Volume 2021 / Issue 5
A busy and productive construction and maintenance season is beginning to wind down. A dry fall has allowed us to plan and complete several projects. As you are aware Rioch Construction completed a rebuild of six miles of road. They finished the project on time and did a very good job for us. Because of the dry conditions many of the sloughs on St. Anthony’s Road east dried up allowing us to hire Prestrupa Construction out of Meacham to put two miles of road back in service. We lost this road about ten years ago due to high water levels. We also finished clay capping two miles of Garman Road with our own equipment and staff. The numbers are all in as to costs for these projects. Council will be evaluating this information as to a cost benefit analysis to determine, going forward, is it better for the rate payers to do these large projects ourselves or to have them contracted out. There are other factors to consider in this evaluation and rest assured Council will be carefully considering all pertinent information.
As usual, dust control was a major concern this year, especially with the abnormally dry, hot conditions and extra traffic due to the construction on HWY 5. Council has had many discussions on this topic. As previously mentioned, in this newsletter, we will be revaluating our current dust control policy. There are many options under consideration. If you have any constructive suggestions on this topic, please contact myself or your Councillor. We did receive some much-appreciated help from the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, (MHI). They paid for Calcium Chloride application at about ten locations on Mine road. This was done because of all the extra traffic due to the HWY 5 detours. MHI’s policy allows them to pay for dust control if the RM has traffic counts that prove significant increase in traffic. Mine Road was the only road we had these counts for. We will be placing traffic counters on roads we believe will be affected by future construction detours. HWY 5 detours will be around for a few years yet as multiple phases have yet to be completed.
Council has had a few requests for our meeting minutes to be more detailed and informative. We have had several lengthy discussions about this matter. It is important that the rate payers realize that the purpose of minutes, as per Roberts Rules of Order, and relevant legislation, is to provide a record of Council’s decisions. They are not meant to be a transcript of the discussions had. That being said, we recognize that the requests are simply asking for more information about what is going on in the RM, and how we arrive at our decisions. The minutes is not the place for this. I will try to put more of this type of information in my Newsletter. We are considering recording meeting for public access. This is proving challenging now because of our poor internet connection. It takes hours to simply down load audio. Your best source of information now, might simply be to talk to any member of council about whatever your concerns are. We are all willing to talk to ratepayers and residents or anybody that has an interest in the business of governing our RM.
Council has received a draft of a new Harassment Policy and A Fit to Work Policy. This is in response to an Occupational Health and Safety directive for all councils to update such policies. These are lengthy and comprehensive documents and council will be considering these soon at a special meeting. At our October meeting we received one residential subdivision approval and are moving forward on four proposed rezoning and subdivision requests.
We have had several discussions about our gravel policy. Currently we do not sell gravel outside the RM boundaries. Council feels that this might not be fair to Blucher ratepayers who pay taxes here but reside outside the RM. We are working to find a manageable arrangement that would balance the needs of our ratepayers with costs to the municipality. This issue, as well as other gravel issues like pit management, will be dealt with as we consider our current Gravel Policy.
The SARM Mid-term convention will be held on November 9, virtually. Councillors Boehm and DeCorby have been appointed as our voting Delegates and I will be attending virtually as well. Blucher has a resolution on the floor regarding trailer clean out facilities at grain terminals and fertilizer handling locations. Our concern is truckers cleaning out their trailers by opening tarps and chutes and going for a drive down municipal roads causing significant issue with noxious weeds.
Congratulations to the Town of Allan on the Grand Opening of their new firehall. Special thanks to all the volunteers who spent many hours making sure this fine facility got up and running. A personal thanks to Chief Daryl Kraft who gave me an excellent tour of the hall recently.
That is all for now. Thanks for your time.
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