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Saturday , 8 August 2020

M.D. lists road, infrastructure and recreation plans for 2020 in business plan

The M.D. of Bonnyville has revealed what projects and infrastructure they’ll be working on in 2020.

M.D. council passed its first business plan document on Wednesday, which breaks down the municipality’s $144 million budget, underlying goals for the year, and specific road and infrastructure projects they’ll be working toward.

Reeve Greg Sawchuk said that this business-style approach to governance shows more accountability to taxpayers while trying to be more efficient.

“This is very important in getting back to what this council has really pushed all along. It’s treating the M.D. more like a business, digging into the numbers, but also making sure that all that information gets out to the residents as well,” said Sawchuk on The Morning After.

“I think there’s a whole lot more accountability when you consider it a business because every time you spend the taxpayer’s money, then you’re thinking in the back of your mind, are we getting the best bang for the buck, the same as you would as if you were running a business? We’ve challenged the administration always to look for efficiencies, and they’ve done it and that’s allowed us to a few extra things,” he said.

2020 priorities

The 2020 budget is divided into $87,235,345 for operating costs and $57,514,153 for capital spend.

Twenty-seven million dollars is carried over from financial reserves into the budget because of projects that were not completed in previous years, said Sawchuk.

An overview of the M.D.’s 2020 budget from the Business Plan document.

Eight capital road construction projects are scheduled at a projected cost of $14.6 million as the M.D. begins a years-long initiative to bring roads up to standard, said Abid Malik, General Manager of Infrastructure Services in the business plan.

This follows the M.D. passing a roads map that is meant to make road selection easier for upcoming construction.

The infrastructure department also laid out a 20-year replacement program for 120 bridge structures within the M.D.

Three bridges are scheduled to be replaced, and one will undergo major repairs, for a total cost of $2 million.

Nearly $7 million is set aside to remedy drainage issues in Birch Grove, Elk Haven, Hillside, Willow Ridge, County Side, Country Lane, Sunset Beach, Drouin, Crawford Estates and Crane Lake subdivisions also in 2020.

The Agriculture Department is undertaking several new initiatives including developing a new roadside brushing and mulching program that will be implemented over the next 20 years.

The chosen road projects in the capital budget.

Pest control and drainage issues that relate to unwanted pests (beavers) are continuing in 2020, with the Muriel Creek system a priority, said Matt Janz, GM of Protective Services in the business plan.

Veterinary Services Incorporated (VSI) Program will continue to be funded as well.

New fire halls will be constructed in Fort Kent and Ardmore in 2020 to accommodate the new firetrucks that were purchased in 2019.

On the recreation side, the Adventure Park at Kinosoo Ridge Snow Resort remains a top priority after a rare plant study from Alberta Environment and Parks delayed the project in 2019.

Other major projects include the development of a Recreation Master Plan, outdoor covered rinks in Cherry Grove and Ardmore, a schematic design for a Recreation Park in Bonnyville, North Shore Heights Trail Phase II and paving of the Iron Horse Trail in Glendon and the Beaver River Trestle staging area.

Smaller projects include putting in power to Crane Lake East, Chicken Hill Lake, and Minnie Lake West campgrounds,  continued renovations to Vezeau Beach campground, ball diamond upgrades including new dugouts at Fort Kent, fish stand replacements and outhouse replacements.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connect Media. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.