Saturday, 31 May 2014

FCM Policy Session: Municipal Finance and Intergovernmental Arrangements

·         Primary issue is lack of data regarding how municipalities are doing
     ·         StatsCan no longer collates data but is currently resuming the work
     ·         Continually working to have good data available for municipalities
·         Two priorities are:
     ·         Refresh the Municipal Fiscal Storyline
     ·         Federal Municipal partnerships on international trade and investment attraction
·         BCF is not doing what it is supposed to be doing; the Federal Government must do a better job consulting on this file
·         FCM is working to ensure that procurement is protect in international trade agreements
Municipal Finance and Intergovernmental Arrangements Policy Forum

Member Feedback

·         Small communities, less than 5,000 need more opportunities for funding
·         Clarify funding for broadband
·         Establish a list of priorities for the Federal Government
·         Current funding for infrastructure is insufficient
·         With increased reporting to the Federal Government the Federal Government should provide funding to increase local capacity
·         Planning should consider Corporate Planning Cycle
·         The need for more data to hold a true debate
·         What about more monies for needed infrastructure such as water treatment plants (a community in Manitoba can’t afford a new water treatment plant and the Manitoba share of the BCF is less than the one water treatment plant)

·         Is there a way to incorporate needed infrastructure not yet built into infrastructure deficit? (not really because it is not tangible and the need to distinguish between aspirational and need)

FCM Workshop: Raising More Money Without Raising Taxes or User Fees

·         It takes 18 – 24 months to develop effective sponsorships and partnerships
·         Nainamo spends 12.5% of budget on grants to social agencies
·         87% of Canadians believe that companies should sponsor public facilities
·         Suggestion was made that local groups should be taught more about raising their own funds rather than go to local government (social agencies ask Nainamo for 12.5% of City’s budget every year)
Attendees at the Workshop

·         In Toronto some partners and sponsors fund operations
·         Toronto has an “Office of Partnership”
·         Partnership is:
     ·         Collaboration
     ·         Donation
     ·         Event sponsorship
     ·         Program sponsorship
     ·         Naming rights
     ·         Joint ventures
     ·         P3s
·         Sponsorship is a business relationship that has a contract with predetermined benefits
·         Donation is a cash or in-kind contribution
·         Policies are needed for:
     ·         Donations (ceilings to prevent undue influence)
     ·         Sponsorship
     ·         Naming Rights
     ·         Maintenance Funds
     ·         Advertising
     ·         Unsolicited Proposals

·         Partnerships and Sponsorships need strong strategic direction

FCM Keynote Speaker: Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transportation

The Federal Minster of Transportation spoke today. I think her theme could have been Tegan & Sarah’s song “Everything is Better” from the Lego Movie. Granted the Conservatives have done good things and responded positively to the train derailment in Lac-Magentic and we do now have infrastructure money; however, the monies available federally and provincially are not enough to effectively manage the infrastructure deficit. As Raitt said it is about looking forward but the monies available to make a difference are too far forward to see clearly.
Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transportation at FCM


·         Raitt indicated that safety is the main focus and provided some stats that we have a safe rail system that is envied by other countries.
·         The transport system needs to be strong and safe.
·         Transportation focuses on three areas
     ·         Prevent Accidents
     ·         Prepare for accidents
     ·         Polluters must pay
·         Raitt also indicated short lines may feel pinch
·         Regulators are also trying to discern unintended consequences for new guidelines
·         Rail operators are to share data on goods being transported
·         The Transportation Safety Board is increasing vigilance on new regulations
·         Some of the new regulations include:
     ·         DOT 111 cars to be phased out or retrofitted
     ·         Highly flammable goods are to travel in new cars are to meet higher standards
     ·         Dangerous goods cars are to travel slower
     ·         Risk assessments are to be based on local circumstances


·         Major problem in urban centres in gridlock

·         Raitt indicated that Canada is doing well due to the work of municipalities.

FCM: Hall of Honour

The Mayor of Lac-Magentic, Collette Roy Laroche was honoured today with a place on the roll of honour. She had intended to retire and days later the train accident happened and she is still working hard for her community.
Collete Roy Laroche, Mayor of Lac-Magentic

FCM: Resolution Plenary

Today started with a session on four resolutions:
     ·         Canada Post
     ·         Regulation of Exotic Animals and of Zoos and Aquariums
     ·         National Health and Fitness Day
     ·         Build Canada Fund
Most of these discussions were fairly straight forward. The exception was the reduction in door to door services provided by Canada Post to many major urban centres.

