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SNEAK PEEK: Helipad delegation, public hearings, and budget feedback on County council agenda

Councillors will hear a helipad update from a community group, propose zoning changes to several properties, and review a new plan for ratepayer feedback
Athabasca County councillors will have two public hearings, a community group delegation, and several policies and bylaws to review in addition to new business items during their upcoming June 11 meeting.

ATHABASCA — Athabasca County Councillors will meet for the first of their two scheduled June meetings tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. in their chambers at the County Administration Office to hear an update on the helipad projects in the region, review policies and bylaws, and discuss a new platform for engaging with residents and ratepayers.

The June 11 meeting will start with two public hearings for two proposed land-use bylaw amendments. Members of the public will have a chance to give councillors their feedback on bylaws 008-2024 and 009-2024, which propose changing two heavy industrial districts to agriculture zoning.

Following the public hearings and administrative housekeeping, county councillors will hear a presentation from a community group on the helipad projects in the region. The community group delegation comes less than two weeks after councillors heard from STARS senior municipal relations liason, Glenda Farnden, during their May 30 meeting.

Also on the agenda are four policies and three additional bylaws. Two policies to be rescinded — dealing with management overtime pay and meetings — forwarded to the table from the April 10 Policy Review committee meeting.  

Two more proposed policies for requests for letters of support and the recording and livestreaming of council meetings are ready for review and approval if councillors see fit.

In addition to the land use amendment bylaws slated for public hearings, councillors will also have a chance to review a request to rezone an agriculture lot to light industrial and two lot consolidation requests from the communities of Mystic Meadow Estates and Baptiste Lake’s White Gull.

In both instances, property owners with multiple neighbouring lots are requesting zoning changes to allow for residential development.  

Councillors will also hear about a new platform the county is hoping to use to share financial information and collect public feedback on the 2024 budget. Ethelo is a Vancouver-based company specializing in group problem solving and digital democracy services the county will use to collect ratepayers’ opinions on budget priorities and preferred levels of service.

According to the request for decision submitted by Athabasca County Communications Coordinator Jordan Schenkelberg, the county and Ethelo will collaborate on a custom-made survey which will allow residents to create their own draft budgets with sliding scales for different departments.

With each decision to either cut, maintain, or increase funding, users will receive informational blurbs about how fiscal decisions affect projects, departments, and levels of service. The information collected will also help inform councillors when deliberating priorities for upcoming years.

Regular county council meetings are open to the public, and are held at the Athabasca County Administration Office at 9:30 a.m. The agenda for the meeting can be found here, and anyone unable to attend can view the livestreamed version of regular meetings on Athabasca County’s YouTube channel.

Lexi Freehill,

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