Municipality of Jasper Council Highlights summarize decisions and issues from regular Council meetings. For a more detailed account of Council meetings check the Agendas & Minutes.
May 26, 2020
View the full recording of the May 26 meeting on the Municipality of Jasper’s YouTube channel.
Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) update
The province is encouraging Albertans to wear non-medical masks when out in public places where keeping a distance of two metres is difficult. The municipal ECC and Council are supporting this recommendation and will continue the local promotion of mask-wearing.
Several Jasper-based doctors are also encouraging the use of masks; a letter from the doctors was included in the agenda package.
The Municipality also has a safe work practice directing all staff to wear a mask when they cannot maintain a safe distance from one another.
For more information on non-medical masks, visit the Government of Alberta’s website:
The ECC has reviewed provincial directives and is working with municipal management to determine the best course of action to ensure the safety of children and families who utilize municipal play structures. At this time municipal playgrounds remain closed.
The Municipality is also discussing how to safely reopen the tennis courts and the skate park.
As Alberta’s relaunch strategy continues to unfold, the province is changing its messaging from stay home to stay safe. In alignment with the province’s messaging, the ECC will be adding new signage at the town’s entrances and throughout the business sector, encouraging people to practice physical distancing and adhere to all other public health directives.
Public spacing proposal update
Council directed Administration to return to the June 2 meeting with proposed changes to the Commercial Use of Public Spaces Bylaw (PDF), which could allow all businesses to expand from beyond their storefront if they choose.
Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce (JPCC) General Manager, Pattie Pavlov, said the JPCC has contacted almost every business along Patricia Street and Connaught Drive. Fifty-one businesses are in favour of expansions while 26 are opposed. A full report from the JPCC is expected to be included in an upcoming agenda package.
Council received several letters regarding public spacing in public places, which were included in the agenda package.
Council passes 2020 Tax Rate Bylaw
Council passed the 2020 Tax Rates Bylaw which sets property tax rates for property owners. Property taxes are determined by multiplying individual property assessment values by the tax rates.
Property tax notices for 2020 will be issued in June and due in July, however in response to COVID-19, payment can be deferred until September 1, 2020.
Virtual meeting protocols and appearing on the agenda
One of the best ways to be included in the public agenda package is through written correspondence.
Letters and notes can be sent directly to councillors, to the Legislative Services Coordinator at email@example.com or through the online Feedback Portal. Please address letters to “Mayor and Council” and include your mailing address – we’ll make sure not to share your personal information. Submit your letter by the Thursday before the meeting – public agendas are published on the Friday before Tuesday’s meeting, allowing Council and residents a few days to review the agenda.
If you would like to verbally address Council at the meeting, please pre-register by 4:30 pm on the Monday before the meeting you’d like to speak at by emailing the Legislative Services Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 780-852-6503.
To help with meeting facilitation, the Zoom chat function during Council meetings has been disabled. The virtual raising of a hand during a meeting does not guarantee you will be acknowledged by the chair.
Wildflowers Childcare Daycare and Out of School Care (OOSC) set to reopen by June 8
Council approved an early June reopening of the Wildflowers Childcare Daycare and OOSC programs as per the Government of Alberta Relaunch Strategy and the updated Alberta Health Guidelines.
The daycare and OOSC is expected to reopen by June 8.
Administration anticipates Wildflowers Childcare programs (daycare and out of school care) will need an estimated total of $102,733.65 to safely reopen and operate under new provincial regulations for the rest of 2020.
Some reopening costs are expected to be covered by the current Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) grant, which is done at the end of June. To date, the province has not confirmed whether unused ELCC funds can be used after June 30, 2020. Council directed Administration to investigate all funding opportunities for the daycare and out of school care. Any costs not covered by external funding will be paid from municipal reserves.
Council received approximately 40 letters from community members and organizations in support of reopening the daycare and out of school care. The Wildflowers Parent Board also offered a $10,000 contribution towards the reopening of the daycare. While greatly appreciated, Council did not accept the contribution.
View the provincial guidelines for daycares and out of school care: https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-relaunch-guidance-daycare-out-of-school-care.pdf
May 19, 2020
View the recording of the whole meeting on Youtube: May 19, 2020 Regular Council Meeting
Getting in touch with Council
Council may be contacted by email, phone call or the online Feedback Portal.
Letters and notes can also be sent to the Legislative Services Coordinator at email@example.com.
If you’d like to share a letter or note with all of Council and have it included in the public agenda package, please address it to “Mayor and Council” and include your mailing address (we’ll make sure not to share your personal address or email address in the agenda package). To be included in the agenda package, submit your letter by the Thursday before the meeting – public agendas are published on the Friday before Tuesday’s meeting, allowing Council and residents a few days to review the agenda.
Council contact information can be found here: www.jasper-alberta.com/council Scroll down to the Members section
Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) update
The Director of Emergency Management, Greg Van Tighem, said the ECC is switching from response mode to recovery mode, and is now meeting twice a week for brief meetings rather than four times a week.
Emergency Social Services (ESS), a branch under the municipal ECC, has been deactivated – a typical first step as ECCs move into recovery mode. All ESS services, like the community information and referral line, are now being managed by staff in the Community and Family Services Department as a part of everyday duties.
The Bylaw Department is working with the business community and Alberta Health Services (AHS) in an effort to reinstate the sidewalk seating opportunities for some businesses.
The ECC is reviewing provincial directives and working with the Operations Department regarding the possibility of reopening local playgrounds. There is no reopen date yet.
The ECC is still encouraging visitors to save their travels to Jasper until at least June 1.
Culture & Recreation Department looking at reopening tennis courts and skate park
The Director of Culture and Recreation, Yvonne McNabb, said the department is looking at the possibility of reopening the tennis courts at the Jasper Activity Centre and the skate park, which have been closed due to the pandemic. Staff will be working to ensure provincial protocols and health directives are met.
Jasper Arena update
The Jasper Arena slab and board capital project has secured most of its required permits from Parks Canada and will be moving forward. The project is expected to be completed by fall 2020.
All recreation centres and arenas are expected to remain closed until Stage 3 of Alberta’s relaunch strategy.
Water slide update
The water slide has been installed and tested. During preliminary testing some deficiencies were detected, but are currently being fixed.
