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Council Briefs
Communications plan not 'a bible'

Northern News Services
Published Friday, September 16, 2011

City councillors were willing to adopt the communications recommendations and analysis prepared for them by Outcrop Communications Monday, but not as official policy.

"The only reason I will be supporting this is because it's adopted for information," said Coun. Bob Brooks. "When you're talking about communications, it's a moving target.

"The communications at city hall has been a longstanding issue that we have had a lot of trouble addressing over many councils and I think (the communications report) can be a good tool, but it's not the be-all-end-all and I want to add my caution that it should be just used as information and not as a bible to go forward."

Couns. David Wind and Cory Vanthuyne voiced similar words of caution before council unanimously supported the adoption of the report as information.

Outcrop recently conducted a $50,000 communications study, titled Communicating in a Time of Change: Situational Analysis and Recommendations, on behalf of the city and recommended, among other things, that the city use two-way communications, like Facebook and Twitter, to keep citizens engaged.

Coun. Amanda Mallon, who often voices concerns about how the city communicates with its residents, said she would like to see "a little bit more than adopting. I would like to see some implementation."

City ends Brock Drive dispute

The contentious sale of a piece of city-owned land at the corner of Brock Drive and Ragged Ass Road received its final stamp of approval from council Monday night.

Alan Udell, his wife Adrienne Jones and their neighbour Mike Byrne have been pleading with the city for months not to sell the 5.2-metre-by-32-metre strip of land, but Monday night councillors gave unanimous approval.

The land is being sold to Hendrick Falck, who for many years has used the land for parking, a garden and a basketball net.

Because the land is city-owned, Falck was not in compliance with city zoning regulations, so he petitioned to purchase the land. The land will be sold to Falck at fair market price.

Udell gave a last minute plea to council during a Municipal Services Committee meeting Aug. 22, saying the corner is an unsafe location to allow parking.

There is still 6.8 metres of width for access remaining, a strip almost one metre wider than Ragged Ass Road itself. Currently that land is zoned residential, but it will be rezoned to nature preserve, protecting a 25-metre wooded trail that leads to Great Slave Lake.

First and second readings of the bylaw were unanimously approved by council in October 2010.

No fee cap for Kam Lake

There was no debate from council Monday, when administration recommended that emergency fire response within the Kam Lake Industrial Park remain without a cap.

During the Municipal Services Committee meeting, Couns. David Wind and Bob Brooks both spoke up in support of the maximum charge of $4,500 only applying to residential single family dwellings outside of Kam Lake - in line with the amendments made earlier this year to the fees and charges bylaw.

Although caretaker dwellings are allowed in the Kam Lake, the area is zoned as light industrial and such dwellings do not qualify as single family dwellings, so the homes there are not covered by the maximum emergency fire response fee.

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