Canada Post

The Resolution

Resolved, that the Council for the Town of Halton Hills ask the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to request that the Federal Government direct Canada Post to maintain the current system of residential door-to-door delivery in Canada.
     ·         Those who supported this resolution were, generally, from larger urban centres. They were focused on safety, security, and convenience. Much of their conversation seemed to focus on scare mongering.
     ·         Those opposed focused on costs and decades of experience in many smaller centres who did not experience the problems suggested by the supporters.
     ·         I voted against the resolution.
The tally surprised me: more than 300 against with less than 200 in favour

Regulation of Exotic Animals and of Zoos and Aquariums

The Resolution

Resolved, That the Atlantic Mayors’ Congress (AMC) supports Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums efforts to create a more uniform and adequately resourced policy, legislative, regulatory and enforcement regime governing exotics animals in the Atlantic provinces and in all other provinces and territories; and be it further
Resolved, That the Atlantic Mayor’ Congress urges the Government of Canada to create, in consultation with the municipal sector, a federal-provincial working group on exotic animals in human care to encourage the sharing of information and best practices and foster a pan-Canadian approach to the management of issues resulting from the keeping of exotic animals in human care.
     ·         The resolution is a result of last year’s tragedy in which two young boys were killed by a large exotic snake.
     ·         I voted for the resolution.
The resolution easily passed.

National Health and Fitness Day

The Resolution

Resolved, That the Federation of Canadian Municipalities support the recognition of a National Health and Fitness Day and encourage its members to follow suit; and be it further
Resolved, That FCM encourages cities and communities to celebrate and recognize a National Health and Fitness Day as they deem appropriate and in ways that best suit the needs of their community.
     ·         An MP has been working to make this day a reality and this is the second attempt.
     ·         The Day is to be the first Saturday of June.
     ·         Support of this is important because it strengthens our argument that recreation facilities are an important municipal infrastructure investment and should be eligible for funding under federal infrastructure programs. (currently recreation buildings do not qualify)
     ·         I voted in favour of the resolution
The resolution passed easily.

New Building Canada Fund

The Resolution

Resolved, That FCM call on the Government of Canada work with the provinces and territories to immediately develop a process to receive municipal applications; and be it further
Resolved, That FCM urge the Government of Canada and provincial and territorial governments to ensure that a significant majority share of investments under the NBCF are prioritized toward municipal infrastructure projects in light of the critical role municipal infrastructure plays in our long-term economic competitiveness.
     ·         The Federal Government is heavily advertising their infrastructure investment in municipalities. However, the monies are deferred and include existing transfers. As an example this year’s infrastructure investment is $210 million for all of Canada; Saskatchewan’s share wouldn’t help Kindersley develop a new waste water lagoon.
     ·         I voted in favour of the resolution

The resolution easily passed.

Friday, 30 May 2014

FCM Workshop: Election 2015

The workshop I attended today was how to effectively engage other levels of government, specifically the Federal Government and the parties leading up to the election expected in the fall of 2015. There were approximately 300 participants in the workshop and we were asked to vote on a few questions.
Panelists Representing the 3 Major Federal Political Parties

1.       What is the expected result after the next election?
     ·         Conservative Majority 33%
     ·         Conservative Minority 26%
     ·         Liberal Majority 14%
     ·         Liberal Minority 12%

2.       What is a municipality’s greatest strength?
     ·         Understand local issues 33%
     ·         Responsible for local day to day issues 28%
     ·         Nonpartisan 21%
     ·         Personality 18%

3.       What is a municipality’s greatest weakness?
     ·         Lack of revenue tools 32%
     ·         Lack of media 24%
     ·         No time for extra work 23%
     ·         Lack of public trust 21%

