News Releases

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July 11, 2019

News Release

Kneehill County Council invests in Torrington Fire

Through the budget process over the past two years, Council haTorrington Fire Halls invested in making Torrington fire a priority. In consultation with the Torrington fire department, the Torrington fire hall has had numerous updates. Painting of the interior and exterior of the hall were completed in June, as well as a racking system for bunker gear to allow for proper storage and drying of the gear. The Torrington Ag Society graciously accommodated the fire apparatus during the project. The fire hall meeting room is almost complete as well with a kitchenette in the works.

Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) replacement has been ongoing for a number of years, however, we weren’t able to keep up with the changing demands and have purchased ten new complete sets in order to ensure firefighter safety.

CapRacking Systemital equipment replacement has also been a priority with the purchase of a new brush truck for wildland firefighting in 2018, and a new top-mount engine has been ordered with expected delivery in late 2020. Engines are on order to be placed in Acme, Carbon, and Trochu’s fire halls, as part of the capital replacement plan reviewed annually by Council in an effort to replace large future items as part of our asset management planning.

Torrington Fire is operated by Kneehill County and is part of a fire service encompassing our entire area within Kneehill County borders. The Fire Management Committee, consisting of fire chiefs from all six departments (Acme, Carbon, Linden, Trochu, Three Hills, and Torrington/Kneehill County), have identified training and training resources as a priority. In 2017, Kneehill County applied for the Alberta Collaboration Partnership grant on behalf of the region to build the live-burn training centre located in Trochu. Over 35 area firefighters have been trained to a 1001 firefighting level in the past two years, including fourteen Torrington Fire Department members. TrainTorrington Fire Hall Interioring, including wildland firefighting and vehicle extrication, continues to be a priority for all our volunteers.

As the fire service continues to evolve with new equipment, updates to legislation, and growing expectations, our volunteer departments continue to adapt. Municipalities continue to plan for the future, with sustainability and resident safety in mind.

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For more information, please contact Kneehill County,
403-443-5541

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June 13, 2019

News Release

Kneehill County Council adopts Strategic Plan 

At the June 11, 2019, Council Meeting, Kneehill County Council approved the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan.

Council engaged in a strategic planning session in February of 2019, reviewing Kneehill County's prior strategic priorities and performances, considering the organization's values, enumerating stakeholders, and evaluating both internal and external operating environments to determine a Strategic Plan for the benefit of Kneehill County as a whole.

The adopted Strategic Plan sets the direction for Kneehill County, documenting Council's long-term Vision, Values and key Strategic Priorities. "Council has put considerable thought and effort into the formation of the Strategic Plan," said Reeve Jerry Wittstock, "We are confident this plan will guide Kneehill County in the right direction for the future."

Kneehill County Council's Vision:

  • Kneehill County is a well-respected community with strong leadership, pursuing development that promotes quality of life in a rural environment and where customers are satisfied with services provided.

Kneehill County Council's Values:

  • Accountability - Everything we do is for the good of Kneehill County as a whole
  • Integrity – We embody high standards of ethical conduct in all situations
  • Collaboration/Cooperation - We believe in being involved and taking a regional approach
  • Respectful – We endeavour to be welcoming and treat others fairly and consistently
  • Transparency - To the extent possible, our decision making is open so all can understand
  • Equitable – We seek to be fair and ask only to be treated fairly
  • Health & Safety – We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our stakeholders

Kneehill County Council's Strategic Priorities:

  • Improving Fiscal Sustainability
  • Preserving Rural Way of Life
  • Pursuing Focused Growth
  • Ensuring Engaged Communications
  • Providing Good Governance

The Strategic Plan will guide organizational efforts and help staff formulate the various recommendations that they bring forward to Council for debate, deliberation and decision making.

To view Kneehill County's Strategic Plan, please visit www.kneehillcounty.com.

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For more information, please contact Kneehill County, 403-443-5541

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May 10, 2019

News Release

Trident Exploration Corp. Ceases Operations

Trident Exploration Corp. (an Alberta-based natural gas producer) has ceased operations effective April 30, 2019.

Trident had 125 taxable properties within the County. While Trident's decision to shut down operations will have a significant impact on Kneehill County, Council has taken steps to minimize that impact in its financial planning and budget.

By holding the line on non-residential taxes, focusing on diversifying the economy, and establishing reserves, Council's decisions have considered the current Oil and Gas environment while balancing the need to provide sustainable services to our residents. Kneehill County Council and Administration will continue to monitor this development, and act accordingly as the year progresses.

Please note: Trident wells throughout Kneehill County are being transitioned to the care of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER).

