Submitted by Lynn Sabo
The Nov. 13 regular meeting of Castor town council began with Ray Holloway addressing council in regard to his property, and what he could do to keep the deer out of his yard.
He wishes to put up a 6-8 foot stone fence on north, east and half the south side of his lot, and a 6 foot wrought iron fence on the west and other half of the south side. He has a corner lot, so having the wrought iron as opposed to stone on half the south side addressed councils concern about being able to see at the intersection. As per the by-law, fences at the front of the house are to be a maximum of 4 feet unless council allows otherwise, taking into account the aesthetics of the fence. The rest of the fence is to be 6 feet as per by-law, and any higher will need a permit. Council advised that Mr. Holloway needs to provide them with an actual plan in writing before they decide anything. He also asked that the town remove a tree at the end of his driveway that is leaning. The town will look into taking it down.
The Parkland Regional Library sent council a letter offering to make a presentation to council on the library service. Councillor Ryan moved to schedule a session with Dwight Nagel of the Parkland Regional Library, which council carried.
Council reviewed the Recreation Board Report, which included a proposal to increase hockey tournament fees to a maximum of $800 for IP, $1,000 for Novice, and $1,200 for Atom. Councillor Zinger moved to accept these new fees, council carried.
There was a skate sharpening demo outlined in the Rec Report, which led to council discussing the current machine and the issues that are happening with it. The machine that was demonstrated would cost $2500 and is extremely user friendly. If purchased, council would look at changing the current fee and payment structure, where 50 per cent of the skate sharpening fee goes to the employee doing the sharpening, and the other 50 per cent goes to the Arena.
Council set the date for the Town of Castor open house. It will be held on Friday Dec. 15 at the Town Office from 2-4 p.m.
Sidewalk cleaning was an item of much discussion in council. It was proposed that homeowners who do not clear the sidewalks within 48 hours of a snowfall have the town clear the snow at a fee of $50. Current bylaws in place give homeowners 48 hours to clear sidewalks after the snow has stopped falling, and this fee was suggested as a way to enforce it. Concern came up for those who physically could not do the shovelling required, to which CAO Jackson reminded council that there are people in town who will shovel walks, and that the town office has a list on file of people willing to shovel as well as people who offer bobcat services for bigger jobs.
Councillor Zinger moved to put in place the $50 fee for snow removal if the town ends up clearing residential sidewalks, which was carried by council, with the agreement that Sandi would put a notice in the monthly newsletter and on the Facebook page and website advising people that the town has a list of people to shovel and asking to have more people call to be put on the available list.
Updates from various meetings followed, starting with Emily Wheller informing council that the museum gala fundraiser raised just over $23,000. Councillor Nelner reported that the Firefighter Haunted House raised $450 in cash, plus groceries for the Castor Food Bank. The fire department is already planning for next year’s event, discussing ways to make it better for everyone. The town’s Assistant Public Works Foreman Arjan Van Heinen stated that his crews have been busy with snow removal, and have a number of trees in town that need assessing.
CAO Jackson reported back to council about the Highway 12 Regional Meeting regarding the fire department radios. The system, spanning the Highway 12 corridor from Consort to Halkirk, needs $20,500 worth of work to reprogram the radios, which will be split between the six areas sharing the service. Once reprogrammed, another $50,000 worth of work will be needed to overhaul the system, starting with grounding the towers as none are currently grounded. All of these upgrades and corrections will result in a more stable radio system, with a wider bandwidth, which will allow the radios to work in a wider area. The group proposed that each member community give $3,000 per year to be held in reserve for future work needed, and that Castor be the host of that reserve. Councillor Wismer moved to have the upgrades to the system budgeted for 2018, and Councillor Ryan moved to contribute $3,000 to the reserve and set up Castor to be responsible for the reserve fund.
Mayor Elhard informed council about the Alberta Disaster Services debriefing. There were many local businesses in attendance, as so many were involved in helping out during the snow storm in October. Some good ideas came out of the meeting, including having a list of contacts in the area who may have accommodation or fuel should the need arise.
The next council meeting will be held on Monday Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. at the town office. The meetings are open to the public.