By Kevin Sabo,
The last County of Paintearth Council was held on May 15. The meeting covered a range of topics, such as bylaw amendments, purchase requests, discussion of joint meetings with the Town of Castor, and discussion of a closed bridge in Division 7 (Brownfield).
Several bylaw amendments were made, with the most notable being that members of the public wishing to speak to the council on matters now have 15 minutes to do so, which is up from five minutes previously listed. Also, community members requesting time to speak at a council meeting must make the request at least seven days in advance, although in urgent or emergent situations the reeve has discretion to allow public groups onto the schedule within the seven days. The county borrowing bylaw was also updated for 2018. The county has not had to use the borrowing bylaw in several years, but it must be updated regularly in case the financial situation changes.
Bryce Cook, director of public works, spoke at the council meeting to update on an infrastructure project currently underway at the county yard, and to request permission to purchase a used, low-hour, emergency power generator at a cost of $20 000, as part of the project budget. In his presentation he indicated that A-1 Rentals in Edmonton had a low-hour generator he was going to look at, and that new generators are about $75,000 for what they are looking for. Council approved the request.
Acting Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Brenda Hepp informed council that water pressure tests were underway at Castor’s hospital, but as of the meeting date indications were that the town’s water pumps were incapable of sustaining the 55PSI of water pressure to adequately supply the hospital’s sprinkler system in the event of a fire. Currently, tests indicate that the hospital is only receiving around 15PSI, which is drastically inadequate. The county is in discussions with the town to try and figure out a fix, and what the cost of the fix is going to be.
A bridge in Division 7, which has been closed since 2003, was brought to council’s attention. The bridge, which is marked with “Bridge Closed” signs, has shown recent signs of traffic and there is concern as the bridge deck has significant rot in it, and if it were to collapse under the weight of a vehicle, the county could be held liable even with the markings. Council moved to block the bridge and notify affected land owners. The county is also making plans to remove the rotted deck of the bridge this winter.
The final item discussed was the awarding of a water connection contract to Action Plumbing of Stettler to connect properties around Brownfield to the main water line.