Council Highlights

Municipality of Jasper Council Highlights summarize decisions and issues from regular Council meetings. For a more detailed account of Council meetings check the Agendas & Minutes.

March 31, 2020 Special Meeting

Council takes action in response to COVID-19 

Council held a special regular meeting on Tuesday, March 31 to further discuss Jasper’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Council directed Administration to waive penalties for residential and commercial municipal property taxes until September 1, 2020.

Utility bill penalties are also waived for the same period, with no water services to be terminated due to payments in arrear.

Rent payments for all municipal building tenants are also deferred until September 1, 2020. 

To further increase cost saving measures, Council announced it and municipal management will see a pay freeze and the municipal workforce could be reduced by approximately 24 percent. 

Council also cancelled its 2020 delegation to Hakone, Japan and its annual attendance at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association conferences. 

As other cost saving measures are identified, they will be brought to Council for further consideration.

Changes to Council meetings and schedule

Council passed an interim Electronic Meetings and Electronic Participation Policy and Procedures, allowing future Council meetings to be conducted electronically. Public will have access to all open meetings through a teleconference link which will be shared on the municipal website on the Friday before the scheduled meeting.  

In order to maximize its decision-making abilities, Council agreed to cancel its scheduled committee of the whole meetings, until the end of June, and hold regular meetings in their place. Council meetings will still take place on Tuesdays, but all meetings will now start at 9:30 am.

See updated schedule.

March 17, 2020 

COVID-19 update

It was confirmed, the Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) has been partially activated, virtually. The ECC is monitoring the situation and will implement measures as they become warranted. 

Residents are encouraged to monitor the municipal website and social media pages for updates. 

For information on how the Municipality of Jasper is responding to COVID-19, please refer to this page: Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for Jasper

2020 operating budget discussions continue 

Councillors acknowledged the community will face financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to save costs, Council directed Administration to review the 2020 capital budgets and remove any previously approved capital works or purchases that are not underway and not critical this year, and to look at all possible operating budget reductions in service for 2020 to bring the budget as close as possible to a 0% increase.

Council would also like to consider a potential tax deferral for residents and businesses. 

An updated 2020 budget report will be discussed at the March 24 committee of the whole meeting. 

Council explores electronic meeting options

In order to maximize opportunities for attendance at meetings during this time of recommended social distancing, Council adopted an electronic meeting policy and directed Administration to draft procedures. 

CFS awaiting news on Family Resource Network funding  

Council authorized the Mayor and CAO to enter into a contract with the Children’s Services Ministry should the Municipality of Jasper be offered a contract to act as a HUB for the regional Family Resource Network and to deliver Spoke services within the community. 

If awarded, this funding would include many of the elements previously prioritized in the funding contracts which will end on March 31, 2020.

CFS continues Local Immigration Partnership 

Council directed Administration to sign a negotiated grant agreement between the Municipality of Jasper and Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada to continue the coordination of the Jasper Local Immigration Partnership for the next five years. 

This grant will help support the continuation of existing positions at a time when the Community and Family Services Department is facing reductions in funding from the Government of Alberta.

Council invites Parks Canada to discuss Private Home Accommodation (PHA) Legislation 

Councillors have been receiving numerous comments and questions regarding Parks Canada’s evolving approach towards PHAs. In order to respond knowledgeably to community members, Council has invited representatives from Parks Canada to attend a Council meeting to discuss this matter.

March 3, 2020

Council approves capital projects for Operations Department 

Council approved capital projects for the Operations Department, including a $120,000 approval, in principle, of an operations services review. 

The intent of the review is to look at current service levels and work practices and to ensure the Municipality is being fiscally responsible while meeting Council’s strategic priorities. 

Prior to being submitted, the request for proposal for the review will return to Council for discussion. 

Other approved capital items include: 

  • An aerway aerator ($13,000)
  • An overseeder ($8,200) 
  • A pick-up truck ($60,000)

Council writes off lost asset 

Council agreed to write-off an asset value of $40,133 pertaining to a lost gravel pile. 

The gravel had been stored at an unsecured area, utilized by numerous organizations. Over time, it has been determined that the municipal gravel pile has been lost. 

