• 780-666-0201
  • sdafoe@morinville.ca

Author Archive

Federation of Canadian Municipalities Report

It is not cheap to send me or any of us on Council to the annual FCM conference. As such, I always try to provide a report on what I did while there.

Below is a brief but still longish overview of what I attended while at the conference. As always, the views and opinions expressed are mine alone and do not speak for Council or the Town of Morinville.

Thursday – May 30

The first day of the conference is usually low key as the event starts officially on Friday.

– Attended the regional meetings for the Prairies and Territories

– Took a study tour with Councillor Giffen of Quebec City’s waste-to-energy facility where they take all streams of solid waste and incinerate it. St. Albert is taking on a pilot project of this nature and we have attended their info session. So this was a valuable tour, particularly given my role as Chair of Roseridge.

On the same tour, I also had a session on the Biomethanation plant being built in Quebec City. Changes by 2022 there will prohibit food waste going to landfill or incineration. Garbage and compost will go in coloured bags but into the same bin and sorted by colour. It will be converted to fertilizer and energy. They are expecting to turn a profit almost out of the gate. It will be the province’s largest bio-gas plant.

Thursday – May 30 – after conference

– Attended supper with Council. Typically on our first night at FCM, Council will go out for dinner. It is always an enjoyable event and one of the few decent meals we get during a conference of continental breakfasts, platter lunches and dinners that consist largely of meat on sticks at hospitality rooms.

– After dinner, some of us took a walk to old town Quebec for a look around.

Friday – May 31

– Attended Trade Show and had conversations with several companies and organizations, including a manufacturer of cutouts to reduce speed, innovative playground equipment, and an initial look at Waste to Energy technology.

One particular highlight is the extended producer responsibility Nespresso has in place and is trying to get in place. Their coffee pods are all aluminum and they are working on a green bag program where the pods would go in recycling municipally and get sent back tot he company by the recycling depots. The aluminum is repurposed into products, including vegetable peelers and bike parts.

– Attended political keynote from Prime Minister Trudeau. Most of the political leaders this time around were purely focused on the upcoming election. I always try to go to them all and listen to what they have to say and how it relates to Morinville. Mr. Trudeau did not take questions.

– Attended with Councillor Hall, a study tour of two distinctly different libraries, both operated by non-profits and funded by the municipality. While the session was to be about efficiency, it spoke little to it. Although enjoyable, I do not feel I got the greatest value from this session that I’d hoped to. However, seeing how a non-profit model could work, was a value in itself.

– Attended the political keynote from Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. Similar in tone to Trudeau’s presentation, although Mr. Scheer fielded questions from a moderator.

– Attended a workshop on managing snow and water levels for safer communities with Councillor Giffen. The city of Vaughan, Ontario explained how they use a computer algorithm of weather reports, municipal rules for removal, and past performance data to know exactly when to apply and reapply ice treatment. Although it takes some time and money to set up – they are seeing greater efficiency and cost reductions while making the municipality safer in winter. Although the session was pretty technical, I think there could be some merit into looking into this further.

Friday – May 31 – post conference

– Attended Mayor’s welcome reception in the evening to network with other Councillors. Each year, the host city’s Mayor holds a gathering where Councillors from across the country can get together after the first full day of the conference. The entertainment was quite unusual, and the food was an interesting variety of Quebec foods.

– Also took some free time later in the later evening to tour a bit of Old Town Quebec City and network some more. Councillor Giffen and I hit a few pubs in old town Quebec. Although expenses are covered at the conference, the purchase of alcohol is purely out of our pocket. We had some interesting conversations with elected officials and others about oil, politics, and other issues.

Saturday – June 1

– Attended the Resolutions Plenary – arguably one of the most important parts of the conference. It is here where Canada’s elected officials vote on what issues the FCM executive will lobby the federal government for.

– I missed the political keynote from the NDP leader to meet with reps from Sustane, a Waste-to-Energy company along with Gibbons Mayor Dan Deck, who sits on Roseridge board with me.

Our hour-long discussions provided us with a great deal of background on issues we are trying to resolve at the landfill as well as the entire region and province.

We will be inviting this company to our Landfill Commission meeting in July or August to explore the opportunity further. Of the entire trip, this is the one thing that could bring the greatest value to the community and region.

