2011 Annual Convention Highlights

Monday, March 7th

Registration Reception:

On Monday, March 7th, SARM held its registration reception, sponsored by the Saskatchewan Municipal Hail Association.  Over 600 delegate and guests were registered by the end of the evening, all of which had an opportunity to browse through the tradeshow and to make use of this year’s internet Café provided by Lexcom.

Tradeshow Opens:

Monday, March 7th also saw the opening of the Annual Convention Tradeshow.  With more than 160 exhibits, convention participants had access to vast amounts of information on numerous products and services including crop insurance, R.M. mapping, and property development.  Along with the delegates, guests and speakers, the 480 tradeshow contributors helped to make the 106th Annual Convention a success.

Tuesday, March 8th

The convention officially opened on Tuesday morning.  There were 1,480 delegates and guests present by the end of the week, representing 285 rural municipalities from across the province.  Including the tradeshow contributors, the participation rate for the 106th convention is slightly higher than in previous years with a total of 1,960 participants.

Lieutenant Governor Opens the Convention:

A long standing and much appreciated tradition for the SARM Annual Convention, His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, Dr. Gordon Barnhart, opened the convention in his address to the delegates. 

Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Outstanding Service to Rural Saskatchewan:

Jim Angus, Administrator for the RM of Harris no. 316, was awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Outstanding Service to Rural Saskatchewan for his many contributions to rural Saskatchewan.  The presentation of the award to Mr. Angus was presented by the Lieutenant Governor and preceded by an eloquent speech given by Gord Brock, Community Relations Coordinator, SaskPower – sponsor of the award. 

Report from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM):

Delegates heard this year from Hans Cunningham, President of FCM, on numerous topics of municipal interest.   Mr. Cunningham provided an update on some of the issues that FCM has been working to address in 2010-2011, including a long-term Federal strategy for rural Canada and two international initiatives. 

Address by Honourable Darryl Hickie, Minister of Municipal Affairs:

Honourable Darryl Hickie, Minister of Municipal Affairs, attended the 2011 Annual Convention and addressed the delegates at the end of the day on Tuesday.  Minister Darryl Hickie spoke to the delegates about a provincial commitment to work together with SARM and municipalities on five (5) key areas: planning and growth, long-term asset management, administrative and governance challenges, sustainable service delivery, and communities with rapid growth. Minister Hickie provided some uplifting statistics about Saskatchewan and was optimistic about the future of the province.

“Saskatchewan will be the place to be rather than the place to be from” – Minister Hickie.

Wednesday, March 9th

Deputy Premier’s Address:

Deputy Premier of Saskatchewan, the Honourable Ken Krawetz, address to the delegates was very well received.  The speech covered a number of points of interest for SARM members.  Some notable issues discussed were healthcare infrastructure improvements, doctor recruitment and tax cuts on agricultural lands.  The delegates showed their appreciation of the Province’s recognition of and steps taken to address numerous rural issues with a standing ovation.

“Our province will lead the country in economic growth in 2011 AND 2012” – Deputy Premier, Krawetz.

Minister Bjornerud Announcements:

After the Deputy Premier spoke, Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud announced $500,000 in new funding to help RMs remove beavers and dams in areas where beavers are causing damage. This will be a one year pilot program and will be administered by the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM).   The Minister gave SARM the ability to both design and deliver this program on behalf of the province.   He also announced that producers and RMs will be able to access two per cent liquid strychnine in 2011 to help control gophers and allocated an additional $150,000 in additional funding for SARM to administer rat control programming.    These were all welcome announcements as recognized by the applause provided by the delegates after the Minister’s address. 

Bear Pit Session with Provincial Cabinet Members:

Deputy Premier Ken Krawetz and sixteen (16) members of cabinet were in attendance at the annual bear pit session.  They fielded topics from delegates on a wide range of issues from PDAP to ambulance services.  While some of questions were thoroughly addressed during the session, many of the Ministers requested side-bar meetings with applicable delegates to follow-up on the issues being broached.

Physician Recruitment Agency of Saskatchewan:

Edward Mantler, Chief Executive Officer of the Physician Recruitment Agency of Saskatchewan, presented to the delegates on the recent activities of the agency to recruit and retain certified health providers in the province. Mr. Mantler outlined the agencies multipronged approach to address the healthcare issue and provided some strategies for municipalities to apply.

Municipal Leadership Development Program (MLDP):

Delegates attending convention were given an opportunity to participate in their choice of MLDP modules held on Monday, March 7.  Scheduling modules prior to the annual convention was very well received once again this year as reflected by the attendance numbers.  

Certificates of Completion for the MLDP were presented Wednesday afternoon to twenty-two (22) reeves, councillors and administrators who during the past year successfully completed the program presently structured around six (6) key workshops including Financial & Strategic Planning and Public Relations & Communications. 

Saskatchewan Municipal Hail Insurance Association Report:

President Wayne Black introduced the SMHI Board of Directors to the delegates and highlighted the many activities undertaken by the association over the past year.

