Message from the Mayor
2021 saw some big challenges for communications as we continued to work our way through COVID-19, the ever-changing Provincial restrictions, and into the recovery phase of the pandemic. We’ve made great strides in adjusting our communications practices to allow us to reach our residents.
In April 2020, Edson Town Council meetings shifted to a hybrid of Zoom and in-person meetings as Provincial restrictions meant the public and media were not able to attend in person. With fluctuating restrictions throughout 2021, we made several adjustments to the way Council meetings were broadcast, before returning to in-person meetings late in the year. The changes highlighted a need to have a broadcast/meeting system that is flexible and to allow residents and Council members to participate remotely. An upgraded system with that capability is scheduled to be put in place in mid-2022.
On top of the pandemic communications, work continued on evolving our website and mobile application to better connect with the Public. The Report-a-Problem feature was updated and is now widely used for all types of public feedback. The system allows administration to assign each issue to a manager and provide feedback directly to the person that submitted it.
Work also began on a website refresh and upgrade, which should be complete in mid-2022.
The Communications department is focused on ensuring there is an open dialogue both to our residents, and from our residents. We are constantly working on improving engagement to be able to inform citizens about what’s going on in our community, as well as hear our citizen's concerns and issues.
Council Chambers Broadcast Upgrade
Social Media Review
" Our Community Development team encompasses the coordination and delivery of programs and events in recreation, arts, culture, neighbourhood initiatives and Family Community Support Services (FCSS) for all ages. We were happy to host more events and programs in person this year. "
- FCSS launched the “I’m Good” Campaign which connected youth to local and online mental health and wellness services. We also hosted a virtual Youth Wellness Conference and made it available to all schools in our region.
- Youth Council had a record number of applications, and three previous Youth Councillors went off to pursue their post-secondary education.
- Mountain bike courses hosted by Sweet Riders at Willmore Park were popular with 67 total participants.
- Wop May Day was a huge celebration complete with fireworks on August 28th while Canada Day was scaled back to accommodate restrictions.
- RecEdson “Try It Month” offered 30 free programs to try out in August, funded by the Community Better grant.
- Early Childhood programs including Move Play Learn, Nature Play, Postnatal Wellness and Parent/Tot Fitness were offered in person this year.
- The Diversity & Inclusion Video project featured 13 unique family stories to celebrate diversity in our community.
- We held more events downtown this year which included activities such as art walks, live musicians, artists, food trucks and vendors.
- We hosted the Teddy Bear Picnic in collaboration with Early Childhood partners and had a huge turnout.
- Arts on Fire and Edson Arts Awards Gala were hosted online and will be archived on the Town’s YouTube channel.
- We received two government grants which will fund new lighting and accessibility upgrades at Griffiths Park Centre.
- $2,100 was awarded to 8 households through our Leisure Assist pilot program. We anticipate this will go up in 2022 with restrictions lifted and more programming available.
- 1100+ Students attended the Virtual Youth Mental Wellness Conference.
- 519+ Taxes completed through FCSS Community Volunteer Income Tax Program.
- 400+ Tiles painted for the Canada Connects Mural Mosaic.
- 594+ Step It Up participants
- 269+ Youth Interagency Wild Wednesdays participants.
- 400+ Seniors attended Seniors Week activities.
Like all front-line workers, The Town of Edson Enforcement Services Department was tasked with navigating a worldwide pandemic while continuing to serve our community in a safe and responsible way. Our agency continued providing efficient bylaw enforcement and assisted town departments, AHS, and the RCMP in delivering COVID-19 education throughout 2021.
Community Engagement and Service
Due to the pandemic, many events relating to public relations were postponed, however, our team was able to participate in COVID safe activities such as birthday and retirement drive-by parades along with fire, EMS and RCMP. Our officers continued with proactive foot patrols of our parks, trails, and greenspaces. Our vehicle patrols continued throughout the entire community, including schools and playgrounds. Our officers continue to liaise with the Edson RCMP, Edson Fire, Fish and Wildlife, and CN Police to work towards maintaining and building successful working relationships.
