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The President's Prose - Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2019! And may it be a better year than 2018…

The last month of 2018 was packed with Association activity right up until the well-deserved Christmas break. And I’m pleased to say that December saw a number of important initiatives finally start to move forward.

ALSA has contracted Izaak de Rijcke, BSc., OLS, LL.M, to prepare a research paper on the roles, responsibilities and relationship between the Director of Surveys, the Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association, and Alberta Land Surveyors. This is the “3R Review” championed by Past-President Mike Fretwell. Mr. de Rijcke, an Ontario lawyer and a land surveyor, brings a unique perspective to the task; as both an “outsider and an “insider,” he will review the current legislation and relationship in light of professional regulation trends across Canada. His study plans to look at various societal shifts with respect to self-governing professions across Canada in order to move the relationship forward.

Shortly after engaging Mr. de Rijcke, Vice-President Steve, Executive Director Brian and I sat down with AEP Assistant Deputy Minister John Conrad and Executive Director Scott Milligan. This meeting was a long time coming, the direct result of our meeting the previous month with Deputy Minister Bev Yee. Acknowledging that both the Surveys Act and Land Surveyors Act are dated, ADM Conrad agreed to set up a series of meetings with the ALSA to look at Surveys Act changes for the future. Examining best practices from across jurisdictions, a select group will meet over the next three months with the possible goal of a memorandum of understanding between the ALSA and Government of Alberta. Addressing what the role of a professional regulatory should be, the responsibilities of the Director of Surveys office and government oversight of land survey governance in the future are critical issues to be determined. I applaud the deputy minister for spearheading this initiative and am delighted that Executive Director Brian Munday, Registrar Rosalind Broderick, Secretary-Treasurer Bruce Drake and Past-President Connie Peterson have accepted the challenge to serve on this committee.

The December Council agenda was particularly full. Seizing an opportunity to combine Christmas cheer with committee work, Council invited each of the committee chairs to attend Council to give a mid-year report as well as socialize over turkey dinner. The hope was that each committee would be able to outline mid-year successes and challenges, give input as to future budget needs as well as ask questions directly of Council. The intention was not to put anyone on the spot but rather to be able to open a more immediate dialogue between committees and Council. Setting Committee direction in May, Council establishes liaisons to work with each committee - this was an attempt to expand that feedback loop. This was a first and I am extremely pleased with how well it came off from the Council side. Thanks to all the committee chairs for making the trek in to share their insights with all of us.

ALSA Council meetings are open to the public; all are welcome to attend, though certain portions may be held in camera. The committee chairs were reminded of this fact and I was pleased that a number chairs remained after lunch to follow part of the meeting. I was also pleased that the Director of Surveys was able to make the meeting. It had been several months since his last appearance and a number of issues had arisen, many stemming from the cancellation of the ministerial order. Council was especially concerned about information that had been released to a number of MLAs regarding the MO Review. Upon questioning why the ALSA had not been made aware of certain concerns, the Director of Surveys did indicate that he would share his report with the Association.

Also of particular concern to the ALSA is the status of contract for survey post manufacture after June 30th. The Director of Surveys indicated that he was working on an RFP and once again indicated he hopes to have it announced in time for the AGM. Reminding the Director that surveyors needed to know expected pricing for budgeting well in advance of July 1st, he did indicate that the government may look at adding its own mark up on the sale of iron posts and marker posts leading me to surmise that post prices may not go down in fact. Council was able to move forward on the dormant plan issue. Working with Land Titles, Alberta Land Surveyors Courtney Tripp and Lee Andersen were able to develop a statutory declaration where an ALS is unable to obtain consent to register a plan. Council endorsed this recommendation and commended all for their hard work.

Professional Surveyors Canada has taken the lead on various underground infrastructure legislation across Canada and Council appreciates the work done on the backgrounder to Alberta Bill 211. ALSA is concerned that surveyors be part of the consultation before this legislation is enacted. I’d also like to congratulate Hal Janes for his appointment as PSC Chair.

And, so there it is. A year-end wrap and another year just begun.

Out with the old and in with the new.

Canoeing season can’t be that far off…

Cheers!

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The Alberta Land Surveyors' Association (ALSA) is a self-governing professional association legislated under the Land Surveyors Act. The Association regulates the practice of land surveying for the protection of the public and administration of the profession.