Like recreation centres and arenas, pools and gyms are expected to remain closed until Stage 3 of Alberta’s relaunch strategy.
Tax Rate Bylaw scheduled for May 26 approval
Council gave first and second reading to the 2020 Tax Rates Bylaw, which sets property tax rates for property owners. Property taxes are determined by multiplying individual property assessment values by the tax rates.
The bylaw now must receive certification from Parks Canada before Council can give it a third and final reading.
Property tax notices for 2020 will be issued in June and due in July, however in response to COVID-19, payment can be deferred until September 1, 2020.
Council discussing options for public spacing in public places
Council is looking at feasible options to expand visitor and resident safety by enhancing opportunities for social distancing.
At its May 12 meeting, Council heard a proposal for temporary sidewalk expansions within the downtown core.
Council directed staff to return to the May 26 meeting with a report focusing on how the proposed expansions might impact emergency responses in the downtown core, general traffic flow, and what it would look like to reconfigure traffic.
The Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce (JPCC) is also contacting businesses that could be affected by any proposed changes. The results of the JPCC survey will be discussed at a future Council meeting.
Council acknowledged that should this project be approved, it must be implemented in a timely manner to support businesses.
Council received a few letters opposing temporary sidewalk expansions, which were included in the agenda package.
Council asking the public to weigh in on reopening of municipal daycare
Administration recommended reopening the daycare, early learning and out-of-school care programs on June 1. Stage 1 of the provincial relaunch strategy, which started May 14, allows daycares and out-of-school programs to resume operations with occupancy limits and increased cleaning requirements.
To realize the proposed June 1 timeline, Council would have needed to make a decision at the May 19 meeting. While Council appreciated the timing of the request, it asked that staff return with the request at the May 26 meeting.
Administration explained in order to reopen, Wildflowers Childcare programs will need additional financial support. With the current limit in occupancy, daily required screening, additional cleaning procedures and restrictions on staff and children per cohort, the programs cannot open with a reasonable cost recovery.
Administration anticipates Wildflowers Childcare programs (daycare and out-of-school care) will need an estimated $103,000 to reopen safely and operate under the new provincial regulations – $88,258.65 in addition to the $14,475 removed from the operating budget on May 5.
To help make a decision, councillors want to hear from residents on the role a municipal daycare plays (or doesn’t) in the community’s economic recovery.
Council can be contacted using the methods noted above.
For more information on this topic, see the full report in the May 19 agenda package.
Appointments to Regional Assessment Review Board
Council appointed three people to the West Yellowhead Regional Assessment Review Board. Council must appoint board members, a designated chair and a designated clerk to meet the requirements of the Regional Assessment Review Board Bylaw.
The mission of Assessment Review Boards in Alberta is to provide timely, independent, quasi-judicial complaint adjudication to all parties in assessment matters in a manner that yields fairness and equity consistent within the authority of the Municipal Government Act. They are responsible for making decisions regarding property assessment complaints.
Council approves 2020 busking season
Habitat for the Arts received the official go-ahead for its annual summer busking program.
For more information about the program, contact Habitat for the Arts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 12, 2020
Emergency Coordination Centre update: Visitors, please stay home
The Director of Emergency Management, Greg Van Tighem, acknowledged the Government of Alberta’s multi-step relaunch strategy, which will depend on the province’s continued ability to control the spread of the coronavirus and curb the number of patients who need hospital care. The first stage of the relaunch strategy could see some businesses opening by May 14.
With the Victoria Day long weekend just around the corner, the ECC’s message to visitors is to stay home and save your visits to Jasper for another time. Although some businesses may reopen on May 14, non-essential travel is still not recommended for Albertans, but it is not prohibited. This means that there is no law or public health order stopping visitors from coming, despite the municipality’s best communication efforts.
In hopes of clarifying the province’s recommendation against non-essential travel, and what that looks like for tourism communities, Mayor Ireland and the mayor of Banff have talked with the Minister of Health and the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism. Updates will be provided as they become available.
Jasper National Park services and programs remain suspended and all camping facilities remain closed until at least May 31.
As local businesses start thinking about reopening, the ECC is working with Alberta Health Services (AHS) in an effort to reinstate the sidewalk seating program, which had been suspended in response to the pandemic. The ECC is committed to assisting businesses through this process to ensure safety and compliance.
Seven municipal staff members, step away from their regular municipal duties, to attend brief ECC meetings every other day to ensure the ECC’s objectives are being met.
Public spacing in public spaces presentation
Brett Ireland, CEO of Bearhill Brewing, presented a proposal for the temporary expansion of sidewalks, within the downtown core, on Patricia Street and Connaught Drive. Mr. Ireland’s proposal indicates the expansion would include street side parking stalls along Patricia Street and the use of the south bound lanes and street side parking along Connaught Drive; traffic would still be able to flow through the downtown core.
The expansion was proposed as a solution to address public health and assist local businesses as they begin to think of re-opening during a pandemic.
Council directed administration to look into the feasibility of this proposal. The proposal will also be discussed with the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force.
Resident responds to budget and service reductions
Resident and business owner, Ashley Kliewer, expressed dissatisfaction with Council’s May 5 decision, which directed administration to commence the implementation of municipal workforce and service reductions.
Councillors reiterated these are challenging times and municipal cost reductions will be necessary to meet the economic reality of the community. However, Council assured when it is safe and responsible to do so, it will work with administration to reopen municipal facilities.
Council will reopen facilities when it’s safe and responsible to do so
For clarity, Council passed a motion, which directs administration to return to Council with a plan on how to reopen facilities, in a timely fashion, when it is safe to do so.
As a part of the public agenda package, Councillor Wilson proposed a recommendation to rescind Council’s decision to achieve a budget reduction of $982,000. Council did not vote in favour of this recommendation.
Administration is still working to determine what service and workforce reductions will look like.
Along with Ms. Kliewer’s letter, Council received numerous letters from residents regarding its May 5 decision to help save costs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Council clarified its intent was not to close municipal facilities until the end of the year, but to plan for the possibility of facility closures until the end of the year.
For more information on the May 5 Council decision on budget and services reductions, see the highlights below.
