In an ongoing effort to ensure the well-being of its citizens, the Town of Innisfail is closely monitoring developments around the COVID-19 pandemic. The following page outlines some of the steps being taken in response.
July 6, 2021 - Town of Innisfail Mask Policy Repealed
JULY 6, 2021 — At the June 28, 2021 Regular Meeting, Innisfail Town Council repealed the Town’s Mask Use Policy. The policy, which went into effect in late 2020, required mask use by Town staff while on duty and by members of the public using Town-owned facilities. With the policy no longer in effect, mask use is not required in Town buildings and facilities.
Although the Town’s policy is no longer in effect, the Town continues to observe all provincially-mandated health restrictions. However, with the province’s removal of restrictions on indoor gatherings, in-person attendance at Town Council Meetings is now permitted without pre-registration. The Town’s recreation facilities, such as the Aquatic Centre, has also opened for drop-in activites.
To review any of the current provincial health restrictions that remain in effect, please visit the Governent of Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan website.
June 30, 2021 - Province moves into Stage 3 of the Open for Summer Plan
JUNE 30, 2021 — Stage 3 of Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan began on Thursday, July 1, 2021.
This stage of the plan sees many restrictions eased across the province. As such, the Innisfail Aquatic Centre is now able to re-open to the public with many of the previously required provincial health restrictions removed.
Scheduled programs resumed on Monday, June 14. Please contact the Aquatic Centre or refer to the aquatics lessons web page for availability and information.
Drop-in programs such as lane swim, aquafit, open fitness training, tot swim and public swim have also resumed, and pre-registration is no longer required. To view the aquatics drop-in schedule, visit the Aquatic Centre home page and look under the “Drop-in Schedule and Rates” tab.
Visit www.innisfail.ca/programs or call the Aquatic Centre at 403-227-2924 to register in any of the programs listed above.
Recovery Plan Update
- In 2020, the Town managed to complete all capital projects that had been approved prior to the start of the pandemic.
- To account for pandemic-related expenses and avoid a tax rate increase, the 2021 Budget was carefully reduced by four per cent.
- The Town has maintained its usual service standards while adjusting to ongoing new restrictions in the workforce.
1. Community & Social Development
A resource request form and a resource information/contact card were developed and shared as a means of ensuring Innisfail residents had uninterrupted access to the various supports available to them. Referrals and information were provided accordingly.
Town social, cultural and recreational programs have been optimized for the digital realm. Yoga and ‘Movers & Groovers’ are among those now offered online to keep Innisfail residents active and healthy during prolonged periods of homestay.
The Town amped up its Friendly Callers program as a means of reducing loneliness and isolation among community members in light of increased restrictions around public and social gatherings.
The Town supported and helped facilitate the Innisfail Connects program, designed to provide ongoing interaction for older adults through programming offered by phone and through digital media.
Referrals & Information
Town FCSS (Family & Community Support Services) staff have provided community members with ongoing information, referrals and guidance pertaining to a variety of topics, including financial assistance, mental health and more.
Winter Activity Kits
The Town supported and helped facilitate the creation and distribution of Winter Activity Kits, designed to stimulate and encourage mental and physical activity for community members of all ages.
Facilities Safely Reopened
As a means of encouraging safe, socially distanced physical activity, the Town reopened a number of Town facilities to public use, developing and implementing a set of facility-specific guidelines for each (playgrounds, dog park, skatepark, arena, pool, etc.).
Outdoor Rink Addition
To increase the availability of safe outdoor spaces in light of increased restrictions around social gatherings, the Town added another outdoor ice rink to the community. The new rink opened at Centennial Park in December 2020.
Facility User Fees
Recognizing the detriment of the pandemic on local sports teams and facility users, the Town refrained from increasing facility user fees in 2020, despite a review of the Town’s facility fee schedule having been scheduled.
Fee Assistance Program
The Town introduced a Fee Assistance Program aimed at removing barriers to participation in recreation and culture programs as a result of financial hardship. Recipients may receive up to $200 toward eligible programs and activities.
Community Funding Support
The Town, through the Community Grant Program, continued to support events and activities optimized for, and adapted to, pandemic-related restrictions. In partnership with Elemental Energy, a new Community Benefit Program was also introduced, providing funding for eligible community-based projects, events and initiatives.
In a bid to boost morale among the community’s youth, the Town’s Fire & Protective Services Department facilitated a number of birthday ‘drive-bys’ featuring a convoy of emergency response vehicles.
