Thursday , 21 October 2021

County to look in to Municipal Energy Manager program

The County of St. Paul will submit an expression of interest in a new provincial program which provides funding for an employee to develop an energy management plan for municipal facilities, find energy-saving opportunities, and lead projects to reduce energy consumption.

According to County CAO Sheila Kitz, the program offers an 80 per cent rebate of the manager’s annual salary to a maximum of $80,000 per year for up to two years.

County council was receptive to the funding, but less enthused by the potential addition of a new employee.

“Is there a position we can fit this under Sheila, so we’re not hiring anybody, we’re just repurposing a position,” asked Reeve Steve Upham. “I’m looking for a way to catch a benefit without having to cut the cheque.”

Kitz said she would look into it further.

Div. 1 Coun. Darrell Younghans said he thought there was potential for the program to work for the County, especially if the energy manager were able to not just identify inefficiencies, but also help organizations access grants to pay for addressing them.

“I think, especially if there are grants, and I think there’s a pile of grants available, if somehow this person accesses and helps those organizations gain that grant funding, then I think it’d be money well spent,” said Younghans.

Div. 6 Coun. Laurent Amyotte agreed, and said the Mallaig Arena has been saving close to $10,000 a year since redoing their lights.

“I’m sure there’s a lot of savings to be had, especially with the carbon credit, it seems like they’re going to be going up rather than down. So until they get reduced or removed we’re going to be looking at increased utility costs,” said Amyotte.

Younghans’ motion to look into the Municipal Energy Manager Program, with plans for the County to be the managing partner in a partnership with the Town of St. Paul, Town of Elk Point, and Summer Village of Horseshoe Bay carried.

County to work with landowner to survey and re-purchase right of way

County of St. Paul administration will work with a landowner in the Mcrae area to get access to their property registered and back under the County’s ownership.

The issue, involving NW-9-62-12-W4 was caused by the realignment of Secondary Highway 866 in the 1990s. The road plan was cancelled by the county at the time. County administration became aware of the issue when the landowner applied to have their lot subdivided.

According to CAO Sheila Kitz, the cost of surveying the land would be approximately $5,000 and the cost of purchasing the right of way would be about $1,400.

“Without the history there, it’s almost like application for new access. And you know, the way we’ve been treating those. But if we’re at fault, that’s a totally different story,” said Div. 1 Coun. Darrell Younghans.

“When the piece of land was sold, we sold the access to that house,” said Reeve Steve Upham. He noted when the issue was first brought up at the February council meeting he had hoped it would turn out the province had been the one to sell the access.

The land is located at a curve in the highway. Council discussed the possibility of applying to Alberta Transportation for a new access to the land, but the owner of the land has already applied and received a letter back refusing.

About Meredith Kerr

Meredith Kerr moved to St. Paul for a career in journalism and morning radio in 2014 expecting to stay for six months to a year. Since then, she has put down roots in the form of a husband, a mortgage, two babies, and a poorly behaved dog. She continues to work as a reporter until such time as she finishes her book and becomes fabulously wealthy from the royalties. Meredith also serves as a member at large on the St. Paul Library Board and volunteers as a Beaver leader for the 1st St. Paul Scout Group.