By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Village of Alix may offer a vacant office in a municipal building to the community through an open invitation. The issue of the vacant office was discussed at the May 5 regular meeting of council.
Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White presented a report on Bay #2 of the village-owned Railway House building, noting that bays 1, 3 and 4 are all rented.
“As part of council’s strategic plan, recreation department staff were re-tasked with new portfolios,” stated the CAO’s memo.
“The transition out of recreation activities has been progressing. Council voiced interest in finding an alternative use for the portion of Bay #2 previously used as a youth centre.”
The CAO provided councillors with floor plans showing current and proposed lay-outs and said later that alterations to the space could range from hundreds of dollars to thousands.
Coun. Vicki Soltermann asked if the top floor was included, and White responded no, only the ground floor.
Soltermann stated she wasn’t sure the village should spend money on alterations to the bay without a definite reason.
Mayor Rob Fehr was also hesitant to approve alterations, noting a community group had mentioned to him it was interested in Bay #2. The mayor said this group was planning on coming to speak to council about their idea.
Soltermann asked if one community group had the option of taking this space, should the village be fair and publicly advertise it so all groups had a chance?
Mayor Fehr stated that it wasn’t a bad idea.
Councillors agreed to have the space publicly advertised and consider the results at a June council meeting.
As the village moved to close off its recreation department, White asked councillors what they would like to do with remaining equipment from mostly the youth centre programs.
She provided a chart showing the items and proposed method of dealing with them, including donations or sale.
White stated if all the items listed for sale were in fact sold, it could raise about $5,000 for the village.
The “for sale” list included things like an X-box video game system, Barbie doll accessories, pool table with cues and baseball equipment.
Some items, like board games, were listed as donations to the Village Shoppe, while LEGO toys were listed as donations to the public library.
Coun. Cole asked if the baseball equipment could be donated to local teams.
Soltermann stated community groups should be able to contact the village office if they wanted some of these items. White agreed that’s the way it would be handled.
White reported to council on the provincial government’s recent review of the village under the Municipal Accountability Program.
She stated the inspector from Municipal Affairs found six things in village operations that the village had to “fix.”
The six items included things like ensuring village offers on its website a list of policies used for making planning decisions and ensuring through bylaw the municipal assessor is an officer of the municipality.
Councillor Barb Gilliat, looking at the list, stated they appeared to be “nit-picky things” that could easily be fixed.
Coun. Ed Cole stated it seems like the province found some issues because it didn’t want to give Alix a perfect score.
Soltermann asked if the report could be made available to the public as she felt residents would like to see it.
White stated it will be placed on the village website with paper copies available in the office.
By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/East Central Alberta Review