Presentation by the Alberta Hemp Alliance (AHA)
The AHA presented its vision of developing a hemp industry in our region and requested that Yellowhead County join it in a drive to drive the region’s sustainability and diversification.
AHA’s vision is to work cooperatively to develop a seed to sale hemp industry from Hinton to Leduc and Wetaskiwin to include all rural and urban communities and said initially that its formation would include Yellowhead Brazeau, Parkland Leduc and any other communities that wished to join. There is a hemp fibre mat manufacturing facility in Drayton Valley already.
The industry is at the “ground zero” stage in Canada whereas in the U.S. and Europe there is much more activity, particularly in the U.S.
Cost to the County for membership would be $7,000. Council was supportive but asked for further details as to costs and margins for farmers. A report will be provided to Councillors and the matter will come back to a regular Council meeting.
Yellowhead Agriculture Society (YAS) Facility Support Request
Subsequent to a presentation to Council by YAS on April 16, Administration sought direction from Council as to how to proceed with YAS’s request for a “Letter of Financial Commitment” for the sum of $521,550 to the new Edson Chrysler Event Centre. YAS preferred that the funding would be provided from the 2020 budget but would also accept the funding evenly split over the 2020 and 2021 budgets.
The consensus of Council was that the new facility was good and desirable, however, there were many concerns voiced about the business model, which led to Council deciding that it could not support the funding that was requested. Administration will bring the matter back to an upcoming regular Council meeting.
Hamlets- Camping issues
At the April 16 meeting, Councillor Williams expressed his ongoing concern with the potential of camping at community facilities in County hamlets. Council was of the opinion to leave the issue to the respective community groups to determine if they wished to allow overnight camping during specific events. As requested Administration brought hamlet maps to the meeting, however, Council did not wish to modify its earlier decision.
Council decided that it did not want to ask CN to modify its crossing at Mackay, or any other, so that train whistles would not be blown. Cost to the County was estimated to be $20,000 per crossing plus the acceptance of liability.
Strategic Priorities Update
Annually, Council holds a retreat to review many topics of community benefit and ultimately direct administration to pursue these corporate priorities. Council’s last session was held in October of 2018. The Strategic Priorities Chart will be reviewed with Council in September 2019 to provide a status relative to the item.
Council and Mayor Soroka expressed their thanks to everyone and every organization that assisted regarding the wildfires that occurred over the May Victoria Day holiday, in particular thanks were expressed towards the Edson Legion and is volunteers for laying on a breakfast. Concern was expressed that the cause of the Marlboro fire was because of a camp fire. It was also pointed out humans causing wildfires can be charged and also held accountable for the cost of the firefighting, which can be considerable.