Mayor Ireland appointed to COVID-19 Economic Task Force
Mayor Ireland will sit as Council’s representative on the newly established COVID-19 Economic Task Force; Councillor Damota was appointed as Mayor Ireland’s alternate.
Members of the Task Force will engage with stakeholders as deemed necessary to advance its purpose and mandate “to help position the community to safely and effectively resume welcoming visitors, in accordance with public health directives from provincial and federal authorities”.
May 5, 2020
Council directs further service and workforce reductions
In order to meet the approved 2020 operating budget, Council has directed Administration to implement the following workforce and service reductions:
- Reduce Protective Services workforce
- Plan for the possibility of the Jasper Fitness & Aquatic Centre to be closed until the end of 2020
- Plan for the possibility of the Jasper Arena to be closed until the end of 2020
- Plan for the closure of the Connaught Street public washroom until the end of 2020
- Plan for the possibility of the Jasper Activity Centre to be closed until the end 2020
- Suspension of getaway camps and tournaments for 2020
- Plan for Wildflowers Childcare to be closed until it can be opened safely and operate on a basis of reasonable cost recovery
- Continue implementation of previously identified reductions
- Reduce transfers to reserves by 25%
Council noted that as economic recovery progresses, any of these directives may be adjusted dependent on funds available.
Administration will now work to determine how these reductions will be implemented.
In April, Council approved the 2020 operating budget with a net tax envelope of $7,000,000, a 12.3% decrease in property taxes collected in relation to the 2019 tax levy. Council voted to decrease the 2019 tax levy by $982,000 from what was proposed as a 0%, or $7,982,000 tax levy.
In response to Council’s decision, Administration removed funding in every department to meet basic service provision only, reducing the budget shortfall by about $332,000. On April 21, Council established the Budget Review Committee, composed of all Council members, to determine the remaining service cuts required to decrease the municipal budget by $982,000.
Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) update
Following the announcement of the province’s COVID-19 relaunch strategy, the Director of Emergency Management, Greg Van Tighem, reiterated the ECC is continuing to work with community partners to monitor traffic in town, trailheads and other points of interest along Highway 16 and Highway 93. Clear signage is in place at the town’s entrances, indicating only essential services are available in Jasper.
As the province continues with its multi-stage relaunch plan, the ECC and its community partners will continue working together and provide updates as they become available.
Emergency Social Services (ESS), a branch under the municipal ECC, continues to focus on the social impact of the pandemic on the community through numerous programs.
Van Tighem also noted May 3-9 is Emergency Preparedness Week. The Municipality is encouraging residents to be prepared, have an emergency plan and an emergency kit.
2019 financial records in ‘good standing’
Jeff Alliston of Metrix Group gave a summary of the 2019 audit findings. The audit findings found no significant control deficiencies, no unusual accounting policies or estimates, no uncorrected misstatements and no significant difficulties.
Alliston said the Municipality of Jasper’s finance records are in “good standing”.
Council approves new project budget for curling slab, arena slab and arena boards; awards contract
Council approved a new total capital budget of $2,705,255 for the replacement of the Jasper Activity Centre’s curling slab, arena slab and arena boards.
Council also approved the award of the contract to Prologic Construction Ltd., an Edmonton-based company, with a total contract price of $2,083,859.
This increased budget will not have an impact on the 2020 budget.
Work on this project is set to begin as soon as possible.
Council originally approved, at the January 7, 2020 Council meeting, a $1,470,000 project budget to replace the slab and boards at the Jasper Arena. A project budget of $600,000, which will be offset by a $300,000 Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grant obtained by the Curling Club, was originally approved at the January 21, 2020 Council meeting.
These projects were packaged as one, and went to public tender from April 3 until April 20. The Municipality received five bids for the project, ranging from $2,083,859 to $2,433,943; all higher than the amount Council had originally approved for the project.
Prologic Construction Ltd. was the lowest bidder with experience in arena projects and met all the stipulations in the tender. The bid along with project management fees from WSP, and a $313,000 contingency brought the budget over by $575,000 of the original $2,130,000 budget projection.
Administration reiterated project budget projections are only estimates; a more accurate reflection of projects costs comes through the bidding process.
The curling rink slab, arena slab and boards, and ammonia plant are all at the end of their service life and overdue for replacement. The project is funded by debenture, with payments beginning in 2022 for 15 years. The sequencing of the project will be:
- Demolition of the curling club slab, arena slab and boards, to begin soon while facility is closed
- New slabs and boards to be under construction through summer, completion in fall 2020
- New ammonia plant will be under construction through 2020 (located outside arena at the corner of Pyramid and Bonhomme) with completion spring 2021, for testing and preparation for service to begin summer 2021.
COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force update
Council approved a statement of purpose for the newly created COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force.
The task force will provide recommendations regarding strategies and actions which may be considered for adoption or implementation by Council, task force members or others, to help position the community to safely and effectively resume welcoming visitors, in accordance with public health directives from provincial and federal authorities.
The task force will consist of representatives from numerous community partners.
April 28, 2020
Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) update
The Director of Emergency Management, Greg Van Tighem, reiterated the ECC is virtually operating under a partial activation; municipal staff currently involved in the ECC are doing so on a part-time basis, and continue to perform their regular duties.
The Municipality’s community partners at Parks Canada, Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the Province of Alberta have also activated their respective ECCs and emergency plans.
Emergency Social Services (ESS), a branch under the municipal ECC, continues to focus on the social impact of the pandemic on the community through numerous programs such as:
- The Jasper Mutual Aid COVID-19 Facebook page
- The community information and referral phone line - 780-852-6530
- The friendly phone call initiative - 780-852-6530
- Advanced financial planning assistance - 780-852-2100
Daily updates on municipal programs, resources and services can also be found on the Municipality of Jasper Facebook page.
The ECC will continue updating its objectives as warranted. A new objective is to provide weekly ECC updates to the public. Last week’s update can be found here:
A new update will be posted on Friday, May 1.
Working with community partners
The ECC and other community partners, such as Parks Canada, RCMP and Tourism Jasper, are working together to remind visitors now is not the time to visit Jasper. The ECC and local law enforcement will continue monitoring visitor traffic in the area and communicate with the public as required. Parks Canada is also monitoring popular trail heads and points of interest. A traffic reader board has been placed at the town’s east entrance to discourage visitors from entering the town site. More boards are expected to be placed later this week.