– Attended a morning session with Councillor Giffen on the plastics problem and building local solutions. This session was a packed house and not surprising, given the challenges we are all facing with plastics in North America. There was a fair amount to digest from three speakers and I feel there was a strong value from hearing the presentation.

– Attended a session on the overdose epidemic in Canada with Councillor Balanko. Of the four speakers, the Deputy Police Chief from Peterborough, Ontario [above] stood out far beyond the others. We were able to take away some data and some information to bring back to present to Council and staff.

– Attended Sturgeon County’s hospitality suite to network with County Councillors. At the County hospitality room, I and other councillors met a rep there from a company that has a unique approach to storm ponds that make them into parks with flowing water and a beach as well as other amenities. Everyone who saw it was intrigued by the concept and how that might look on the rec centre lands. The information will be shared with Administration to take a look into.

Saturday – June 1 – after conference

– Saturday evening, I attended Edmonton’s Urban BBQ event near our hotel with Council. It was great to wear a chef’s hat and talk to other elected officials from the region and around the country. We enjoyed some food and beers thanks to Edmonton’s hospitality. These gatherings are important because it is good to network with other elected officials, particularly in the Edmonton region in a less formal setting that we normally do. Having some personal understanding of one another is beneficial at the council, board or commission table.

– After the Edmonton event, I finally got to try some Quebec City Poutine. Council checked out one of the many places offering the classic food. Purchase of the poutine was out of my pocket – not the Town’s.

– Sunday – June 2

– Attended the AGM and Elections in the morning. This is an important element as we are selecting who will represent our municipality at the federal level in terms of advocating for our collective interests.

– Attended keynote from Green Leader. May is always well regarded. As I wrote on Facebook the day she spoke:

“Elizabeth May received a nearly full standing ovation today. Always last of the leaders to speak, she is always well received. Today’s was the best speech I have heard from her or any leader about the need for local elected officials to be leaders.”

– Attended the Alberta regional meeting to vote for our representatives on the FCM Board. This is another of the important functions of the conference. Only elected officials can vote for who will represent us and thereby our communities on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. That representation is important to advocating our interests and issues.

PS – if you think we eat high-end fare at these things – above is the box lunch. Decent but basic nourishment included in the registration fees.

– Joined councillors from Stony Plain, Morinville and Lloydminster for an informal chat over the extended lunch hour. Found great value in comparing notes on a variety of topics we are all going through and picked up suggestions and ideas for dealing with municipal issues from all who attended.

– Attended the closing ceremonies. The closing session this year included incoming president’s address and well as four presenters from The Walrus Magazine, presenting on smart cities, millennials, housing, and other issues intended to be provocative and make us think. I found the session a bit of preaching to the choir as many of the things they gave as homework are things we are already doing.

– Sunday – June 2 – after conference

– With the conference officially over, I attended the host city gala, which is always a great evening wrap up of regional food and entertainment as well as another chance to network and share ideas with others.

Have not danced that much in 25 years.

Monday – June 3

– prior to catching our flight Monday, three of us took a bus ride to Le Chute de Montmorency – a set of falls higher than Niagara. The bus ride was 45 minutes each way – we were given a free bus pass by the city. We only had about 15 minutes to view the falls, but it was worth seeing.

OVERARCHING THEME

– An overarching theme to the conference was to promote and have a conversation about Alberta oil and Canadian energy.

There were lots of opportunities to do that, and this was reiterated June 6 at our AUMA Caucus as we reflected with our president on what we all thought was a successful opportunity to speak one to one with Quebec and other elected officials.

On the closing day, almost every Albertan in attendance wore shirts promoting our resources handed out by AUMA.

admin-dafoogle

My March expenses

Each month, Council must submit their billables to the Town. We are paid a base honorarium for meetings and local functions and are also paid per diems and mileage for some of our out of town and other commitments.

In the period between February 16 and Mar. 15, I have claimed an additional $350 in per diems plus $19.50 in mileage.

That is made up of $300 for my 11 hours spent at Northern Lights Library System’s quarterly board meeting Mar. 2, and $50 for our ICF Committee meeting Mar. 11. I also billed mileage for my trip to Bon Accord for our Roseridge meeting Mar. 14. Roseridge pays board members an honorarium for the meetings. As chair, I receive $125 direct from Roseridge. NLLS pays board members mileage for travel to Elk Point for their quarterly meetings. In my case, that is roughly $214. In total, I received $708.50 above my base honorarium from the Town, NLLS and Roseridge.

