Council discuss governance breach report; health services announce heliport delays

By VERNA MURPHY, Connect Contributor

The November 24th council meeting was fairly shorter, than the recent meetings. An amendment was made to the Land Use Bylaw to have a “personal service facility” added, so a health spa – under the name: Simply Stunning – could operate in the Taiga Nova Business Park. Also part of the meeting, council ordered an in-depth study to be completed and presented by the end of August 2016 and to have residential safety improved.

Several reports were presented to council during the meeting, which included a report on the land transfer issue for the Athabasca Power Centre. This land is currently held by the province.

Council decided to enter into discussions with provincial administration to possibly have the land transferred to the municipality. This area is directly north of the Taiga Nova Industrial Park, and it would be possibly used for several retail developments, such as big box stores.

On Thursday, November 26, the Oversight Committee held an evening meeting, as well. During the meeting, a report titled: “Lessons Learned for Improved Governance Oversight of Capital Projects,” was presented.

This report came about after Councillor Sheldon Germain asked, several weeks ago, if there had been a breach of governance in regards to the Conklin Multiplex. Germain had asked about the fact that there did not seem to be “adequate space” in the design for a nursing station or RCMP, which would also require some funding from the province. The report concluded there were breaches of governance, but administration did not mislead council on purpose at any point.

The report also revealed, while one councillor obtained information about the $50 million dollar project, the information was not shared with the other council members. And while that is not a breach of governance, the report states the information should have been shared internally with all council members.

It was suggested in the future that all councillors either receive the emails with such information, or the information be collected in an internal database, so all the councillors could have equal access to said information. The report also stated that administration will work with council on a go-forward basis so this is not an issue on future capital projects.

Alberta Health Services announce construction delays for Northern Lights Regional Health Centre’s heliport. Project to be completed in 2017. File Photo: PHOENIX HELI-FLIGHT

Alberta Health Services announce construction delays for Northern Lights Regional Health Centre’s heliport. Project to be completed in 2017. File Photo: PHOENIX HELI-FLIGHT

Provincially, Alberta Health Services (AHS) announced the construction of a heliport for Fort McMurray will, once again, be delayed. The plan for the heliport will move forward with planned renovations to the Northern Lights

Regional Health Centre, which will mean it will not be completed until 2017. AHS announced, in a media release, they realize this delay may frustrate residents of Fort McMurray, but that they were “confident this was the best way to move forward with the project.”

Currently patients requiring air ambulance service are transported to the Fort McMurray International Airport, and then to the hospital, and this practice will continue, until the heliport is completed in two-years’ time.

– Connect Weekly –