The Director of Emergency Management recently met with Trans Mountain representatives to review the organization’s COVID-19 protocols. There are approximately 65 workers staying in Jasper, conducting work on the Trans Mountain pipeline project. The organization is meeting or exceeding all health protocols.
The ECC continues to be in frequent contact with the local Alberta Health Director and the AHS North Zone Operations Centre.
Tourism Jasper presents visitor economy update
Tourism Jasper provided a visitor economy update, highlighting the drop in tourism and what to expect moving forward.
Tourism Jasper General Manager, James Jackson, also said Tourism Jasper ceased all promotional activity several weeks ago. The organization is encouraging visitors to stay home.
Terms of Reference in the works for Economic Recovery Task Force
Council and Administration are still drafting terms of reference for the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force.
The collaborative task force will study and report on strategies and actions to be adopted by Council to help position the community, and its public, private, social and residential sectors to spur economic and social recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Budget Review Committee to present at May 5 Council meeting
The newly established Budget Review Committee has met several times to discuss service cuts required to decrease the municipal budget by $982,000.
The committee is expected to present its recommendations at the May 5 Council meeting.
Extended deadline for property assessment appeals
Council received notice from the Government of Alberta regarding several provincial deadline extensions. Of note for the residents of Jasper is the property assessment appeal deadline, which has been extended until July 1.
For more information on how to appeal your property assessment, see Property Assessments
April 21, 2020
Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) update
The Director of Emergency Management, Greg Van Tighem, reiterated the ECC and municipal management staff remain focused on safe municipal operations, essential services, public works, public safety and any tactical response required to assist Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the community.
The ECC continues to be in frequent contact with the local Alberta Health Director and the AHS North Zone Operations Centre; and continues updating ECC objectives as warranted.
Council also received updates from local AHS and RCMP representatives.
Seton Healthcare Centre Site Manager, Lorna Chisholm, noted staff is prepared and will continue to prepare for the possibility of a COVID-19 peak in Jasper. As of April 21, there have been eight confirmed cases of the virus in Jasper. One case is active and one person has died.
For people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, daily curbside swab testing is still being conducted at Seton Healthcare Centre. Emergency Services also remains open, at all hours, for anyone requiring immediate medical assistance.
Chisholm also said no COVID-19 cases have been reported at any of Jasper’s seniors’ facilities.
Jasper RCMP Sergeant Rick Bidaisee noted local officers have increased patrolling to ensure people are practicing physical distancing outdoors. Bidaisee said for the most part people are doing their part to help prevent the spread in Jasper.
Culture and Recreation capital projects update
Waterslide and stair replacement: Administration reiterated manufacturing and delivery delays for waterslide parts have delayed this project. A revised completion date is not yet known.
Arena ice slab, dasher boards and curling ice slab replacement: The tender period, which was advertised on the Alberta Purchasing Connection, closed on April 20, 2020, but has not yet been awarded. Council will further discuss how to proceed with this project at a future meeting.
Ice plant replacement and relocation: A protracted planning and design phase has placed the project behind schedule; the hired contractor has also indicated this project won’t be finished by its original completion date of October 2020. Council will also further discuss how to proceed with this project at a future meeting.
Council waives rent for municipal tenants affected by COVID-19 closures
Council waived rent for tenants in all municipal facilities which are closed due to COVID-19. This waiver will remain in place until facilities re-open.
Council establishes COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force
The new task force will study and report on strategies and actions to be adopted by Council to help position the community, and its public, private, social and residential sectors to spur economic and social recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Once terms of reference have been created and approved, other Jasper organizations will be invited to join.
Council strikes ad hoc Budget Review Committee
The committee, composed of all Council, will work to determine the service cuts required to decrease the municipal budget by $982,000.
In response to Council’s April 7 decision on the operating budget, Administration has removed funding in every department to meet basic service provision only. Between laid off staff, capital projects cuts and operational budget cuts, Administration reduced the budget shortfall by about $332,000.
Council decisions are now needed, supported by the work of the Budget Review Committee, on what services need to be cut in their entirety in order to reduce the budget by the remaining $650,000 to make the total reduction amount of $982,000.
April 14, 2020
Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) update
The Director of Emergency Management, Greg Van Tighem, noted the ECC and municipal management staff remain focused on safe municipal operations, essential services, public works, public safety and any tactical response required to assist Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the community.
Under the ECC, Emergency Social Services (ESS) is also ensuring residents’ needs are being met by providing support, resources and referrals.
The Director of Emergency Management is in contact with the local Alberta Health Director two to three times a week; and is in daily contact with the AHS North Zone Operations Centre. The municipal ECC is virtually meeting four times a week, updating ECC objectives weekly.
The ECC’s objectives for this week are:
- Maintain essential services for the Municipality of Jasper.
- Collaborate with AHS and be prepared to respond to resource requests when required.
- Use AHS guidelines relating to hygiene, sanitization, social distancing, social isolation and quarantine.
- Minimize operating costs while delivering essential services and COVID-19 response services.
- Identify, establish, and maintain inventory of personal protective equipment required to protect all municipal staff during COVID-19 response activities.
- Maintain current staff support programs and initiate additional systems to support the mental health of staff.
Council passes new utility fees bylaw
Council passed Bylaw #226: Utility Fees Levy and Collection Bylaw 2020 A, which captures Council’s request to defer utility bill payments without penalties due to the COVID-19 pandemic until September 2020.
Council approves reduced funding amounts for external groups
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Council received funding requests from several external groups for the 2020 operating budget. In an effort to cut expenses, Council approved the following reduced amounts:
- $19,600 for the Jasper Yellowhead Museum and Archives, which requested $65,000.
- $97,850 for the Jasper Municipal Library, which requested $175,700.
- $9,500 for Jasper Victim Services, which requested $11,838.
Council also approved the waiver of lease or rent payments for all tenants of the Jasper Municipal Library and Cultural Centre until September 2020.
