Notes from the Elk Point Town Council Meeting June 11 include information on investment in the airport and in the town’s growth.
Light up the airport
Imagine executives stepping out of their jets. Consider a Medivac touching down momentarily for an emergency pick-up. See yourself piloting a plane above the clouds. All of this could be reality at the Elk Point airport.
Rehabilitating the airport begins with upgrading the lighting to allow for night flights and to make the airstrip more attractive for private enterprises.
To this end, a Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program (STIP) grant for $372,750 has been approved from the Alberta government. The grant represents 75% of the eligible cost. The rest will be funded with help from the County of St. Paul, the Town of Elk Point, the Elk Point Elks, and the Elk Point Lions.
Tenders for the project to install the lighting close on June 21.
An accessible, attractive, safe airport will increase traffic to the town and will create opportunities for businesses related to transportation, accommodation, and recreation.
The next step is to find funding to lengthen the airport to 1.5 km so that fully loaded planes have ample room for take-off.
How do you see Elk Point in 30 years? Residents who provided feedback at an open house held on April 19 see the future of Elk Point in servicing baby-boomers and seniors.
They believe the town will be alive and thriving, but that it requires more recreation facilities including walking and biking trails; more shopping especially along Highway 41; seniors’ housing with opportunities to age-in-place; developed acreages; and improved downtown office space. Keeping commercial and residential development on the west side of the highway and industrial development on the east side is encouraged.
The open house was one of a series being held by ISL Engineering and Land Services, the consultants working on a Multi-Jurisdictional Urban Inter-Municipal Development Plan (IDP) for the region that includes Town of Elk Point, County of St. Paul, Town of St. Paul, and Summer Village of Horseshoe Bay.
Alberta Health Services and cannabis
It’s hard to know how the legalization of marijuana will affect small towns, but Alberta Health Services (AHS) has provided recommendations “that will help municipalities make cannabis policy decisions that promote and protect the health of its citizens.” AHS suggests “a precautionary approach be taken to minimize unintended consequences.” Elk Point councillors agree with the precautionary approach. They will consider the advice from AHS and will research actions taken by other municipalities before drafting any cannabis use or distribution bylaws. For more information on Alberta Health Service’s view, check the document AHS Recommendations on Cannabis Regulations for Alberta Municipalities.
Support for mobile blood collection services
At Sunnyside Manor in St. Paul, all residents used to have their blood samples collected by a laboratory mobile unit. As of May 1, though, only seniors who have limited mobility can receive the service. Others are expected to get themselves to a clinic.
The M.D. of St. Paul Foundation, which oversees seniors’ housing in the region, notes that this means residents must depend on transportation to the clinic, will be exposed to infections and diseases in waiting rooms, and will have extensive waits for service.
The Town of Elk Point has agreed to send a letter to MLA Dave Hanson and to AHS to support Sunnyside’s request to have the laboratory mobile service restored.
Lift station sucking town’s coffers
At the recent by-election forum, candidates commented that the town should use grant money whenever possible to pay for expenses. Well, town administration is doing just that. To cover the $997,500 expected cost related to pump failures on March 23 at the Elk Point lift station (see Right to his neck in sewage) the town is “applying for grant on grant on grant” says CAO, Ken Gwozdz.
Grant applications for 2018 and for 2019 are being sent to Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), Federal Gas Tax (FGT), Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI), Alberta Water/Wastewater Partnership Program, as well as other federal and provincial government sources. Repairs to the pump station have impacted the 2018 municipal budget by $75,000 to $100,000 which will carry over into the 2019 Capital Budget.
A request by Elk Point and District Chamber of Commerce to designate a handicapped parking space on the east side of 50th Street was denied. A designated parking space already exists by the Co-op and another by TD Financial.