Mayor’s Message
June 10th, 2020

Well, 2020 has not been kind to us! First, our provincial government made changes to police funding and municipal granting, which have major impacts on our budget, then COVID–19, and if that wasn’t enough high lake levels and flooding were added in, just to make life interesting. Council and village staff have worked hard on this year’s budget, trying to keep taxes as low as possible. We are proud that many property owners will see little or no increase. Although property taxes are due August 9th Council has waived any late payment penalties for the balance of the year.  To help make payments as easy as possible, we are now accepting e-transfers,  please call the Village Administration Office for details. As a reminder the Village Administration Office remains closed to the public. Property Tax payment options are noted under the Tax & Assessment Information of the newsletter.

Did you know that every year, the village collects education property taxes on behalf of the provincial government? We are happy that the province put a freeze in place for the planned increase to the education property tax this year. This year $486,761.50 of the property taxes collected are sent directly to the province. Starting this year, the Province is requiring small municipalities and counties to contribute to the cost of provincial policing. Over the next 5 years Alberta Beach’s total transfer to the province for policing will be $226,075.00. Starting this year, the cost is included in your property taxes.

Although COVID-19 has changed the world we live in, we are grateful that Alberta Beach hasn’t had any cases. We continue to follow all federal and provincial directives and we ask for your support, as well. We will continue to keep you informed. Updates & links to the Government of Alberta & Alberta Health Services websites are posted on our website, albertabeach.com. Unfortunately, most of our summer events have been cancelled, including Poly Days, Alberta Beach Show and Shine, and our 100th Anniversary celebrations.  They will be back next year bigger and better, only the Village will be 101 years old! We are happy to say that the Farmers Market is resuming, while following all public health restrictions. Thank you to the Alberta Beach Agricultural Society for the work you have done to get this going. Currently Garage and Yard sales are not allowed; we will continue to monitor this and will make changes if we are able.

I am sure you are all aware that the lake levels are high and some parts of the Village are experiencing flooding. With the recent rain and wind our lakefront has taken a beating and many yards and homes have been damaged. On May 27th Alberta Beach declared a State of Local Emergency which drew attention to the issue and gave the Village access to provincial assistance. We were able to procure, fill, and supply 4,500 sandbags to our residents within two days, and we have another 4,000 available. If you are in need of sandbags, please contact the village office. We have confirmation that Alberta Beach property owners who require approval for waterfront property protection from Alberta Environment and Parks will have their applications expedited. In addition, the Tri-Village Sewer System has experienced extremely high flows during recent rain events. We are concerned about the ability for the system to keep up with additional flows which cause increased maintenance expenses and the possibility for back-ups into homes. Although there is some seepage into the system, a big part of the problem is sump pumps, downspouts, eavestroughs, and yard drains being tied into the system, which is not permitted. If you think you have a non-permitted / non-compliant connection, you can call a plumber or the Tri-Village Regional Sewer  Maintenance Manager at 780-974-7341 to check. If caught, non-compliant connections are subject to fines up to $2,500.00.

I would like to give a big shout out and thank you to all the residents who have volunteered, Village staff, our firefighters, staff from Municipal Affairs and Alberta Environment, and MLA Getson. Also, a thank you to Lac Ste. Anne County and the Town of Onoway for their offer of assistance.

We have been working hard with MLA Shane Getson and the County of Lac Ste. Anne to find a solution to the high lake levels. Many ideas have been put forward to help solve this complicated issue. As you can imagine, before any work can be done approvals and permits are required from both the federal and provincial governments, which are hard to obtain. We are working with MLA Getson to secure these as quickly as possible. Alberta Beach is only one of many municipalities that border Lac Ste. Anne and the Sturgeon River and we have no authority over the weir, the lake, or the river. We are and will continue to lobby all levels of government, as well as work with Alberta Environment and Parks and Fisheries and Oceans Canada to help solve this problem as quickly as possible. MLA Shane Getson is still looking for committee members to help with lake levels and the Sturgeon River, if you would like more information or to help, contact him at lacsteanne.parkland@assembly.ab.ca or call 780-967-0760.

Weather permitting, the village has some capital projects planned for this construction season. Our biggest project is the continuation of our road paving plans. In addition, we will be doing some major upgrades to the Administration Office, including replacement of the roof. The road paving will be paid for using provincial grants. As the roof on the Administration building has been in horrendous condition for some time now, the village has been diligently putting away reserve funds for its replacement.

As always if you have any questions, comments or concerns for myself or any member of Council please contact the Village Office via email or call 780-924-3181 to set up a meeting.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy!

Sincerely,
Jim Benedict, Mayor