April 7, 2020
COVID-19 Service Cuts and Cost Saving Measures
Administration presented a list of deferred or cancelled capital projects for 2020; service cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic; a list of additional cost saving measures, including service impacts to residents and businesses. Discussions on workforce reductions continue, with announcements to affected staff scheduled for this week.
Operating Budget 2020
Council approved an operating budget for 2020 resulting in a $7M tax levy. The proposed operating budget levy was $7.98M, which would have represented a 0% increase over 2019. The approved 2020 budget is a decrease of $982,000 in funding. Service cuts required to meet this budget will be determined by Council.
Next steps include passing the 2020 Tax Rate bylaw and issuing property tax notices to property owners within the legislated timeframes.
Support for Businesses
In partnership with the Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce and Community Futures West Yellowhead, the Municipality of Jasper wrote a letter to the local businesses community regarding support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Councillors also noted the importance of tenants and landlords finding ways to work together during this time; and referenced new provincial protections for residential and mobile homes site tenants facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.
More information on this topic can be found on the Government of Alberta website under Info for renters and landlords:
March 31, 2020 Special Meeting
Council takes action in response to COVID-19
Council held a special regular meeting on Tuesday, March 31 to further discuss Jasper’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Council directed Administration to waive penalties for residential and commercial municipal property taxes until September 1, 2020.
Utility bill penalties are also waived for the same period, with no water services to be terminated due to payments in arrear.
Rent payments for all municipal building tenants are also deferred until September 1, 2020.
To further increase cost saving measures, Council announced it and municipal management will see a pay freeze and the municipal workforce could be reduced by approximately 24 percent.
Council also cancelled its 2020 delegation to Hakone, Japan and its annual attendance at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association conferences.
As other cost saving measures are identified, they will be brought to Council for further consideration.
Changes to Council meetings and schedule
Council passed an interim Electronic Meetings and Electronic Participation Policy and Procedures, allowing future Council meetings to be conducted electronically. Public will have access to all open meetings through a teleconference link which will be shared on the municipal website on the Friday before the scheduled meeting.
In order to maximize its decision-making abilities, Council agreed to cancel its scheduled committee of the whole meetings, until the end of June, and hold regular meetings in their place. Council meetings will still take place on Tuesdays, but all meetings will now start at 9:30 am.
March 17, 2020
It was confirmed, the Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) has been partially activated, virtually. The ECC is monitoring the situation and will implement measures as they become warranted.
Residents are encouraged to monitor the municipal website and social media pages for updates.
For information on how the Municipality of Jasper is responding to COVID-19, please refer to this page: Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for Jasper
2020 operating budget discussions continue
Councillors acknowledged the community will face financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to save costs, Council directed Administration to review the 2020 capital budgets and remove any previously approved capital works or purchases that are not underway and not critical this year, and to look at all possible operating budget reductions in service for 2020 to bring the budget as close as possible to a 0% increase.
Council would also like to consider a potential tax deferral for residents and businesses.
An updated 2020 budget report will be discussed at the March 24 committee of the whole meeting.
Council explores electronic meeting options
In order to maximize opportunities for attendance at meetings during this time of recommended social distancing, Council adopted an electronic meeting policy and directed Administration to draft procedures.
CFS awaiting news on Family Resource Network funding
Council authorized the Mayor and CAO to enter into a contract with the Children’s Services Ministry should the Municipality of Jasper be offered a contract to act as a HUB for the regional Family Resource Network and to deliver Spoke services within the community.
If awarded, this funding would include many of the elements previously prioritized in the funding contracts which will end on March 31, 2020.
CFS continues Local Immigration Partnership
Council directed Administration to sign a negotiated grant agreement between the Municipality of Jasper and Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada to continue the coordination of the Jasper Local Immigration Partnership for the next five years.
This grant will help support the continuation of existing positions at a time when the Community and Family Services Department is facing reductions in funding from the Government of Alberta.
Council invites Parks Canada to discuss Private Home Accommodation (PHA) Legislation
Councillors have been receiving numerous comments and questions regarding Parks Canada’s evolving approach towards PHAs. In order to respond knowledgeably to community members, Council has invited representatives from Parks Canada to attend a Council meeting to discuss this matter.
March 3, 2020
Council approves capital projects for Operations Department
Council approved capital projects for the Operations Department, including a $120,000 approval, in principle, of an operations services review.
The intent of the review is to look at current service levels and work practices and to ensure the Municipality is being fiscally responsible while meeting Council’s strategic priorities.
Prior to being submitted, the request for proposal for the review will return to Council for discussion.
Other approved capital items include:
- An aerway aerator ($13,000)
- An overseeder ($8,200)
- A pick-up truck ($60,000)
Council writes off lost asset
Council agreed to write-off an asset value of $40,133 pertaining to a lost gravel pile.
The gravel had been stored at an unsecured area, utilized by numerous organizations. Over time, it has been determined that the municipal gravel pile has been lost.
February 18, 2020
Incomplete 2019 projects carried forward for 2020
Council approved the carry-forward of approved budgeted funds that were not expended on several capital projects from 2019.
Council seeks more funding for CN Place Jim Vena Stage
Rather than making a decision on a $168,500 budget request for enhancements to the new CN Place Jim Vena Stage and electrical connections for Commemoration Park, Council directed staff to seek donations to help fund these costs.
The requested enhancements include safety and accessibility requirements for all types of mobility access, roll down steel shutter walls, heaters to provide comfort to performers, trusses for lights, and electrical wiring of the stage and of the park for vendor and event equipment plug-ins throughout the park.
Donors, organizations and businesses have donated a total of $820,000 to this project. The Municipality of Jasper has not, to this date, provided any funding for this project.
Council approves new bulk-water fill station
Council approved a $125,000 budget for a new bulk-water fill station at the Environmental Services Building on Compound Road.
The Municipality’s current bulk water fill station does not allow proper metering and billing. The new station will incorporate metering, billing and recording, which will allow the Municipality to accurately charge users for the water they take.
Hostelling International property becomes taxable in August
Following a new tax exemption proposal made by Hostelling International (HI) representatives at the February 4, 2020 regular meeting, Council directed staff to draft a letter notifying HI that Council has decided not to revisit Bylaw #218 – Taxation of Hostelling International Property Bylaw. The Hostelling International property on Sleepy Hollow Road will become taxable as of August 2020.
