The inaugural Town of Castor council meeting of 2022 was busy with delegations.
Held on Jan. 10, 2022, the meeting had three separate delegations in attendance to start the meeting.
First to present were Castor Public Library Board chair Lynn Sabo and library manager Tess Griebel who provided council an update on what had been accomplished in the past the year.
Statistics accumulated by Griebel show that the Castor library welcomed 2,160 in-person and 849 online visitors in 2021, with 112 library members borrowing 4,786 items. Additionally, 144 new items were added to the library shelf.
Sabo also indicated to council that the library board has grown, with nine volunteer members now sitting on it.
Plans for 2022 include introducing a summer reading program and applying for grants to possibly do some much needed renovations in the facility.
Council seemed generally happy with the update.
“I would just like to thank you guys for the wonderful job you are doing,” said Deputy Mayor Trudy Kilner.
After presenting at the County of Paintearth council meeting the week previously, Castor and District Museum board members John Wright and Mike Bain presented to Castor’s town council to request funding.
In the presentation, the pair outlined the work completed in the first phase of the Elevator project, as well as funds raised to date and projected other sources of funding.
Part of the projected funding is a $10,000 ask from the town.
“This is a one time funding request,” said Bain.
Bain also pointed out that when significant renovations had been done in 2018 and 2019 at the museum, they had done the fundraising all themselves, did not ask for any funding, and accumulated zero debt.
“This (elevator) is a very important link to the past and the rural way of life,” said Bain.
Castor’s grain elevator is the last one of five which once stood in town, and one of only 20 to be granted heritage status by the provincial government.
Coun. Kevin McDougall was the first council member to comment on the presentation.
“I commend you guys for all the work you have done,” said McDougall.
“I’d be in support of giving you the $10,000.”
Coun. Don Sisson also commented.
“I’ve seen the work you gentlemen do, and it’s very much appreciated.”
The presentation was accepted for information, with a funding decision to be made later.
During the presentation Bain also announced that after their presentation to the county, county council approved $20,000 to go towards the project.
The final presenter of the evening was Diana Boxma, on behalf of a group trying to revive Castor’s Winter Fest.
A small committee, including herself, is organizing a Winter Fest event to be held on Feb. 12, and would feature a farmers market, a parade of horse-drawn sleighs, musical entertainment and fireworks.
“We’re running on volunteers and zero budget,” said Boxma.
The idea is to start off small this year, and potentially grow the event a little bit each year.
According to chief administrative officer Christopher Robblee, one of the barriers for the group in hosting the event was insurance, with possible solutions being the town offering funding for the group to get their own or just covering the event under the town’s insurance.
While some councillors felt that the group was pushing too much to get things done too quickly, with barely a month until Feb. 12, other councillors were optimistic that events were going on again.
“To me, we need something in town,” said Kilner.
Mayor Richard Elhard agreed.
“I love the idea,” said Elhard.
Meanwhile, Coun. Sisson was more reserved.
“People need to be more organized when they do things,” said Sisson.
“I think they are jumping the gun.”
Ultimately, in a motion put forward by Coun. Cecil Yates, council authorized the group to go ahead with the event, under the town’s insurance, and for the fireworks to proceed.
Council is also donating up to $1,000 for other expenses, such as entertainment, for the event.