Council approves east side services tender
Sundre town councillors have passed a motion accepting a tender of $1,261,976 from Crossfield’s Foran Equipment for the installation of water and wastewater lines along 1st Avenue northeast.
The vote came during recent regularly scheduled town council meeting.
The construction will involve the installation of 570 metres of 300 mm water lines and 400 mm diameter wastewater lines, and is part of the later ongoing east side water and wastewater project.
“It is projected that this work will take approximately 60 days to complete and will begin mid-July,” said CAO Verne Balding.
With the tender approved, an open house will now be scheduled to explain the project in more detail to the residents on the north side of Highway 27, he said.
Ron Baker, the town’s director of operational services, told council work on the project should get underway in July.
In related news, the town has responded to a request by the Valley Mobile Home Park to have water and sewer services connected to the park as part of current construction.
“We understand that the new water and sewer services are to be extended across Highway 27 south of the A&W,” park officials said in a letter to council on April 3.
“We were wondering if water sewer connections would be available to our Valley Mobile Home Park being we are very close to the Highway 27 water and sewer road crossing.”
In a response letter dated May 17, Baker send a letter to park officials saying: “At the present time the configuration of the Utility Right of Way on the south side of Highway 27 will not allow the advancement of the services beyond the present end location as future advancement of the lines will require the purchase of land or acquisition of additional Utility Right of Way.
“The laneway is not wide enough to allow the installation of the services without the use of the private lot (south of the laneway).”
Future expansion of the services on the south side of the highway will require the purchase of land and/or agreements with the present landowners to provide the land as required, he said.
Residents unhappy with Snake Hill work
Councillors have instructed administration to reply to a number of residents who recently wrote letters expressing concern with recent town work on trails on Snake Hill.
Undertaken in April, the work included cutting away small trees and brush to return pathways to their original width and clearing away some underbrush at pathway intersections, council heard.
During last week’s council meeting, CAO Verne Balding explained that the work was done at the request of the Sundre fire department to allow emergency vehicles proper access to the area in the event of wildfire.
As well, some of the clearing was also done at the request of the Sundre cross-country ski club to allow the snow grooming machine to turn around on the pathways.
The budget for the clearing project was about $4,000.
A number of residents have sent letters to Sundre town council expressing their unhappiness with the recent work. The letters came before town council at last week’s meeting.
“I do not like to complain but the recent work done by the Town of Sundre is horrible,” resident Cindy Orr said in one letter. “Never before have I seen so many changes to the trail system as I have in the past few years with the expansion of the water treatment facility and now the destruction of some trails.
“Not only has natural habitat been destroyed, but it also opens the pathways for vehicular and ATV traffic. The new trail system seems unnecessarily wide and the process overly destructive.”
She called on the town to “remediate the damage caused by the widening” and to “leave the Snake Hill trail system as it is.”
In a second letter, Brian and Carla Vanderzwan also expressed concern with the recent work.
“It is really unfortunate that the people responsible for our natural areas within the town treat them with such disdain,” they wrote. “Please tell me what the town’s rationale was when they felt the need to widen a perfectly beautiful trail.
“This opens the trails up to increased vehicle and ATV abuse.
“As with the widening of the trails along the creek and river, the people responsible have no clue what they’re doing to the ecosystem. It seems there was no public input, as usual, to the methods used to ‘beautify’ our natural area.”
In a third letter, resident Rich Maiklem also expressed concerns with the recent work, asking: “Was the path widened to accommodate snowmobiles or ATVs?” and “Would the mayor and town council at least consider remediation of the damage that was done?”
He also asked the town to provide details of how much the recent work cost the town.
“I hope my taxes are not being affected by this, especially since this was not necessary. Was there any public consultation? Was there any type of environmental assessment done?”
During last week’s discussion of the matter, several councillors told administration that the town’s bylaw prohibiting ATVs and other unauthorized motorized vehicle traffic on Snake Hill should be enforced.
Plant watering requested denied
Councillors have denied a request to have the town staff water newly planted trees and other plants around the Sundre school playgrounds during the months of July and August.
The plantings are part of the From the Ground Up naturalization project to place plants on Sundre school property.
In a letter to council, project coordinator Karen Fahrlander explained that the program’s Phase 1 includes planting trees and shrubs along both sides of the entrance to the River Valley school.
“This will take place in June. There will be no one available to water our plants during July and August. To ensure the plants are well established, we require your help with watering at least three times a week,” said Fahrlander.
The total cost of watering the plantings, including wages, would have been about $1,075 for the two summer months, council heard.
Coun. Thompson said he would support having town staff water the plants if the school paid for the water and the staff wages.
“I don’t see this as being a town bill,” said Thompson.
Deputy Mayor Chris Vargas added, “If they want to pay for it, I’m OK with it.”
Councillors defeated the motion calling for town staff to water the plants.
Town approves new garbage rollout carts
Councillors have approved the purchase of 55 new garbage rollout carts and 30 new compact rollout carts at a cost of $5,780.
The carts are needed to meet new demand in town, councillors heard.
“Each year an inventory is taken of the rollout carts that will be required for the next year’s budget,” Balding said. “It appeared that for 2012 there would not been any carts required but so far this year the demand for carts has been higher than anticipated.
“In addition, the Mountain View Regional Waste Management Commission (MVRWC) is ordering more carts for a fellow member municipality. To reduce shipping cost the commission asks all the members if they require more carts so Sundre has ordered the carts as outlined in the motion above.”
Money for the new carts will come from the solid waste reserve account, council heard.
Meanwhile, council has instructed administration to set out a plan to gather public input about a MVRWC proposal to introduce household recycling bins to Mountain View County towns, including Sundre.
During last week’s council meeting, town administration put forward three proposed motions regarding the MVRWC Blue Bin Program: for the purchase of 1,025 bins at a cost of $76,875, for a charge of $6.25 per household per month for a year to cover the cost of the bins, and for $7.50 per month per household to run the program.
The 95-gallon bins would be used for recycling plastics, cans and other recyclable products.
“The MVRWC is in the process of reviewing grant options that could assist municipalities with bin purchase,” CAO Baldy told council.
Introducing a blue bin recycling program could help markedly reduce the amount of waste going into the landfill, and therefore reduce costs over the long term, he said.
Coun. Myron Thompson said he would like to see more public input on the proposal.
“I think we should consider more input from the community before voting on this,” said Thompson.
CAO Balding said he would report back to council on plans to gather public input. If approved, the program could start up in 2013.
In 2011, Sundre’s solid waste costs amounted to $194,048, with 381.9 tonnes of waste taken to the landfill.
River stabilization project good for Sundre, says CAO
In his regular report to council, CAO Baldy updated council on several things happening in town, including the completion of the $2.4 million riverbank stabilization project, which wrapped up on May 14.
“While there can be no absolute guarantees of flood safety, there can be no doubt that the presence of the spurs (rock barriers installed out from the river bank) has mitigated flood risks in adjacent areas, has resulted in a much lower likelihood of bank erosion, and offers increased security to the Town of Sundre and residents.
“The work has been completed on budget and slightly ahead of schedule.”