4.       What are some best practices for 3rd party stakeholders?
     ·         Clear message 33%
     ·         Unified Sector 20%
     ·         Strong online/social media component 17%
     ·         Attractive Branding 16%
     ·         Well known Spokesperson 15%
Listening to the Panel Discussion
A number of points were made to help municipalities effectively lobby other levels of government:
     ·         Unite with one message (infrastructure funding)
     ·         Leverage social media
     ·         Develop ongoing public engagement
     ·         Regular correspondence with officials from other levels of government (MP, MLA)
     ·         Emphasize with other levels of government that local governments deliver

Finally, there were some don’ts
     ·         Don’t pick sides (political party because political parties come and go)
     ·         Be constructive about issues not the party, focus on the issue
     ·         Don’t use a laundry list
     ·         Don’t assume outcomes

Municipal elected officials have the most respect of all levels of government.

FCM Keynote Speaker: Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party

Justin Trudeau spoke for almost an hour on issues related to municipal governments and how the Liberals would respond. The principles a government headed by the Liberal Party would operate by include:
     ·         Substantial
     ·         Predictable
     ·         Sustainable

The Liberals would like to increase infrastructure funding by 1% of GDP (that is a lot of money).

Trudeau is a good speaker but I thought he struggled with the questions.
Crowd listening to Trudeau Speak

FCM: President's Forum

The question discussed at the President’s Forum was: Are municipal governments ready to drive the national agenda?
Three points made included:
     ·         Municipal governments are closest to residents
     ·         Municipal governments make everyday decisions affecting everyone’s life
     ·         Municipal governments are not junior levels of government
FCM Crowd Attending President's Forum
Other points made about municipal governments:
     ·         Should not be a creature of the provinces but have constitutional status
     ·         More nimble to respond to issues
     ·         The big policy question is: how are resources equitably delivered?
          ·         Municipalities have 66% of infrastructure and 8% of government revenue to operate, maintain, replace and build new infrastructure (many believe a crisis is around the corner)
     ·         Municipal elected officials and administrators are under the most stress of all levels of government

Municipal governments are the most:
     ·         Transparent
     ·         Accountable
     ·         Accessible, and

     ·         Engaged


The study tour I have signed up for is at Niagara College Canada Campus in Welland ON. Welland is about 20 minutes outside of Niagara Falls. The purpose of the study tour was to learn more about planning and implementing capital infrastructure projects as well as learn about new technology that can help plan and visualize the project.
Study Tour Group learning about Laser Technology to Map Town and Draw proposed changes

Some of the things I learned or questions that need to be asked include:
     ·         Do we need an architect of record for X years?
     ·         Develop a master plan of the area and facilities early
     ·         Clearly articulate the ideas and concepts
     ·         Prequalify the contractors ahead of time then go with the lowest bidder
     ·         Emphasize design ideas and concepts before the concept drawing (often the concept drawing is the building that is built)
     ·         Five questions to ask as part of the design process:
          ·         What is the air barrier?
               ·         How does hot air stay in and cold air stay out?
          ·         Where does the water go?
               ·         Rainwater, groundwater, storm water, and waste water
          ·         How are repairs made?
          ·         How is it operated?
          ·         How is energy consumption managed?
·         Empower the project manager to make the right decisions with the right resources
·         Plan for 2%-3% of capital is needed for first year operations
·         Operational staff are needed prior to completion to learn about operations and maintenance
·         The first 5 years a new facility is maintenance needy
·         We are entering a tipping point of low cost and accessible automated and remote building maintenance
·         Building Committee should include:
     ·         Elected Officials
     ·         User Groups/Community Members
     ·         Technical Specialists
·         Integrate operating controls with programming scheduling
·         What is the payback period?
·         Use the demand response question
     ·         Make a subtle change such as a 2 degree cooler temperature and unless a number of complaints are made leave the change
     ·         Does anyone notice the change?
·         Design to Energy Star performance standards
·         Use cutting edge technology because by the end of construction it will be dated

When Welland started construction waterless urinals were cutting edge and now they are required by the building code

Saskatchewan Tax Increases

This morning I attended a study tour and I travelled with MLA Kevin Phillips, Legislative Secretary of Government Relations. He told me that the average municipal increase in Saskatchewan for 2014 is 11.8%.

The only Mayor I have spoken with who has a lower increase than Kindersley was the Mayor of Melville whose increase was under 4%.