2011 Workshops:

This year’s workshop line-up covered a wide variety of topics and the schedule allowed delegates to take-in two of the five that were offered.

Emergency Preparedness – The presentation provided by Duane McKay, Fire Commissioner, focused on the lessons learned from 2010 emergency events, the need for municipal risk identification, planning and preparedness for municipalities and individuals, and the forecasted 2011 flooding situation in Saskatchewan.

MREP – Application & Criteria – SARMs own Faye Nashi-Fehler, Municipal Program Engineer, and Daniel Segal, Municipal Bridge Project Manager, delivered a presentation on the Municipal Roads for the Economy Program.  The presentation detailed the application procedures for municipalities and provided an outline of the approval process for the various grant programs under the Municipal Roads for the Economy Program (MREP), including Clearing the Path, Heavy Haul and Bridges.

Regional Planning & Planning Technology – Autumn Dawson, Community Planner – SARM, delivered an informative presentation on current planning topics, things municipalities should be cognizant of during development and how SARM can help with municipal planning initiatives.

Conception to Completion: How to Successfully Manage Your Municipal Projects – Dana Schmalz and Tayah Hanson, Development Officers – Municipal Capacity Development Program (MCDP), provided a wealth of information to the delegates on managing a municipal project.  The session led participants through the process of selecting a project, identifying stakeholders, defining objectives, writing tenders and RFPs, reviewing proposals and selecting a consultant and how to best manage the project outcomes.

Malignant Catarrhal Fever (MCF) – Gordon Schroeder, Executive Director, Saskatchewan Sheep Development Board and Mark Silzer, President, Canadian Bison Association, provided a workshop to convention delegates on Malignant Catarrhal Fever (MCF), a viral disease transmitted by sheep to bison.  The disease, while not new to Saskatchewan, has received attention from livestock producers and rural municipalities; this workshop was designed to educate on how to work together to manage the disease.

SARM Banquet and Entertainment:

Over 560 people attended the SARM banquet which took place Wednesday evening. The Banquet, featuring Big Daddy Tazz, was a huge success. CIBC Wood Gundy & Holland Construction Dealers of Saskatchewan sponsored this year’s banquet and entertainment.

Thursday, March 10th

Financial Report:

SARM Executive Director, Dale Harvey, provided an overview of the report on the association’s financial activities in 2010.

Election for President, Vice-President and Directors from Divisions 2, 4, 5 and 6:

Congratulations to our returning Directors, Harvey Malanowich (Division 4) and Darryl Senecal (Division 6) and a very warm welcome to our new Directors, Norm Nordgulen and Ron Stevens who will now represent Divisions 2 and 5 respectively on the SARM Board. 

Report of Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture & Presentation of Scholarship:

Dr. John Gordon, Director, Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture provided a report to delegates on the organization and presented the 2011 Student Scholarship in Agricultural Safety and Rural Health to Steven Tymiak from the RM of Ituna Bon Accord #246.

Provincial Disaster Assistance Program:

Mieka Torgrimson, Director of the Saskatchewan Emergency Management Organization -Ministry of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing, provided an update on the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program (PDAP).  More information about PDAP can be found at https://www.cpsp.gov.sk.ca/PDAP.

Agriculture Update:

Laurel Feltin, Director of Policy- SARM, provided a thorough update on current points of interest to SARM and its members.   Among the updates, important information was provided on strychnine emergency registration, changes to the Canadian Grain Commission user fees, and disaster assistance programs.

RMAA Address:

Rural Municipal Administrator’s Association President, Don McCallum, gave his final address to the delegates.  Mr. McCallum was pleased to announce that 90% of rural municipalities have met the PS 3150 accounting requirements and that over 90% now pay their Administrators at or above the recommended salary schedule recently developed by RMAA.

Video Address from the Honourable Gerry Ritz:

Unable to attend in person, the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, provided a video address to the delegates.  Minister Ritz spoke about the Federal mission to keep the farm gate strong through the Growing Forward Framework and recognized the need to grow our agricultural markets.

 Address from the Minister of Highways and Infrastructure:

The Honourable Jim Reiter, Minister of Highways and Infrastructure, addressed the delegates on Thursday afternoon.  In his speech, Minister Reiter stated that the current government is on pace to far exceed their election commitment to spend 1.8 billion on roads; 1.7 billion dollars has already been spent to-date. To paraphrase a comment made by Minister Reiter, “…it’s not the wealth of a nation that builds roads, it’s the roads that build the wealth of the nation”. The convention delegates showed their appreciation of the Ministers message with a standing ovation.

Leveraging PS 3150 for Asset Management and Long-term Financial Planning:

Larry Fladager, RM of Prince Albert #461, opened the presentation with a brief synopsis of the role played by the municipality in the PS 3150 pilot project.  Dr. Gordon Sparks & Nicole Allen, Vemax Management, followed with the delivery of some informative messaging on how to leverage PS 3150 for asset management and long-term financial planning.

Tradeshow Draw:

Congratulations to Dennis Miller, councillor Division 3, R.M. of Kingsley #124 who won the trip to Churchill, sponsored by CAA.