Cold Lake, AB – The City of Cold Lake remains in contact with the agencies coordinating the response to the wildfires and stands ready to help when requested.
A City of Cold Lake Fire-Rescue crew, pumper truck and additional firefighting equipment are on the way to help fight the wildfires threatening Fort McMurray in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.
Alberta Emergency Management made the request this evening and the City of Cold Lake was able to quickly respond.
Three RCMP members from the Cold Lake detachment have also been detailed to help in the region.
At this time the City has not been requested to help house evacuees. The City of Cold Lake stands ready to provide additional assistance as required.
Our thoughts are with those affected and with those working to battle the fires.
Cold Lake, AB – Automated traffic enforcement will roll out in the City of Cold Lake with warning tickets being issued for violations from May 23 to June 23.
“The automated traffic enforcement program in Cold Lake will cover speeding in residential, school and playground zones as well as traffic light enforcement and stop sign enforcement,” City of Cold Lake Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Nagoya said. “The goal of the program is to improve safety in areas that are of concern. Any revenue from violation tickets will be restricted for safety initiatives.”
The City of Cold Lake has contracted Global Traffic Group Ltd. to run the program, with the enforcement zones determined in conjunction with the Cold Lake RCMP detachment. Enforcement zones will be advertised so the public is aware of the areas of concern and new signage will be installed at the entrances to the City to make visitors aware of the program.
Cold Lake, AB – Cold Lake Transit is being noticed as a big success in a small city.
The first successful note came from the feedback the City received from a transit survey conducted earlier in the year. Available online and as a hard copy, 127 surveys were completed and counted in the results.
“We got a really good response from the community,” said General Manager of Infrastructure Services Azam Khan. “There was a lot of good feedback and suggestions for the future as well.”
Results from the customer satisfaction survey where overwhelmingly positive. The main reasons riders took Cold Lake Transit varied, with the top three responses being: “Transit is less expensive than driving every day”; “Transit is environmentally friendly”; and “I do not own a vehicle”. Riders identified affordability, punctuality and the speed of service as their top priorities.
Cold Lake Transit is an affordable and environmentally friendly option that arrived when both the economy and the environment became timely subjects.
Cold Lake, AB – Cold Lake Councillors will discuss the regulation of the taxi industry in Cold Lake.
“Council wants to ensure that our bylaw is up to date, enforceable and fair for both passengers and the taxicab companies,” Deputy Mayor Darrell MacDonald said. “We will have further discussion about how to best proceed and how to ensure all the stakeholders are consulted, including the licensed taxi companies currently operating.”
The issue was brought forward at the City of Cold Lake’s Corporate Priorities Meeting, chaired by Deputy Mayor MacDonald on April 19.
“We heard that there is a desire to update the regulations surrounding taxi cabs to make sure our system is safe and fair for everyone involved,” Chief Administrative Officer, Kevin Nagoya said. “Whether we establish a commission, or hold consultations prior to updating the bylaw, will be the first subject of council’s continued discussion.”
The City’s taxi bylaw currently governs the permitting process, requirements for identification information on taxicabs, vehicle inspections, additional safety requirements for taxicabs and the fine schedule for offences. The bylaw also sets out a general code of conduct for both taxi drivers and passengers.
Cold Lake, AB – The Government of Alberta will collect 15 per cent more in education tax from property owners in Cold Lake this year, the fifth straight year of double digit increases Cold Lake has seen.
“Council knows times are tough for a lot of families this year and that’s why we made the commitment to hold the line on municipal property taxes,” Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland said. “Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the education levy. The province has chosen to maintain their rate against assessment values that do not reflect the state of the economy or the situation many people are facing.”
The education levy is set by the province and collected for the province by municipalities.
“When the City sets its tax rate, we look at how much we need to collect and set a tax rate that achieves our goal,” Copeland said. “Booming property values have meant that our tax rate has gone down, even though our budget has increased. We always keep a close eye on any changes to our residents’ tax bill.
Cold Lake, AB – Street sweeping season has arrived in Cold Lake with a fast-paced sweeping schedule this spring.
“Council committed to providing a faster clean up this spring,” explained Mayor Craig Copeland. “We wanted to make sure the gravel was cleaned up as quickly as possible for the community to start getting out with their bikes and other outdoor activities.”
Pushing for a faster clean-up, a 16-day sweeping schedule was created, running both the City’s regular sweepers and a leased third sweeper for 12 hours a day, seven days a week until complete.
“We have four staff working at all times on street sweeping,” said General Manager of Infrastructure Services Azam Khan. “Weather-pending, we should be finished within the 16-day timeline.”
Large boards have been posted at the entrances to the City advising motorists to be mindful of the sweepers. Local signage is also being posted in neighbourhoods about three days prior to an area being swept. Residents are asked to check the sweeping schedule online, and move their vehicles off the road before the sweepers arrive to ensure their area is swept clean of sand and gravel.