Men’s Mental Health
The Town supported and helped facilitate the delivery of the Real Talk with Men 2021 men’s mental health calendar campaign. Thousands of calendars, coasters and posters were printed to help end societal stigma around men’s mental health issues.
Dementia Friendly Community
The Town supported and participated in the Dementia Friendly Community initiative, helping raise awareness of the needs of community members living with dementia. Town staff undertook training to learn how to recognize signs of dementia — and how to support the individuals experiencing them.
Recognizing the importance of engaging and mobilizing youth both during a pandemic and otherwise, the Town continued to build capacity in engaging the community’s youth demographic. Work through the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) saw a number of ‘COVID-friendly’ events and activities take place.
2. Economic Recovery & Relaunch
Mayor Romane, acting on behalf of council with the intent of supporting small business, submitted a letter to Premier Jason Kenney in January 2021 advocating for the easing of restrictions in a manner that directly aligns with a region’s number of active cases.
Economic Development Plan Adopted
Council in November 2020 adopted a recovery-focused economic development plan encompassing a series of action items to be carried out over the coming year. A number of the plan’s items — including the development of an urban design plan — were provided for in the 2021 Budget.
As a means of providing some financial relief to the community’s residents and businesses, council in December 2020 approved 2021 Operating & Capital Budgets with a zero percent tax rate increase.
Park Use Pilot Program
To further enable and support businesses in being able to adapt their product and service offerings, council in February 2021 approved the creation of a pilot program allowing for private businesses to hold certain organized recreation/leisure activities in parks.
Utility Bill Penalties Waived
To help residents and businesses navigate the earliest stages of the pandemic, the Town in April 2020 waived late fees on all outstanding utility bill balances for a period of several months.
Property Taxes Deferred
The Town also waived late fees on the payment of municipal property taxes during a period spanning July 2020 to January 2021. The measure was intended to provide temporary financial relief to both residents and businesses.
Economic Development Plan Implemented
Town staff in January 2021 initiated the first steps toward implementing the recently adopted Economic Development Plan. A number of stakeholder engagements were held, and early research was undertaken into the potential development of a new entity/governing body that would help foster and facilitate local economic development.
New Business Welcome
The Town introduced a ‘New Business Welcome’ feature into its various communication streams. The brief message brought awareness to new business licenses issued over the course of the preceding month, creating awareness of the new businesses to which they were issued.
3. Town Operations & Service Delivery
The Town in March 2020 activated its Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) as a means of mobilizing the staff and resources needed to respond and adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. The ECC continues to meet regularly to work toward and ensure the community’s safety.
State of Local Emergency (SOLE)
The Town in March 2020 declared a State of Local Emergency, allowing for enhanced intergovernmental coordination and creating the ability to exercise special authority in the interest of public safety, if needed. The SOLE lapsed in June 2020.
Organizational Structure Adjustments
A number of adjustments were made to the Town’s corporate structure with the intent of strengthening the municipality and resulting in enhanced services to the community. The appointment of Meghan Jenkins to the previously vacant Community Services Director position was just one of several such adjustments made.
Ongoing Stakeholder Engagements
The Town continues to regularly engage and liaise with stakeholders at all levels of government — and with the various public health authorities associated therewith. The resulting ongoing dialogue ensures Innisfail remains well positioned to both adapt and respond to quickly changing circumstances.
Business Continuity Plan
The Town continues to effect the provisions of a Business Continuity Plan developed and implemented in direct response to the pandemic. The plan provides for the continuation of essential municipal services in the event of a wide-scale pandemic-related disruption.
COVID-19 Updates & Information
The Town continues to issue regular updates on municipal operations as they relate to, and are affected by, the COVID-19 pandemic. Updates and information have been posted on an ongoing basis to social media, through the Town website and in print via the ‘Town Voice’ newspaper ad.
Council Meetings Live Streamed
When gathering restrictions eliminated the ability to meet in person, council continued to conduct all of its public meetings remotely via ‘Zoom’. Although meetings have since resumed in person, live digital streaming continues to take place.
Facilities Staff Reassigned
When COVID-19 forced the closure of recreational facilities, the staff who managed and operated them were reassigned to other municipal departments. The move allowed for the uninterrupted continuity of staffing and created efficiencies by enhancing the services of other departments.
Digital Public Engagement
Although circumstances prevented the Town from holding in-person engagements over the course of the year, a number of previously planned events were successfully optimized for, and held in, the digital realm. Feedback and information sessions were held for the Innisfail Heliport, economic development planning, the Policing & Safe Community Committee and more.
