Village of Thorsby Council Meeting - January 25, 2011

Vol 15. Issue 6, Leduc - Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer

Delegations

Council heard a resident’s pedestrian safety concern regarding the corner of 48 Ave. and 49 St. near the Rec Centre. Because there are no sidewalks, pedestrians, some pushing strollers, have encountered narrow escapes while sharing the road with inattentive drivers. Even when driving with care, drivers find that corner treacherous when icy. However, sidewalk construction in the Rec Centre area is not an immediate budget consideration. One Councillor noted the price tag for a sidewalk project at the Rec Centre vicinity could run in the $100,000 range. Council will consider placing some sort of signage to alert drivers to proceed with caution in that area.

Department Reports

Corporate Services Manager Christine Burke reports the Data Conversion and set up for both Summer Villages is progressing well.

Recreation Director Laurie Gellert reports there has been much positive feedback on the new program guide about the overall look of the guide and upcoming programs.

CAO Harold Wynne reports: 

  • NEW THORSBY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL—Official Grand Opening will be Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 1 pm.  CAO will be meeting soon with Black Gold Regional School Superintendent Norman Yanitski, other school officials and MLA Diana McQueen to discuss the bus lane, parent drop-off and street access plan for the elementary school.
  • WATER TREATMENT PLANT—the engineers, contractors and Village engineers are pleased with the quality of construction of the water treatment plant.  Completion date has been bumped up from November to mid-July 2011 with plant commissioning scheduled sometime between mid-May and July.  Transitioning to the new site will begin in May.  The new WTP official opening will be planned for late August or early September.
  • Snow Removal—With the high snowfall levels, Darryl Rickard and the Public Works staff have been getting up at 2 am in order to clear snow before residents arrive in the downtown area or head out to work. There have been some complaints about tardy snow removal, but most people and businesses have been very understanding and expressed their appreciation for the Public Works staff for going the extra mile.  Mayor Rasch and all of Council commended the excellent commitment of Rickard and the Public Works crew for clearing the snow and keeping traffic moving.
  • Due to the exceptional snowfall limiting access to touch pads on houses, remote water sensor installation for 450 water meters in Thorsby will begin in March.
  • Public Works Staffing—with both Darryl Rickard and Ross Pharis out on sick leave, the public works dept. is short-staffed.  Arrangements have been made to cover this shortage. CAO wants to build a casual labour pool for Public Works with 2 or 3 locals  (foreman approved). Two such short-term workers have been found.  Councillor Hart inquired if there was a conflict with the Union in hiring casuals.  CAO said the emergency public works coverage is within the terms of agreement. Calmar Public Works colleagues will help in an emergency basis. The Water treatment plant daily care “has been covered.” 

New Business

Thorsby Elementary School

Black Gold Regional Schools Superintendent Dr. Norman Yanitski announced the Board of Education has approved the schedule for the opening of the new Thorsby Elementary School in 2011. On March 1, 2, and 3, the elementary students will not attend school but will work at home on their assignments while the staff works on the final transition from the original school to the new school. As staff move items into the school, they will be “decluttering” as part of the Board’s Strategic Plan to promote “Green Schools.” The first official day of school in the new building will be Monday, March 7. Be sure to attend the Official Grand Opening on Thursday, May 19 at 1 PM.

Red Coats for Kids

Council agreed to support the 2011 Red Coats for Kids Charity Hockey Tournament held at the Leduc Rec Centre on January 27, 28 and 29 with a donation of $150.  Each year, members of the RCMP from across Alberta gather in a different community to raise money for a local charity.  The Mandate for the Red Coats for Kids is simple, “Helping those who help Kids”.  This year’s tournament charity proceeds will be split between the Leduc & District Victims Services, Blackgold Night Hawks Community Patrol, and the Leduc Boys and Girls Club. Council expressed support for Leduc and District Victim Services who do cover Thorsby in times of crisis.

While expressing huge support for the Tournament, Councillor Hart opposed the motion because  “it was not in budget and currently, the Village is operating from their interim budget.” Council received the request on January 25 meeting, too late for budget consideration. Councillor Hart said that “not knowing where we stand with the budget, and if we get a bunch of $150 requests, it could pose a problem; especially when we have so many major projects on the go.”

Joint Council Meeting

On January 26, the Joint Council Meeting (featuring Council representatives from various local municipalities and Alberta MLA Diana McQueen)  met in Thorsby to participate in a roundtable discussion and give updates on issues concerning infrastructure priorities and economic development initiatives. When Mayor Rasch asked Council to identify specific infrastructure needs for the community to bring to the discussion, Thorsby Council selected the following priority items for their part of the discussion:

  • support for bulk distribution of water associated with Thorsby’s new water treatment plant,
  • continued support for the Rec Centre Phase 2 through a Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grant, 
  • support for the Thorsby Elementary School roadway,
  • daycare, which, according to CAO Wynne, “has become a ‘head scratcher’ as to what the Village is allowed to do as per daycare rates.” Councillor Hart suggested asking for another module to make it more economically viable to run a daycare.

Council will invite representatives of the Capital Region Economic Roadmap Working Group of economic development professionals to make a presentation to Council to discuss the Roadmap. 

 
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