Medicine Hat Minute: Drone Conference, Downtown Sheriffs, and the Municipal Planning Commission
Medicine Hat Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Medicine Hat politics
This Week In Medicine Hat:
There will be a regular meeting of City Council on Tuesday. The meeting begins with a closed session at 3:45 pm. The agenda for this portion of the meeting includes collective bargaining, an amendment to the Wastewater Agreement with Cypress County, and public member appointments to vacant positions.
- When the Council meeting opens up to the public, at 6:30 pm, there will be a discussion about disbanding the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC). The City's MPC consists of two Council members and five volunteer public members. All Land Use Bylaw amendments are required to go through MPC prior to Council, but the City's bylaws and processes do not have any items that must go to the MPC for a decision. In recent years, there have been challenges attracting qualified volunteers, achieving quorum, and dealing with technical issues due to remote meetings. As a result, many of the MPC's responsibilities have been reduced. The City acknowledges the potential perception that eliminating the MPC may reduce opportunities for public consultation, but notes this is not actually the case. The cost savings for disbanding the MPC is nominal. If approved, items which were required to go through MPC will now go through the Economic, Land and Strategic Planning and Development Committee.
- The Corporate Services Committee will meet on Thursday at 11:00 am. Much of the sparse agenda will be discussed behind closed doors, including the Managing Director's Service Area Updates and a 2022 Grant Report.
Last Week In Medicine Hat:
After pilot programs were announced in Calgary and Edmonton to augment police forces with sheriffs, Premier Danielle Smith noted that sheriffs could be used in other centers like Medicine Hat should the program prove effective. One Councillor noted that, while downtown Medicine Hat seems to be trending in the right direction, the programs in Calgary and Edmonton should be watched with interest. The Medicine Hat Police Services' budget is set to grow by $920,000 this year, adding two more officers, an inspector, and administration positions.
- The City announced that the wooden benches in Veterans Memorial Park have been vandalized and will be repaired. The benches, half of them to start, will be removed from the park to have their slats replaced. The City estimates that it will take around three weeks for the benches to be repaired and re-installed in the park.
- About 150 people attended the APEX Alberta drone conference in person at Medicine Hat College, and another 350 registered to attend virtually from other locations in Alberta. Presenters at the conference said that the predicted use of drone technology in farming, energy, and other sectors is already happening. The use of drones in these sectors could lead to faster, cheaper, and safer operations, and the potential market is worth billions of dollars.
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