The results are in on the Gleichen water supply study
Andy Tenaham and Troy McNiell from BSEI were asked by the county to evaluate the various possibilities for upgrades to the Gleichen area water system.
“Government guidelines have been updated and the current system will not meet those guidelines after 2015,” said McNiell, when questioned by council.
They presented a report evaluating the current system, detailing upgrades that could be considered over a 20-year period and the various solutions the county might take. It included subsequent costs to remedy water problems for the area; and compared a regional supply solution that might benefit the county as a whole with a local solution that would service the Gleichen, Cluny and Namaka area.
The report identified many problems with the current storage of raw water in the Gleichen reservoir, although the water quality was determined safe at present. BSEI proposed a rebuilt and upgraded lagoon as well as a new treatment facility built to meet the province’s guidelines. The current water treatment plant is over 30-years-old. It was determined that upgrading the existing treatment plant was more expensive than building a new plant.
They also recommended that the most cost effective solution to service low population areas would be by trucking the water rather than putting in a pipeline. McNiell suggested that council would receive a higher rate of funding from initiatives like Water for Life, should they proceed with a more localized solution.
“With upgrades to the wells, we found that trucking was about half the cost,” said David Churchill, Transportation and Infrastructure manager for Wheatland County. He said there were many maintenance costs for pipelines and if the pipeline system is extensive, additional chlorine injections are needed, which increase costs.
Other options were to include big population areas such as the Siksika reserve and the future Eagle Shores development with pipelines running from the treatment plant. Operational costs and maintenance of the pipelines were an expensive proposition.
Council members were concerned that other municipal and federal water studies were ongoing and questioned how those plans would affect this study. They decided that the study would be accepted as information, with review in February 2012, when information from other studies might be available.
Increased Dog Kennel fees
The Town of Strathmore issued a letter to Wheatland council announcing that the rates for dog holding kennel privileges are going up.
“We are currently being charged $250 per month for overnight stays,” said Gerald Skibinsky, Protective Services manager.
The Town of Strathmore indicated rates will increase to $1,457 a month, which is a 583 per cent increase. This is based on service fees for 365 days a year, providing for a kennel assistant and covering overtime on weekends.
“It was a shock to our department,” said Skibinsky.
Councillor Bernice Bland commented that the county service did not utilize the Strathmore kennels 365 days a year.
County peace officers delivered other options such as retaining the services of the Calgary Humane Society, which were also already used in conjunction with the town services. The cost is $50 per dog with an additional $10 fee if the animal is euthanized. Calgary veterinary clinics were used to house overflow numbers. The frequency of delivery to Calgary would increase to daily delivery. There were no other municipalities within Wheatland County that could accommodate a similar kennel. If the county built a similar facility, the cost would be over $40,000. Council voted to forgo Strathmore services and retain the Calgary Humane Services for one year and re-evaluate the cost effectiveness at that time.
Councillors were upset that the Town did not give notice prior to the increase and asked that a letter be sent to address the issue.
Dynagra storm water retention pond and ditch
There was a question whether the ditch dug by Dynagra, in the Carseland area, was causing additional runoff problems. Water was accumulating on the property and causing problems for the company and adjacent neighbours.
“We determined that the runoff with the ditch is the same as the natural drainage for the area,” said David Churchill, Transportation and Infrastructure manager for Wheatland County.
He recommended that the ditch be kept and the existing storm water pond on site remains.
Advertising trailer warning
Council members noticed that more advertising trailers are sprouting up on land adjacent to roadways. This issue was dealt with in previous years, according to Alberta Transportation guidelines. It was noted that there is a designated setback from the road allowance designated for these signs. Councillors asked that the previous motion be supplied, so attention can be given to this problem.
Alberta Health Services reminded of system overload
Two councillors attended information sessions with Alberta Health Services.
“We reminded them that Strathmore Hospital is dealing with 100 patients a day and the hospital only has 6 beds,” said Councillor Brenda Knight.
Officials responded that Strathmore Hospital is one of the top five candidates nominated, along with Calgary, for increased bed space and funding.
Councillors also supported employing immigrant doctors with medical degrees.
Re-allocated MPC funding for Rural Fire Services
President L. Delgado of the Strathmore Rural /Carseland Fire Association updated council with recommendations that Municipal Province Compensation funds be allocated to the rural fire services within Wheatland County. Fire services are compensated by the province for the number of calls they attend as well as training sessions.
“Hopefully with the changes will get on with our solvency,” said Delgado.
The re-designated money would replace some of the expenses now paid by the county.
Utility rate increases
Due to an error in utility calculations, increases in tiered utility rates scheduled to take effect earlier this year, will be deferred to July 1, 2012. A flat 10 per cent increase for the month of November and December will be charged as of January 1, 2012 and the tiered system will kick in on the deferred date.
Interim 2012 budget submitted
Figures are in for the interim 2012 budget.
“Staff worked hard to make this happen,” said the county’s CFO.
A 2.81 per cent increase per capita was requested. Council accepted the information and would review the recommendations for further approval in the new year.
Hope Community College funding
Hope Community College, to be located in Drumheller, submitted an alternative course plan to council with changes to the course schedule. The county had granted money to the college in support of the courses with half going to a scholarship for a Wheatland County student. They hoped council would still approve that support. Council agreed that the courses and the scholarship were still important despite the changes and re-approved the funding.