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Town of Castor receives $15,000 Atco grant

And other highlights from the Nov. 27 meeting
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Ryan Lochart, with Atco Electric, presents Mayor Richard Elhard a $15,000 grant cheque for new furnaces for the Castor ambulance bay and old firehall. (Kevin Sabo/Castor Advance)

A contingent from Atco Electric opened the Castor council meeting on Nov. 27.

The trio was on hand to present a $15,000 cheque to the town for funding from the Atco Clean Energy Community Fund.

According to Ryan Lockhart, the spokesperson of the group, over 70 applications were received for the $150,000 of inaugural funding. Of those applications, 12 projects were selected for approval, including Castor.

Castor will be using the funds to upgrade the furnaces in the old firehall and ambulance bay with cleaner burning and more efficient ones.

Gas and water reconciliation

The town’s gas and water systems ending Oct. 31 were reviewed as part of the council agenda.

On the gas side of the town-owned utilities, the system showed a 0.25 per cent loss, with the goal of being as close to zero as possible. Losses or gains above three per cent will trigger an audit from the Federation of Gas, so a quarter-percent loss is well within parameters.

Where water is concerned, losses ending October have trended higher than they previously were due to line breaks over the summer and in September.

Losses ending October were at 11 per cent, which is still significantly lower than historical highs which neared 30 per cent in 2010.

According to chief administrative officer (CAO) Donna Rowland, all the known leaks have been repaired and the losses should begin trending downward again.

Library

Two items to do with the Castor public library were on the Nov. 27 council agenda.

First, the members of the Castor Municipal Library board were appointed for the next year.

Shawn Peach has been appointed as the incumbent chair, Brenda Hepp is the vice chair, Brenda Wismer is serving as treasurer, and Sandy Shipton is serving as secretary. The terms for the board members in the executive end in 2025.

Board members Bev Morie, Carol Ries, and Angie Eggleston were also reappointed to the board, with term end-dates in 2026.

The second library item on the agenda was the approval of the budget.

Due to an anticipated increase in programming to be offered, and a slight increase in staff wages, the library is requesting a modest budget increase for 2024.

Peach noted that Tess Griebel, the library’s manager, is currently grant writing to hopefully offset some of the costs.

The total requested budget for 2024 is $32,700.

“If we get the grant, and everything goes right, we’ll be under budget,” said Peach.

The budget was approved in a motion by Coun. Cecil Yates.

Gus Wetter School

Gus Wetter School has submitted a request to council for support in watering fruit trees, such as plums and apples, during the summer months.

The school is currently trying for a grant to secure the trees and as part of the grant they have to have a plan for how they will be cared for during the summer months.

According to Rowland, if approved, care of the trees will be an opportunity for students to earn credits during the school year. When asked, Rowland confirmed that the watering of the trees could be easily added to the town’s watering rounds which are already conducted.

The watering would only be conducted by the town during the months of July and August.

The request was approved in a motion put forward by Coun. Don Sisson.



Kevin Sabo

About the Author: Kevin Sabo

I’m Kevin Sabo. I’ve been a resident of the Castor area for the last 12 years and counting, first coming out here in my previous career as an EMT.
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