“If for some reason we miss an area, or it needs to be redone, it will be moved to the bottom of the schedule and done last,” explained Khan. “This way we are not juggling around the entire schedule.”
All three sweepers are in one area at a time, with a gravel truck nearby to dump the collected material. This way, the sweepers can save time by staying in the area instead of driving back to the Public Works shop to dump gravel out when they are full.
To check out the sweeping schedule, go to www.coldlake.com/content/snow-removal-sanding-sweeping.
Cold Lake, AB – Cold Lake took its second turn in hosting the Northern Area Ideas Group, a quarterly meeting of public works professionals from across northern Alberta.
“This is a chance for people in our field to discuss the issues we’ve been facing as well as to share our successes and learn about new trends and technologies,” City of Cold Lake General Manager of Infrastructure Services, Azam Khan, said. “It’s also an opportunity for the host community to showcase itself and some of its recent achievements.”
At the Northern Area Ideas Group, held today, Khan introduced the group of more than 30 public works members to the City of Cold Lake’s transit system with a presentation on how the service was established. They also toured the Mach 1 Skateboard Park, the soon-to-be-completed Fire Station, the Kinosoo Beach Splash Park, and the new terminal building at the Cold Lake Regional Airport.
“The chance to network and share information is always a benefit,” Kevin Nagoya, the City’s Chief Administrative Officer, said. “With our public works department as busy as it is, it’s great to see that they had a chance to meet with their peers and share what the City of Cold Lake has been up to with the rest of northern Alberta.”
Cold Lake, AB – Schools, apartments and businesses are all going to be a little safer thanks to a new Fire Department Lock Box Program.
“It provides immediate, emergency entry in case of fire, medical or any other type of emergency, instead of waiting for a key holder,” explained Deputy Fire Chief Norm Hollis. “At times, the wait can be half an hour or more, which is a long time when you’re in an emergency situation.”
The lock boxes were purchased by the City of Cold Lake, and will be installed to follow the Alberta Fire Code. Buildings that qualify for the program are those not staffed 24-hours a day, such as schools, apartments and some businesses.
“If they have a sprinkler system or elevators, they are likely on the list to receive a lock box,” explained Hollis. “A location that has staff in it 24 hours a day – like the hospital, for example – has someone who can let emergency personnel inside if needed, and does not require one of these lock boxes.”
Apartment buildings and businesses are still in the process of being notified if they will be receiving a lock box, while the school divisions have been notified.
Cold Lake, AB – Seven projects have been slated for the 2016 Capital Road Improvement Program.
“We want to ensure areas that see a lot of traffic are kept up to standard,” City of Cold Lake’s Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Nagoya said. “Our annual Capital Road Improvement Program gives us this opportunity to prioritize roadway infrastructure and stretches of road that need resurfacing.”
City Council approved an increase in the Capital Budget for the program of $250,000 from last year. The annual project now totals $1.75 million. The Road Improvement Program provides the selected sections of roadway with an overlay of new asphalt and, where needed, repairs damage to curbs and sidewalks along the same areas.
The Capital Road Improvement Program is governed under a road analytics program, which uses a software that analyzes the surface distress index of roadways and degradation curves to assist in making decisions on pavement resurfacing. This allows the City to extend the life of asphalt before the pavement requires total replacement, which is a much more expensive option.
With the slowdown in the oil patch the City of Cold Lake and the Town of Bonnyville are ready to take advantage of any available fast-tracked dollars from the Federal Government.
“Many of our residents are feeling these hard economic times and I know our councils are committed to doing anything possible to lessen the impact,” Town of Bonnyville Mayor Gene Sobolewski said.
“Everyone in our region knows someone – some family – that has been impacted by the cutbacks industry is faced with,” Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland added. “It’s a scary time for a lot of people. Any Federal help would be much appreciated and well used.”
With the oil and gas industry as the number one employer in the region, both Councils have anticipated a tough year for residents and committed themselves to minimal tax increases while moving ahead with capital plans. Capital projects in 2016 include water and sewer projects, major road work, storm water facilities and recreational facilities.
“We are going to do our best not to raise property taxes when many families have taken a major hit to their finances,” Sobolewski said. “At the same time, we will continue with our infrastructure projects to keep as many people as possible working, and to make sure our region is well positioned for the next boom. We’ve been in similar situations before and we know how to weather the storm.”
Cold Lake, AB – The City of Cold Lake started off the new year with a well-attended Open House.
“It was great to see people from the community coming out and asking questions,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “A lot of people were already well-informed, and it created really good discussions.”
Approximately 200 people attended the Open House on Jan. 14, which covered the topics of the Cold Lake Transit system; the 10-year Capital Plan; the approved 2016 budget, and the Energy Centre expansion.
“We got a lot of great feedback from the public, and I’m happy with how the event went,” CAO Kevin Nagoya said.
Two surveys were available during the Open House – one for Cold Lake Transit, and the other on the 10-year Capital Plan. The Transit survey is still available online until the end of January, and can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/cltransit.