Closure of coal plant discussed at Castor town council

Large number of hockey jerseys at arena discussed by council

Castor town council received correspondence from Alberta Utilities Commission about the hearing to consider the power plant development near Halkirk. Capitol Power Generation Services Inc. has applied to construct and operate the Halkirk 2 Wind Power Project, proposed for five km north of the existing Halkirk wind power facility. Council decided not to attend the hearing.

Mayor Devloo and CAO Jackson attended the Economic Opportunities Task Force Meeting, in which they discussed their Aug. 29 meeting with Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous. At both meetings, the Coal Community Transition Fund was discussed, a fund which Alberta’s coal communities have access to, for locally led projects supporting regional economic development. The first project to receive support through the fund was the Town of Hanna’s Community Action to Create Diversification Project. Mayor Devloo felt that coming up with a plan to apply for and use this grant should be left to the new council once elections are complete. There are further meetings regarding this fund in the coming weeks. The coal phase out deadline per the federal government is Dec. 31, 2029.

COA Jackson supplied more information in regard to the ATCO Franchise Fee and the inquiry as to whether it should be raised from 5 per cent to 6 per cent for 2018. After a review of what surrounding communities have their franchise fee at, Councilor Ryan moved to leave the fee at 5 per cent. Motion was carried.

Councilor Elhard presented the recreation board report. There is a huge excess of new hockey jerseys in the arena. It was suggested to look at selling them off at a drastically reduced price or donating them. Castor Minor Sports will be holding their first AGM on Oct 2 at 7 p.m at the Town Office.

Councilor Elhard moved to hire PGA Architects as the engineer for renovations to the arena. Motion was carried.

CAO Jackson reported that the sidewalks are near completion, with the paving crew coming Thursday to prep the road. In the north part of town lawns are being leveled and reseeded. Arjan Van Hienen added that soil testing is proceeding at the old Home Hardware lot. They’ve dug 4 meters deep and have hit sandstone. The coal seam runs under there so testing has been challenging. The water treatment plant will be ready for paving soon.

With the election coming up, discussed were payments for staff and volunteers counting the ballots. It was decided that the staff that works election day will receive an extra $100 and meals, and those that come in to count ballots will get $50. Councilor Ryan moved this motion. It was carried by council.

Councilor Nichols informed council that the Ag Society finalized 11 students who qualified for and will receive a scholarship. The Ag Society would like to see more students apply for these scholarships in the future.

Mayor Devloo and Arjan Van Hienen were pleased with the students who were hired this past summer. They are done now for the season, and Arjan hopes that some of them will come back again next year.

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