February 18, 2020 

Incomplete 2019 projects carried forward for 2020 

Council approved the carry-forward of approved budgeted funds that were not expended on several capital projects from 2019. 

View a full list of carry-forward projects

Council seeks more funding for CN Place Jim Vena Stage 

Rather than making a decision on a $168,500 budget request for enhancements to the new CN Place Jim Vena Stage and electrical connections for Commemoration Park, Council directed staff to seek donations to help fund these costs. 

The requested enhancements include safety and accessibility requirements for all types of mobility access, roll down steel shutter walls, heaters to provide comfort to performers, trusses for lights, and electrical wiring of the stage and of the park for vendor and event equipment plug-ins throughout the park.  

Donors, organizations and businesses have donated a total of $820,000 to this project. The Municipality of Jasper has not, to this date, provided any funding for this project. 

Council approves new bulk-water fill station 

Council approved a $125,000 budget for a new bulk-water fill station at the Environmental Services Building on Compound Road. 

The Municipality’s current bulk water fill station does not allow proper metering and billing. The new station will incorporate metering, billing and recording, which will allow the Municipality to accurately charge users for the water they take. 

Hostelling International property becomes taxable in August 

Following a new tax exemption proposal made by Hostelling International (HI) representatives at the February 4, 2020 regular meeting, Council directed staff to draft a letter notifying HI that Council has decided not to revisit Bylaw #218 – Taxation of Hostelling International Property Bylaw. The Hostelling International property on Sleepy Hollow Road will become taxable as of August 2020.

February 4, 2020

Hostelling International pitches community contributions in lieu of taxes

Hostelling International (HI) presented a revised property tax exemption proposal for its new hostel on Sleepy Hollow Road. The organization is proposing several contributions to the community in lieu of taxes, including eight dorm beds for temporary staff housing, an annual donation to Jasper Victim Services and free meeting space for local not-for-profit groups. 

The Municipal Governance Act states that certain organizations, including Hostelling International, are exempt from taxation. However, municipalities may pass a bylaw to collect taxes from those exempt organizations. Council passed Bylaw #218 – Taxation of Hostelling International Property Bylaw last August. As per legislation, the bylaw will come into force in August 2020 unless Council chooses to accept HI’s tax exemption proposal and rescind the bylaw. 

Supplementary tax and assessment bylaws receive third reading

Council passed the 2020 Supplementary Assessment of Improvements Bylaw and the 2020 Supplementary Tax Bylaw

For more information on these bylaws scroll down to the highlights from the January 21, 2020 meeting. 

Upgrades scheduled for main entrance at Jasper Activity Centre 

Council approved a $75,000 budget to demolish the main entrance canopy at the Jasper Activity Centre and develop a conceptual plan for the new entrance design. 

The current canopy has deteriorated internally, is unsightly and frequently leaks causing icicles and slick spots in the main entrance, creating a safety hazard for staff and the centre’s users. Main entrance upgrades were first requested in the 2011 capital budget, however, the project request was removed due to added costs. This project will only remove the existing entrance canopy, and begin the planning for a new entrance. 

For more information on this project see the February 4, 2020 agenda package

January 21, 2020

Council approves curling rink slab replacement, and other projects 

Council approved capital projects for the Culture and Recreation and the Protective Services departments, including the replacement of the curling rink slab and brine lines. 

The curling slab was built in 1972, and has reached the end of its useful life. The current equipment is beyond repair and subject to cracks and breaks, which could lead to facility closures if it is not replaced. The project budget is $600,000, which will be offset by a Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grant obtained by the Curling Club in the amount of $300,000. 

Other approved capital items include: 

  • The replacement of sidewalk and parking plugs outside of the Emergency Services Building ($20,000 to be paid from restricted reserves)
  • Training room renovations at the Emergency Services Building ($30,000 to be paid from restricted reserves
  • A floor cleaner for the Jasper Arena ($5,000) 
  • An electric quad for ice removal at the Jasper Arena ($30,000) 
  • The retiling of the basement showers at the Jasper Activity Centre ($50,000) 
  • Creation of storage space in the Jasper Activity Centre ($50,000)

For more details on these projects check out the January 21, 2020 agenda package

Supplementary tax and assessment bylaws scheduled for third reading

Council gave first and second reading to the 2020 Supplementary Assessment of Improvements Bylaw and the 2020 Supplementary Tax Bylaw.