For safety or operational issues, please contact Veracity Energy Service, at 1-866-618-2933.

For energy-related incidents, contact the AER's 24-hour response and complaint line, 1-800-222-6514.

For information regarding surface-lease agreements, please contact the Alberta Surface Rights Board at 780-427-2444 or email them at srb.leb@gov.ab.ca

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For more information, please contact Kneehill County, 403-443-5541

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April 3, 2019

Kneehill County Council Appoints Chief Administrative Officer

Council is pleased to announce that Mr. Mike Haugen has been selected as the new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for Kneehill County. He will be assuming his new role and responsibilities on May 1, 2019.

Beginning his municipal career in the Alberta Municipal Affairs Internship program, Mr. Haugen has been serving in a leadership capacity for over 13 years. After successfully completing the Municipal Internship Program, he spent just under two years as the CAO with the Village of Caroline, while also concurrently serving as the Community Services Coordinator for Clearwater County. Following that, he moved into a Director role with Clearwater County, based out of Rocky Mountain House. He was then recruited as the CAO with the MD of Greenview (the Province's third largest rural municipality based on geographical footprint), where he spent the past five years.

In addition to many relevant courses, Mr. Haugen has a Certificate in Globalization & Governance, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, his Certificate in Municipal Management & Leadership, as well as his National Advanced Certificate in Local Authority Administration which earned him his Certified Local Government Manager designation. Council feels that Mr. Haugen brings the right mix of education, hands-on experience, and leadership to Kneehill County and that with his addition to the team, he will be an asset to the organization and the County.

He comes with a vast professional network of contacts, as well as a solid understanding of central Alberta and local government best practices. Council is confident that with the addition of Mr. Haugen to the existing team, Kneehill County is well-positioned for the future.

Council wishes to thank Interim CAO Mr. Peter Tarnawsky and County administration for their on-going support throughout this recruitment process over the past three months. With Mr. Tarnawsky's recent departure, Ms. Laurie Watt (Director of Municipal Services) will serve as the Interim CAO until Mr. Haugen begins fulltime next month.

Please join us in welcoming Mr. Haugen to the County.

For Further Information Please Contact:
Reeve Jerry Wittstock
403-312-6196

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February 13, 2019

News Release

Minister of Municipal Affairs Decision: Municipal Inspection Not Warranted

Kneehill County Reeve Jerry Wittstock and Council have been notified by the Minister of Municipal Affairs that no further action will be taken in response to a petition submitted by the residents of Kneehill County.

A preliminary review was conducted by ministry staff in December.

Advice from ministry staff indicates that addressing "minor issues" identified in the recent Municipal Affairs Municipal Accountability Program (MAP) audit that Kneehill County undertook voluntarily in the fall, as well as improved communications between Council, Administration and residents "…would address any items of concern from the standpoint of Municipal Affairs."

Staff has already addressed 5 of the 6 items identified in the MAP audit. Council will address a renewed commitment to communications in an upcoming Strategic Planning Retreat.

Letter from the Minister of Municipal Affairs

Municipal Accountability Program Report

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For more information, please contact Kneehill County, 403-443-5541

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Kneehill County, AB

January 18, 2019

News Release

Clubroot Confirmed in Kneehill County

The first occurrence of Clubroot was recently confirmed in Kneehill County. Clubroot is a serious soil-borne crop disease that affects canola and other cruciferous crops. Clubroot causes the formation of galls on the roots, which leads to premature death of the plant. Clubroot was first confirmed in Alberta in 2003 when it was found in a canola field northwest of Edmonton, and it was declared as a pest under the Alberta Agricultural Pests Act in 2007.

Clubroot is spread mainly through the movement of soil containing Clubroot spores, typically transported on equipment, vehicles, and through erosion. Clubroot spores have a long half-life of approximately 4 years, however, spores have been shown to survive up to 20 years in soil. There is currently no treatment for this crop disease, however, it can be effectively managed to reduce the severity of its impact on crop yield. Best management practices for Clubroot include: regular scouting of fields, appropriate crop rotation, seeding resistant canola varieties, and sanitizing / washing equipment.

The Kneehill County Agricultural Services staff survey canola fields in the County for Clubroot on an annual basis, and encourage all canola growers to scout their fields also. A critical step in managing Clubroot is early detection. Symptoms of Clubroot in canola may present as galls on the root of the plant, premature ripening, wilting of the plant, and stunted growth. Clubroot is commonly found in the entrances to fields, but it can occur in any portion of a field.

