Trochu Housing Corporation presents to Kneehill County

Kneehill Logo 2019

Delegations

Sam Smalldon, President of Trochu Housing Corporation, made a presentation to County Council on Nov. 26 at 9:00 a.m., to ask the County to consider a partnership regarding the Seniors Housing Project Concept. Mayor Kletke wrote in a cover letter, “Having Kneehill County as a partner is critical to seeking capital grant funding. Our request is for your support and partnership in our community-driven Seniors Housing Project in order to keep the momentum and have our business case ready for capital grant applications.” The Provincial Capital Grant application is expected for January 2020, perhaps as late as March 2020 and is specifically based on mixed housing projects, such as what Trochu has proposed. The Town of Trochu will need a letter of support as backing for the borrowing of up to $25 million, the required amount to construct the capital project (estimated cost of project is $32 million). “After the use of all capital grants, then the take-out financing of up to $17 million is to be repaid through operations.” Plain and simple, the project requires all the financing up front even should the project be successful with the provincial grant, as it takes awhile for the grant dollars to filter down. (At this time), the project would not go ahead, should it be denied grant dollars.

An overview of the Seniors Supportive Living Facility Project was presented to County Council with the most updated information including the proposal, model, process, work plan, a Trochu/County partnership and next steps. It will be on 12 acres of serviced land in Trochu, with 80 units (40 supportive living, 16 lodge living, and 24 independent living). Of the $32 million estimated for the capital project, $8 million for take-out financing, $9 million from Life Lease, $15 million for Capital Grants, and $25 million for project financing limit. A document from Alberta Health Services identified Trochu as a Priority Community in April 2018. One of the main grants will be applied for in early 2020, and if successful would ready the project for approval, possibly tendering in 2022, and the building completed for 2025. The Capital grants are Provincial and another is through Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corp (CMHC).

This was a well laid out presentation (that can be viewed on the County website agenda package) and Sam was able to answer a number of questions put forth by County Council. It was confirmed to Council that Covenant Health and Alberta Health Services would be the operator on the medical/health (environment, food) side of this partnership. Trochu Housing Corporation will plan, build and operate the project. Sam was questioned with regard to only 80 units while 125 units (104 in Sundre) was discussed previous and Sam’s reply was that 80 units and setting the price for that would be a more sustainable model. He answered a question about the survey having been done in a 70 kilometre range around the area. The County partnership could be to borrow with repayment by Project or the County could simply provide risk assurance for the Town to borrow with repayment by Project.

Administraton advised Council that before rendering a final decision, Administration should be directed to provide further information with regard to potential legal ramifications and the impact such a large request could have on the County’s ability to borrow and service other initiatives. Mindful of the time line requested by THC, Administration would prepare further information for the next Council meeting. This motion for further information was not a ‘No’ to THC’s project, and in fact, Council seemed (based on the type of questions asked and how they were worded), to be impressed with the amount of information supplied and the efforts taken to date.

Another delegation of the day was for representatives from Pine Cliff Energy Ltd., with their meeting with County Councillors taken into a closed session.

FCSS Programs/Provincial Budget

A main highlight of Council’s meeting came near the end of the agenda, under Committee Reports. Clr. King gave a verbal report on budget information that came to light with KRFCSS after the Provincial budget had announced that there would be no budget cuts to FCSS. Clr. King said that some of the contract-programs that KRFCSS has will be cut after the March 31, 2020 fiscal year end. Due to some of these programs being in schools, the FCSS board along with the School Division would help keep these programs in tact until June, the school year end. Within these partnering programs, ten staff will need to be laid off and Seniors Outreach will also be affected. After this date, these programs will roll out far differently, in spite of their provable success, creating a kind of competitive bidding war as to which partnering agency would supply the need. A motion to have the County Administration type up a draft letter of concerns and frustrations was approved with copies to the Provincial Department and the MLA. Administration also advised Council that Council Meeting Highlights that are published in the local paper could address and inform the public with regard to the contract-programs that are to affect KRFCSS.

Winter Open Farm Days

It was reported that Community Futures has been given approval to put together a Winter Open Farm Days, that is being scheduled for Dec. 14 and 15, 2019.

Public Hearings/Planning

The public hearing for Bylaw 1804, the County’s Intermunicipal Development Plan with the Village of Carbon was held at 10:00 a.m. With the Village of Carbon having approved the IDP, County Council approved second and third reading later in the meeting under Disposition of Public Hearing Business.

The public hearing for Bylaw 1805, the County’s Intermunicipal Development Plan with Rocky View County was held at 11:00 a.m. Barb Hazelton, Manager Planning, advised Council that due to other major parters with Rocky View County, it would take a lot longer than usual for Rocky View to assess and coordinate before they can approve this Bylaw. Council can and did give second reading to the Bylaw and will wait on Rocky View’s approval. There were no letters or verbal statements for or against at this public hearing.