A supplementary property assessment is the value of any new construction that has been completed or occupied during the current calendar year that was not included in your annual assessment and property taxes. Supplementary assessments are typical in new home construction, where the dwelling or improvements were still under construction in the current taxation year.

Council authorizes one-year contract with EPCOR 

Council authorized the Mayor and CAO to enter into a one-year contract with EPCOR to operate the Municipality of Jasper’s Waste Water Treatment Plant, starting January 27, 2020. 

EPCOR will also review operations, update the equipment and prepare the facility for the next 10+year operating contract that will be available for public bidding in 2021. 

January 7, 2020

Arena slab and board replacement approved 

Council approved a $1,470,000 capital project to replace the slab and boards at the Jasper Arena. The project will be completed concurrently with the ammonia plant replacement project to realize cost savings by combining the two projects for completion in the 2020 summer shutdown.

2020 Utility Rates 

The Municipality of Jasper provides safe drinking water, sewer, garbage and recycling services to the community. Utility rates are based on a cost-recovery model, where the cost of providing services is directly funded by those who use it. This includes funding for upgrades to our aging water distribution and sewer collection systems. The utility fees for 2020 were set by Council through the Utility Fees Bylaw 2020, which was passed at the last meeting.

*Estimated Average Utility Bill, Residential Users, Single Dwelling
Based on a 30 cubic meters water consumption over a two-month billing cycle2020 Rates
The increase in sewer fees is due to additional capital, maintenance and operating costs at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The large volume of wastewater generated by visitors to Jasper and Jasper National Park is showing its effects on equipment as the plant is operating at capacity.

The increase in recycling fees is due to a significant change in markets in 2019. The Municipality lost $70,000 in revenue for recyclables, namely for cardboard and plastic. Staff are currently reviewing services for cost efficiencies and adjusting to the new reality of recycling in Alberta.

December 17, 2019  

Jasper to apply as a ‘Hub’ for regional Family Resource Network 

Council directed Administration to apply a new provincial Expression of Interest (EOI) to act as a ‘Hub’ for the Family Resource Network for the proposed network area of Jasper, Hinton, Edson, Yellowhead County and possibly Grande Cache. If approved, the Community and Family Services department would coordinate the delivery of all the services, supports, programming and reporting for all of the communities in the proposed network area. 

Council approves 2020 interim operating budget

Council approved the 2020 interim operating budget, allowing the Municipality to continue providing current services into the New Year until the final operating budget is approved in the spring. 

No decisions have been made yet regarding external funding requests. Those requests will be discussed further in 2020. 

Council approves capital budget items

Several capital budget items were approved including phase two of a rescue vehicle purchase, the demolition of the AMA building on Connaught Drive and a Wastewater Treatment Plant Operations Review. 

Council also approved a Jasper Housing Corporation project, which is intended to address a shortage of staff housing in town. 

View a full list of approved items.

New Utility Fees Bylaw for 2020 

Council gave first and second reading to the 2020 Utility Fees Levy and Collection Bylaw, which will allow the Municipality to collect fees for water, sewer, solid waste and recycling services in the New Year. 

A third and final reading of the bylaw is scheduled for the next regular meeting on January 7, 2020. 

Council appoints new board members 

Council appointed new members to the Jasper Municipal Library Board and the Culture and Recreation Board. 

EPCOR to take over operations at the Waste Water Treatment Plant

The Municipality of Jasper and SUEZ have agreed to an early end date for the contract to operate Jasper’s waste water treatment plant as of January 27, 2020. The contract was due to expire in 2022, which would require public bidding in 2021. The Municipality is pleased to hire EPCOR to take over the operations of the plant for one year, review operations, update the equipment and prepare the facility for the next 10+year operating contract that will be available for public bidding in 2021.