FCM: Randy Goulden

This year Saskatchewan has a candidate for 3rd Vice President of FCM. The process at FCM is such that the whomever wins this race will go on, in about 4 years, to become the President of FCM. This may be SK first time as President.
Randy Goulden Introductory Speech
Randy Goulden, Councillor of Yorkton, is the candidate I am supporting. Ray Orbe, the Reeve of Cupar, is another candidate along with a Councillor from Winnipeg.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Fixing Crumbling Infrastructure

According to the Brookings Institution in the USA, nearly a quarter of all infrastructure workers will be exiting the labour market in the next decade. Further, due to the infrastructure deficit, another 9%+ workers are needed to close the infrastructure deficit.

What this means in the States is that an additional:
  • 242,000 material movers are required;
  • 193,000 truck drivers, and
  • 115,000 electricians.
This is in addition to replacing the retirees.

A rule of thumb is that Canada is 10% the size of the US meaning Canada needs an extra:
  • 24,000 material movers,
  • 19,000 truck drivers, and
  • 11,500 electricians.
That partly explains the steep inflation rate within the construction industry.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Mix 104.9 "Shooting the Breeze"

It seems like I am at the radio station on a regular basis. Usually we meet twice per month to do the "Shooting the Breeze" segment. Here is the question we recorded May 23rd.
The warm weather is upon us, and that means people are beautifying their yards. But there could be more than just yards getting beautified with Kindersley being a National finalist for this year's Communities in Bloom event. How does it feel for Kindersley to be named a National finalist and how can regular folds help with the push to victory?

Ongoing Work at Brookhollow Estates

Activity is ramping up at Brookhollow Estates. There is now a small work camp on site and heavy equipment is prepping the ground for development.
Earthmover as seen from north side of Motherwell Trail, May 2014

From the south side of Motherwell walking trail, May 23, 2014
Bulldozer from the northside of the trail near the bench. May 23, 2014

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Moment with the Mayor: Building Community

Hi Neighbours:
How do we build a community and prepare for the future? We listen, become informed, question, reflect, decide, and implement. Your Council has been working hard to listen to our neighbours and friends, learning about the wide range of issues and the best practices to address them. We ask questions of our neighbours, friends, other elected officials, experts, and Administration. We reflect and think upon what we have learned so we may decide on what may be the best way forward, and turn it over to Administration to implement.

For Kindersley to be healthy, vibrant, and dynamic, Kindersley needs residents who are positively engaged. Many people are positively engaged, volunteering in a number of ways in a broad range of civic groups including arts, culture, recreation, and social agencies. These groups are crucial to our quality of life. Without them, Kindersley is not Kindersley but a series of water and sewer line connections with pavement on top.

Another part of a healthy and vibrant community is having knowledgeable residents rightly informed about the issues and challenges of our community. Council and Administration have been working hard to provide accurate information through a variety of sources, including the Town website, my weekly column in the Bean, my blog, my regular radio feature, and advertorials in your paper and The Bean. We are not trying to deceive anybody about the facts or what we are doing, and we are trying to be prudent with our money and spend intelligently. Further, we are always working to improve our communication with our user groups and residents.

I think we all want a Kindersley that is positively engaged, building a socially and economically vibrant community. We are doing this by trying to build a family friendly multicultural community that is safe; an approachable, innovative, and fiscally responsible Council; and Administration with a forward-looking approach to recognizing and fostering opportunities, solutions, and wealth creation.

Council’s priorities for our term - to guide us as we work for Kindersley - include: Open Communication, Financially Transparent, Strategic Growth, Reliable Infrastructure, and Organizational Effectiveness. Is there room for improvement? Yes. Have we made progress? I think so.

Please write or phone if you would like me to discuss a particular topic. If you have any questions or comments, drop me a line at the town office or email me at You can also check out my blog at I appreciate your feedback. 

Saturday, 24 May 2014

365 Lloyd "Sparky" Ament Air Cadet Squadron 10th Anniversary Review

This afternoon I attended the 365 Lloyd "Sparky" Ament Air Cadet Squadron Annual Seremonial Review and Change of Command 10 Year Anniversary 2004-2014. It was an afternoon celebrating the accomplishments of more than 30 young men and women involved with the Air Cadet Squadron.
March Past. May 24, 2014

The Review is the second I have attended as Mayor and is formal (civialians can be casual). Many guests attended including the Legion, the Cadet League, and S/Sgt Buxley of the RCMP (I assume he was swimming in his boots by the end of the afternoon).

