OUTLOOK - The town council of Outlook met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday night, January 11. Present were councillors Justin Turton, Bob Stephenson, Kyle McLeod, Ryan Husband, and Kevin Grotheim, as well as Mayor Maureen Weiterman, Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Trew, and Municipal Clerk Crystal Fisher. Absent was Councillor Sharon Bruce.
A number of topics and items were discussed, including the following highlights.
Council held the third and final reading of Bylaw 21(2022) Public Notice. There was no public feedback received on the bylaw, therefore it was officially carried.
Council discussed illegal snow dumping that has been going on in the railyard subdivision, and Mayor Weiterman and Councillor Turton recused themselves from the chambers. It was said that while the Town will work on a new plan for snow dumping in 2023/24, right now, Administrator Trew mentioned that the Town has noticed last winter that a number of businesses had been dumping snow away from their properties onto the subdivision's property. Administration contacted the businesses and stated that this was no longer acceptable.
This winter, Trew said that he'd advised town workers to avoid putting snow in the developed lots in the subdivision and instead place it only on street allowances. Several businesses were recently caught placing snow in the subdivision on developed properties without the Town's permission. The three businesses asked for a temporary permit for the placing of snow while the properties were unoccupied.
Administrator Trew's recommended resolution was that Council agree to a one-time contract ending April 30 with Riverbend Co-op and Outlook Rentals. All businesses were reminded of the appropriate places for snow to be dumped going forward, and Trew said that the Town should be drafting a snow removal policy bylaw.
More discussion on this was expected at a future meeting.
Council welcomed Sgt. Mark Langager, Inspector Brent Oberg, and Staff Sgt. Deon Marquis to speak on where things were headed with local RCMP detachments. Brent said that as part of the RCMP's HR strategy, they recently approached the provincial government with an official ask for resourcing, but they weren't successful in achieving what they were hoping for.
"We had a multi-year and multi-phase plan to rebuild our capacity that, unfortunately, hasn't kept pace with the times," said Brent.
Though the RCMP continues to work diligently to curb the rising crime issues, it was said that things have reached a breaking point.
"We have to look internally to find more efficiencies," said Brent. "We can no longer do more with less. This is really our only means to be able to work with what we have."
With that, Oberg shared the news that the RCMP was looking to redeploy one of the positions from its Elbow detachment to another location. The move was said to hopefully be a temporary one.
"Unfortunately, we were left with no other alternative," said Brent. "This is not the only community where this is being done. We're doing this in several communities through the province."
With one officer in Elbow and five in Outlook, six officers currently oversee the Outlook and surrounding regional area, but Oberg said ideally, there would be eight.
Oberg also touched on the societal shift in opinions on police, one of the factors that may be one of the biggest reasons for low enrolment numbers.
It was said that no other changes for the local detachment were being predicted for now, and while Outlook isn't expected to see much change, the situation will be monitored closely.
On the subject of 2023 council meeting dates, Council elected to stay the course and keep meeting on the second and fourth Wednesday evenings of each month, with just one meeting each in July and August.