Where did 2016 go?!!
Council continues to be busy—there certainly is no shortage of work as we strive to make this community the best place to live. Council has entered its final year of a four-year term. In October of this year, please consider stepping up to volunteer as a townsite councillor. Ideally, there will be a number of candidates so that an election will be necessary. Elections always seem to spice things up! Recall that council has divided responsibilities amongst themselves with the creation of several committees: infrastructure, personnel, finance, emergency management, lease, communications and intergovernmental relations. Thus far, the assignments to two or three committees has helped us navigate through discussions, issues, and solutions. Not any one of us could manage without the others. We truly have a dedicated group of individuals—all of whom volunteer their time after their regular work day, and sometimes in lieu of a work day.
Many, many thanks to this passionate group. I’d like to thank Dara-Lee Snow and Dave Acton, who served on council for the past three years. They gave so much of their time and energy and everything they did was very much appreciated. Thanks, Dara and Dave! The communications committee has done a fantastic job keeping residents informed of council’s monthly activities, via regular updates in the Chatter, the Updater (Does Townsite have your email address? If not, email Peggy at email@example.com), and the website (redwoodmeadows.ab.ca).
Additionally, we’ve hosted six lease cafés this year for residents to obtain updated information on lease activities and to engage in dialogue. Over the past year, there has been progress in our discussions with the Tsuut’ina Nation, in the sense that we continue to meet formally and discuss the need for a lease renewal. Tied into these discussions are the Nation’s proposed Property Taxation Law (FNFMA) and the proposed adoption of the Land Code (FNLMA). Last year at this time, we were anticipating that taxation would be, once again, managed by Tsuut’ina. Although there is no definitive date on its implementation, Tsuut’ina continues to work on adopting it and have agreed to keep us updated on its progress. The Land Code is much more comprehensive and the Nation continues to work on adopting it as well. As mentioned at the AGM and the lease cafés, the Land Code, once adopted, will eliminate federal involvement in future lease agreements. However, because we don’t know when the Land Code will be in effect, discussions will have to involve the federal department for now. Discussions with Tsuut’ina have included the creation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The intent of the MOU evolved over the course of the year until, finally, at our last meeting in November, both Tsuut’ina and Redwood Meadows representatives agreed to refer to it as a Framework Agreement. We will continue to discuss the Framework at our next meeting in mid-January. Simply put, the Framework identifies the process of how we will proceed with a lease agreement. The world of politics is amidst change. In 2015, we encountered big changes in the provincial and federal arenas. Recently, we witnessed the split of opinion in our southern neighbors. In November, the Tsuut’ina membership voted for a new Chief, Lee Crowchild. Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both highly respected Chiefs, Chief Crowchild pledges to “promote our culture, our spirituality, and to preserve our precious environment”. Many ask me, “How will this change in leadership affect Redwood?” My response is, “The work continues.” Chief Crowchild is very aware of our need for an urgent resolution to a new lease. He advocates for a stronger relationship between our two communities. This is certainly favourable! On so many levels, council has been busy.
This “Year in Review” doesn’t do justice. I strongly encourage you to have a look at past Chatter issues and read the council updates as many of council’s main activities have been addressed in those articles. We try our best and thankfully, we have a townsite manager, Julia Kennedy-Francis, who helps keep us on task. We also have new faces on council, Scott Ackerman and Jack Russell. These two new recruits come with new energy, fresh ideas, and backgrounds that will be an asset to council’s mission. Speaking of council’s mission, we will be starting our new year with a strategic planning session that will guide us into our final year, with the intent of creating a much larger and longterm plan for our hidden gem, Redwood Meadows.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and safe 2017! Dr. Liz Erasmus, Mayor