- Bylaw investigations
- Animal care and control
- Traffic services
- Traffic enforcement
- High visibility patrols
- Event support
- Document service
- Speed sign placement and statistics
The 4.5 (full time equivalent) RCMP detachment assistants that work out of the detachment are employed and paid by the Town of Edson Enforcement Services Department. This team provides essential law enforcement administrative support for the frontline RCMP members in Edson. Their duties include answering phones, attending the front counter, serving documents, court docket assistance, and providing support for a myriad of police duties.
Graphs Detailing Different Types of Investigations 2021 vs 2020
Our photo enforcement program for 2021 saw a significant increase in violations compared to 2020.
22,637 violators vs. 18,253 violators in 2020.
- Non-Resident violators 91%
- Resident violators 9%
Revenues generated for Edson through our photo enforcement program are used to off-set the costs of providing policing to our community as well as a reserve for public safety initiatives. In 2021 there were 22,637 violations with a net revenue for the town of $668,000.
Photo Radar Call Stats for 2021
|Photoradar trucks not parked safely||3|
|Too many Photoradar vehicles||1|
|Ticket not theirs||1|
|Angry they got caught||8|
Throughout 2021, the Fire Department continued to follow its internal business continuity plan in relation to the COVID pandemic to ensure our level of service was not compromised. This included such things as restricted public access to the station, enhanced safety measures, and small-group firefighter training sessions.
The Fire Department responded to 421 emergency incidents in 2021 (up 12.4% from 2020) as follows:
- 37 Motor Vehicle Collisions
- 6 Electrical Hazards/Down Powerlines
- 112 Fire Alarms/CO Alarms
- 12 Structure Fires
- 8 Natural Gas Leaks/Odor
- 206 Medical First Response
- 27 Wildland/Grass/Brush Fires
- 5 Vehicle Fires
- 4 Citizen Assist
- 4 Undetermined
- EFD recruited 4 new members in 2021
- 33 active members in 2021
- 9 Occupancy Load Permits were issued
- To limit public contact, no recreational fire pit permit inspections were conducted as part of COVID restrictions
- 13 Fire inspections were conducted for business licensing requirements
Green Light Bylaw
On Feb 2nd, 2021, Council gave third reading to Bylaw 2253, allowing Edson Firefighters to display front-facing flashing green lights in their personal vehicles while responding to the fire station for emergencies.
Since passing this bylaw and implementing it operationally, average response times have decreased from 9 minutes to 6 minutes, which means a 33% quicker response.
Medical First Response Program
In 2021, EFD responded to 206 medical-related emergencies, which accounts for almost 50% of fire department responses. EFD responds only to life-threatening medical emergencies, or if the local ambulance is delayed. We continue to work closely with Alberta Health Services and our local EMS provider to ensure a high level of service is provided to the Town of Edson.
Members provided 22,198 person hours to the fire service in 2021. This accounts for training hours, emergency response, and weekend on-call coverage. These hours do not account for time spent volunteering for public awareness/engagement activities, birthday drive-bys, senior’s complex parade, graduation parade, etc.
Critical Incident Stress Management
The Edson Fire Department has a trained team of Peers to provide support to our first responders during and after critical incidents. Led by our Fire Department Chaplain, these Peers are trained in Assisting Individuals in Crisis and Group Crisis intervention. An unfortunate reality is that critical incidents do occur, and EFD has a vested interest in the mental well-being of all first responders. Our Peer Support Network plays a critical role in ensuring our members are mentally prepared and capable of coping with these incidents.
Develop strategies and implement training programs to enhance first responder health, safety and survival.
Review in detail our current level of service, directives, guidelines and procedures to ensure we continue to meet industry best practices and applicable standards.
