Last council meeting of 2016; budget, flood mitigation on agenda

Tuesday night’s council meeting will be the last one of 2016. Administration is recommending that council approve the $137 million operating budget for the first quarter of 2017. This will give the Wood Buffalo Steering committee time to develop a joint plan for a Bill 21 transition. Recent developments indicate that the Bill will be grandfathered in over the next number of years, but the timeline is still vague.

Last week the Recovery committee made some recommendations which will be brought forward by administration tonight regarding flood mitigation in Waterways. The committee is recommending that council task administration with developing a long term plan for flood mitigation.

In October, administration ordered that a Cost Benefit analysis be done for the Lower Townsite, Ptarmigan Court and Waterways areas. IBI/Golder did the analysis, and looked at various options including a demountable wall, a concrete wall, and a dike for the structural mitigation, as well as third party or self-insurance. The resulting report says that it is not fiscally prudent to both structural mitigation and offer the buy-out or relocation packages.


In a Facebook post on a support page for residents of Abasand, Waterways and Beaconhill, Recovery committee member, Marty Giles said,

“I supported this recommendation to give those residents who have completed the process, those in process and those considering it as much certainty as possible and take away as much angst as possible. I have been given quite a bit of feedback personally that this is the solution they wanted. If it didn’t’ land that way I apologize but I would vote to support it again today. Also if council approves this recommendation the caveats on those properties  that residents are signing gets removed off title when the mitigation construction is completed.” 

Residents who wish to ask how long the flood mitigation might take, or any other questions, can speak to the mayor and council members tonight.

Also on the agenda is an application to rezone land along Paulson Street in Timberlea so that it would be designated as Mixed/Transitional Commercial District. There is another proposed Gas station/car wash for the area. Several residents and groups have already registered to speak for and against the rezoning.

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