RM of Prince Albert working on new shop after receiving MEEP funding

After receiving funding the RM of Prince Albert is planning what happens next with their new RM shop which was funded in part by the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program (MEEP) 2020. At the RM council’s regular meeting on Thursday, August 13 they discussed the next steps with the project.

“We are in the planning phase, we are kind of developing a wish list of what we want to see in the facility, whether that is strictly a maintenance and operations shop or if it is going to include an administration office as well, that is to be determined basically,” Reeve Eric Schmalz said.

They plan to put together the wish list and want to have it ready for their next meeting on Thursday, September 10. In July the province announced that  the RM of Prince Albert received $511,961 for a new RM Shop.

Schmalz explained that once the parameters are set the project will go out to tender. He is a fan of the whole concept of MEEP funding in these times.

“It is making differences all over the province itself and you actually employ and keep businesses moving forward during a difficult time,” he said

Another topic of discussion at the meeting was a civic addressing project which is also moving ahead. The RM was denied a grant to fund their project which would have helped offset costs.

“That funding has been denied and now this will be a project that is solely funded by the RM and we are moving forward with it that has not prevented us from continuing with this project it has just changed how we are going to be funding it,” Schmalz said.

Schmalz explained that the road naming would be using a system with Range and Township Road naming systems, however special circumstances will lead to roads being named to honour people or places.

“What we are trying to do is we are trying to make it easy for emergency services to locate residences in the RM. If we maintain simply using the grid formula with Range and Township roads it is far easier to find those individuals, especially the RCMP which is transient. There is named roads but it is still when you have got a grid pattern and a numbered system it is far easier to locate an individual residence,” Schmalz said.

They are moving the project forward immediately but some staff requires training with the provincial government’s CARS (Civic Addresses and Registry System) and this will see all of the roads in the rather vast RM registered. At the council’s meeting in July they voted to suspend payment to Division 5 councillor Wayne Acorn. The council expected Acorn to show up at the meeting on Thursday as he is given an opportunity to apologize before each meeting since March.

Acorn was suspended during council’s February meeting.

“Basically he is not showing up to council and therefor he is not getting paid his remuneration as per the amended bylaw that we passed last month. He is not going to be getting paid his remuneration,” Administrator Roxanne Roy said.

According to Roy they expected him to show up on Thursday because of an interview with PA Now.

“The way it stands is he hasn’t shown up, he hasn’t given me a reason, he hasn’t contacted me, he hasn’t reached out to me so it is what it is,” she explained.

The final motion of the February 13 meeting by councillor Barton Franc read “That being that Councillor Wayne Acorn was found in contravention of the RM of Prince Albert’s Code of Ethics Bylaw No. 15 of 2016, Councillor Wayne Acorn is hereby suspended from representing the RM of Prince Albert No. 461 on any and all Committees, Bodies and Associations until such time that Councillor Acorn attend and complete educational training for ethical and respectful conduct as well as present a verbal and written apology to the Reeve, Council and Administration at a Regular RM of Prince Albert Council meeting. This remedial action is effective immediately.”

According to the minutes, Reeve Eric Schmalz made a motion early in the meeting that Acorn be removed from the meeting for making a threatening gesture towards the Reeve. Division Councillor Franc then took the meeting In Camera to deal with an Human Resources matter. After the meeting came back in normal session Councillor Richard Wilson made a motion that “as per the Code of Ethics Bylaw No. 15 of 2016, Councillor Wayne Acorn be removed from the council meeting for making physically threatening actions towards the reeve. This resolution is for the meeting of February 13, 2020 and will require an apology.”