If you require more information or if you would like an inspector to survey your field, please contact Kneehill County Agricultural Services at 403-443-5541.

Additional information on Clubroot can be found in the following links:

Alberta Agriculture & Forestry Map of Clubroot in Alberta
Cumulative Clubroot Infestations 2003-2017

Alberta Agriculture & Forestry Clubroot Disease of Canola and Mustard
Clubroot Disease of Canola and Mustard

Alberta Agriculture & Forestry Clubroot Management Plan
Alberta Clubroot Management Plan

Canola Council Brochure – All About Clubroot
All About Clubroot

Canola Council Brochure – Equipment Sanitation Guide
Equipment Sanitation Guide

Canola Council Clubroot Information
Clubroot.ca

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For more information, contact Kneehill County 403-443-5541

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Kneehill County, AB

December 21, 2018

News Release

Kneehill County and Town of Trochu Working Together

The Town of Trochu and Kneehill County met on December 19 and 20, 2018, as part of a mandated mediation through Municipal Affairs. Both parties came to the session willingly and prepared to work together, intent on collaboration.

Both the Town and County agreed to meet in good faith in order to negotiate the intermunicipal agreements that are due by March 31, 2020, per new requirements set out in the Municipal Government Act.

The negotiations between the Town of Trochu and Kneehill County will be ongoing through the new year. As these are contractually based agreements, these sessions will be confidential and closed to the public. A mutual commitment to open and frequent communication with each other will be key to shared successes.

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Kneehill County 403-443-5541
Town of Trochu 403-442-3085

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Kneehill County, AB

November 19, 2018

News Release

Kneehill County and Town of Trochu reach an Agreement

Kneehill County and the Town of Trochu are pleased to announce we will jointly work together through a mediated process. Both Councils believe that working together is necessary and beneficial to both communities.

The first meetings will take place in December.

The conversations will open the doors to collaboration and form a refreshed foundation for the Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF) between the County and the Town.

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For more information, contact Debra Grosfield, Kneehill County Communications 
Kneehill County 403-443-5541
Town of Trochu 403-442-3085

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Kneehill County, AB

October 17, 2018

News Release

Kneehill County CAO Resigns

Kneehill County Council has regrettably accepted the resignation from Al Hoggan, CAO of Kneehill County. Council would like to express our appreciation to Mr. Hoggan for his years of dedicated service and his expertise in improving our municipal organization. Council wishes Mr. Hoggan continued success in his new endeavors.

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Kneehill County, AB

August 21, 2018

News Release

Kneehill County Council responds to Resident Concerns

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Kneehill County, AB

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May 9, 2018

News Release

Kneehill County holds the line on Municipal Taxes.

Kneehill County Council is pleased to announce that there will be no increase to municipal taxes in 2018. Although Kneehill County has lost significant assessment, particularly in the oil and natural gas sector, through solid management of our revenue over expenses we remain in a good financial position. Kneehill County has been able to maintain its high level of service to our ratepayers while controlling expenses in areas that have no or minimal impact on our residents.

The County continues to have an excellent road network and there are significant road construction and upgrades planned through this year's construction season. Many of our residents enjoy the convenience of our rural water lines and Council has dedicated almost $5 million dollars to an upgrade to the Churchill Water System which will improve the service for current users, and allow for expansion to those in the area who have not had the opportunity to connect to a County water line. In 2018 we have been able to expand the Peace Officer Department to provide greater enforcement visibility in our rural areas. Our new Kneehill County Fire Chief will be creating a long term strategy for fire protection for Kneehill County rural and hamlet residents.

2018 will continue to be a great year for Kneehill County and we look forward to hearing from our residents to gain feedback on the services we provide and on our overall direction.

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For more information, contact Deb Grosfield, Communications 

Kneehill County 403-443-5541 

Kneehill County, AB

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May 3, 2018

News Release

Kneehill County aids the Village of Carbon in Flood Recovery

At the Special Council Meeting held Thursday, May 3, 2018, Kneehill County Council moved to aid the Village of Carbon in their Flood Recovery and Mitigation, providing $200,000.00 from the Contingency Fund Reserves to assist in repairs and reclamation.

While Kneehill County regularly experiences some measure of flooding from spring run-off every year, 2018's Overland Flooding event was unprecedented. Late spring snow, combined with frozen ground and rapid snow melt, led to both the Three Hills and Kneehills Creek overflowing their banks, causing widespread damage and prompting numerous road closures. The effects of the flooding proved especially disastrous to the Village of Carbon's east end.

