Council Meeting Notes
Stay up to date with council decisions and discussions with the City of Beaumont’s Council Notes. These informal recaps help residents catch up with council meetings in just a few minutes.
Please note these summaries are not an official record of council meetings. Official minutes are posted online once they are approved during a subsequent meeting.
Regular Council Meeting Notes - September 10, 2019
Tour de l’Alberta
Allen Jacobson, operational manager of Tour de l’Alberta, reported to council on the cycling event, which marked its 25th anniversary this year. More than 700 cyclists, including between 200 to 300 new to the event, and 150 volunteers participated in the tour on July 28. Jacobson announced that next year’s event will be held July 19 and presented a 25th-anniversary commemorative t-shirt to the mayor and council.
Council expressed its support for Tour de l’Alberta and appreciation to event organizers, noting it showcases Beaumont and the region.
Inter-City Forum on Social Policy
Beaumont became eligible this year to join the Inter-City Forum on Social Policy, a partnership of 20 other Alberta municipalities to share information and advocate on issues regarding social policies, programs and services that affect urban communities. Topics addressed by the forum include housing and drug use.
Council agreed to participate in the forum and will designate an elected representative to the group during its October 8 organizational meeting.
Beaumont Youth Council
Council expressed support for the Beaumont Youth Council and agreed to designate an elected representative to the youth group during its October 8 organizational meeting. Initially established in 2008, the Youth Council was re-instated this year with a focus on providing a voice for youth aged 12 to 19 with the city, and to support the development of programs, events and projects to engage youth in Beaumont.
Utility Franchise Fees
Council ratified gas and electricity utility franchise fees increases previously announced in the 2019 budget. The increases, to take effect on January 1, 2020, amount to approximately $7 per month for the average household and are estimated to raise an additional $859,700 to support the cost of expansion at the Beaumont Sports and Recreation Centre.
Beaumont’s franchise fees will remain competitive with similar-sized communities in the region. A majority of Alberta municipalities charge franchise fees to gas and electricity utility distributors to use city land for infrastructures such as wires and pipes. Utility companies charge the fee back to consumers.
Electric Distribution Agreement
Council gave first reading to a bylaw that would extend the city’s agreement with FortisAlberta to supply electricity to areas annexed by Beaumont in 2017. FortisAlberta currently has an agreement as to the exclusive distributor of electricity within city limits to ensure safety in operation and maintenance of electrical infrastructure.
If approved, the bylaw would allow FortisAlberta to acquire the infrastructure currently operated by the Battle River Power Coop servicing the annexed areas. A letter was sent to residents in the annexed areas advising them of the proposed bylaw.
Council approved a modernized Bylaw Enforcement Officer Bylaw that reflects changes in city process and structure, and provincial legislation.
The previous bylaw was passed in 1986. Since then, the city’s structure and directives used in the investigation of complaints have changed. The Alberta government also recently updated the Municipal Government Act, which requires municipalities to establish a bylaw to specify the powers and duties of bylaw enforcement officers and disciplinary procedures for misuse of those powers.
Library Access to Digital Materials
Council supported a request by the Beaumont Library Board to advocate in support of increased access to digital material, such as eBooks and audiobooks, for library users. The board expressed concern that publishers are making digital content harder to access, with barriers such pricing audiobooks significantly higher than physical copies, restricting the ability of libraries to purchase new releases in electronic formats, and limiting the number of copies they can have. Public libraries in Canada are growingly concerned about the effects this may have on access to information and literacy.
Council agreed the mayor would send a letter to Members of Parliament immediately following the federal election, calling on the government to investigate the issue and develop a solution to increase public library access to digital material.