YEAR IN REVIEW: Village of Berwyn


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We spent much of the first part of the year discussing issues with COVID and trying to keep up with rapidly changing provincial guidelines. We had discussions in January about opening our arena, but in the end it was not possible as directed. Our hard worker in public works braved the cold and built us an outdoor rink. We are very happy to see the arena open this winter.

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In February, we started to work on the strategic plan. The council held several special meetings to develop a plan for the community. It is available for review on our website.

In March, we approved grants to community groups that have struggled financially due to COVID-related closures. Grants have been given to groups that operate the Elks Hall: the Arena Society and the Arts and Crafts Club. We had a big water cut near the school, which cost us $ 15,000 to fix.

We sent a letter to the province supporting the retention of the RCMP. This issue is still ongoing as the province wants to explore other options. The councilors will participate in certain seminars organized by the province on this subject.

We updated our 10-year capital plan for the Minister of Municipal Affairs in a way that met their information requirements. We have sent a letter to the province to oppose the recall law. This recall law has since been passed. Alberta Environment completed our annual water inspection on March 29 and there were no major issues.

In April, council passed a motion for public works personnel to identify trip hazards with spray paint. It was over.

In May, the Board completed an inclusiveness questionnaire. This evaluation focused on the degree of reception and inclusion of the municipality and the community for all.

Alberta Municipal Affairs has performed a detailed inspection of all our administrative measures to ensure compliance with the Municipal Government Act and other laws. This 78-page report has been reviewed by the board. Staff are still preparing materials to meet Municipal Affairs requirements.

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At a meeting on May 27, the board approved the annual operating and capital budgets. Municipal tax rates in 2021 remained unchanged from those in 2020.

Municipal Affairs requires an annual report on the progress of our sustainability review. The staff report on this was approved at the May 27 meeting.

CAO briefed council on how steps were taken to resolve the issues at the recycling depot. The restrictions on what materials can be placed in which bin have been revised to create more flexibility. This was to prevent the cardboard bins from being too full for use.

Our public works supervisor found a local contractor to remove abandoned mobile homes on some tax recovery properties the village owned. We had the pleasure of demolishing three mobile homes and two of these vacant lots are now sold.

New Generation Services completed our water and sewer rehabilitation project at the end of June. This project was on time and on budget.

At the end of June, we voted to open our campground on a donation basis. The use was very light.

In early August, we sent out the survey on speed in utility bills, as well as an internet survey on Surveymonkey. We have had a lot of feedback and comments from residents. We are still having discussions with the RCMP about high speed traffic.

On August 19, we resumed having face-to-face board meetings. Previously, we had them electronically on the Zoom platform. Meetings continue to take place in person downstairs at the village office.

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We voted to hire a web designer to revamp our web page at www.berwyn.ca. The rebuild is almost complete and we will be advertising when the new site is ready.

A playground safety inspection was carried out in Glenmeyer Park in August. Council and staff reviewed the results and responded to the recommendations.

In September, our sidewalk work was completed. Rick Dostaler’s team did a great job; the project arrived on time and on budget.

At the September meeting, we met our fire chief. As the Brownvale Fire Department is not currently operating, the Grimshaw and Berwyn Fire Departments are working together to provide services to residents of MD.

In October, the council made a presentation to staff regarding the sewage lagoon remediation work. Mayor Hockley has been granted permission to attend the annual conference of urban municipalities in Alberta.

We had a meeting in November. On November 28, the council met with WSP Engineering to discuss our road project. The project was completed on time, but the budget was exceeded. There were some measurement errors in the original design of the project.

The employee who held the post of water operator tendered his resignation. We are currently using a private contractor to operate the water supply system until we can determine our next steps. It’s a struggle to find affordable solutions that still meet Alberta Environment’s requirements.

The Board voted to hire Matthew Norburn as the new CEO. He will start working on December 14. Our current Managing Director, Greg Gayton, will be with us until December 31st.

Mayor Cindy Hockley / Berwyn

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