Big Lakes County briefs from meeting Feb. 13

Big Lakes County Fire Services presented special awards to Vic Abel, county director of public works. Abel received an Alberta Emergency Services Medal 22-Year Bar and an Alberta Emergency Services Medal for 22-years at council’s regular meeting Feb. 13. Left-right, are fire chief John McDermott, Abel and Reeve Richard Simard. Abel has served the county during those years in emergency and disaster management. Big Lakes County Fire Services honoured several dedicated and long-serving firefighters during its annual awards night Feb. 1 in Faust.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

High Prairie and District Golf Club may get more funding from Big Lakes County for the next few years.
But the struggling club has to present a feasible five-year business plan first.
At its regular meeting Feb. 13, county council approved a recommendation to provide emergency funding of up to $14,000 to replace two furnaces in the clubhouse.
Council received a letter from the club at its previous meeting that requested an annual commitment of $15,000 for the next five years.
Big Lakes currently contributes $5,000 to the golf club, says Heather Nanninga. director of corporate services, who presented two recommendations.

-Used portable sold to JCA
A portable modular building planned to be used to expand county office space in Joussard has been sold.
Council approved a motion to sell the used building for $35,000 to the Joussard Community Association.
At its regular meeting Sept. 12, council passed a recommendation to purchase the building for $35,000 and allocate up to $65,000 to remodel the building that measures 12—by-60-feet.
Staff determined that it would not be cost-effective to retrofit the unit to be functional for the Joussard Municipal Services Building, says Pat Olansky, director of planning and development.

-Broadband takes next step
Council approved the organizing structure to lead the Big-Net project.
Each partner in the pilot project appoints one elected member to the authority.
“The MOU ensures that all partners agree they wish to participate in the development of a regional broadband pilot network within the boundaries of Big Lakes County,” CAO Jordan Panasiuk says.
Each government organization will appoint one person as a liaison on the authority to ensure communicating and reporting of the individual governing councils is achieved, he adds.
Other partners in the project include the Town of High Prairie, the Town of Swan Hills, East Prairie Metis Settlement, Gift Lake Metis Settlement, Peavine Metis Settlement, Driftpile Cree Nation, Sucker Creek First Nation, Kapawe’no First Nation and Swan River First Nation.

-Flags lowered and raised
Council adopted a policy for the protocol of the county, Alberta and Canadian flags in memory of people who die.
“The policy was created to ensure that all flags at municipal facilities and properties are flown and displayed in a consistent and appropriate manner”, CAO Jordan Panasiuk says in a report to council.
Flags will fly at half-mast for certain positions of local people.
Big Lakes will also be lower flags on certain designated days.

-County supports STARS
Plans to construct a permanent helipad at High Prairie Health Complex are being encouraged by STARS air ambulance service.
“It’s a definite asset to your community,” says Glenda Farnden, STARS senior municipal relations liaison based in Grande Prairie.
“We have been landing at the hospital.”
A temporary helipad in located in a field southeast of the complex.
STARS has used the site since June 29, 2017, three months after the new health complex opened.
She suggests local municipalities meet in the coming months to convince Alberta Health Services and government to construct a permanent helipad.

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