The Mountaineer - Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada
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Town council reviews marketing plans and economic
development opportunities

By Brittany Willsie
Staff Reporter 

Town council met for their regular meeting on May 3 in council chambers. Some topics of discussion included new marketing videos for the David Thompson Country tourism region, the final report on the area’s supply chain analysis and an anti-hate symbol policy. Council also adjusted funds for a vehicle and a park and reviewed financial statements for the first quarter of 2022. 
Marketing videos 
The Town of Rocky Mountain House partnered with Clearwater County to develop marketing videos for the David Thompson Country tourism region.
With grant funding from Travel Alberta, four videos were made to showcase opportunities for adventure, exploring and activities, as well as the heritage and culture of the area. 
Jeff Hartling, economic development officer for the town, and Jerry Pratt, economic development officer for the county, presented the new marketing videos to council. 
Mayor Debbie Baich commented on the inclusion of fellow community members in the videos after viewing them. 
“I like to see local actors and actresses from our own community in them so that’s fantastic,” she said. 
In total, the cost to make the videos and marketing efforts to follow is $30,000, with $20,000 coming from a Travel Alberta Cooperative Investment Grant. The remaining $10,000 is split between the town and county. 
Digital advertising will take place from May to September this year across multiple media channels. 
“We will be working with Strong Coffee Marketing to spread them throughout western Canada and a good portion of northern Alberta. We’re going to be focusing on southern Ontario, into California,” explained Hartling. 
Supply chain 
Jordan Tidey of MDB Insight Consulting presented a summary of the Supply Chain Analysis final report to council. 
During his presentation, Tidey spoke about three sectors of focus for the area: industry services, tourism and agribusiness. He said the goal of the analysis was to identify solid targets for business attraction. 
“We can see in 2019, those sectors have spent $158 million in the region and 50 per cent of the purchases made by those industries were from outside the region, so they were importing a lot of products and services,” Tidey began. 
“We wanted to do a bit of a debrief and find out if there is a business case to sort of replace some of those imports with local suppliers and that was the real genesis of the project.” 
Looking down the supply chain, Tidey outlined the top suppliers for each of the three focus areas. He then walked council through some opportunities for the region. 
Local power generation, transmission and distribution was one opportunity identified, as well as solar power and geothermal generation. 
Tidey also spoke on opportunities for food and beverage manufacturing, various industry services, agricultural imports and tourism. 
Alongside MDB Consulting, who was contracted to oversee the Supply Chain Analysis project, local economic development officers Jeff Hartling and Jerry Pratt were involved with the analysis. 
Pratt provided an example of how the local agriculture industry is reflected in the final report. 
“We have a lot of individual producers, honestly very small farms throughout the county, but as pointed out in the report, the services and products that are provided to those producers are not from within the county or the town,” Pratt explained. 
“We don’t have a grain elevator, we don’t have a fertilizer dealer, we don’t have an abattoir, we don’t have an auction mart. So those support services don’t actually exist. A lot of them did at one time, but as the ag sector has consolidated and technology, competition and regulation have all impacted it, the reality is those dealers and those support services went elsewhere.” 
As this is the case, some opportunities identified in the final report include securing local suppliers for pesticides, fertilizers and other agricultural chemical manufacturing. Another opportunity was to have farm, lawn and garden machinery and equipment available locally through a private sector operator. 
Hate symbols 
Council revisited their options for an anti-hate symbol bylaw within the town. 
Councillors favoured educating the community about hate symbols rather than enforcement so administration will be drafting a policy for council’s consideration. 
Fleet purchases
Cost differences from the originally budgeted amount for four fleet vehicles totals $90,000. 
This includes costs for a half-ton truck, a water truck, a backhoe and a v-broom. 
Council increased the capital budget for fleet purchases by $90,000, bringing the total amount to $480,000. Funding will come from the machinery and equipment reserve. 
Council reallocated the funds to update John Plathan Park to the William Jessop Park. 
It was determined that the John Plathan Park is still in good condition so the $65,000 originally allocated for that park will be used to update the William Jessop Park. Funds for the update now total $85,000. 
Q1 financials 
Betty Quinlan, director of corporate services, reported on the town’s operating and capital financial statements from the first quarter of 2022. 
As of March 31, the operating statement was at a surplus of $133,068. 
Quinlan said that amount was quite small. 
“We’ll want to keep an eye on that because that doesn’t leave you much wiggle room if something goes over budget. What that says to me is that we have over the last four years budgeted very tightly,” she said. 
“We’re still in the black so I think everything is looking really good.” 
Revenues were sitting at 24 per cent and expenditures were sitting at 24 per cent, or 39 per cent if transfers were included. 
Quinlan also discussed the capital budget. 
“We have spent almost no money. Out of $23 million, we have spent $77,000,” she said. 
She said as it is early in the year, the town will start to see activity with the capital budget once the construction season starts.