Skip to page body Home About GP City Government Residents Business Visitors I Want To...
News Review
City Council Highlights
Posted Date: 12/18/2017 8:45 PM

Council finalizes 2018 Budgets

The 2018 capital and operating budgets were passed Monday. Meeting as Council Committee of the Whole Nov. 15-17, a two per cent tax increase combined with a transfer of $1 million from reserves was recommended.
This means the owner of an average $360,000 house will see an increase of $69 per year.
The City’s 2018 operating budget will be $165 million with $55.2 million directed toward capital expenditures.
Budget highlights include:

• Approval for Phase 3 of the Downtown Rehabilitation Project with enhanced communications and public engagement resources

• One year approval for a new cost effective program to open up windrows left after neighbourhood snow removal

• Adoption of Priority Based Budgeting for the next four year cycle – 2019-2022. Priority Based Budgeting is a tool that will allow council to better link the resources required for each City program with community priorities

Council also directed Administration to preserve certain Strategic Operating Themes to the greatest extent practicable, including: 

• Safety (OH&S as well as public safety)
• Protective Services
• Economic Development
• Public Education
• Transportation: Repair and Maintenance
• Areas targeting Strategic Risk Mitigation

Board and Committee Appointments

Council made public member appointments to nine Boards and Committees from 39 applications. The three-year terms become effective Jan. 1, 2018.

Arts Development Committee: Susana Neto, Alan Tibbles
Assessment Review: Rory Tarant
Combative Sports Commission: Darren Metselaar, Nathan Patry (Dr. Cled Lewis was appointed as a non-voting member referred to as the Commission Doctor, for a term ending Dec. 31, 2021.)
Community Enhancement: Rebekah Keyes, Jody Noel (Council appointed Chelsea Lewis as the Aquatera Utilities Inc. representative to the Committee for a three-year term ending Dec. 31, 2020.)
Grande Prairie Airport Commission: Fletcher Bootle, Don Gnatiuk
Grande Prairie Library Board: Thomas Blake, Tammy Brown, Nicole Chapell
Pursuit of Excellence: Tammy Brown, Aaron Penson
Revolution Place: Raphael Bohlmann, Lloyd Fischer, Joan Godbout, Erin Haiste, Steve Harvard, Doug McGuire, Don Mpunga, Marnie Young
Subdivision and Development Appeal Board: Richard Kiselbach, Linda Murphy, Rory Tarant

Appointments to the Economic Development Committee have been postponed until after City Council’s Strategic Planning Session in February. Reviewing the mandate of the committee is on the agenda.

Large Scale Tourism Event Approval

City Council approved an investment of $50,000 in the East Coast Garden Party Association, with the return of the $7,000 grant received in 2017 from the Arts Development Festival Funding.

The East Coast Garden Party is a ticketed, two-day outdoor event held at the South Bear Creek Ball Diamonds. It’s a family oriented event featuring entertainers from across Canada and the United States and has operated for 10 years.

The 2017 event was held the weekend of July 21-22 and received $7,000 from the Arts Development Committee. With the creation of the Major Tourism Events Program and Policy and Funding Application, the East Coast Garden Party Association submitted an application in support of its event.

The economic impact of this festival was approximately $500,000. Hotels and restaurants were booked solid and liquor stores saw an increase in sales. The event has a tourism draw of 40 kilometres or greater with at least 35% of the attendance by visitors to the community. The event drew 4,500 attendees over the weekend and had 51 ball teams take part. Fifty per cent of attendants were from out of town from as far as Newfoundland, Missouri (USA), Yellowknife, Vancouver, Kelowna, Dease Lake, Fox Creek, Edmonton, and Calgary.

There is $50,000 remaining of the $200,000 approved budget for the 2017 large scale tourism funding. $150,000.00 in funding was allocated to two community groups at the August 8th, City Council meeting.

Grande Prairie Regional Recreation Committee Terms of Reference

Council approved the Terms of Reference for the Grande Prairie Regional Recreation Committee.

The general purpose of this committee is to provide a mechanism for implementation of the Grande Prairie Area Joint Recreation Master Plan, including intermunicipal information sharing, collaboration, and identifying special projects concerning regional recreation facilities, services and programs. The Committee will work in consultation with current Municipal Government Act and Intermunicipal Collaborative Framework legislation.

