By Cole Parkinson
With plenty of Municipal District of Taber irons in the fire in regard to grants, council is hoping to see them pay off.
In order to get updated on which grants they were in and out on, council was given an update at their regular meeting on June 25.
The first grant in question was the Federation of Canadian Municipalities grant for Climate Adaption.
While the M.D. had been approved for the grant, staff offered a few different recommendations on how to proceed.
“The FCM grant is approved, we received that but we haven’t signed it yet,” explained CAO Derrick Krizsan.
The grant is for $125,000 a year, on a two-year term for climate change adaption. The options were to return the grant and cancel the application, utilize the money to contract a two-year term employee or to add the additional workload to several directors and staff.
“Given that we don’t have any drainage studies or plans to do drainage studies in the works, as currently West Township 8 Range 16 is approaching the tendering stage. Alberta Transportation has picked up some of the Reliance Drainage work studies that we were doing. I don’t believe we would have projects lined up for this person,” added Krizsan.
With that information, a motion was made to notify FCM that the M.D. will be returning the climate adaption grant and will not be employing a person in this position and was carried unanimously.
The second grant brought back was the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC) in regard to the RenuWell Project.
RenuWell Energy is hoping to utilize abandoned and inactive oil and gas infrastructure as a foundation for building small-scale solar projects in the M.D. of Taber.
“We applied and received $261,000, so we are currently spending it on the study and framework to identify whether we can actually make this small scale solar work on abandoned oil and gas sites. That is proceeding and moving forward and should be done by Christmas,” explained Brian Peers, director of municipal lands and leases.
The third of the four leases brought back to council was the MCCAC Community Generation Challenge.
“It’s an opportunity for municipalities in the province to apply to them for up to $10 million for one project or 10 or who knows to develop a project that brings community benefit and to generate revenue for the municipality over time,” said Peers. “This is the on Keith (Hirsche, RenuWell) said he would commit time to and we aren’t paying him to do it. What we are paying him and his team for is the first grant.”
With this grant, council questioned how much staff time would be needed to continue the application for this grant.
“I’m hoping very little,” replied Peers.
A motion to proceed with the Community Generation Grant conditional upon Keith Hirsche undertaking the work to complete the application and project, and was carried unanimously.
The final grant was another MCCAC grant this time in the form of the Municipal Energy Manager Program.
This grant is for municipalities with a population size of 150,000 or below in Alberta and funding is available for two years, with the second being optional based on year one requirements. Funding is to a maximum of $80,000 a year and up to 80 per cent of eligible expenses.
“That is provincial money that we could apply for to have someone come into our municipality and identify areas to reduce our energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Basically, come in and do an energy management plan for the M.D,” stated Peers. “It would apply to all of our facilities. They would look at our vehicles to see if there were ways to save energy there.”
Much like the FCM grant, council was not confident in continuing with this grant. A motion was made to not proceed with the municipal energy manager position under the MCCAC and was carried unanimously.