What you need to know from the August Council Meeting
Ministerial meeting postponed
A meeting set for August 15 with provincial Health Minister Sarah Hoffman to discuss the urgent need for rural doctors was postponed until a later date.
Potential Land Swap
Louise Plante and her son, Jacques, attended the board meeting to discuss the possibility of a land swap with the County. The County has plans to widen TWP Rd 582, squeezing the Plantes between that road and the Town of St. Paul. Louise and her husband, Roger, intend to retire, and since their farm is adjacent to the town, they would like to develop some acreages. Their request is to obtain some land along Range Road 95, just north of the Iron Horse Trail in exchange for land lost in widening the road. As Jacques explains, “We’re not asking to make acreages, but to change ownership.” Council moved to explore amendments to land use regulations after they consider the Area Structure Plan.
Ashmont Fire Department finds a Pumper Tanker Truck deal
Ashmont Fire Chief, James Preston, is excited by a deal on a used pumper tanker truck. For $119 500, he can purchase a 1998 Freightliner Pumper Tanker equipped with 3 water tanks for quick loading and dumping. Although the truck is 20 years old, Preston says, “I don’t see why this truck wouldn’t last 10 more years.” County Reeve Steve Upham agrees: “With our water quality, there should be no problem with the pumps.” The County has agreed to purchase the truck as budgeted and to spend an additional $1000 to install a winter heating kit.
Preston has researched options, and believes this is the best choice. Purchasing a used chassis and rigging it to the fire department’s specifications would be expensive, as the cost of just one tank is $100 000. A newer truck that he came across had been used extensively in California bushfires, so was in rough shape.
Looking for the road
Orest Boyko is looking for TWP Road 565. Parts of it were converted into Secondary Highway 646 many years ago, but because of rolling terrain near Stoney Lake the highway diverted from 565 in places. When a neighbour of Boyko’s had her land surveyed recently, a boundary stake was set in the middle of what Boyko feels is the road. Reeve Upham has assured Boyko that when a road is no longer there it gets cancelled on the provincial records, so 565 no longer exists. Boyko insists that the road allowance has not vapourized. He is asking that the stake be removed and that access for potential development be created. Council committed to sending public works officials to inspect the area and to consider building an approach.
Ag Society seeks increase in grant
A delegation from the St. Paul Ag Society requested that their annual grant from the County be increased from $10 000 to $50 000. Doug Drolet pointed out in a letter that the Ag buildings are available for use by other clubs and societies for events, and that the Lakeland Rodeo Association (LRA) finals generate revenue for the town and county. Ray Suvak explained to Council that the County grant helps with power and insurance, but does not cover all operating costs, which are about $84 000 per year.
CAO Sheila Kitz explained that the County currently allocates funds to support halls and ag societies as well as library boards within the entire county, with monies coming from the MSI (Municipal Sustainability Initiative). Since MSI funding has shrunk in recent years, increasing the allocations to ag societies in general would have to come from other budget lines. As well, the recreation study that is currently underway will have an effect on the allocation of funds. The Ag Society’s request has opened discussion on changing the amount budgeted for all societies and clubs under the County’s umbrella.
County in the community
- Unable to send a team, the County made a donation of $400 to the MS Society Golf Tournament, held August 17.
- Council committed $7250 to finish paying for Boscombe Community Centre to connect to the Mallaig/Ashmont Transmission Line.
- The County has approved $20 000 to support designing and constructing a boat launch at the Stoney Lake Municipal Recreation Area, contingent upon the Association’s grant applications being successful.
- Funding to proceed with asbestos abatement at Spring Park Hall has been approved.
- The County will research bylaws in other municipalities regarding locations for consumption of cannabis, then will draft its own community standards bylaw.
- Clay will be hauled to the McRae Community Hall to help with drainage.
- A suggestion to create a 4-way stop at the junction of Hwy 881 and Hwy 646 has been deferred to the transportation meeting at the fall conference.