The Village of Alix will hold an open town hall meeting to gather input from residents before deciding on
the municipality’s upcoming budget, a budget with question marks surrounding it.
Councilors discussed the issue at their regular council meeting Mar. 4.
As the subject of budget came up, Counc. Vicki Soltermann told her peers that she felt not just a council
meeting should be held for budget deliberations, but that a town hall style meeting should be held where
residents can see issues facing the village and give their input.
One of the prime issues facing not just the Village of Alix but virtually all Alberta municipalities is the
recent provincial government’s announcement of increased numbers of police officers, with the
complication that those officers will be paid for directly by municipalities.
The announcement was received with surprise by some municipalities, as they had not factored this
increased policing into their budgets.
Soltermann stated residents should at least get a chance from village council to give their input on how
the budget shortfall should be addressed. She said a town hall meeting would be a way of “testing the
Councilors discussed the conundrum of whether cuts to other village departments should be made to
cover the policing costs, approve an increase to the tax rate or a combination of both.
Village CAO Michelle White suggested a special council meeting to discuss budget, the first part of
which would be a town hall meeting where the public could ask questions and offer input.
Mayor Rob Fehr noted that even though the budget town hall would have a single topic, there may be
other members of the public who want to talk about other issues or air grievances.
It was suggested that each member of the public be limited to a few minutes to make their comments.
Councilors eventually decided to hold a special budget deliberation meeting opened by a budgetary public
engagement session Apr. 8 in the Alix Community Hall, with the town hall beginning at 6 p.m., followed
by the council budget discussion.
Village of Alix council discussed proposed changes to its Land Use Bylaw during the regular meeting of
council Mar. 4.
Village CAO Michelle White presented the item to councillors, noting the updates mostly revolve around
questions and items encountered by the village’s development officer Tanya Meston that aren’t directly
addressed in this important bylaw. White said tweaks would also streamline the LUB and make the
process easier for applicants.
A number of sections of the existing LUB were discussed, including recreational vehicles. White noted
council already spent quite a bit of time discussing RV’s in their traffic bylaw and White noted staff felt it
was a good time to make the LUB fit with the traffic bylaw.
The proposed changes included details such as where an RV can be parked on a residential lot and other
details such as an RV overhanging a boulevard.
Councilors spent a bit of time discussing when and how an RV can be used for temporary
accommodation. A proposed change included an RV being used as temporary accommodation for not
more than 30 days per year.
Also, another new detail is that residents don’t need a development permit to use an RV for temporary
accommodation for less than 30 days per year.
Counc. Ed Cole asked about one type of RV, a watercraft on a trailer. He asked if a fishing boat would be
included in that.
White answered yes, but the rules didn’t only address accommodation but other situations such as where
such a trailer could be parked, for example.
The CAO stated some of the changes were geared towards addressing ongoing situations that residents or
the municipality could face. She used the example of a nuisance barking dog; a record must be kept of the
problems, then given to the village.
Dangerous goods rules were discussed. Changes allow for a buffer between residential zones and zones
like industrial that could contain dangerous goods. A 50 meter buffer can be totally contained within the
Counc. Cole asked if a dangerous goods route exists in Alix. White responded Alix has two truck routes
that handle that work, both on the north and south side of the highway.
Counc. Tim Besuijen asked if the rules apply to vehicles loaded with dangerous goods parked on the
street. White said yes, they do.
Fences will be included in the LUB: if a resident’s fence is no more than three feet in the front yard and
no more than six feet on the sides or back, the resident doesn’t need a development permit. If a resident
wants a fence higher than that, they must apply for a development permit.
Decks may also require a development permit. White noted that certain projects low to the ground may
She told councillors that more changes, more administrative in nature, may be coming towards the end of
Councilors passed First Reading of the proposed LUB changes and set a public hearing date of Apr. 1.
Village of Alix council heard during their regular meeting Mar. 4 that instances of crime have dropped
recently and several high-profile crimes have seen arrests made.
The report was made to his peers by Counc. Ed Cole, who attended the Bashaw RCMP detachment
community meeting Feb. 27 at the Bashaw and District Support Services building.
Cole noted detachment commander Sgt. Holliday was present, who noted the detachment, which is also
responsible for Alix area, is currently at full staff, including Holliday, one admin staffer and four
constables. It was also noted, however, that Bashaw detachment hasn’t seen an increase in
“establishment” or member size in over 30 years.
One boon was received, however. RCMP K Division has decided that the Bashaw RCMP detachment is
below the appropriate administration staffing level, and has approved the hiring of a second admin
employee. The admin staffers help with paperwork, allowing constables to spend their time doing police
work, noted Cole.
Some more good news is that the detachment will receive a recruit out of the Regina RCMP training
depot in March. This recruit will replace a current constable after six months, meaning in effect the
detachment will enjoy an extra police officer this summer although recruits don’t go on calls until three
months have passed.
Counc. Vicki Soltermann asked if the detachment will receive another recruit in 2021; Cole said he didn’t
Looking at lists of crime numbers, Cole pointed out the 2019 stats were down noticeably from 2018.
“Break and enters, theft of motor vehicle and theft under offences are all down with a total criminal code
offences decrease of 15 per cent,’ stated Cole in his report to council.
“Sgt. Holliday spoke of several very high profile and very prolific offenders who have been arrested,
charged and are in custody, with anticipated long incarceration. This includes the individual responsible
for our ATB armed robbery.”
Cole said it was noted the major arrests, including the suspect in the ATB armed robbery, were made
through strong cooperation between the Bashaw detachment and surrounding detachments. For example,
he stated a different detachment received a complaint about a truck driving erratically, and the truck
happened to be pulling a snowmobile on a trailer. Police already knew they were looking for a
snowmobile related to the bank robbery. This tip helped lead to the arrest.
Two more town hall meetings with police will be held in the future, possibly in Bashaw, Alix or
Cole said the Bashaw detachment is very well run with diligent, hard-working members who take a lot of
pride in their work.
Council accepted the report for information.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review