By: Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review
Village of Alix residents will no longer have to hear the booming of the disaster services siren every night at 9 p.m., after councillors officially ended the practice at their regular meeting Jan. 19.
Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White stated technically the practice was stopped two decades ago when the public had apparently had enough of being reminded of what time of day it was by a triumphant, blaring horn.
“The disaster services siren has not been functional for approximately 20 years,” stated White in her report to council.
“The noon siren was discontinued first due to resident complaints. Shortly after staff recall a resolution being passed by council of the day to stop doing the 9 p.m. siren and it has not been used since.
The fire chief confirmed most of the infrastructure is still in place but we don’t know the condition or functionality of it at this time.”
White stated public complaints weren’t the only issue with the siren, other issues including whether everyone in the community could hear it and knew what it was for.
The CAO proposed if the siren was to remain in use the village should conduct an educational campaign to ensure every resident knew what to do if they heard it, specifically in response to an emergency.
Also, she pointed out to get the siren back in functioning order would require about $17,500 based on a report from 2017.
Mayor Rob Fehr reminisced about the siren, noting it was shorted out by an electrical storm one time and accidentally went off. He added that, with modern technology like cell phone alerts, the siren is an outdated means of communication.
Councillors unanimously approved rescinding policy #19, testing of the disaster services siren.
Disposal of disposal policy
Councillors took the advice of their CAO and disposed of the Disposal of Capital Assets policy, which White stated in her report was passed in 2006 and not touched since.
The policy was included in the agenda package and notes that any equipment disposal valued at over $1,000 had to come to council to be approved by resolution.
“Disposal of assets is not a governance matter, it is administrative,” stated the CAO.
“If council feels it is necessary to have a policy in place regarding the disposal of capital assets, I recommend it be a policy directing staff on what steps to take rather than one requiring a council resolution to proceed. This can cause delays that may end up affecting disposal price of items.”
White also pointed out disposal of old items is usually handled at the same time new equipment is purchased, and purchases are always included in council’s budgeting process.
Follow the rules
Councillors approved an amended Sale of Municipal Lands policy after discussion.
In her report the CAO noted, “The village has sold multiple municipally owned properties over the years. Some at market value, some advertised for sale through a real estate agent and some at less than market value.
The Municipal Government Act (MGA) has minimal guidance for these situations, so council asked for a policy to be written that would clarify the process.”
White noted the purpose of the policy is to ensure taxpayers get the best possible deal.
Coun. Tim Besuijen suggested the proposed policy include the following details: anyone submitting an offer to purchase village property must include a closing date and must include all their conditions in the offer.
Mayor Fehr agreed, noting such details would reduce confusion. “That would help immensely, I think,” said Fehr.
White noted policies such as this one can be easily reviewed and revised in the future.