The latest news & happenings from Council Chambers in Elk Point.
Light it up
The Elk Point Elks Lodge #460 brought a BIG cheque to Elk Point town council’s regular meeting on September 10. The $5000 donation represents the commitment that the Elks have made to lights for the airport runway.
Elk’s Exalted Ruler, Geoff Hoyle, and secretary, Lawrence Pidluzny, made the presentation. Said Pidluzny, “The town has helped us for many years. This is how we can help the town.”
Mayor Lorne Young replied, “This will help make sure the airport is accessible 24/7.” He pointed out that with lights, the airport will be open for Medivac landings and takeoffs whenever the need arises.
With the forthcoming legalization of marijuana, council has approved a motion to allow discretionary permits for cannabis retail stores in the downtown area, but not within 100m of a schoolyard, daycare, or hospital. They have agreed to allow discretionary use cannabis production in the industrial district of town.
CAO Ken Gwozdz explained that ‘discretionary use’ means a permit may be issued but neighbours would be notified, the business may be scrutinized, and the permit may be appealed. In discussion at the council meeting, Councillor Dwayne Yaremkevich ensured that ‘discretionary’ was included in the motion, while Councillor Debra McQuinn requested that the term be removed. Her argument was that the town is seeking development, and should not be restrictive on what kind of development is pursued.
As for consumption, town administration has been researching bylaws in other communities, and will be making a decision regarding appropriate use and locations for use in an upcoming meeting. Regulations regarding cannabis consumption will probably also be applied to vaping.
Elk Point Fire Chief, Lyle Frisby, and Fire Inspector, Rob Duffy, provided information regarding fire pit safety. Discussion about appropriate depth of a fire pit or distance of a pit from a structure led to further discussion about building materials and pit size. Duffy recommended an application process for a recreational fire pit, “that would allow us to do an inspection, set very specific guidelines and give fines.” However, administration’s research revealed that most urban municipalities do not have a policy on fire pits.
The issue of regulating fire pits stemmed from a question about the town’s procedure when a fire ban is called by the county or the province. While a provincial fire ban must be followed by all municipalities, the town does not have to implement a fire ban called by the county. Frisby explained that in town there is little open grassy area, there is access to water, and the fire trucks are readily available, so town residents can still use their barbeques or pits. He cautioned, however, that residents should “use sense. You’re liable if your fire gets away.”
If approval to rezone is granted at a public hearing on October 9, Aarbo Ranching Ltd. will proceed with converting Outback 646 Restaurant into an office complex.
The rezoning request inspired discussion of tax incentives for businesses that beautify their property, and while nothing is in place yet, a policy may be forthcoming.
Some confusion over water rates to the Town of Elk Point from the regional water commission were cleared up at the meeting. Mayor Lorne Young explained that the Town of Elk Point currently buys water from the regional water commission who in turn buys the water from the Town of St. Paul. The water commission is responsible for operating the waterline from St. Paul water treatment plant and delivering it down the trail to Elk Point as well as to some county users. This summer, the Town of St Paul determined that it had charged above cost rates for the first six months of the year, so dropped its charge for the second six months, averaging out to $1.16 per cubic metre. The water commission reduced its charge to the Town of Elk Point from $2.10 to $1.77/m3.
Young clarified that $1.77/m3 is not the rate that residents of the Town of Elk Point pay. The town rate of $4.00/m3 after the first 14m3 is based on what it costs to buy the water, servicing, public works costs, waterlines, treatment at the reservoir, upgrades, and so on.
Earlier in 2018, the water rates in Elk Point were raised to help cover the cost of new meters which were installed on homes and businesses. The term of the loan for the meters was seven years. Considering this factor, council chose not to reduce water rates, but to put the savings in reserve to decrease the payment time of the electronic heads on water meters and reduce the amortization of the loan.