabilitation Project (1 hour)
  • Dropped in on downtown businesses to get their perspectives on Downtown Rehabilitation (3 hours)
  • Read Subdivision Appeal Board training material (2 hours)

Friday

  • Breakfast meeting with some residents who wanted to chat (1.5 hours)
  • Blog post writing (1 hour)
  • Metis Flag Raising at City Hall (0.5 hours)
  • Meeting with the City’s new Director of Strategic Communications (1 hour)
  • Native Counselling Services open house (0.5 hours)
  • Drop in at Saint Lawrence Centre (0.5 hours)
  • Coffee meeting with a property manager to discuss Downtown Rehabilitation (1 hour)

Saturday

  • Remembrance Day ceremony at Revolution Place (1.5 hours)
  • Prep for next weeks’ budget deliberations (2 hours)
  • Blog post on Downtown Rehabilitation (1 hour)

I do not plan to write a detailed list every week- I feel that there are better uses for my time allotted to Council work. I just wanted to give you one peak at what this job looks like. Following is what my regular updates will look like.


Regular Update

City Council Meeting

On Monday we had our first official City Council Meeting. Our agenda decisions were routine appointments. However, the meeting started out with three interesting delegations. They were:

  • Residents of The Shores asking for tax relief. They live in Grande Prairie’s only gated community. Its Condo Association takes care of its own infrastructure. They feel that they should receive a lower tax rate due to taking care of their own plowing, waste removal, street lights, etc… Their request was referred to a standing committee.
  • Representatives of Evergreen Park presented results of an economic impact study. Along with it, they asked for support from the City of Grande Prairie. They are hoping to receive transit service for major events and to receive $200 000 per year for five years in operational funding. Their transit request was referred to standing committee, their funding request was referred to our budget deliberations next week.  
  • Tidewater Midstream & Infrastructure Ltd. made a presentation on a $200,000 natural gas storage facility planned for 2019. They just received regulatory approval and will not be seeking a development permit from the City. This is in the Hughes Lake Area- on the highway directly west of the airport.

You can see a more detailed look at our Council Meeting by clicking here.

 

Committee Meetings

I serve on the Community Living Committee which met this week. We got an overview of all the departments which this committee is responsible for. We also received reports from Spinal Cord Injury Alberta and GP & Area Safe Communities. Administration presented a report on tree protection bylaws. Finally, we passed a recommendation that Council approve a series of matching grants for Neighbourhood Associations.

The Corporate Services Committee also met this week. I do not serve on this committee, which means I cannot vote at it. However, I do get to attend and take part in discussions. This committee also received an overview of the departments which it is responsible for. It then passed a recommendation that Council approve borrowing for the Bear Creek outdoor pool and for the CKC grandstands. Finally, we discussed an issue that I had added to the agenda: our recent election. The committee asked administration to comeback with a potential process and timeline for making changes to the 2021 election. I want us to start this conversation now while our last election is fresh in our minds and we are far away from the next one.

 

Other Events

The best event I attended this week as a screening for a documentary called Us and Them. It follows a decade in the life of hour people who are living without homes in Victoria. I wrote a blog post about this which you should checkout by clicking here.

 

Interesting Fact of the Week

This week I learned that the City of Grande Prairie owns about $23,000,000 worth of trees.

 

I am still deciding what information is useful for me to put in these updates. If you have ideas about content and format, I would love to hear them.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my work!

-Dylan