I have some really great news. We have hired an interim CAO. Rick McDonald is a certified management consultant with previous CAO experience. He has also performed a number of organizational reviews. I am hopeful that Rick can use this expertise to help get the county back on track and start delivering on the promises that most of this council campaigned on - open communication, improved customer service, financial transparency and accountability to residents.
I believe this is a real positive step. One of the biggest frustrations I face in my role as councillor is how slowly things move in government. I’m really hoping that Rick can help us create better processes to eliminate the backlog and inefficiencies, so that by the time we hire a full-term CAO he or she can hit the ground running.
On a policy front, Council recently gave second reading to the firearm bylaw which creates no-shoot zones in various higher density areas throughout the county. While this bylaw has been around since 2003, it could not be enforced as it did not have ministerial approval.
The no-shoot zone for the Bearspaw area remains unchanged from the original document (its boundaries were quite comprehensive), however, the bylaw now includes more densely populated areas elsewhere in the county e.g. Cochrane North and Balzac. It also includes an exception for those who reside within no-shoot zones on lands designated Ranch and Farm, Agricultural Holdings or Farmstead. These residents may still utilize a firearm on their property for pest control purposes.
I recently attended the Springbank Area Structure Plan open house. Given that the Bearspaw Area Structure Plan is up for review later this year, I thought it would be good experience to see how the process works first hand.
The county presented three growth scenarios – low, moderate and high development. The goal is to have the public provide feedback on the options and detail how they would like to see their community develop.
The meeting was really well-attended and a number of really great questions were asked. Many of the questions revolved around the Growth Management Board and what that will mean for the County and its ability to control/plan for its own growth. This remains an unknown. However, I have heard that discussions are going well and we should have some answers shortly.
July is a busy month. School is out, camping season is here, Stampede is on. Regarding Stampede, the County is putting on a Stampede Luncheon on Monday, July 9th from 1130-130 at the County Offices - 911 32nd Ave NE. Come on out, have some lunch, and get to meet your local councillors and County staff.