Provide advanced training and resources to our CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) Peer Team
The Human Resources Department is responsible for fostering and advocating the development of each employee in the organization, from hire to retire. Our employees’ safety, engagement, and overall well-being is central to providing the highest level of service we can to the taxpayers of Edson. In the months and years ahead, we will continue to build the kind of organization that enables, motivates, and supports its employees so they can continually enhance service levels.
Over two years of varying degrees of lock-down have taken their toll on our employees and the systems under which they operate. Though we’re pleased to report, we’ve come out of these challenges more resilient than ever before. Employees are engaging in newer platforms, demonstrating greater flexibility and maneuverability, all while finding increasingly efficient ways to serve Edson residents and businesses.
At present, the organization is undergoing positive and necessary organizational change to adapt to the needs of the people we serve. In addition to our new Chief Administrative Officer, we’ve filled the positions of GM, Infrastructure & Planning and GM, Community & Protective Services. We’ve also created a new Economic Development Officer position to help us recognize and harness the vibrant industrial and commercial energy of our community.
In the year ahead, our department will strive to streamline the working experience for all our employees, from just-before hire all the way to retire, as we revamp recruitment and onboarding procedures, bring new systems online and help this organization navigate remote work in a world where it’s no longer mandated, but perhaps necessary nonetheless!
Our people are our best resource. We endeavour to support them so they can more effectively support you in turn!
Health & Safety
2021 was a year of adapting and rolling with the ever-changing challenges related to the ongoing pandemic which forced us to amend how we look at safety in the workplace. From employees working remotely, to adapting how we work together in person.
The health and safety program was tested and grew throughout the year, this is a key sign of a strong health and safety program which our 2021 COR audit results also reflected. This was our first year since 2017 participating in the Peer Audit Program through Alberta Municipal Health and Safety Association (AMHSA) which turned out to be a beneficial process for us to have another certified auditor on staff and be able to network and get to know other municipalities and their health and safety programs throughout the province.
- 49 incidents were reported, 6 investigations conducted
- No lost-time claims, for the 5th year in a row!
- The successful release and implementation of a new digital health and safety program - Lighthouse
- We received our highest score ever on our COR audit – 91%
- Our Joint Health and Safety Committee has been hard at work keeping the health & safety program current, accurate, and up to date. Including conducting regular site inspections.
The Edson & District Leisure Centre
The Edson & District Leisure Centre
The Edson & District Leisure Centre is one of the busiest year-round locations within the Town of Edson. This recreation facility consists of two ice surfaces, an aquatic center, rental rooms, concession, skate sharpening service, and a common area.
The Leisure Centre believes in and is committed to promoting a healthy vibrant community.
Our facility is the booking hub for indoor & outdoor recreational spaces as well as the registration hub for Community Services Programs. We also house many user groups including Minor Hockey, Figure Skating, Men’s & Ladies Recreational Hockey, Edson Oldtimers, the GMHL, and our Swim Club.
2021 was a challenging year for our facility as we saw many closures and restrictions that impacted our staff, our services, and our patrons.
2021 Pool Highlights:
- 542 private swimming lessons taught by our pool staff
- 266 swimmers aged 2-12 went through group swimming lessons
- 622 pool rentals throughout the year
- Most attended programs are morning aquafit & swimming lessons
2021 Arena Highlights
The Leisure Centre was closed for the early part of 2021, and we reopened with limited activity for arena usage on February 16th. Edson Minor Hockey & Edson Figure Skating ran their programming until April 16th at which time the ice was removed for the spring and summer season.
Unfortunately, we were not permitted to offer any dry pad rentals or hospitality room rentals due to the restrictions imposed by the Provincial government.
August 3, 2021, our staff prepared to have Centennial ice put in for the Dangler Hockey Camp running August 16th – 20th.
