Posted on Apr 14, 2016

Local Award Winners and a Budgetary Update

Congratulations to Centennial elementary School teacher Mr. David Luck for being nominated for a 2016 Excellence in Teaching Award! We want to thank David, and all teachers in fact, for their contributions to our education system. Regardless of the results our students are already winners.

On behalf of the Government of Alberta it is my pleasure to recognize and congratulate Ms. Jenn Hobson (Ramada Camrose), her staff and Mr. Kent Sjolin (Best Western Wayside Inn, Wetaskiwin), his staff as recipients of the 2015-2016 Alberta Housekeeping Awards for their excellence in cleanliness, comfort and maintenance as chosen by the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association.

As of April 9th the Alberta Agriculture Sector of WCB reports that 154 farmers and workers have been approved for compensation for farm injuries (plus 11 pending). There were only 62 approvals in all 2015.

Thank you to all the volunteers recognized during National Volunteer week. Volunteers have enhanced the quality of life for all Albertans and makes our province a more welcoming place to live and work. Across Alberta, volunteers are supporting the efforts of more than 24,500 non-profit/voluntary sector organizations by delivering cultural, social and recreational programming that help to build strong families and communities. It is interesting to note that 61% of Albertans (representing all age groups) volunteered with organizations in their communities in 2014-15. And according to Stats Canada in 2013, Albertans contributed, on average, 160 hours of service, up from 140 hours in 2010. Thank you again for everyone’s time, efforts and commitments.

The proposed Seniors Home Adaptation and Repair Programs will allow seniors to use their home equity to make modifications so they can remain in their homes and maintain their independence. This Act will include consumer protection measures to ensure seniors know their rights when hiring contractors and cancelling contracts. This program could help to generate new work for contractors and help stimulate the economy.   The proposed program provides a maximum home equity loan of $40,000 per household to seniors with a qualifying income threshold ($75,000 per household). Homeowners must have 25% home equity. For low income seniors who do not qualify for a home equity loan may qualify for the grant component.

Some brief concepts of the recent Provincial Budget:

  • No provincial sales tax, no payroll tax, no health premiums,
  • Small business tax cut by 33%
  • There is a focus on: supporting families and communities, investing in infrastructure, diversifying our energy industry and our energy markets, and supporting Alberta business.
  • Seniors: $385 million for continuing care.
  • $900 million for affordable housing.
  • Rural Albertans will benefit from improved water and road projects, and new monies targeted for small and rural municipalities.
  • $9 billion in funding for municipalities through MSI funding.
  • Tax credits for new and small businesses.

Some recent recipients of grants and MSI funding are:

To Wetaskiwin Boys and Girls Club: $50,870 from Community Facility Enhancement Program for their playground.

The County of Wetaskiwin: $4,550 to carry out training for the Fire Services and Emergency Preparedness Program, $2,267,204 MSI capital project for gravel road rehabilitation and $24,000 grant under the Municipal Internship component of the Alberta Community Partnership program.

County of Camrose: $5000 for the same training program.

City of Wetaskiwin: $5,000 for similar training, $469,324 MSI capital project for South East Industrial Park Upgrades, and $24,000 grant for the Municipal Internship Program.

Bittern Lake: $2,500 Community Hall roof replacement and $5,000 Waste and Recycle State Gate Installation under the federal and provincial partnership Gas Tax Fund.

Montana Cree Nation: $30,000 through the First Nations Development Fund for computer support projects, $35,000 for a front end loader, and $250,000 for grader lease payments.

City of Camrose: $470,000 from the Gas Tax Fund for water treatment plant upgrades.

Louis Bull Cree Nation: $1,111,937 for 12 projects (schools, culture, emergency, sports, hot lunch, security, elders) from the First Nations Development Fund.

Ermineskin Cree Nation: also from the FNDF $619,300 for 10 projects (adults, youth, sports, hampers, women’s shelter van, pow wows and celebrations).