By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review
Bashaw town council was happy to hear that cooperation between two important community agencies is helping everyone involved. The discussion was part of budget presentations at the Dec. 7 regular meeting of council.
Two organizations, Bashaw amd District Support Services (BDSS), which provides social supports in and around Bashaw, and Bashaw Youth Foundation, which provides programming for youth, both made their presentations to council regarding 2023 funding. Coincidentally, both organizations are headed by the same executive director, Christine Buelow.
Town chief administrative officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller stated in an interview Dec. 13 that it’s very beneficial to Bashaw to have the same person guiding both organizations as it results in a lot of collaboration.
Fuller reported that during the BDSS presentation Buelow stated the organization is having great success with programs but is coping with a very long wait list for childcare services which resulted in BDSS looking at possibly offering that service in a bigger building.
Fuller stated BDSS’ budget request was very similar to 2022 and councillors generally didn’t have any questions for Buelow.
Fuller stated councillors seemed happy with BDSS’ programming, especially when it was noted that the organization has a social return on investment of 11 dollars for every one dollar spent.
It was also noted that BDSS has an outreach model that features “sibling” organizations in other communities such as Alix and Donalda and that BDSS always has interest from other communities about this model.
The CAO reported the youth foundation requested a grant of $10,000 from town council, which was just slightly more than 2022.
Buelow told councillors that the youth foundation has between 80 and 85 kids registered and averages about 22 per week.
The Festival of Trees event had over 90 people come through it and youth foundation outings are becoming quite popular. Youth foundation programming, noted the CAO, has also benefitted from positive participant feedback.
Fuller said these two organizations also receive funds from other levels of government, including Camrose County and the Government of Alberta.
During committee reports councillors heard one of Bashaw’s physicians has resigned effective Dec. 28 and the search is on for a replacement.
Councillors heard there will be a concerted effort made by many partners including the town, AHS, the MLA and others to look at a regional health care model while recruiting with the aim of getting full-scope care.
Water rate hike
Councillors approved the 2023 budget of the Hwy. #12/21 Water Commission, which included a rate hike to $3.349 per cubic metre of water, up from last year’s $3.146.
The CAO stated the water commission passed along an increase in water costs and other rising expenses.
Councillors also approved a request for a 2023 funding grant of $5,000 from the Bashaw Bus Society. Fuller stated councillors had no concerns about the program and seemed quite happy with the service.
Noise, noise, noise
Fuller confirmed the town’s revised public disturbance bylaw passed third reading.
Council reviewed the bylaw after a number of residential complaints about noise coming from an industrial business last fall.
She noted fines for public disturbance won’t be included in that bylaw, but rather in the master rates and fees bylaw.
The CAO noted that councillors passed one resolution after coming out of closed session: that the administration generate a proposal based on full cost recovery to present to Cross Ice Developments which, according to its website, is an elite hockey development company.
Fuller stated since the topic was discussed in closed session no further information was available to the public at this time.