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Village of Boyle to renew electricity franchise agreement with Fortis

Councillors also discussed an emergency services breakfast and more regional partnerships
Village of Boyle councillors and Mayor Colin Derko declared their intent to renew the electricity distribution agreement with Fortis Alberta, set a date for a breakfast to thank emergency services workers in the area, and discussed joining the Northeast Alberta Alliance for Growth and Opportunities caucaus during the Nov. 15 meeting.

BOYLE — Boyle residents won’t have to worry about where their power is coming from after village councillors approved the renewal of the 20-year electric distribution agreement with Fortis Alberta. 

During the Nov. 15 meeting, Village of Boyle councillors unanimously passed a motion to renew the electric distribution system franchise agreement with Fortis for a five-year team with a vote of 4-0 —Coun. Mike Antal was absent. 

“We’ve been extremely lucky, they’ve been a great company to work with,” said mayor Colin Derko in a Nov. 16 interview. He highlighted the work of Fortis’ stakeholder relations manager, Dora L’Heureux, who Derko said has been an integral part of the relationship between the parties. 

The initial ten-year term of the agreement came into effect Jan. 1, 2015, and is set to expire Dec. 31, 2024. The first subsequent term of the multi-tiered agreement will commence Jan. 1, 2025 through Dec. 31, 2029. A second subsequent term, if renewed, will see Fortis provide power to Boyle from 20-2034. 

Fortis has provided the village written notice of its interest in renewing the agreement, and the village is required to either sign the renewal letter or provide notice of its intention to renew the agreement before June 30, 2024. 

In response to the question of which party will be responsible for reviewing the agreement and ensuring its relevance posed by Coun. Shelby Kiteley, village CAO Warren Griffin said no changes to the content of the agreement have been made. 

The renewal of the franchise distribution agreement comes one month after council passed a motion to keep the franchise fee for electricity at 20 per cent, the current cap for the fee set by the Alberta Utilities Commission. 

Emergency Services Breakfast

Emergency services workers in Boyle will get a chance to taste council’s cooking at a breakfast next month as a show of appreciation from the village and its councillors. 

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of inviting emergency services personnel to an early-morning meal Dec. 7 at the Boyle Senior Citizens New Horizon Drop In Centre. Councillors agreed to prep in the evening after their Dec. 6 meeting, and gather again early in the morning to whip together the rest of the menu. 

“I want to say this is our third time doing it,” said Derko. “It started before COVID, and COVID interrupted it, and then we did it last year.”

Initial discussions around the event included inviting hospital staff, as well as EMS workers, firefighters, RCMP officers and sheriffs, but councillors decided on hosting a separate event for hospital staff to welcome the new nurses coming into the community in November and December. 

Invites will be sent out to ambulance service staff, volunteer firefighters RCMP officers and the sheriff’s detachment, as well as Fish and Wildlife officers, Boyle’s community police officers, and highway patrol services. 

“We tried to do it just to say thank you, and more so let them know council is here if we can help in any way, and we want to make sure we know these leaders in our community who are keeping us safe,” said Derko. 

Councillors discussed the morning’s menu, and decided on simple breakfast items, as well as the same breakfast casserole as last year — administration kept the crowd-favourite recipe on file for just such an occasion. 

Council considers more regional partnerships

Councillors will consider joining approximately 30 municipalities and nine Indigenous groups in the Northeast Alberta Alliance for Growth and Opportunities (NAAGO) during budget discussions, after Derko presented his report from a recent meeting to council. 

Councillors voted 4-0 to defer the conversation around joining NAAGO and approving a $250 contribution to budget discussions later this year. 

“It’s going to be far more money than $250, because there will be time, mileage, and all that stuff,” said Coun. Barb Smith, who put the motion on the floor. She noted more detail around the financial asks of the village would be helpful for council’s consideration. 

The group, which involves communities such as Vegreville, Cold Lake, Lloydminster, St. Paul, and others in the northeast corner of the province identified a number of shared priorities in January 2023, according to a May 23 request for decision document from the County of Vermillion River’s website. 

Priorities identified were the condition and future of Highway 28, maintenance and construction on other major highways in the region, and issues with regional healthcare. 

NAAGO has raised $28,750 since it was formed over a year ago, and has used funds to hire lobbyist groups to work with the Alberta government in order to tackle the regions shared issues. 

“It’s a very inexpensive cost for sitting at the table with those municipalities,” said Derko. “How you get involved with that group is what you’ll get out of it … there’s a lot of connections.” 

“There’s power with numbers,” said Coun. Pat Ferguson. “The provincial government definitely notices that.” 

Lexi Freehill,

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