By Serena Lapointe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

During the last Woodlands County Council meeting of June, Councillor Dave Kusch inquired about bringing in a user-pay dust mitigation plan for area residents seeking refuge from clouds of kicked-up dirt on their roads. He made a fully-supported motion to have Administration look into the matter and bring forward potential solutions with costs fully recovered through ratepayers wanting the service.

In the first Council meeting of July, Administration shared their recommendations. Director of Infrastructure Andre Bachand explained that the average cost for calcium is four dollars a metre, based on a 7m road width. “The current County policy identifies that residential dust control will be applied for 200 metres at the cost of $300 or $1.50/meter with a cost of $8.00 for each additional meter requested. Administration contacted the adjacent counties to Woodlands County and received a cost per meter that they charge residents. Should Council choose to provide Dust Control Program at full cost recovery, the $4/meter is based on a full load which will cover 2,000m within relatively close proximity of application sites,” he explained.

“Given that it is currently July, advertising would take two to three weeks. The feasibility of applying dust control in mid-summer may not prove acceptable. Therefore, the recommendation is that Council does not provide a Dust Control Program for 2021, however, have Administration prepare a full cost recovery program and police revision for 2022.”

Councillor Kusch felt that doing something still this year was a shot worth taking. “Can we advertise this opportunity for two to three weeks and see what interest we might have from residents before we completely squash it for this year? We might be surprised at the interest we have. I know it is coming in mid-summer, but there could still be people looking to do this.”

Bachand said that they could go ahead and advertise it but brought up a concern. “If we get residents in different areas in the county requesting dust control, we may not be able to provide it based it on the $4 fee. That’s based on a whole truckload within close proximity of each other.” Bachand said that they could advertise it but could end up unable to provide the service depending on how spread out residents are that want it or the interest they receive. He said they could have that information back for the next meeting.

This item is reprinted with permission from the Whitecourt, AB, Whitecourt Press. For the complete article, click HERE

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