Year in Review – A Report from the Chair
by Tom Gilchrist
The MRWCC completed its second year of operation. Some directors were re-elected to provide a rotational continuity for future boards. The Board renegotiated the contract with Sandi Riemersma to provide administrative services and project coordination. The goals that were set last year have not changed. Four active teams are working energetically to reach those goals. The Team reports provide details of their programs.
Our operating funds are provided by grants from the provincial government, administered by Alberta Environment (AENV). We have received the requested amount of funds for administration and ongoing programs.
Discussions were held this year around the method of funding for WPACs. The method of funding for specific projects changed from grants to contracts. We did not agree with the contract approach due to a clause that specified that all information gathered under the contract would remain the exclusive property of the government. Our projects are funded through various levels of government as well as by inkind support from our partners. All cooperators are entitled to the information that they have helped to assemble. A meeting of all the WPACs in January, voiced considerable opposition to AENV’s new approach and several solutions were suggested.
The AENV grant agreements also have a clause that prohibits the use of allocated funds for payment of GST. We are unable to comply with that clause because we are subject to GST and our only source of income has been from the grant, to date. We can only recover 50% of GST paid. The WPAC meeting in January brought this issue to the government’s attention. One solution would be to approach the municipal governments in the watershed for an annual grant.
Your Board is composed of energetic people that are very interested in our watershed. As a result, the Teams are active and moving ahead rapidly on their project schedules. Sandi is providing enthusiastic coordination of all these activities. Our major project was the production of a State of the Watershed Report. The report is an excellent document, completed in house with input from several provincial and federal government departments, as well as non-government agencies.
Your Council looks forward to an active, productive year ahead and recognizes the commitment of its directors and residents of the watershed. The retiring directors deserve your vote of thanks for their valued input during their term of office.
Submitted by Tom Gilchrist, Chair