St. Paul Town Council Highlights – June 11, 2018

Fire Services Exemplary Service Presentation

Mayor Miller and Council presented Lyle Hovelkamp with a Fire Services 30 Year Service bar for his exemplary, three-decade career with the St. Paul Fire Department.

“Lyle’s display of perseverance and mental fortitude helped him to be rewarded by his peers in 1997 as Firefighter of the Year,” said Fire Chief Tyler Kotowich. “Once again, in 2017, Lyle was chosen as Firefighter of the Year. He is only one of two members to have received the award twice. He’s humble, hard-working, and caring, and deserves this recognition.”

Hovelkamp originally joined the Fire Service in 1981. After a three-year period outside of the Service from 1982-1985, he returned and been with the Fire Department since.

Labour Market Study

Linda Sallstrom, Executive Director with St. Paul and District Chamber of Commerce, spoke to Council about the potential of performing a labour market study for St. Paul and the surrounding area.

“The study would indicate gaps in various markets and show new and emerging market sectors and trends,” Sallstrom said. “This would help us get a good grasp on what kinds of resources and staff would be involved in these market sectors and how we can fill those gaps.”

The last labour market study in the area was performed in 2014. Sallstrom pointed out that there have been considerable market and economic shifts since then, especially in regards to the oil sector.

The study would cost between $80,000 and $95,000, which the Chamber of Commerce is hoping to offset with a potential grant. Sallstrom asked Council for $5000 towards the study and to show that the study has the financial support of the Town. This support would greatly aid in the grant application process.

Reclaiming Upper Therien Lake

Any resident of St. Paul., especially those along Lakeshore Drive, will testify to the foul odours that often float towards town from Upper Therien Lake. The lake, though nice to look at, has a high level of sewage pollution due to its integration with the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The lake is unsuitable for public use or consumption.

Future upgrades to the Treatment Plant could see those levels drop by up to 90%, but a group of students from St. Paul Regional High School presented an idea to Council regarding an additional method to clean the lake.

Due to the high ratio of fertilizer in the lake, Upper Therien water is rich in nutrients and algae, perfect for growing water-based vegetables. For several months, the students have been growing lettuce, bok choy, basil, and other vegetables in their classroom using Upper Therien water in a glass tank as a nutritional source. Not only does the lake have the potential to provide rich nutrients for vegetable growth, but those vegetables absorb fertilizer through their roots, cleaning the lake water in the process.

The students’ plan is a simple one:

They would like to set aside a portion of the park near the lake where several A-frame structures could be installed. These structures would be used to house pots and soil for vegetable growth, forming a community garden. Lake water would be pumped into the soil contained in the A-frames, where the growing vegetables would absorb all of the nutrient-rich fertilizer. The clean water would then be pumped back into the lake, lowering the pollution level.

“It’s a really simple way to make a difference,” one student said. “It would take a lot of work and time, but I think that cleaning the lake would definitely be worth it. Imagine if we were able to swim in there one day.”

The students showed a video to Council containing their study and experimentation, including photos of crystal-clear lake water after plants had absorbed the fertilizer. The students told Council that this would be a project for next spring and summer and that they have confidence in the positive effect that it will have on the Town. Council promised to deliberate further at a later date.

JD Schmidt

JD is a reporter who works with Lakeland Connect to bring you the most reliable and honest news that he possibly can. He understands the effective combination of accurate reporting and fine journalistic writing.