I spent 55 hours in total on Council business this reporting period, not including time answering stuff on social media or in the public.

Below is a breakdown of those 55 hours. bolded items are items compensated beyond our base honorarium:

Feb. 26 Resident concern .5 hour
Feb. 26 NLLS rep library .5 hour
Feb. 26 Council meeting 5 hours
Feb. 27 Sod turning 1.5 hours
Feb. 28 Festival meeting 3 hours
Mar. 1 French Heritage event 1 hour
Mar. 1 French Heritage Event 2 hours
Mar. 2 NLLS board meeting 11 hours – $300
Mar. 4 Organizing Roseridge 1 hour
Mar. 5 Roseridge strat plan .5 hour
Mar. 5 Resident no show .5 hour
Mar. 5 Admin briefing 2 hours
Mar. 9 MFAGA Brag night 4 hours
Mar. 11 ICF with County 2 hours – $50
Mar. 12 EMRB/Council/COW 5.5 hours
Mar. 14 Roseridge 3 hours? Mileage $19.50
Mar. 15 Roseridge business .5 hours
March meeting prep, agendas, email 12 hours

admin-dafoogle

March 12 Council Meeting Preview

Council meets for our first regular meeting of the month on Mar. 12 at 4 p.m.

On the agenda for this meeting is the following:

1/ The Morinville RCMP will deliver their 3rd quarter report to Council, outlining the number and types of calls they have made over the previous 3 months.

I always find these informative, and it gives us the opportunity to connect with the Detachment.

2/ Council will receive our own 4th quarter report, which includes finances, economic development, programming, fire calls, peace officer calls, and photo enforcement stats.

This provides us with a snapshot of how we are doing in several areas and allows Council to ask questions on the same.

3/ We will also receive a report on what community grants Community Services gave out in the last intake.

This report is presented to us by Administration. Staff at Community Services approve or disapprove of the grants based on a number of criteria.

4/ Direct Control Districts

At the last committee of the whole, we had a conversation on dealing with Direct Control Districts, which are land use situations whereby Council is the Development Authority as opposed to staff. Tuesday we will discuss and give some direction on how we want to deal with those situations in the future.

5/ We are also being asked to deal with the Council Sponsorship Policy, which governs how Council provides funding to some events, usually charitable, in town.

I’ve never been a fan of the name. It isn’t Council’s money – it’s your money.

5/ Special Committee of the Whole

After Council we will have a special committee of the whole meeting to discuss the current Strategic Plan.

I will provide an update on the outcome and decisions made at the meeting after next week’s meeting.

You can download and review the agenda at https://www.morinville.ca/doc-library/council/council-regular-council-agenda-packages/2019-regular-council-agenda-packages/1529-2019-03-12-agenda-package/file

Disclaimer: Views Expressed On This Website Are Purely Those Of Councillor Stephen Dafoe.

admin-dafoogle

Recycling Changes In Morinville [video]

On Jan. 29, the Town of Morinville hosted a recycling info session outlining the changes to recycling in Morinville. Above is the video of that presentation.

FAQs from the event can also be found at https://www.morinville.ca/services/waste-management.

Below is a little segment I did to explain a couple of common plastics.

Disclaimer: Views Expressed On This Website Are Purely Those Of Councillor Stephen Dafoe.

admin-dafoogle

Welcome To The Revised Website

A long time ago a resident made a joke on a local social media page about how fast I get back to people’s question with answers.

Taking a play on my last name and the search engine Google, the resident called me DAFOOGLE.

I thought it was funny. Residents thought it was funny. I bought the domain and made a silly little website called Dafoogle.com where you could get the phone numbers of all the Town’s restaurants, links to email Town departments directly with your issues, and my occasional commentary on decisions Council has made on everything from cannabis legislation to recycling changes.

Taking a play off the Wizard of Oz, the movie Zardoz, and Marlon Brando’s portrayal of Jor-El in Superman the Movie, I created the image for Dafoogle that you see to the left.

I thought it was funny. Many of you thought it was funny. But a few of my colleagues didn’t like it, the site and apparently my willingness to be quick to respond to Morinville resident concerns with timely and factual information.

