Mayerthorpe council: Town explores immigration, housing

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During its regular meeting on Monday, Mayerthorpe council voted to endorse the Growth Alberta organization’s application to the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP). 

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With designated community status under the AAIP Rural Renewal Stream, local businesses could recruit international workers. 

The town would need to conduct tours, with the library and Family and Community Support Services providing orientations, according to council’s agenda package. 

Growth Alberta is a Regional Economic Development Alliance representing Mayerthorpe, Woodlands County and area. It runs the Wild Alberta initiative to be a resource to the region’s tourism operators. 

In February, Woodlands County council voted to endorse the AAIP application. Whitecourt and the town and county of Barrhead are already designated communities. 

Coun. Esther Sonnenberg’s motion to approve a letter of support for Growth Alberta was carried unopposed, with all councillors present. (Mayor Janet Jabush was back from leave). 

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During the meeting, Mayor Jabush also mentioned Barrhead County had decided to leave Growth Alberta, leaving only Mayerthorpe, Woodlands and Swan Hills in the organization. Lac Ste. Anne County also recently withdrew. 

Coun. Anna Greenwood asked if Growth Alberta is viable after the withdrawals, and if the Town of Mayerthorpe is “getting our money’s worth” from membership. 

Mayor Jabush replied she’s not expecting to lose more members, and Growth Alberta will be engaging stakeholders this summer. If those efforts come to naught, she suggested the town’s membership can be reviewed after the summer. 

Mayerthorpe seeks $200K to boost housing 

Council voted to apply to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF). 

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CAO Jennifer Sunderman told council that HAF “provides incentive funding to local governments to boost housing supply across Canada.” 

She noted the Town of Mayerthorpe is endeavouring to increase its housing supply and is working with the Rural Development Network on a housing needs assessment. 

Mayor Jabush said the town is seeking $200,000. CAO Sunderman said the funds could go to prepare services and infrastructure for developments. 

“We have a shortage right now, because there’s not enough stock for single-family housing or rentals,” Mayor Jabush told council. 

Coun. Sonnenberg’s motion to approve the application was carried unopposed. 

Recycling bylaw OK’d to allow carts 

The Waste Collection, Recycle Collection and Disposal Bylaw was brought back to council for third reading and passage. The bylaw received its first two of three necessary readings at the May 23 meeting. With the town expected to switch from blue bags to carts for recycling this summer, the bylaw is being revised to reflect this change. Coun. Marc Claybrook’s motion to give the bylaw third reading was carried with all in favour. 

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Some fees increased 

The Miscellaneous Rates and Fees Bylaw has been updated following an annual review. Under the revised bylaw, the fee for getting a tax certificate is up from $25 to $35, to compensate staff for the time. The recycling collection fee will be increased from $3.50 to $4 monthly, and a tax recovery registration fee will be raised from $50 to $75, according to council’s agenda package.  

The amendments received the first of three necessary readings on May 23. On Monday councillors Pat Burns and Becky Wells’ motions for second reading and passage were carried with all in favour. 

Library board chairperson re-appointed 

Lana McDonald, who has been a library board member since 2017 and is currently chairperson, applied to be appointed to the board for another term. Coun. Greenwood’s motion to appoint McDonald for a three-year term was carried. 

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