Welcome from Reeve Murray Kerik.
As the spokesperson for the elected officials of the MD, my role is to keep people informed about what we’re doing to keep our rugged-and-real region safe, healthy and prosperous. Whether I’m talking to a landowner about road allowances or championing our collective concerns to the province, my priority is the well-being of our municipality and the people who reside within it. The Reeve's Report is a benchmark of our growth and adaptation as a municipality, and of Council's steadfast commitment to the communities it has the honour of stewarding.
As much as I enjoy talking, I find listening to be a more productive activity. Whether you chat with us on Facebook, respond to our online surveys or attend a Council meeting that matters to you, make no mistake: we are listening intently, and your voice matters.
A season of growth and progress
There are few places more awe-inspiring than Lesser Slave River — especially in the spring. This season marks the beginning of a renewed vigor within the ranks of MD Staff and Council. Much has been achieved over the past several months; as we kick off the season, I’d like to use my Reeve’s Report to outline these achievements for you, and to let you know the important regional initiatives that will be gaining momentum in the weeks and months to come.
Council’s 2016 Budget Review: The 2016 budget is now complete and balanced. I am pleased to report that Council is united in holding the line on residential, commercial and industrial rates of taxation during these trying economic times. This move equates to a reduced overall levy on MD taxpayers by approximately $800,000 (or a six per cent reduction in tax revenue) over the previous year. In the coming weeks, a copy of the 2016 budget will be made available for viewing and download from the municipal website.
Ongoing Infrastructure Projects: Work will resume on the Poplar Lane Road reconstruction. Roof repairs on the Widewater Complex and washroom expansion in the Flatbush Complex are presently being cost discovered with the objective of completing these projects within the year. Work continues on water quality/quantity in Lesser Slave Lake, along with assisting with the raw water intake pipeline from Widewater to the Town. Resources were spent re-dredging silt from the mouth of the river, and installing siphons over the weir to ensure adequate water flow. I’m pleased to report that Tri Council projects are either completed or nearing completion, which should free up more time for regular obligations.
Planning for the Future: The MD has adopted a strategic planning process to define objectives both internally and externally, and to formulate a strategy to implement these objectives. This process is designed to take stock of where we are presently at, and what we aspire to become in the near future. Council plans to act upon the strategies identified in this document over the course of 2016.
Tourism & Leisure Activities: I encourage everyone to get out and explore. Canoeing on the Lesser Slave, Pembina and Athabasca Rivers; off-roading on an ATV; setting out on a hiking trail — the list is endless. The Explore section of the municipal website contains a vast and growing archive of all there is to see and do across our region.
Business Growth & Opportunities: Some sectors are suffering slowdowns at this time, but we remain confident that things will pick up soon. Any questions regarding business opportunities and related areas of assistance will be fielded by our Tri Council Economic Development Officer along with staff of our Community Futures office.
Resourcefulness has been our mantra for quite some time. As always, MD Staff and Council work diligently to do more with less. I’d like to similarly commend the community at large for the vital roles everyone has played in better positioning the MD for future growth. Your enthusiasm, commitment and tireless efforts are what make our communities so close-knit, and our region so resilient.
Reeve, MD of Lesser Slave River no.124