Suzanne Oel Councillor
Black Diamond/Turner Valley/Longview Local Political News Priddis/Millarville/Red Deer Lake

Councillor Update – Suzanne Oel – MD Foothills – Oct 2020

Special Events Bylaw revised: “Mixed reviews” are coming in on whether participants are following our requirements. We are making adjustments to our evolving “Special Events Bylaw” to address the side- effects of road events, which affect both safety and the experience of other road-users encountering the event traffic interference. County Council is now requesting fees to ensure that some form of additional enforcement will be present at all road events. The appropriateness of the road to be used will be evaluated, considering: the event size, traffic counts, road width and surface type. Applications must be submitted 90 days prior to the scheduled event. We’ve had issues with some last-minute applications, as well as the increase in numbers and sizes of events causing conflicts. Adjusting the bylaw will provide consistency for the approval criteria on the road events and should lead to better outcomes with events following our recommended guidelines.

Smoke and Fire: As we witness the extent of the coastal fires and hardship across the Pacific NW area, we are reminded about the care we need to exercise in our own backyard. We are currently in a state of Fire Restriction here, so we are downgraded from the ban, as of my last writing. However, please keep a check on the County’s website for the most current status. With the air quality issues that have blanketedthispartoftheworld,youcan check on the Calgary Region Airshed Zone website for information about air quality and about protecting yourself from exposure: craz.ca

Trailer Billboards legal decision: After a couple of years in the making, a decision has been made which respects freedom of speech but respects the ability of our County to have jurisdiction over protecting the viewshed along our roads. The courts ruled on an application which challenged us about having a bylaw enforcing removal of these trailer billboards from our landscape. Next, we will work with the associated landowners to help them find another means of expressing themselves through signage, as we have never had a problem withfreespeech.Also,enforcementcan now proceed on the removal of trailer signs with commercial messages. We do have legal means for people to apply for signage other than trailers… This court decision could yet be subject to appeal.

Road closures discussion: The County has reviewed Alberta Transportation studies and debated the options for partial or full closure of the 306, 338 and 370 Avenue intersections on Highway 2. With numerous accidents and a recent fatality increasing concerns at these locations, we are working with Alberta Transportation and the Town of Okotoks to come up with a game plan that will see something staged over time. Nothing in a rush here, as we need to consider the consequences of any closures and look at the feasibility of the ultimatesolution, which would be an overpass at 338 Avenue. Lots more on this yet to be studied and discussed.

Foothills-Okotoks Raw Waterline: Foothills County is pleased to be working with the Town of Okotoks to create a win-win for our water- challenged area. We see this collaboration as an opportunity amongst our municipal neighbours to obtain improved water-security for each of our communities by diversifying our water sources to include the Bow River. This project could provide a long-term solution for Okotoks, Foothills County and potentially for other municipalities in the Foothills. We are signing a Memorandum of Understanding, which gets us to the table to work out the details for our Sub-regional Water Servicing Options and Governance Review Process to secure this long- term, sub-regional water supply.

Investigations into West Foothills Waterline continue: After a declined grant application in 2019, Council has directed that a portion of the 2018 study area be engineered to be tender ready in case stimulus grant funding becomes available. We are also preparing to apply for other grants and looking at securing water license to enable the extension of service from the Fish Creek Ranch off-stream raw water reservoir and treatment operations. Results of this latest engineering will soon go to Council for review and discussion on next steps.

Calling for Volunteers: Champion Park is looking for more volunteers to assist with the “Friends-Of”. If there are any “train-enthusiasts”, this is your opportunity to join this team to keep the spirit of rail history in Alberta alive. Please contact our CAO, Ryan Payne, if you are interested in more information: 403.603.6214

Getting our office ready: With safety measures in place, our office is open to the public. Please contact our Main office if you’d rather work with us remotely by phone or email: 403.652.2341

Best Regards, Councillor Suzanne Oel
For Other News & Updates:
Please visit my website: suzanneoel.com
www.facebook.com/councillorSuzanneOel

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