February 4, 2020
Hostelling International pitches community contributions in lieu of taxes
Hostelling International (HI) presented a revised property tax exemption proposal for its new hostel on Sleepy Hollow Road. The organization is proposing several contributions to the community in lieu of taxes, including eight dorm beds for temporary staff housing, an annual donation to Jasper Victim Services and free meeting space for local not-for-profit groups.
The Municipal Governance Act states that certain organizations, including Hostelling International, are exempt from taxation. However, municipalities may pass a bylaw to collect taxes from those exempt organizations. Council passed Bylaw #218 – Taxation of Hostelling International Property Bylaw last August. As per legislation, the bylaw will come into force in August 2020 unless Council chooses to accept HI’s tax exemption proposal and rescind the bylaw.
Supplementary tax and assessment bylaws receive third reading
Council passed the 2020 Supplementary Assessment of Improvements Bylaw and the 2020 Supplementary Tax Bylaw.
For more information on these bylaws scroll down to the highlights from the January 21, 2020 meeting.
Upgrades scheduled for main entrance at Jasper Activity Centre
Council approved a $75,000 budget to demolish the main entrance canopy at the Jasper Activity Centre and develop a conceptual plan for the new entrance design.
The current canopy has deteriorated internally, is unsightly and frequently leaks causing icicles and slick spots in the main entrance, creating a safety hazard for staff and the centre’s users. Main entrance upgrades were first requested in the 2011 capital budget, however, the project request was removed due to added costs. This project will only remove the existing entrance canopy, and begin the planning for a new entrance.
For more information on this project see the February 4, 2020 agenda package.
January 21, 2020
Council approves curling rink slab replacement, and other projects
Council approved capital projects for the Culture and Recreation and the Protective Services departments, including the replacement of the curling rink slab and brine lines.
The curling slab was built in 1972, and has reached the end of its useful life. The current equipment is beyond repair and subject to cracks and breaks, which could lead to facility closures if it is not replaced. The project budget is $600,000, which will be offset by a Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grant obtained by the Curling Club in the amount of $300,000.
Other approved capital items include:
- The replacement of sidewalk and parking plugs outside of the Emergency Services Building ($20,000 to be paid from restricted reserves)
- Training room renovations at the Emergency Services Building ($30,000 to be paid from restricted reserves)
- A floor cleaner for the Jasper Arena ($5,000)
- An electric quad for ice removal at the Jasper Arena ($30,000)
- The retiling of the basement showers at the Jasper Activity Centre ($50,000)
- Creation of storage space in the Jasper Activity Centre ($50,000)
For more details on these projects check out the January 21, 2020 agenda package.
Supplementary tax and assessment bylaws scheduled for third reading
Council gave first and second reading to the 2020 Supplementary Assessment of Improvements Bylaw and the 2020 Supplementary Tax Bylaw.
A supplementary property assessment is the value of any new construction that has been completed or occupied during the current calendar year that was not included in your annual assessment and property taxes. Supplementary assessments are typical in new home construction, where the dwelling or improvements were still under construction in the current taxation year.
Council authorizes one-year contract with EPCOR
Council authorized the Mayor and CAO to enter into a one-year contract with EPCOR to operate the Municipality of Jasper’s Waste Water Treatment Plant, starting January 27, 2020.
EPCOR will also review operations, update the equipment and prepare the facility for the next 10+year operating contract that will be available for public bidding in 2021.
January 7, 2020
Arena slab and board replacement approved
Council approved a $1,470,000 capital project to replace the slab and boards at the Jasper Arena. The project will be completed concurrently with the ammonia plant replacement project to realize cost savings by combining the two projects for completion in the 2020 summer shutdown.
2020 Utility Rates
The Municipality of Jasper provides safe drinking water, sewer, garbage and recycling services to the community. Utility rates are based on a cost-recovery model, where the cost of providing services is directly funded by those who use it. This includes funding for upgrades to our aging water distribution and sewer collection systems. The utility fees for 2020 were set by Council through the Utility Fees Bylaw 2020, which was passed at the last meeting.
*Estimated Average Utility Bill, Residential Users, Single Dwelling
Based on a 30 cubic meters water consumption over a two-month billing cycle
The increase in sewer fees is due to additional capital, maintenance and operating costs at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The large volume of wastewater generated by visitors to Jasper and Jasper National Park is showing its effects on equipment as the plant is operating at capacity.
The increase in recycling fees is due to a significant change in markets in 2019. The Municipality lost $70,000 in revenue for recyclables, namely for cardboard and plastic. Staff are currently reviewing services for cost efficiencies and adjusting to the new reality of recycling in Alberta.
December 17, 2019
Jasper to apply as a ‘Hub’ for regional Family Resource Network
Council directed Administration to apply a new provincial Expression of Interest (EOI) to act as a ‘Hub’ for the Family Resource Network for the proposed network area of Jasper, Hinton, Edson, Yellowhead County and possibly Grande Cache. If approved, the Community and Family Services department would coordinate the delivery of all the services, supports, programming and reporting for all of the communities in the proposed network area.
Council approves 2020 interim operating budget
Council approved the 2020 interim operating budget, allowing the Municipality to continue providing current services into the New Year until the final operating budget is approved in the spring.
No decisions have been made yet regarding external funding requests. Those requests will be discussed further in 2020.
Council approves capital budget items
Several capital budget items were approved including phase two of a rescue vehicle purchase, the demolition of the AMA building on Connaught Drive and a Wastewater Treatment Plant Operations Review.
Council also approved a Jasper Housing Corporation project, which is intended to address a shortage of staff housing in town.
New Utility Fees Bylaw for 2020
Council gave first and second reading to the 2020 Utility Fees Levy and Collection Bylaw, which will allow the Municipality to collect fees for water, sewer, solid waste and recycling services in the New Year.
A third and final reading of the bylaw is scheduled for the next regular meeting on January 7, 2020.
Council appoints new board members
Council appointed new members to the Jasper Municipal Library Board and the Culture and Recreation Board.
