Thursday, March 2, 2017

MD council requests clarification about implications of Town housing initiatives

Chris Davis (updated) - During the Reports section of the MD of Pincher Creek council's February 28 meeting, Councillor Quentin Stevick introduced a motion asking that council direct administration to send a letter to Alberta Minister of Seniors and Housing Lori Sigurdson to request clarification about the MD's potential obligations regarding Town of Pincher Creek housing initiatives under the terms of the current Pincher Creek Foundation Agreement. The Town and the MD are both partners in the Pincher Creek Foundation (PCF), which provides low-income housing and other supports for seniors in Pincher Creek. Among other endeavours PCF manages Crestview Lodge, which is currently in the middle of a major renovation. The Town of Pincher Creek has been investing in planning for other forms of affordable housing in the town.

Stevick's motion reads "THAT a letter be written to the Honourable Lori Sigurdson, Minister of Seniors and Housing, requesting written clarification, on whether or not the Municipal District of Pincher Creek No. 9 would be obligated to participate with the Town of Pincher Creek, with their proposed low income housing project, under the terms of the current Pincher Creek Foundation Agreement."

"If we do not push forward on this we will be part of this whether we like it or not" said Stevick, who requested a recorded vote. His motion was approved unanimously by the councillors in attendance (Councillor Garry Marchuk was absent).

Stevick told MD council the Town Councillor Doug Thornton (also a member of the PCF board) made a motion at the last PCF meeting to sell their assets to the provincial government. Stevick said the Town and the MD each have $1.3 million dedicated to the Crestview Lodge building project.  He said he was concerned that anytime repairs or upgrades need to be done there might be a more difficult process to go through if the government were to own the Crestview Lodge facility, and local contractors might not necessarily be called upon to do the work, taking away from the local economy.  Reeve Hammond said there might be some advantages to the government taking over and the municipality keeping its money, but urged caution.  Councillor Fred Schoening said another possible advantage might be the procurement of food and other supplies at a better price, but he and the Reeve both agreed that wouldn't likely be an advantage if quality was compromised.  Hammond told Stevick that he would like more insight into the possible advantages and disadvantages, saying "Good information is important to make good decisions." He added that the ability to keep the current Crestview Lodge staff might also be an important issue to investigate and contemplate.

*council meeting date corrected for accuracy

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