At the end of August we were to begin with putting ice in the Memorial arena, however Elections Canada required space for the impromptu election held on September 20th. This delayed our ice availability and impacted programming for the majority of September until the ice was finally ready for September 28th.
All of our ice users started their regular season, except for the men’s league, due to the implementation of the REP program. Normally the men's league begins in early October and resumes in November.
We had four minor hockey tournaments in late November and through the early weeks of December.
Parks & Facilities
2021 was another busy and challenging year for the Parks Department. Extra cleaning and reduced staff due to COVID-19, and a very dry year, required us to be very flexible in our operations and kept us on our toes. Parks responded with their regular “can do” mindset of public service and played a crucial role in keeping park facilities open to the public, once again, during COVID-19.
The Trans Mountain Pipeline was completed at Vision Park and significant work was done on the Revitalization Plan. The west road was rebuilt entirely with proper ditching and grading for drainage. The work also included constructing a large parking lot on the upper west end of the facility. In addition to the road and parking lot work, multiple ball diamonds received upgrades to their fencing and backstops, dugouts were fixed and painted, and all of the facilities bleachers and picnic tables were painted as well.
The Town of Edson and the Edson Cycling Association entered into a formal agreement whereby the association receives grant funding and is responsible for maintaining and upkeep of Willmore Park Bike Skills Park and trials.
As a result of the leisure centre being closed and, in an effort to provide extra activities for the community during COVID-19, the Parks and Leisure staff teamed up to build a skating oval at Water Tower Park. The public received this initiative very well and the skating oval was well used.
The parks and green spaces classification system was developed, but due to COVID-19, it was not implemented due to staff shortages; implementation of the reduced mowing pilot program will begin in 2022.
Parks staff also removed around 25 dead trees throughout various locations such as the Cemetery, Willmore Park, and boulevards.
Additional 2021 Highlights:
Additional 2021 Highlights:
- Facility Maintenance supported multiple initiatives as part of our town's energy efficiency program.
- Trail signage project completed.
- Disc golf nets were put into various parks & green spaces.
- Completed Public Works Roof Replacement ($420,000).
- Facility Maintenance completed close to 500 work orders and 1,800+ hours of maintenance projects.
- Griffiths Park Centre renovations were delayed due to grant applications.
Galloway Station Museum
“The keyword at the Galloway Station Museum in 2021 was WELCOME!”
We partnered with the Town of Edson and helped celebrate Canada Day in Centennial Park with an artisan market, crafts and games. Other events included a booth on Main Street (complete with our inflatable Wilfred May’s Curtiss JN-4 Canuck!) during the Summer Festival and being an official ‘swag’ stop in the province-wide Rumble Alberta initiative.
The Galloway rolled out the Community Welcome Project in 2021, through which newcomers are provided with a bag full of important information on Edson and area, as well as some goodies from various local businesses and the Galloway Station Museum, including samples, coupons and special freebies.
The escape room that staff created inside the museum had to be canceled, so we decided to create an escape room in a trunk that can be taken to homes and schools. It’s a lot of fun, and tougher than you think!
The annual Wop May Day celebration was spectacular in 2021! Through another successful partnership with the Town of Edson, residents and travellers were able to experience markets, bench shows, amazing fireworks, carriage rides, games and a very popular pie eating contest. (That will definitely be coming back in 2022!)
Our last big event in 2021 was the Galloway’s annual Santa visit. On their way to see Santa, visitors were welcomed with a cookie and as they moved through the lineup, they could play games, win prizes and take photos of themselves and their family! We expected about 100 young people to visit with Santa, but had more than 200 children and their families attend!
