Martensville City Council held their first meeting of May this past Tuesday. During this meeting, there were several topics to cover, including the approval of an increase to the consumer utility rates. The increase will be applied to the residential water consumption rate and all residents will see a 9.25% adjustment to their monthly charges. City of Martensville Director of Corporate Services Leah Sullivan explained that residents would see an increase of approximately $7.53 per month in 2018. Three readings were done before the amendments to the bylaw could be approved. Prior to the meeting, City management issued a Public Notice, informing residents of the upcoming adjustments.
At the May 1st meeting, Council also discussed Physician Recruitment Opportunities which could help bring additional doctors into the community. Recently, Martensville Collective Health & Wellness announced that they would have two new doctors joining their practice this year. Prior to this announcement both doctors had met with City representatives and had requested some incentive support due to their individual circumstances. Dillon Shewchuk, City of Martensville Community Economic Development Manager explained that both doctors are currently contemplating a minimum of two years for their service commitments. With one doctor relocating to Martensville from overseas and the other doctor a new graduate in 2018, both have upcoming expenses and have inquired about receiving financial supports to assist them during this transition. The City of Martensville has negotiated incentives to help each of the doctors. In total, the incentives between the two physicians would equal $20,000. “Both Physicians are set to commit based on these terms,” Shewchuk said. At the meeting, Shewchuk asked that Council authorize signature of the two agreements. Shewchuk also noted that the addition of the new doctors to Martensville will be beneficial to the community in numerous ways including; increased walk-in services for residents, providing additional opportunities for local and service area residents to access a doctor in Martensville as opposed to other communities and the positive economic spin-offs associated with family medicine for pharmacies, physiotherapy and additional services. Council was provided with the information and had options to approve the agreement as outlined, provide no incentives or to provide alternative incentives. In the end, Council was in favour of providing the incentives.
Shewchuk also presented information to Council regarding the Martensville Information & Visitor Centre (MIVC) and looked for direction from Council. For the past three years, the City of Martensville has provided $30,000 in funding to the MIVC for operational funding as well providing space since their inception in 2008 within the Civic Centre. In 2016 and 2017, the City provided funds with no conditions; however, in this past budget, the MIVC received $22,500 and was asked to provide monthly reporting to better understand their programming and activities. This past March, the MIVC presented their first requested report to Council, which included a letter from the board expressing concerns over the reporting; noting that it was time consuming, financially taxing, and too business oriented. Shewchuk asked Council for direction on whether the reporting periods should be modified, cancelled or kept as is. Within the report, Shewchuk recommended that the monthly reporting period be kept intact, as reporting requirements is a common practice for public grants and “as the City of Martensville is the sole funding body of the MIVC, some sort of idea on how resources are being utilized should not be considered unrealistic.” Although the MIVC has concerns, Shewchuk is confident that this process can be refined and developed. Council discussed the various options and believes that the monthly reporting period should be kept as is at the time and can be revisited at a later time.
The final item on the May 1st agenda was regarding Seniors Housing within Martensville. According to the report, the City of Martensville is looking to “initiate a Seniors Housing and Care Functional Plan in order to demonstrate feasibility for such a facility in Martensville, build the framework of a business plan and have the ability to attract reputable and major partners to build and operate such a facility.” The City of Martensville has applied for ECHO (Encouraging Community Housing Options Program) funding to provide them with resources to assist in offsetting their costs, to help initiate a Call for Proposals, and to put them in a position to access other funding through Provincial or Federal Programs. The application put forth by the City of Martensville to ECHO was approved for $10,000, an amount that must be matched by the Municipality. The City will be required to submit a report after six months outlining their ‘Action Plan’ and eligible expenses. The Request for Direction that was brought to Council was looking for approval to have authorization for City of Martensville signing officers to enter into an agreement with Saskatchewan Housing Corporation to access the $10,000 ECHO (Encouraging Community Housing Options Program) funds. Council was on board for this and Councilor Mike Cox took a moment to note that this was a great start and also thanked Shewchuk for his work on this.