M.D. of Lesser Slave River Council notebook

June 29, 2021 meeting

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Council’s special meeting last week was mainly to discuss the 2021 capital budget. Several items of work were proposed, for addition to what’s already been approved. Council approved around $700,000 in additional projects. Some of the discussions about them follow:

Canyon Creek water/sewer upgrades

Various improvements are needed to components of the raw water intake system at Canyon Creek. The items to be improved total $130,000.
Another $30,000 is budgeted for asphalt or concrete aprons at the sewage treatment plant. Trucks delivering chemicals are sinking in, council heard.

Widewater drainage

This item raised a few hackles. What’s being proposed is a study first, then an action plan. But councillor Brad Pearson was having none of that.

“Why are we studying it?” he asked. “There’s a ditch that’s not working. Let’s clean it out. Don’t study it.”

CAO Barb Miller stuck with the recommendation. The landscape may have changed (through development).

“Why spend time and money when we don’t know?” she said.

“It’s a hill,” Pearson said. “Don’t study it.”

Councillor Sandra Melzer countered with an example from Flatbush, where local ‘expertise’ on drainage turned out to be wrong. It took an actual expert to figure out how and where it should be draining.

“Water runs downhill,” was Pearson’s response.

Councillor Robert Esau expressed (not for the first time) his skepticism of engineers and engineering. On the other hand, he said a drainage plan should be complete, “not willy nilly.”

The proposed study would be, council heard, for a broader area than the particular overgrown ditch that is the current source of headaches.

Outdoor rink for Smith

The $40,000 proposed for this year’s budget would not be to actually build the rink, but to continue looking into its feasibility. This involves consultation with community members on what they actually want, special projects manager Barry Kolenosky told council.

“We need to see if the community is supportive,” he said. “If not, I guess we shelve it.”

If it is supported, Kolenosky sees it as a “staged approach,” which will probably involve “extending the existing pad.”
Councillor Esau said he doesn’t remember council approving the project.

What you approved, said Kolenosky, was a concept plan. And to take it back to the community “and find out if they approve a staged process.”

At that, Esau said he’d like an in-camera session to discuss a local improvement tax.

This item is reprinted with permission from the Lakeside Leader. For the complete article, click HERE

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