EPCOR to take over operations at the Waste Water Treatment Plant
The Municipality of Jasper and SUEZ have agreed to an early end date for the contract to operate Jasper’s waste water treatment plant as of January 27, 2020. The contract was due to expire in 2022, which would require public bidding in 2021. The Municipality is pleased to hire EPCOR to take over the operations of the plant for one year, review operations, update the equipment and prepare the facility for the next 10+year operating contract that will be available for public bidding in 2021.
December 3, 2019
Jasper Artists Guild and the Legion seeking support
Council heard a presentation from the Jasper Artists Guild (JAG), who is seeking support to help offset the cost of rent at the Library and Cultural Centre and increase visitor traffic to the art gallery. The Legion is seeking support to update and revitalize the local cenotaph. Council will discuss these requests further at a future meeting.
Further discussion on the proposed 2020 operating and capital budgets
On November 26 and 27, the Municipality of Jasper held public budget meetings where staff presented the proposed operating and capital budgets for 2020. The public meetings marked the beginning of formal budget discussions for Council.
At the December 3 meeting, Council gave notice that decisions will be made on the interim operating budget and the capital budget at the next regular meeting on December 17.
The interim operating budget allows the Municipality to continue providing current services into the new year until the final operating budget is approved in the spring. Council and staff will continue discussing and making adjustments to the operating budget in the new year, before the tax rates can be set for 2020.
On the capital front, Council identified items that need more information or discussion prior to being considered for decision. Items that did not require more information are scheduled for decision at the December 17 regular meeting, enabling staff to begin working on approved projects early in the new year and secure competitive contracts.
For more information:
No changes until 2021 for Bylaw Enforcement staff
Council deferred implementing a decision on bylaw services staff designation until August 2021. Until then Administration will recruit Level 2 Community Peace Officers and a summer term position at the Municipal Compliance Officer level. More information on this item can be found in the September 17, 2019 highlights.
Jasper delegation to visit Japanese sister city in 2020
Council approved sending a delegation to Hakone, Japan (Jasper’s long-time sister city) in 2020. A budget for this delegation hasn’t been approved yet, but Administration is recommending approximately $10,000 be allocated to the delegation using funds from the Hakone Delegation Restricted Reserve and the Council Projects budget item.
The last time a delegation from Jasper went to Hakone was in 2012.
November 19, 2019
Traffic Advisory Committee disbands
Council passed the Traffic Advisory Committee Repeal Bylaw, which effectively disbands the Traffic Advisory Committee.
Adhering to its Strategic Priorities, Council is reviewing and evaluating municipal committee and board roles, structures and responsibilities. The Traffic Advisory Committee consisted mostly of municipal staff, who will continue to work together on traffic safety matters outside of the formal committee structure.
Records Management Bylaw and Policy
Council gave first reading to the Records Management Bylaw, which intends to set the foundation for improved and consistent records management practices for the Municipality of Jasper. The proposed bylaw and policy will support decision making; meet legislative, governance and operational functions; and protect the legal, fiscal, historical and other interests of the Municipality. This item will be back on the Council agenda in coming weeks and will be addressed during the upcoming 2020 budget presentations.
2019 debenture funds transferred to restricted reserves for 2020
Council approved transfers of 2019 operating dollars to restricted reserves so they can be accessed in 2020 for debenture repayment for the Recreation Complex Renovation – Phase 1 and the Wastewater Treatment Plant Renovation projects. While the funds were expected to be spent in 2019, changes in the borrowing timelines have pushed the first repayments to 2020.
More information on the Recreation Complex and the Waste Water Treatment Plant renovations is available in the October 15, 2019 meeting highlights.
Council cancelled its December 24, 2019 committee of the whole meeting.
Council gave notice that, at the next regular Council meeting, decisions will be made on the 895A Bonhomme Street staff house maintenance and repairs, and sending a Jasper delegation to Hakone, Japan in 2020.
November 5, 2019
The 2020 municipal budget process is underway. During the next few months Council will discuss capital budget requests and the operating budget, including funding requests from community organizations.
Habitat for the Arts and the Jasper Yellowhead Historical Society presented their requests at the November 5 meeting. The Jasper Municipal Library Board, the Jasper Victim Services Society and the Jasper Skate Park Committee are scheduled to present at the November 12 Committee of the Whole meeting.
Public budget meetings will also take place on November 26 to discuss the capital and operating budgets for Finance and Administration, Community and Family Services and Culture and Recreation; and on November 27 to discuss the capital and operating budgets for Operations and Protective Services. Both meetings are at 6 pm in the Quorum Room in the lower level of the Jasper Library and Cultural Centre.
Council is expected to make a decision on the 2020-2024 interim operating budget and the 2020-2024 capital budget in mid-December.
Studded Bike Tire Rebate Program
The Studded Bike Tire Rebate program is back for another season. A total of $5,000 is available for the program. Funding dollars have been allocated from the Environmental Stewardship reserve.
The program aims to assist Jasper residents in overcoming the financial barrier of purchasing studded winter bike tires and to support local bike shops. Seventy-five people partook in the last program.
A maximum of two coupons, at a value of $50 per tire, per resident will be available at the Administration Office later this month. Program details will be posted on the municipal website and social media.
October 15, 2019
Council received a presentation from Kristen Chambers, Chief Administrative Officer for the Evergreens Foundation, which provides affordable housing options for seniors in the region including Jasper’s Alpine Summit Seniors Lodge. Ms. Chambers highlighted that the property tax requisition for the Evergreens Foundation supports seniors lodge-type accommodations only, while other programs like rent subsidies and other accommodation facilities (such as Pine Grove Manor) are funded through other sources of funding, including provincial dollars. Detailed documentation on the Evergreens Foundation is available in the October 15, 2019 agenda.
Department Reports – Culture and Recreation
Work is ongoing at the Jasper Aquatic Centre, where the waterslide and stairs are being removed and other mechanical upgrades are taking place. The project is currently on schedule.
Department Reports – Community and Family Services
Wildflowers Childcare’s agreement with the provincial government to provide $25 a day childcare to Jasper families is set to expire on March 20, 2020. While no formal announcements have been made by the Provincial Government on whether the program will continue or not, municipal staff are preparing for rates to return to pre-subsidy levels next spring unless a new announcement regarding this grant program is made. These financial projections will be included in the 2020 operating budget and families using the service should prepare for the potential change in childcare rates.