" Thanks to the generosity of residents (and former residents) of the area, 61 artifacts that met with the EDHS collection mandate were accepted and accessioned into the Edson & District Historical Society’s permanent collection. Some of the items not accepted became part of the working/educational collection. "
Six exhibits were showcased during 2021:
- National Survival – the Civil Defense Exhibit
- Indigenous Display – Annual Display
- Natural World – New specimens of educational animal skulls added
- Fire Safe – in partnership with Alberta Wildfire
- Remembrance Day - Annual display
- Wop May display updated
Upcoming exhibits in 2022
- The Royal Flush
- Photographic Archival Display
- Annual Displays
The Corporate Services Department provides a range of financial and administrative services to Town staff and residents. Through sound accounting, forecasting, and financial planning, the Department preserves the long-term sustainability of the municipality and underpins the delivery of all public services. Its specific responsibilities include financial services (taxes, utilities, and accounts payable/receivable), policy development, IT, asset management, insurance, grant applications, and records retention.
During the pandemic, the Corporate Services Department worked on many ways to recognize the new financial climate faced by the Town as well as the residents and businesses in town. In 2020, Council passed an emergency budget which saw many cuts resulting in lower service levels across the organization. For 2021, Council started on the path to recovery from the emergency budget while still recognizing that the pandemic wasn’t over. They authorized a rebate on each utility bill of $50.00 to try to alleviate pressure being faced by taxpayers. Also, as in 2020, the tax payment deadline was extended by three months until September 30 to give any property owners additional time to pay if it was necessary.
Edson and District Public Library
For the past year the world has lived in a time that has shifted us from fear to confusion to relief and back to frustration, and in some cases resentment. Despite this constant emotional struggle, the library has worked hard to ensure that services to our community are maintained.
Even with occupancy reductions, our computers saw over 1,500 hours of use last year and the community connected to our Wi-Fi service over 20,000 times. We were not able to offer programming for most of the year, but we still had more than 1,500 people attend the programs we could offer. The residents of Edson and District have checked out over 68,000 items in 2021! In conjunction with Community Development, we ran a StoryWalk along the Edson trail system, and look to make it a permanent addition. In partnership with B.E.S.T. and F.C.S.S. we had a Grief and Renewal Tree at the library as a way of helping people of all ages express their grief and find comfort. The demand for more services and programs over the past year has illustrated that the library is not just a place for books but a vibrant and essential part of the community.
What the public can not see is that there has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes at the library. At the beginning of last year our Feasibility study was presented to Council. The study outlined the changes that we need to make in order to serve the community and to increase the sustainability of our facility. In May of 2021 we contracted an architectural firm to start the design process for the expansion and renovation. That process is ongoing, and we look forward to completion of an inclusive and welcoming new look.
In the Fall, Servus Credit Union made a donation to the library that saw our movie nights leap forward. We have a large screen, an HD projector, and a real popcorn machine. Now that we have reopened, family movie nights every Friday are better than ever! Other new innovations continue to find their way to us, in addition to the Click and Collect feature of the TRACPac App, we now have self checkout. Our collaboration within the regional systems has opened up sharing of e-resources. Residents can check out e-materials from the Yellowhead Regional Library System and the Parkland Regional Library System.
The library keeps growing and changing to meet the needs of the community. We have big plans that take residents' feedback seriously. A program facilitator will be increasing the after-school options we have for teens and children. Daytime favorites like story time return, and we will be working closely with groups like the Culture and Arts Network of Edson, Edson and District Community Literacy, Early Childhood Development Coalition, and many many others. Partnerships and working together ensure we can serve the community in ways beyond what one organization can do alone.
"The Edson and District Public Library is looking forward to a productive year filled with purpose and community engagement."
In 2021 we were able to complete phase one of the required Alberta Environment lead service inventory program. After many years of negotiations, we were finally successful in amalgamating all our well licenses into one license from Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) which should streamline the process for future exploration and implementation. 2021 also saw us break ground and start construction on a joint effort project with our parks department. We started constructing our building that will house a water treatment plant along with a tournament/washroom facility for ball players at Vision Park. Finally, we completed a comprehensive groundwater evaluation report that will help us with future exploration and ensure we are managing our aquifer for years to come.