So I decided to take the old site down and build a new one where the “BRANDING” is perhaps more acceptable to those fellow elected officials who had an issue with it.

I’ll use this new site to do what I promised to do in the last two elections – communicate with you about what you need to know.

I was elected by you. I work for you. I am accountable to you.

-SD

Disclaimer: Views Expressed On This Website Are Purely Those Of Councillor Stephen Dafoe.

admin-dafoogle

Feb. 12 Council Meeting Preview

Council meets tonight. Once again, there is not a lot on the agenda.

1/ Sturgeon Victim Services Association is making a presentation to us.

2/ Bilingual Municipalities Association is looking for us to be a member. The recommendation is that we join but without sending a councillor to their meetings.

3/ We have an eight-page report on the condition of lanes in Morinville. In the 2019 budget we have allocated restoring the lane parallel to 100 St. from 100 Avenue to 99 Avenue.

4/ CAO Performance Evaluation Committee is to be established. Recommendation (not sure who’s) is to have three members of council do the evaluation, which must be done by June 15.

5/ And we will adjust the Deputy Mayor Rotation

Mayor Rotation Schedule as follows:
Councillor L. Giffin February 26, 2019 – October 29, 2019
Councillor N. Boutestein October 29, 2019 – June 23, 2020
Councillor S. Hall June 23, 2020 – February 23, 2021
Councillor S. Richardson February 23, 2021 – October 25, 2021

Disclaimer: Views Expressed On This Website Are Purely Those Of Councillor Stephen Dafoe.

admin-dafoogle

Cannabis in Morinville

On Oct. 9 Council decided 4-3 to go with the province’s rules on cannabis consumption.

Yes, I know, a few weeks before Council voted 4-3 to bring a bylaw forward.

The administration did bring a bylaw forward and it was a good one, in my opinion. It allowed residents to consume a legal product. However, it was not very different than what the province’s cannabis rules were.

So, I made a motion to accept the bylaw as info only and to review the idea of a bylaw if needed down the road. Councillor Hall asked to amend that motion to review the idea of a bylaw within a year. I like when we can collaborate on motions like that.

Our motion to not have a bylaw passed narrowly – 4-3.

So as of Oct. 17, when cannabis is legal, here is what you need to know.

WHERE CAN I CONSUME CANNABIS

We are using the provincial rules, which means:

1/ No cannabis consumption where you cannot smoke tobacco

Below is info from the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act

Smoking prohibited
3 Subject to section 5, no person shall smoke
(a) in a public place,
(b) in a workplace,
(b.1) in a vehicle in which a minor is present,
(c) in a public vehicle, or
(d) within a prescribed distance from a doorway, window or air intake of a public place or workplace.

– Source Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act
http://www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/Acts/T03P8.pdf

2/ Here are the other places you can’t smoke or vape cannabis.

Within 5-metres of …

– a playground
– a sports or playing field
– a skateboard or bicycle park
– a zoo
– an outdoor theatre
– an outdoor pool or splash pad

You can’t smoke in any motor vehicle except those being used as temporary residences, such as parked RVs

You also won’t be able to consume cannabis at any cannabis retail outlets, but those outlets will tell you that.

– Source https://www.alberta.ca/cannabis-framework.aspx#p6241s4

WHAT ABOUT GROWING CANNABIS

The federal government allows adults to grow up to 4 plants per household, so long as the seeds are bought from licensed cannabis retailers.

Renters, condo-dwellers and those who live in multi-family dwellings may not be allowed to grow cannabis in their homes based on rules in rental agreements or condominium bylaws.

– Source https://www.alberta.ca/cannabis-framework.aspx#p6241s4

WHERE CAN I BUY CANNABIS

Long before Council debated a consumption bylaw, we debated whether or not you could have a cannabis store here.

That passed some time back, which means anyone who wanted to open a cannabis shop in town could, so long as they met the provincial requirements.

On legalization day, there will be no shops in Morinville, but that is not due to the town.

As I learned at a recent Chamber luncheon, there are two potential shops for Morinville in the works.

Whether or not they will open, is not something Council would be involved in.

Disclaimer: Views Expressed On This Website Are Purely Those Of Councillor Stephen Dafoe.

admin-dafoogle