Payments & Transactions
f you’re required to make a payment to the Town, please note the following accepted methods of transaction (noting that preferred payment methods may differ based on the program/service being billed for):
- Through the Town’s ePayment service — click on the link for details
- Through your financial institution
- By dropbox — located at the southeast (back) entrance of the Town Office
- Through pre-authorized payment
- By mail — addressed to: Town of Innisfail, 4943 53 St., Innisfail, AB, T4G 1A1
- If none of the above are an option, payments can be made in person at the Town Office
For further information on any of the above methods of payment, please contact the Town Office at 403-227-3376.
Programs, Events & Activities
All of the Town’s previously scheduled programs, events and activities remain suspended until further notice.
In order to ensure the safety of council, staff and the public, the Town has made all public meetings available electronically. The public may access these meetings and others by visiting innisfail.ca/council, where links have been posted in advance.
Innisfail Town Council will be present in Council Chambers when permitted by provincial restrictions. Members of the public are able to attend by appointment only – email if you would like to attend a meeting in person. Physical distancing measures are in place.
Support for Residents & Businesses
Family & Community Support Services (FCSS) is a vital function within the Town of Innisfail that prioritizes the social well-being of the community’s residents and families.
In times of crisis, FCSS staff can be a helpful resource for information on a variety of matters, including (but not limited to):
- Financial Assistance
- Mental Health
- Family Violence
- Elder Abuse
- Loneliness & Isolation
As the world continues to navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Town FCSS staff remain available to assist those in need by providing information, referrals and guidance where possible.
If you’re experiencing need in any of the areas above — or in others not listed — please consider contacting the Town’s FCSS department at 403-227-3376, ext. 233, or by email at email@example.com. Alternatively, you may complete and submit a confidential Community Resource Connection Form.
Emergency Planning & Response
Emergency Planning & Response Business Continuity Planning
The Town has developed a Business Continuity Plan in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The primary goals of the plan are to:
- Ensure that the Town can maintain critical and high-priority service levels with a reduction of staff during a pandemic;
- Educate employees regarding precautionary measures to take during a pandemic to reduce the transmission of the pandemic virus among employees;
- Minimize illness among employees;
- Define the parameters of service levels during a pandemic;
- Identify protocols for the Town to follow when staffing levels are reduced as a result of the pandemic; and
- Coordinate with Alberta Health Services to promote public health efforts.
The plan — which is now in effect — will ensure the continuity of essential municipal services in the event that the situation becomes more severe. To learn more, take a look at the link below.
Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC)
The Town on March 16, 2020 activated its Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC). The Alberta Emergency Management Agency defines an ECC as a community’s “nerve centre” during times of emergency response, “anticipating and supporting the needs of one or more incident sites, coordinating the efforts of multiple partners and addressing the community’s needs as a whole.” Over the course of a period deemed appropriate, members of the Town’s ECC will continue to convene multiple times a day to work toward achieving the following primary objectives:
- Identifying and defining critical and high-priority services;
- Ensuring that the Town is able to maintain critical and high-priority services in the event of a reduction in staff;
- Reporting staff attendance and absences on a daily basis;
- Minimizing illness among employees by implementing and acting on precautionary measures recommended by Alberta Health Services;
- Reducing potential virus transmissions in both the workplace and community, mandating self-isolation among employees who present potential symptoms; and
- Monitoring provincial and federal communications, relaying pertinent/important information to Town residents, staff and other stakeholders.
June 11, 2021 - Innisfail Aquatic Centre opens on Monday, June 14
JUNE 11, 2021 — Stage 2 of Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan began on Thursday, June 10.
This stage of the plan sees restrictions eased for recreation, entertainment and fitness facilities. As such, the Innisfail Aquatic Centre is now able to re-open to the public with all required provincial health restrictions observed.
Scheduled programs will resume on Monday, June 14. Space is available for those who were enrolled in programs before the pool was closed earlier in May, but some programs have additional space to accommodate new registrations. Please contact the Aquatic Centre or refer to our website for availability and information.
Drop-in programs such as lane swim, aquafit, open fitness training, tot swim and public swim will also resume, but pre-registration is still required.
Visit www.innisfail.ca/programs or call the Aquatic Centre at 403-227-2924 to register in any of the programs listed above.
As the measures meant to limit the spread of COVID-19 are eased, we encourage all members of the public to continue to observe any public health restrictions that remain in place. Please observe proper social distancing practices and continue to use a mask when required.