December 3, 2019

Jasper Artists Guild and the Legion seeking support 

Council heard a presentation from the Jasper Artists Guild (JAG), who is seeking support to help offset the cost of rent at the Library and Cultural Centre and increase visitor traffic to the art gallery. The Legion is seeking support to update and revitalize the local cenotaph. Council will discuss these requests further at a future meeting. 

Further discussion on the proposed 2020 operating and capital budgets 

On November 26 and 27, the Municipality of Jasper held public budget meetings where staff presented the proposed operating and capital budgets for 2020. The public meetings marked the beginning of formal budget discussions for Council. 

At the December 3 meeting, Council gave notice that decisions will be made on the interim operating budget and the capital budget at the next regular meeting on December 17. 

The interim operating budget allows the Municipality to continue providing current services into the new year until the final operating budget is approved in the spring. Council and staff will continue discussing and making adjustments to the operating budget in the new year, before the tax rates can be set for 2020. 

On the capital front, Council identified items that need more information or discussion prior to being considered for decision. Items that did not require more information are scheduled for decision at the December 17 regular meeting, enabling staff to begin working on approved projects early in the new year and secure competitive contracts. 

For more information: 

No changes until 2021 for Bylaw Enforcement staff 

Council deferred implementing a decision on bylaw services staff designation until August 2021. Until then Administration will recruit Level 2 Community Peace Officers and a summer term position at the Municipal Compliance Officer level. More information on this item can be found in the September 17, 2019 highlights. 

Jasper delegation to visit Japanese sister city in 2020 

Council approved sending a delegation to Hakone, Japan (Jasper’s long-time sister city) in 2020. A budget for this delegation hasn’t been approved yet, but Administration is recommending approximately $10,000 be allocated to the delegation using funds from the Hakone Delegation Restricted Reserve and the Council Projects budget item. 

The last time a delegation from Jasper went to Hakone was in 2012.

November 19, 2019 

Traffic Advisory Committee disbands 

Council passed the Traffic Advisory Committee Repeal Bylaw, which effectively disbands the Traffic Advisory Committee.

Adhering to its Strategic Priorities, Council is reviewing and evaluating municipal committee and board roles, structures and responsibilities. The Traffic Advisory Committee consisted mostly of municipal staff, who will continue to work together on traffic safety matters outside of the formal committee structure.  

Records Management Bylaw and Policy

Council gave first reading to the Records Management Bylaw, which intends to set the foundation for improved and consistent records management practices for the Municipality of Jasper. The proposed bylaw and policy will support decision making; meet legislative, governance and operational functions; and protect the legal, fiscal, historical and other interests of the Municipality. This item will be back on the Council agenda in coming weeks and will be addressed during the upcoming 2020 budget presentations.

2019 debenture funds transferred to restricted reserves for 2020

Council approved transfers of 2019 operating dollars to restricted reserves so they can be accessed in 2020 for debenture repayment for the Recreation Complex Renovation – Phase 1 and the Wastewater Treatment Plant Renovation projects. While the funds were expected to be spent in 2019, changes in the borrowing timelines have pushed the first repayments to 2020.

More information on the Recreation Complex and the Waste Water Treatment Plant renovations is available in the October 15, 2019 meeting highlights.

Cancelled meeting 

Council cancelled its December 24, 2019 committee of the whole meeting.

Upcoming decisions

Council gave notice that, at the next regular Council meeting, decisions will be made on the 895A Bonhomme Street staff house maintenance and repairs, and sending a Jasper delegation to Hakone, Japan in 2020.

November 5, 2019 

Budget Presentations 

The 2020 municipal budget process is underway. During the next few months Council will discuss capital budget requests and the operating budget, including funding requests from community organizations.

Habitat for the Arts and the Jasper Yellowhead Historical Society presented their requests at the November 5 meeting. The Jasper Municipal Library Board, the Jasper Victim Services Society and the Jasper Skate Park Committee are scheduled to present at the November 12 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Public budget meetings will also take place on November 26 to discuss the capital and operating budgets for Finance and Administration, Community and Family Services and Culture and Recreation; and on November 27 to discuss the capital and operating budgets for Operations and Protective Services. Both meetings are at 6 pm in the Quorum Room in the lower level of the Jasper Library and Cultural Centre.