At our Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) we undertook some performance studies to prepare for future upgrades that may be required by AEP. We also installed and sampled monitoring wells all around the site which will allow us to monitor the quality of the surrounding groundwater. We have installed more Smart manhole covers and fitted some of our main sewer lines with flow monitors to capture the flow and capacity so that we can make data based decisions on future upgrades. Finally, we were able to replace our 10 year old sewer camera with a new one this fall. We are now able to get a condition assessment of some of our bigger storm and main sewer lines and have the capability to create reports which will enable us to prioritize repairs or replacements. The same software and unit are also compatible with our smaller push reel camera and are lighter and more compact than the old gear.
Highlights of the year
- Completed the roofing project on the Public Works building.
- We have completed 581 work orders in 2021 (488 in 2020 ) an increase of 93 work orders.
- We used over 2000 man hours on these work orders.
- Work continues on the Griffiths renovation project but waiting on the provincial HVAC grant has delayed the project.
- We have framed the office walls, office doors, and work has begun on the accessible washroom and doors.
- Over the past 2 years vandalism has increased by at least 50%. Graffiti, and physical damage to town owned property including the Parkland soccer building, Parkland Gazebo and Griffiths Park building has been of concern.
- The Computers Edge building has also been broken into, vandalized and requires significant repair.
- Small updates to the front entrance of the town office have been completed, and we will be renovating the customer service desk in 2022. We will also apply sound suppression in offices to provide privacy and confidentiality to conduct our business.
- We have been actively engaged in energy efficiency work such as replacing and installing new door weather stripping and installing commercial water pipe heavy insulation to reduce energy costs in our properties.
- We are keeping up with the day to day work orders and ranking requests in order to prioritize and respond efficiently and effectively.
|Net taxes for municipal purposes||$12,611,962|
|Sales and user charges||$6,065,359|
|Returns on investments||$178,000|
|Penalties and costs on taxes||$155,000|
|Licenses & Permits||$94,900|
|Rentals & Leases||$743,525|
|Roads, Streets & Equipment||$4,273,919|
|Public Health & Welfare||$690,515|
|Planning & Development||$976,120|
|Recreation and parks||$4,276,675|
|EXCESS (DEFICIENCY) OF REVENUE OVER EXPENSES FROM OPERATIONS||$4,849,981|
|Funds to be used from Reserves||$2,465,801|
|Funds to be transferred to Reserves||($6,430,350)|
|Debenture Principal Repaid||($885,432)|
|NET EXCESS OF REVENUE OVER EXPENSES||$0|
|Vision Park Phase 1 - Diamonds||$1,822,240|
|Vision Park Phase 1 - Playgrounds||$100,000|
|Glenwood Park Upgrades||$435,000|
|Park Pond Fountains||$15,000|
|Public Works Building Furnace||$20,000|
|Multi Use Facilty||$20,000,000|
|V112 - Camera Van & Equipment||$265,000|
|V122 1/2 Ton Pickup||$75,000|
|Infrastructure Rehab. Program||$2,200,000|
|Wass Creek Design/Construction||$2,038,000|
|Highway Crossing Lights||$100,000|
|1st Ave 48-54 St Design||$230,982|
|40 St (6th-748) Design||$100,000|
|Landfill Cell - Compost||$300,000|
|Landfill Scale Upgrade||$50,000|
|Kubota Mower Deck||$25,000|
|Terminal Building Repairs||$100,000|
|Civic Center Boiler/LED Lighting||$415,000|
|Public Works LED Lighting||$85,000|
|Vision Park Well & Washroom||$2,274,660|
|Lagoon Receiving Station||$320,590|
|WWTP Performance Assessment||$116,080|
|Water Source Exploration||$235,640|
|Roads, Streets & Equipment||$6,252,750|
|Public Health & Welfare||$675,388|
|Planning & Development||$405,213|
|Recreation & Parks||$3,983,586|