A main source of Village revenue, at one point Carbon's East Campground was completely under water. The campsites have been washed out and the area is now covered in a thick layer of silt and debris. The Village's Ball Diamonds, the swinging pedestrian bridge and the walking paths along the creek have also been destroyed by the flood waters.

While clean-up in Carbon has begun, the total damage and cost of repairs are extensive. As recreation is vital to the Village's economy, Kneehill County Council is ready to respond and assist in Carbon's Flood Recovery.

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For more information, contact Debra Grosfield, Communications 

Kneehill County 403-443-5541 

Kneehill County, AB

PDF VERSION

May 2, 2018

News Release

Kneehill County announces Rural Fire Chief

A new rural fire chief, Daniel Ross, former fire chief of Charlie Lake Fire Department, will be joining the Kneehill County Protective Services Department on May 22, 2018.

Kneehill County Council set the Rural Fire Strategy as one of its primary strategic goals to accomplish in 2018. The fire strategy is a key document which will provide guidance for Council to ensure the protection of Kneehill County residents in regards to a rural-focused fire service.

Dan Ross joined the military out of high school serving 6 years with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry based out of Victoria, BC and Calgary, AB which included two United Nations Peacekeeping Missions to Croatia. He then became a military firefighter for the remaining 14 years of his military career, including serving one tour in Afghanistan and completing various fire service certifications such as Firefighter Level 2, Hazardous Materials Technician and all four levels of Fire Officer certification as well as a Bachelor Degree in Business.

Dan retired from the military in 2011 and moved into municipal firefighting with Yellowhead County as a Deputy Fire Chief for 9 departments. After 6 years with the YCFD, Dan continued to expand his portfolio by becoming the Manager of Emergency Services and Fire Chief for the Peace River Regional District where he received his Chief Fire Officer Designation, becoming recognized as a member of the International Association of Fire Engineers.

Dan has a daughter in Lethbridge and will be welcoming his first grandchild shortly. When not in the fire station, Dan spends as much time possible camping around Alberta.

Dan is looking forward to the new adventures with Kneehill County and is anxious to start working with our staff and the fire departments of the area.

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For more information contact Debra Grosfield, Communications

Kneehill County 403-443-5541

Kneehill County, AB

PDF VERSION

April 24, 2018

News Release

Council focuses on County Resident Needs

Over the course of the last four years, Kneehill County has seen a significant decrease in revenues. This decrease has caused Kneehill County Council to search for budget efficiencies that will help to maintain the quality and level of services that County residents expect. The costs of running the business of Kneehill County have increased each year. The County's staff have worked hard at minimizing the impacts of the increases by reducing operating budgets and Council has resisted increasing property taxes of our residents for many years.

The provinces' downloading of greater responsibilities, reductions to our assessment formula by the province, the rising costs of fuel and equipment, the carbon taxes, plus the rising costs of the County's business operations, have forced Council into some difficult decisions. Most important however, is our declining taxable assessment base. Since 2013 Kneehill County has seen its overall assessment decline by 25% or approximately $500 million in assessable properties. With our current tax rates this has meant an estimated loss in 2018 of $5.6 million dollars in industrial tax. Combined with the province's reductions to the assessment formula which resulted in a loss of $1.8 million dollars, Kneehill County is faced with significant revenue losses for the 2018 budget year.

To minimize the effects on Kneehill County residents, Council has determined their focus should be on Kneehill County residents and the services they require, and Council will be implementing policy changes to reflect this new focus. The first step in the new program focus is to announce the cancellation of the Regional Resource Urban Sustainability Grant given annually to our neighbouring towns and villages. The approximately $1 million dollars spent through this grant program will be re-incorporated into the Kneehill County budget to reduce the impact of the economic downturn on County residents, through maintaining existing services and by improving services for residents in targeted areas.

Kneehill County Council recognizes that the loss of the Regional Resource Urban Sustainability Grant will have a negative impact on our neighbouring towns and villages. To help reduce the impact, we have committed to renewing funding of $250,000 total for recreation and other services, provided by our urban neighbours, that are utilized by Kneehill County residents. Also the cancellation of the Regional Resources Urban Sustainability Grant does not impact the funding provided for other services such as fire protection, emergency management, solid waste and other previously agreed to recreation services.

Kneehill County Council is committed to maintaining and improving the quality of life for County residents and is prepared to make the difficult decisions required to ensure that Kneehill County remains one of the best places to live in Alberta.

For further information and updates, Kneehill County residents are invited to contact the County at 403-443-5541, or visit the Kneehill County website at www.KneehillCounty.com for councillor contacts.

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For more information, contact Debra Grosfield, Communications 

Kneehill County 403-443-5541 

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