Council is expected to make a decision on the 2020-2024 interim operating budget and the 2020-2024 capital budget in mid-December.  

Studded Bike Tire Rebate Program

The Studded Bike Tire Rebate program is back for another season. A total of $5,000 is available for the program. Funding dollars have been allocated from the Environmental Stewardship reserve.  

The program aims to assist Jasper residents in overcoming the financial barrier of purchasing studded winter bike tires and to support local bike shops. Seventy-five people partook in the last program.

A maximum of two coupons, at a value of $50 per tire, per resident will be available at the Administration Office later this month. Program details will be posted on the municipal website and social media.

October 15, 2019

Evergreens Foundation

Council received a presentation from Kristen Chambers, Chief Administrative Officer for the Evergreens Foundation, which provides affordable housing options for seniors in the region including Jasper’s Alpine Summit Seniors Lodge. Ms. Chambers highlighted that the property tax requisition for the Evergreens Foundation supports seniors lodge-type accommodations only, while other programs like rent subsidies and other accommodation facilities (such as Pine Grove Manor) are funded through other sources of funding, including provincial dollars. Detailed documentation on the Evergreens Foundation is available in the October 15, 2019 agenda.

Department Reports – Culture and Recreation

Work is ongoing at the Jasper Aquatic Centre, where the waterslide and stairs are being removed and other mechanical upgrades are taking place. The project is currently on schedule.

Department Reports – Community and Family Services

Wildflowers Childcare’s agreement with the provincial government to provide $25 a day childcare to Jasper families is set to expire on March 20, 2020. While no formal announcements have been made by the Provincial Government on whether the program will continue or not, municipal staff are preparing for rates to return to pre-subsidy levels next spring unless a new announcement regarding this grant program is made. These financial projections will be included in the 2020 operating budget and families using the service should prepare for the potential change in childcare rates.

Borrowing Bylaws

Council gave third and final reading to the Recreation Complex Renovation Phase 1 Borrowing Bylaw and the Wastewater Treatment Plant Borrowing Bylaw. The two bylaws enable the Municipality of Jasper to borrow funds from the Alberta Capital Finance Authority to fund needed renovations and upgrades to municipal facilities. A complete list of items funded under the two bylaws is available below in the October 1, 2019 Council Highlights. 

October 1, 2019

Mutlipurpose Hall Updates 

Council approved the expenditure of $50,000 for the Multipurpose Hall moveable wall and ceiling tile replacement project. Earlier this year, the old Multipurpose Hall floor was removed and replaced with a new, more durable and more eco-friendly to maintain surface. This project came in under budget, allowing for the remaining funding to be re-directed to the moveable wall and ceiling tiles project, which was originally scheduled to take place in 2020. 

Procurement Policy Update 

Council approved a new Procurement Policy for the Municipality of Jasper, a document which outlines the steps municipal staff must take to purchase goods, services and construction. The policy was updated to meet current trade agreement requirements and provide greater clarity on the municipal purchasing process for staff and the public. 

Recreation Complex Renovation and Wastewater Treatment Plant Borrowing Bylaws 

Council gave second reading to the Recreation Complex Renovation Phase 1 Borrowing Bylaw (#219) and the Wastewater Treatment Plant Borrowing Bylaw (#220). After receiving third and final reading, the bylaws will allow Administration to incur debt with the Alberta Capital Finance Authority to finance projects approved during the 2019 capital budget process. Funds are slated to be expended as follows*:

Recreation Complex Debenture 2019

WWTP Debenture 2019

*Dollar values for each project may vary depending on what grant funding becomes available. Municipal funds are maximized through accessing available grants.

September 17, 2019

Council sets borrowing terms for the Recreation Complex renovation and the WWTP renovation 

Council approved 15-year borrowing terms for both the Recreation Complex renovation (Phase 1) debenture and the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) renovation debenture. Other proposed borrowing terms were 20 and 25 years. Council chose the shorter terms to reflect the life expectancy of individual infrastructure components associated with each project.

View a list of items covered by the debentures.