The afternoon activities included: an inspection (I was a part of the group inspecting), a March Past (just as it reads), some demonstrations, awards, a couple of comments from the visiting retired Major, Chris LaClare, who helped form the squadron ten years ago, the Captain, Ian Kehrer, and Cadet League Representatives, the Campbells, changing of command, change of command March Past, Advance in Review (another type of March Past, a General Salute, the departure of the Reviewing Officer, and then dismissal. Fortunately, given the heat, none of the Cadets did a face plant into the asphalt.

Staff who help the Cadets throughout the year include: Capt Ian Kehrer, Capt Monty Shepherd, Lt B Hahn, 2Lt D. Vass, and Civilian Instructor Jeff Vass. It takes a lot of work by both the staff and parents to make the squadron a success.

The Cadets did:
Target Shooting. May 24, 2014
Survival Demo. May 24, 2014
Survival Demo with Fire. May 24, 2014
First Aid Demo. May 24, 2014
Band, May 24, 2014
 Of course there are the other exercises one associates with a military Cadet program.
Colour Guard, May 24, 2014
Preparing to March. May 24, 2014
Today was special because the squad is graduating one commander and replacing him with a new one.
Changing Command. May 24, 2014
And finally, their fearless Commanding Officer Capt Ian Kehrer who found unstable snow in his Cadet days, giving an address to the squad and their supporters.
Captain's Address. May 24, 2014

Great Plains College Grad

Friday May 23rd I had the honour of being a guest at Great Plains College Graduation 2014 at the Kindersley Inn. Many grads walked across the floor embarking on a new season in their lives. Some of the students were quite young while others were much more seasoned.
Great Plains College Grad. May 23, 2014
My remarks were brief. Here is an outline:

  • Congratulations on behalf of the Council of the Town of Kindersley and our residents for your accomplishment.
  • Congratulations go to the many families of the students who made the sacrifice as their loved ones spent a year studying intensively
  • More than 50 years ago President John Kennedy challenged the young people of America to not ask what their country can do for them but what they could do for their country.
  • I asked the grads to consider:
    • how can they make their work place, home, neighbourhood, and community more beautiful;
    • to ensure they work so that their workplace and community is just;
    • to contribute to their work place and community by enabling others, and themselves, to be fulfilled; and
    • to have good relationships with those around them.
There were approximately 130 people in attendance.
Great Plains College Grad. May 23, 2014

What's with the Orange Fence?

Have you seen this little fence , hole and trench near the walking trail?
This is a line that has been identified serving the house east of Brookhollow Estates. The line is left like this to ensure it is not damaged until new lines can be connected to the house in question.

Youth Council: Clean Up Capture

Youth Council is getting into the beautification of Kindersley with a twist. Their contest, in which the winner gets a complimentary one year subscription to Loraas' curbside recycling program.

Participation is easy:
  1. Pick up garbage they see around town and take a "selfie" of themselves tossing it in the waste bin or appropriate recyclable container.
  2. Post the picture to @youthcouncil4 with the hashtag #cleanupcapture or share on the Youth Council's Facebook page
Hmmm.... perhaps trashing something takes on a whole new meaning. It should be interesting.

Regarding the curbside recycling: excellent program. Our garage is a lot cleaner and no sorting is required.

Trash Talk: Tidy Week

This year Kindersley is participating in the National Communities in Bloom contest. As part of preparing for the judging we have entered a contest with Humboldt. The challenge is to see which community can log more volunteer hours of tidying yards, parks, roadways, laneways (alleys), vacant lots, work places and work lots, and any other spot that needs beautification as part of "Tidy Week."

This contest runs between June 16 - June 20 and Humboldt, when they lose, will have their Mayor, Malcolm Eaton, wear a Klippers' jersey during their home opener. Details are still be worked out with a partner to record the volunteer hours. So, stay tuned for details.

I have to say that I think Malcolm will look good sporting a green and blue Klippers' jersey. Wearing a Broncos' jersey doesn't appeal to me.