By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
Castor’s Town council received a delegation composed of volunteers who have been working to beautify the community.
Volunteers Sandy Jackson, Laurie Charpentier, and Dale Blume presented to council what their group of volunteers have accomplished so far this summer, as well as to seek council’s decision to keep working on their beautification projects.
So far, the focus of the volunteer clean-up crew has been the beach/boat launch area and Pals Park.
So far at the beach, the volunteers have cleaned up the bathrooms, though they reported that due to vandalism the door to the men’s room is unable to be opened.
Additionally, the group has conducted weed-eating around the picnic tables, gazebo, pond, sand area, and the parking blocks, the picnic tables have been repaired and stained, the door on the kayak shed has been stained, the gazebo has been stained, the garbage cans have been stained and the area has received a general cleanup.
Projects yet to do at the beach include building a shrub bed around the gazebo, painting the cement blocks, removing a pair of dead trees, spraying weeds infiltrating the cement blocks, and the repairs to the aforementioned men’s room.
At Pals Park, Charpentier has been hard work looking after the peony beds and is looking for potential homes for a couple of new ones, with one option being near the bench at the Pals Park access off Main Street.
Due to Covenant Health owning a significant portion of the land near the old helipad, where Charpentier originally wanted to place the beds, she has been forced to look for alternatives.
In addition to the flower care, the garbage cans in the park have also been stained.
Work yet to do includes working with the town to coordinate the removal and possible replacement of the old Participaction equipment which has fallen into disrepair, staining the gazebo, and building a shrub bed around it, and leveling the garbage cans.
In addition to the already mentioned work, the group has also offered to do some work over and above the maintenance that the Public Works employees have time to do.
Some discussion was also held between the trio and council before the presentation was accepted as information. More coordination between the Town administration and the group will also be done.
Water and Gas reconciliation
The water and gas reconciliation report present to council was good news, bad news.
The good news is that due to utilization, the Town-operated gas system is currently running a 5.24 per cent surplus.
“The overages are added to general revenue,” said Chief Administrative Officer Christopher Robblee.
The Town does not make a large amount of money on the gas used in the system. The rates the Town charges for the gas system is cost of the gas plus a rate-rider, which pays for maintenance and upkeep on the system.
On the other side of the scale is the Town’s water system, which is currently running at a 27.49 per cent loss.
“We are still losing water,” said Robblee. “We have a leak somewhere. We are still looking; we’ll find it eventually.”
Unlike the gas system, with its attached rate-rider, the water system charges are calculated using a different formula.
“With water, we lose per cubic-metre, for anyone who uses our water system,” said Robblee. “What pays for it is taxes.”
During a recent review, it was noted by the Town’s lawyers that since the municipality runs its own garbage system, it needs a waste management bylaw, which Robblee has been working on, and presented to council.
The new bylaw outlines what residents may and may not dispose of in the garbage system, as well as establishing fees and fines for contraventions of the bylaw.
According to Robblee, the bylaw is needed to help the Town prevent liability issues with the service.
“There is no practical change to what we are doing right now,” said Robblee. “This is a carbon copy of other municipalities.”
After discussing some changes in wording, council motioned for Robblee to take the bylaw back and make some changes and present it again at a future meeting.
Thanks to a one-time top-up in the federal gas tax funding in 2021, Robblee brought sidewalk work back to council, to choose additional work to be done.
At a previous meeting, council motioned to repair the sidewalks on the south side of Main Street from in front of East Central Appraisals to in front of Vision Credit Union.
The Town receives about $50,000 a year in gas tax funds, which is what the municipality uses to repair one or two sections of sidewalk per year.
With an additional $50,000 top-up, Castor can do an additional section.
Administration’s recommendation was to do either the sidewalk on 49 St. across from the arena or to do the sidewalk at the hospital.
After some deliberation, the decision was made to replace the sidewalk at the hospital due to it being a high traffic area. The approximate cost for the work will be about $39,000.
Council also directed Robblee to contact the 49 St. home owners, and find out about the possibility of removing the sidewalk from that area completely.