Council gave first reading to Bylaw 1806, the County’s Intermunicipal Development Plan with Wheatland County with the public hearing slated for January 14, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. Previously, to obtain feedback from the public, an open house was held in Carbon on March 27, 2019.

Council appointed Reeve Wittstock and Deputy Reeve McGhee to the Kneehill-Drumheller Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework Committee in order to allow the ICF process to move forward with the Town of Drumheller. Clr. Hugo will act as an alternate.

Council approved a Subdivision Extension Request to KNE 180122 for one year, until Nov. 1, 2020. This relates to NE 32-32-24 W4. The extension request was due to a setback with the septic system hook up and inspection condition. Barb Hazelton, Manager of Planning & Development explained, “With the remnant of the parcel also having been sold, we therefore require the Road Widening Agreement to now be signed by the current owners.”

Attendance Required at Ag Conference

Council authorized the attendance of all non-Agricultural Service Board members of Council to the 2020 ASB Provincial Conference. Bowen Clausen, Manager of Parks & Agriculture Services explained that the conference is held annually receiving nearly 500 delegates from 69 counties and municipal districts. Discussion centers on ag issues and topics and resolutions. “2020 marks the 75th year in which ASB’s have been working in their communities to help control weeds and pests, conserve our soils and water, and support and promote Alberta’s agricultural producers.”

In a retro-active motion, Council approved Deputy Reeve McGhee’s attendance at the Prairie Christian Academy’s playground ribbon cutting ceremony, which took place October 30, 2019. There was a suggestion to bring back the Councillor Reimbursement Policy in order to make an amendment to better deal with ad-hoc events that arise but Council made the decision that no amendment, at this time, was required. Council also approved Deputy Reeve McGhee’s attendance to the Three Hills School Volleyball 2A Girls Provincials Opening Ceremony that was held on Thursday, November 21, 2019. The Reeve, by remote viewing, thanked the Deputy Reeve for her attendance at these events and for recognizing the need to attend in spite of no Council meeting (in the time frame) to approve her attendance ahead of time.

Financials

Council approved the July to September 2019 bank reconciliation along with the quarterly financial report. Mr. Wolfe, Manager of Financial Services advised that as of Sept. 30, 2019 all existing GIC’s have matured, to be reinvested for maximum interest earning. Council authorized the equipment sales proceeds of $88,530 to be contributed to the Capital Equipment Plan Reserve (CEPR). The explanation for this motion dates back to Council giving its support of the decision of the Ag Service Board to discontinue the rental equipment program, donating the scales and cattle chute to the local 4H district, and to dispose of the remaining rental equipment through a local equipment bid. Those ten items when sold, totalled $88,530. This equipment had originally been funded from the reserve. It is Administrations recommendation that the sale proceeds be transferred back to the CEP Reserve.

Within the Quarterly Report, Council viewed the Operating Summary, Operating by Department, Projects Summary, and reports for Grants and Reserves. September 30 cut-off represents 75% of the 2019 calendar year. Overall operating revenue is at 107.21% and Expenses are at 65.65%. Within Mr. Wolfe’s special notes to Council regarding the variances he listed that the ‘Penalty Revenue’ is over budget by $675k (due to tax arrears doubtful to collect), ‘Other Revenue’ is over budget by $272k (due to fees for water access that were unknown at time of budget), Investment Income is over budget by $391k, and the 50% Provincial payout for Shallow Gas Well relief is reflected as $1.1 million revenue (but will be offset with the tax cancellation expense). The other 50% payout for Shallow Gas Well relief is expected by the end of this year. In total, the Contract Services Expense is under budget and at 57.89%, (partially due to changes in grader contracts and Major Maintenance). The Project Report has a gravel expense of $2,629,827 (accounts for gravel used). In summary, “based on year to date variance, we are seeing additional revenue and some lower than budgeted expenses, which should create a 2019 budget surplus.”

Christmas Closure

Council gave its approval to close the Kneehill County office at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 24., recognizing that Dec. 25 Christmas Day is Wednesday, Dec. 26 Boxing Day is Thursday, and Jan. 1, 2020 on Wednesday is New Year’s Day. The office will therefore be closed through to Thursday, January 2, 2020 at 8:30 a.m.

Grant Extension to Non-Profit Organization

Council gave its approval for an extension request from the Hesketh Community Hall on their Community Grant project. It was extended to July 30, 2020. The grant dollars were received in March 2018 to replace and repair the kitchen ceiling of the Hesketh Community Hall, and was in the amount of $4,800.