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Business owner lauds Stettler town council at Sept. 7 meeting

·4 min read

A business owner congratulated Stettler town council for the work they’ve done guiding the community, calling the town prosperous and an attractive place to own a business.

The compliments were paid at the Sept. 7 regular meeting of council.

James Marshall, who’s known as a long-time player in the aggregate business, introduced himself to council and stated he’s now a town business owner.

Marshall noted he’s recently started a new concrete business, a major challenge during the COVID pandemic, and headquartered it in the Town of Stettler.

Marshall stated Stettler was attractive to him as a new business owner, and he wanted to let councillors know why he felt that way.

The business owner stated Stettler’s system for handling emergencies such as fires is fair as everyone bears the cost, not just one person.

While Marshall didn’t go into detail, he may have been referring to rural municipalities passing bylaws making property owners responsible for firefighting costs for blazes which start on their property; readers should note firefighting costs are separate from damages caused by any fires.

Marshall went on to tell councillors he feels the Town of Stettler’s tax rates are competitive.

He said he was also happy with the town’s land use policies and “discretionary” zones, which are land use types generally pre-approved by the planning authority and council for certain areas.

Marshall stated as a business owner it can be scary that land use changes can be unexpected.

He said another nice thing about owning a business in town is no road use agreements.

Marshall stated Stettler is prosperous because of a good council.

Mayor Sean Nolls responded by thanking Marshall for his comments, and adding that town staff play a major role in making Stettler a good place to do business.

Marshall closed by saying people don’t always hear a lot of positives and he felt it was important to give credit where it was due.

Service Canada closure

Councillors read a letter from Battle River - Crowfoot MP Damien Kurek responding to the town’s inquiry about why the Service Canada office has remained closed in Stettler.

“I have reached out to Service Canada regarding the Stettler outreach office,” stated Kurek’s letter. “Unfortunately, while in-person services have been restored to the regular centres, the Outreach Centres have not been re- activated.

“I did ask when this would be available again but, at present, there is no timeline on when these services will re-start.

“These closures have been very frustrating for many of my constituents. So many people rely on the in-person services they used to be able to get. While I certainly understood the need for the closure during the height of the pandemic, I could not understand the lack of alternative options, especially for those who are not computer savvy.

“Canadians have needed these services more in the last year and a half than they have ever. There should have been a better way to be able to continue providing these essential services.

“I know many constituents reached out to my office for assistance and my staff were able to help them navigate the programs. However, there were far too many constituents who didn’t know and still don’t know that my office is available to assist with any federal program, especially those offered by Service Canada,” added Kurek.

Councillors accepted the letter for information.

Holiday or not?

Councillors read a report from the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) written by casual legal service provider Reynolds Mirth Richards Farmer LLP about whether or not the new federal National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a statutory holiday for everyone across the country.

It appears not.

“With the implementation of the new statutory holiday by the federal government, some municipalities are asking if they need to give their employees the day off or if it only applies to federal employees,” stated the report written by Emma Banfield.

“However, the federal legislation only amends the Canada Labour Code to make Sept. 30 a general holiday. Therefore, it only applies to federally regulated workplaces and the federal government.

“There is no obligation on municipalities in Alberta to treat Sept. 30, or any other federal holiday, as a holiday.”

The report added the situation could change in the future if provincial governments also recognize the holiday.

Helping hand

Councillors read a letter of appreciation from Drumheller Mayor Heather Colberg. “I am writing to thank you for allowing us to borrow your spare Zamboni,” stated Colberg. “Unfortunately, our new one suffered a hydraulic failure and our back-up suffered a mechanical failure at the same time.”

Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review

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