Objectives include:
1. Guide the direction for the implementation of the adopted ten year “Grande Prairie Area Joint Recreation Master Plan – 2016”.
2. Collaborate with respect to activities and plans for current and proposed regional recreation service delivery at a macro and micro level.
3. Identify emerging trends in recreation services.
4. Identify and review deficiencies in regional recreation service levels and discuss strategies to address those deficiencies.
5. Review community growth projections and demographics and the impact of the same on regional recreation services.
6. Advocate as a collective voice for enhanced recreation (regional and municipal) services at local and provincial levels.
7. Advocate for enhanced funding for recreation (regional and municipal) at provincial and federal levels.
8. Make recommendations to the respective Council’s for investment in capital projects or programs that support regional recreation services.
9. Support local autonomy while emphasizing that local efforts and outcomes can be optimized through regional cooperative efforts.
10. Identify and develop appropriate mechanisms for funding regional recreation facilities, explore ways to access provincial and federal recreation funding, and a process to determine suitable future recreation locations. For example, a third swimming pool in the region.

The Committee consists of a minimum of one elected official from:
• City of Grande Prairie
• County of Grande Prairie
• Municipal District of Greenview
• Town of Beaverlodge
• Town of Sexsmith
• Town of Wembley
• Village of Hythe

Administrative staff from each municipality attend as non-voting members.

Electronic Fare Management System

Council awarded the RFP for the Electronic Fare Management System to Payment in Motion for $597,935.00 (excluding GST), as highest evaluated proponent.

The Electronic Fare Management System will provide Grande Prairie Transit with operational cost savings, added customer convenience, enhanced flexibility in fare offerings, improved revenue accounting and security, reduced fare abuse, and improved collection of valuable data for current and future planning purposes.

Technology advances enhances the ability to collect valuable information to support decision making for transit planning while improving fare collection. Electronic Validating fareboxes use smartcard technology.

The solution put forward in the RFP represents a product in use for several years and has a proven track record for reliability.

DTS Matter Postponed

A request by the Disabled Transportation Society Board for Grande Prairie Transit to consider assuming the service was postponed by Council so management could have time to evaluate the opportunity.

It is proposed Grande Prairie Transit integrate services provided by the Disabled Transportation Society. The matter returns to the Jan. 29 Council meeting.

The DTS Board is seeking assistance from the City of Grande Prairie in exploring options on how they can move forward in providing this service to the residents of Grande Prairie in the most effective, efficient, and sustainable manner. 

The DTS Board is encountering challenges with the daily operations due to the rapid growth (increased demand) and complexity of services.

The board considers the program to have grown beyond what was originally envisioned and want to ensure that their clients continue to be provided with quality service. 

A consultant was retained and recommended that the City should integrate DTS into its transit department within the next 6-18 months and that in the interim Transit Department staff should provide supervision and operational oversight until full integration into City Transit can occur.

Utility Bylaw Approval

Council approved Utility Bylaw – C-1365.

Aquatera and the City undertook a full review of the Utility Bylaw at the end of 2016. Although the technical updates to the bylaw were planned to be completed at the end of 2017, Aquatera finished the evaluation of a new rate schedule for 2017 and 2018 in December 2016. Therefore, an amendment of the bylaw C1139N was needed in the interim to reflect those adjustments. 

The rate schedule was based on the 2017/2018 Aquatera Business Plan. The new rate structure for 2017/18 was approved by Council in January 2017. Due to the significant technical updates, Legislative Services recommended Council repeal the current Bylaw C-1139N and to enact Utility Bylaw C-1365. The City and Aquatera finalized the technical work in September 2017.

Lot Grading Bylaw Approval

Council repealed the existing lot grading bylaw and approved Bylaw C-1366.
The Lot Grading Bylaw was adopted in April of 2010, since then administration has noticed areas within the bylaw that require updates which would allow for better management of lot grading permitting.

Administration began a review of the Lot Grading Bylaw in June 2016. This included review for inconsistencies and outdated information. At that time, Administration also compiled information regarding the main concerns with the Lot Grading Bylaw from industry and from within the organization.

Due to the number of concerns, inconsistencies and outdated information identified, it was determined that an amendment would be inefficient and that repealing the current bylaw and adopting a new bylaw proved as a better alternative.

Significant changes made to the bylaw include:
• Updating the process to include a footing elevation certificate for residential development and a Lot Grading Letter of Review for all developments;
• Ensuring the clear separation of the process for residential development and commercial development and updates to outdated language and terms throughout the bylaw; and
• The addition of owner responsibilities for a graded lot and clarified language within the enforcement sections, allowing the bylaw to be better utilized in dispute resolution.