Boiler repairs for the Jasper Fitness and Aquatic Centre 

Council approved the expenditure of $50,000 from reserves for repairs to a boiler at the Jasper Fitness and Aquatic Centre. Earlier this month, staff noticed there was a failure of the heat exchanger in one of the boilers. Without repairs to this boiler, the Jasper Fitness and Aquatic Centre would not be able to maintain consistent building and pool temperatures throughout the colder months.  

Possible changes for Bylaw Enforcement staff 

Council discussed the possibility of new training for the Municipality’s Bylaw Enforcement Officers to become Community Peace Officer (CPO) Level 1– which is a higher level of certification than the CPO Level 2 designation Jasper’s Bylaw Enforcement Services Staff currently hold.

Following a CPO Level 2 fatality in the Municipal District of Foothills in 2012, the Alberta Solicitor General is making mandatory changes to the provincial Peace Officer Program. All CPOs will now have to be trained, qualified and equipped as CPO Level 1 or become Municipal Compliance Officers (MCO).

Administration and Council discussed staff safety being the main factor, secondary is the desired service level which could remain as is with the CPO Level1 designation, or be reduced to an MCO service.

Council will discuss this item further at an upcoming committee of the whole meeting.

September 3, 2019

Council Signs the Violence Threat Risk Assessment and Intervention Protocol 

In support of community health and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships, Council agreed to sign the West Yellowhead Community Violence Threat Risk Assessment and Intervention Protocol. The protocol was developed by Grande Yellow Public School Division to ensure a collaborative response to community and school safety. 

Protocol partners agree to work together for the common goal of threat reduction by proactively sharing information, advice and support that assists in the prevention of a potential traumatic event. 

Cancelled: September 10 Committee of Whole Meeting 

Council cancelled its September 10 Committee of the Whole Meeting in order to focus on a Council and Management training session scheduled for the same day. The training session aims to foster enhanced Council-Staff relationships, as outlined in Council’s Strategic Priorities.

August 20, 2019

Operations Department Capital Budget

Following recommendations from the Director of Operations, Council agreed to cancel previously approved capital funding and reallocate the money to purchase better suited equipment for municipal service delivery. Council approved the purchase of a snow blower ($120K), which is expected to increase efficiencies and decrease costs for snow removal. Following a trial last winter, Operations staff noted that three to five times more snow per truck can be hauled when the snow is compacted using a snow blower.

Council also approved $48K to support the purchase a snow plow truck with a brine applicator and salt management technology; $32K to buy out two leased trucks; $70K for a new Toolcat – a small, multi-use machine that is compatible with current Bobcat attachments (brooms, plows, etc.); and $107K for asphalt repairs in areas that need it the most.

Waste Water Treatment Plant Capital Request 

Council approved a project budget of $650,000 to repair the Jasper Waste Water Treatment Plant’s primary clarifier, a treatment tank where solid materials are mechanically removed from the effluent. The project will be funded from within the $2.2M capital budget Council approved for the Waste Water Treatment Plant earlier this year.

Borrowing Bylaws

Council gave first reading to the Jasper Recreation Complex Renovation Borrowing Bylaw ($3.4M) and the Waste Water Treatment Plant Borrowing Bylaw ($2.2M).

During the 2019 capital budget process, Council approved a $3.7 million budget for the relocation of the Jasper Arena ammonia plant and related improvements, and a $2.2 million budget for necessary repairs at the Jasper Waste Water Treatment Plant. The Municipality has to borrow to finance these projects, which must be approved by bylaw. Following first reading, the Municipality must advertise the proposed bylaws to the public, who has the opportunity to review the bylaw and file a petition opposing the proposal.

All municipal bylaws must be read three times and receive certification from Parks Canada before being enacted.

Taxation of Hostelling International Property

Council passed Bylaw #218 – the Taxation of Hostelling International Property Bylaw.

According to the Municipal Government Act, Hostelling International (HI) properties are exempt from property taxes unless Council passes a bylaw to make the property subject to taxation. The passing of Bylaw #218 means the Hostelling International property, located on Sleepy Hollow Road, will be subject to taxes starting Aug. 20, 2020, unless Council and HI reach an agreement in lieu of taxes within the next calendar year.