St. Paul Town Council Highlights – March 25, 2017

57th Street Project

57 Street runs north to south beside Extra Foods and leads to the golf course, and it is in rough shape.

Council believes that the street is in desperate need of attention, but isn’t sure how to address the finances to repair it.

Initially, just over $1 million had been budgeted, but recent estimates put the cost closer to $1.5 million.

“The road is in such bad shape and subject to so much truck traffic that I don’t believe not doing the project is an option,” said CEO Kim Heyman.

The Town is waiting to hear about an ICIP (Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program) grant for the project.

The grant would help to cover the unanticipated $500,000 shortfall. But this isn’t the only infrastructure project pending results from an ICIP grant; the Town’s wastewater treatment plant upgrades are also hinging on additional funding; funding that all is far from guaranteed.

Heyman recommended that Council explore the possibility of taking out a debenture as a backup plan:

“Taking out a debenture is a process that takes time. It has to be advertised. Then time has to be given for anyone wanting to launch a petition against the borrowing. We cannot wait until we are launching the construction to begin the process in case of objections to the borrowing.

“Therefore, I am recommending that if Council wants to borrow this shortfall amount, that we start the borrowing process in the near future. If either grant comes through, then Council can rescind the bylaw. If the grant doesn’t come through, we will have a bylaw in place that has passed the time allotment for public objection and we will be good to go. This should be considered a contingency plan in the event we don’t get grant funding.”

Council agreed to not begin the borrowing bylaw procedures just yet. They also directed to have Town administration work out some more exact figures and numbers.

Library Statistics

Library manager Eunhye Cho presented a delegation to Council containing the Library’s 2018 annual report. Cho highlighted some statistics, including:

  • Membership was down to 957 members in 2018 compared to 1,016 members in 2017. However total traffic (combined physical and online) increased from 46,295 visits in 2017 to 49,766 visits in 2018.
  • Reference transactions in 2018 increased by 23%
  • The library brought in 15% more requested books than the previous year
  • 1,609 new items were purchased while 2,569 old and damaged items were removed
  • The Summer Reading Program was attended by 296 children and 86% of parents indicated that their child’s literacy skill had improved over the summer

Cho also explained the Library’s 2019 goals:

“We want to bring in more diverse technology into our library for patrons to access, based on patron surveys. We also want to continue to provide free memberships to members to grant equal access to all members of the community. And we will continue to build Indigenous and French collections, and we want to increase our number of active patrons by 50.

Town Offices and Services Closure

On the afternoon Friday, April 26, all Town departments will be closed. The closure allows staff to attend a team building and professional development event in coordination with Elk Point and Horseshoe Bay.

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.