By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The following are selected briefs from the M.D. of Taber Council meeting that took place on January 22.
Sergeant Stu Gemmill of the Taber/Vauxhall RCMP Detachment attended Council to present the November and December 2023 statistics. The detachment, Gemmill said, had 432 calls for service with 399 being within the M.D. The detachment, Gemmill said, also took three impaired drivers off the road, had 36 Criminal Code violations reported, and had 29 9-1-1 hang-ups. Gemmill also reported that the detachment also ran 32 criminal record checks for the general public as well as five fingerprint checks.
In terms of patrols, Gemmill said, the detachment did 18 of Enchant, 54 of Grassy Lake, 16 of Hays, two patrols of the M.D. Park campground, and three of the Enchant campground and 221 of the M.D.
Gemmill also stated that the detachment wrote 28 tickets, with 26 written by the Traffic Services Unit in Redcliff or Lethbridge, and 244 violation tickets were written in November and December.
Nine charges, Gemmill said, were laid in criminal investigations and the detachment also responded to three complaints of family violence in the month of November with none reported in December. Charges, Gemmill said, were laid where evidence existed, and all available supports were provided to the victims.
Gemmill also reported that Constable Gallant attended Barnwell School and marched in the Remembrance Day ceremony in November. Gemmill stated that himself. Constable Gallant, Gemmill said, also attended the veteran’s dinner at the Taber Legion and Constable Gallant also marched in Taber’s Remembrance Day ceremony while Gemmill and his father marched in the Vauxhall Remembrance Day ceremony as Gemmill’s father is a retired member.
On top of that, Gemmill said, the detachment partnered with the Coaldale detachment to conduct holiday check stops in December.
Gemmill also briefly touched upon the Community Crime Gauge, comparing from January to December 2022 to January to December 2023. Gemmill reported that person’s crimes are up 14 percent, property crime was down 23 percent, other criminal code was up 34 percent, break and enters saw a 60 percent decrease, theft of Motor Vehicles saw no change, and there was an 18 percent decrease in theft under $5,000.
Council did ask Sergeant Gemmill for an update about how the residents within the M.D. of Taber will be served by Victims Services, given that Alberta has changed their Victim Services model and give that the administrator of the Southern Alberta Victims Services region has been announced. Gemmill stated that the hard deadline of April 1, 2024 has been changed, as not everything will be in place by then; the goal for having everything in place is now October 2024.
A motion was made to accept the R.C.M.P. report as presented and the motion was carried.
Reeve Miyanaga Report Highlights
Reeve Miyanaga shared highlights from the most recent meetings of the Mayors and Reeves of Southwestern Alberta with Council, including the fact that the motion regarding the Foothills Little Bow water apportionment passed and will be moving to RMA. Miyanaga emphasized that there was a good robust discussion on water and said that the comment “whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over” came up several times, which speaks to the importance of what M.D. of Taber is doing to look at water conservation and management as they work with their irrigation partners to ensure that water use and allocation is correct. Miyanaga also stated that it was noted at RMA, during the ministerial pit(?) session, each municipality will be limited to two questions, so if the M.D. has things they want to bring forward, they should have them prepared. The limitation on questions, Miyanaga said, was done because the RMA wanted to have a cross-section of inquiries.
Councillor Harris Report Highlights
Councillor Harris spoke about a RenuWell Project update that was held by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre on January 17, 2024. Harris stated that Keith Hirsche and Brian Peers spoke on what it took to get the project going and how the model can be used on many abandoned and unclaimed orphan wells to add power to the grid without taking more agricultural land out of production.
Harris also stated that TCAPS provides free income tax preparation returns for low-income people and those who need the service can either call TCAPS or book an appointment on the TCAPS website. Victims Services, he said, will also be hosting another Victims and Survivors of crime week in 2024 with a date to be announced. Harris stated that TCAPS is doing their annual fundraiser again and partnering with the Taber Rugby Club and Council has been asked to provide help by serving the VIP tables, but an official request letter will be coming soon.
Councillor Hildebrand Report Highlights
Councillor Hildebrand mentioned that he and other Councillors from the M.D. attended the open house for Minister Schow in Vauxhall that was held in Vauxhall on January 11, 2024. Hildebrand said that a dozen community members, the mayor of Vauxhall, and the Reeve from the M.D attended and that a number of pertinent issues were brought forward including the water supply in the river basins and water storage, storm water drainage funding, the opioid crisis, and quite the conversation in regard to health and the ambulance service.