Friday, March 27, 2015

Councillor Lorne Jackson's March 23 report to Town Council

During the regular meetings of Pincher Creek's Town Council the Mayor and councillors each give a report of the meetings they have attended and relate other points of interest to the rest of council.  The following is the first person report from councillor Lorne Jackson at the council meeting of Monday March 23.  

Councillor Lorne Jackson

I attended the last regular council meeting of March 9th.  

On Wednesday, March 11th, I accepted the invitation of the Napi Friendship Association to attend a half day power point and discussion session which focused on the continued difficulties faced by first nations people both on, and off reserves. Housing continues to be a major issue for our indigenous population with regard to availability, and the resultant overcrowding which can then lead to a long list of social ills.

Lack of employment opportunities for youth was also cited as a major barrier to progress for first nations, and although corporate hiring policies for large chain businesses has alleviated this to some degree, the perception for young aboriginals is still rather bleak as to the chances of winning gainful jobs. That perception, either 100% real, or imagined by all of society, in turn leads to another laundry list of negative impacts. In my mind, the conversation afterward was a good starting point toward breaking down the stereotypical mindsets of the past, which is what needs to happen in order to move toward a better future for everyone. It's my hope that Napi can continue to offer this type of programming to help facilitate us in getting closer to that goal.

Later on the 11th, I attended our Pincher Creek Foundation Board meeting, where we heard yet another glowing independent auditors report. The management and staff of the foundation work  hard to stay within budget throughout the year, and should be very proud of the result which saw a surplus of $54,000 applied to capital reserves.

On Thursday the 12th, I met for coffee with a citizen who has retired back to our community. She had questions regarding Foundation housing options that I was more than happy to assist her with. I'm pleased that our constituents have the confidence to consult members of council with inquires such as this.  

On Tues March 17th, I wore green to the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan Biodiversity Management workshop. In a nutshell, starting from this point, the objective of these sessions is (1) to develop a framework of indicators, and threshold values to help ensure that long term ecosystem heath and resiliency is maintained (2) that species at risk are recovered with no new at risk designated (3) grassland habitat is maintained, and (4) that there is sustainable use of Alberta's  biodiversity resources from all users. The indicators will  be developed on a tiered basis with "triggers" identified as early warning signals that in turn will initiate a proactive management response. This is a huge undertaking, and while there are individuals who say a system should have been in place previously, even the most ardent environmentalists in the room were applauding the efforts going forward.

March 19th I was at the Mall  for the Town budget presentation where I spoke to a good cross section of citizens on a number of not only budget specific issues, but others as well. One new resident was quite interested in why we had taken the presentation to the Co-op, thinking that it was because we were in an election year. When I explained that it was simply an effort to better inform our ratepayers of town business in a more informal, and approachable manner, he was blown away. The only concern that he had was the number of speeders on Bev McLachlin Drive, And on Hewetson Avenue, to which I assured him we were just as concerned.

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