Council gave third and final reading to the Recreation Complex Renovation Phase 1 Borrowing Bylaw and the Wastewater Treatment Plant Borrowing Bylaw. The two bylaws enable the Municipality of Jasper to borrow funds from the Alberta Capital Finance Authority to fund needed renovations and upgrades to municipal facilities. A complete list of items funded under the two bylaws is available below in the October 1, 2019 Council Highlights.
October 1, 2019
Mutlipurpose Hall Updates
Council approved the expenditure of $50,000 for the Multipurpose Hall moveable wall and ceiling tile replacement project. Earlier this year, the old Multipurpose Hall floor was removed and replaced with a new, more durable and more eco-friendly to maintain surface. This project came in under budget, allowing for the remaining funding to be re-directed to the moveable wall and ceiling tiles project, which was originally scheduled to take place in 2020.
Procurement Policy Update
Council approved a new Procurement Policy for the Municipality of Jasper, a document which outlines the steps municipal staff must take to purchase goods, services and construction. The policy was updated to meet current trade agreement requirements and provide greater clarity on the municipal purchasing process for staff and the public.
Recreation Complex Renovation and Wastewater Treatment Plant Borrowing Bylaws
Council gave second reading to the Recreation Complex Renovation Phase 1 Borrowing Bylaw (#219) and the Wastewater Treatment Plant Borrowing Bylaw (#220). After receiving third and final reading, the bylaws will allow Administration to incur debt with the Alberta Capital Finance Authority to finance projects approved during the 2019 capital budget process. Funds are slated to be expended as follows*:
*Dollar values for each project may vary depending on what grant funding becomes available. Municipal funds are maximized through accessing available grants.
September 17, 2019
Council sets borrowing terms for the Recreation Complex renovation and the WWTP renovation
Council approved 15-year borrowing terms for both the Recreation Complex renovation (Phase 1) debenture and the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) renovation debenture. Other proposed borrowing terms were 20 and 25 years. Council chose the shorter terms to reflect the life expectancy of individual infrastructure components associated with each project.
Boiler repairs for the Jasper Fitness and Aquatic Centre
Council approved the expenditure of $50,000 from reserves for repairs to a boiler at the Jasper Fitness and Aquatic Centre. Earlier this month, staff noticed there was a failure of the heat exchanger in one of the boilers. Without repairs to this boiler, the Jasper Fitness and Aquatic Centre would not be able to maintain consistent building and pool temperatures throughout the colder months.
Possible changes for Bylaw Enforcement staff
Council discussed the possibility of new training for the Municipality’s Bylaw Enforcement Officers to become Community Peace Officer (CPO) Level 1– which is a higher level of certification than the CPO Level 2 designation Jasper’s Bylaw Enforcement Services Staff currently hold.
Following a CPO Level 2 fatality in the Municipal District of Foothills in 2012, the Alberta Solicitor General is making mandatory changes to the provincial Peace Officer Program. All CPOs will now have to be trained, qualified and equipped as CPO Level 1 or become Municipal Compliance Officers (MCO).
Administration and Council discussed staff safety being the main factor, secondary is the desired service level which could remain as is with the CPO Level1 designation, or be reduced to an MCO service.
Council will discuss this item further at an upcoming committee of the whole meeting.
September 3, 2019
Council Signs the Violence Threat Risk Assessment and Intervention Protocol
In support of community health and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships, Council agreed to sign the West Yellowhead Community Violence Threat Risk Assessment and Intervention Protocol. The protocol was developed by Grande Yellow Public School Division to ensure a collaborative response to community and school safety.
Protocol partners agree to work together for the common goal of threat reduction by proactively sharing information, advice and support that assists in the prevention of a potential traumatic event.
Cancelled: September 10 Committee of Whole Meeting
Council cancelled its September 10 Committee of the Whole Meeting in order to focus on a Council and Management training session scheduled for the same day. The training session aims to foster enhanced Council-Staff relationships, as outlined in Council’s Strategic Priorities.
August 20, 2019
Operations Department Capital Budget
Following recommendations from the Director of Operations, Council agreed to cancel previously approved capital funding and reallocate the money to purchase better suited equipment for municipal service delivery. Council approved the purchase of a snow blower ($120K), which is expected to increase efficiencies and decrease costs for snow removal. Following a trial last winter, Operations staff noted that three to five times more snow per truck can be hauled when the snow is compacted using a snow blower.
Council also approved $48K to support the purchase a snow plow truck with a brine applicator and salt management technology; $32K to buy out two leased trucks; $70K for a new Toolcat – a small, multi-use machine that is compatible with current Bobcat attachments (brooms, plows, etc.); and $107K for asphalt repairs in areas that need it the most.
Waste Water Treatment Plant Capital Request
Council approved a project budget of $650,000 to repair the Jasper Waste Water Treatment Plant’s primary clarifier, a treatment tank where solid materials are mechanically removed from the effluent. The project will be funded from within the $2.2M capital budget Council approved for the Waste Water Treatment Plant earlier this year.
Council gave first reading to the Jasper Recreation Complex Renovation Borrowing Bylaw ($3.4M) and the Waste Water Treatment Plant Borrowing Bylaw ($2.2M).
During the 2019 capital budget process, Council approved a $3.7 million budget for the relocation of the Jasper Arena ammonia plant and related improvements, and a $2.2 million budget for necessary repairs at the Jasper Waste Water Treatment Plant. The Municipality has to borrow to finance these projects, which must be approved by bylaw. Following first reading, the Municipality must advertise the proposed bylaws to the public, who has the opportunity to review the bylaw and file a petition opposing the proposal.
All municipal bylaws must be read three times and receive certification from Parks Canada before being enacted.
Taxation of Hostelling International Property
Council passed Bylaw #218 – the Taxation of Hostelling International Property Bylaw.
According to the Municipal Government Act, Hostelling International (HI) properties are exempt from property taxes unless Council passes a bylaw to make the property subject to taxation. The passing of Bylaw #218 means the Hostelling International property, located on Sleepy Hollow Road, will be subject to taxes starting Aug. 20, 2020, unless Council and HI reach an agreement in lieu of taxes within the next calendar year.