City of Wetaskiwin councilors read a detailed update on the Engineering and Development Department during their regular meeting Jan. 9. The report was submitted by Department director Sue Howard.
“Since the last reporting period, the Engineering department has had significant staff turnover,” stated Howard in her report. “To address the effects of this a department restructuring has occurred as well as the introduction of new forms, templates, tools, and training to help staff be successful in their tasks moving forward.
“One area of improvement has been to establish a reliable filing system and pull all documents out of staff offices and get them filed in a central area. This will help with information sharing, historical retention and ultimately save the City money by knowing what has been done in the past.”
Since the last reporting period the Development department has joined forces with Engineering to ensure that consistent development protocol is maintained. This will help ensure that residents and developers are being provided with timely and professional high quality services related to their development or construction activities.
The grant applications for 2016 include MSI 51 St. Rehab $225,000 (approved), MSI 53 St. Rehab $335,000 (approved), Memorial Arts roof $142,000 (approved), Sidewalk Rehab $200,000 (approved), Alberta Community Partnership $200,000 (submitted), Clean Water Wastewater Fund $4,000,000 (submitted), Water for Life $130,000 (pending), Water for Life $427,000 (pending), STIP $570,000 (pending).
“Updates from our provincial representative indicate that the Garden Meadows Reservoir project is eligible for the Clean Water grant and an application was forwarded by the province on our behalf,” stated Howard’s report. “The City expects to hear on approvals up to the 2017 budget announcement however, some will not be announced until that time.”
Upon examining the agenda item, Councilor Joe Branco asked why no 2017 grants were listed. Howard responded that unapproved grant applications carry forward into 2017.
“The airport has seen significant staffing changes since the last reporting period,” stated Howard’s report. “For 2016 the required live mock disaster was completed successfully and in November Transport Canada (TC) completed their audit. To address TC’s concerns the Director of Engineering and Development has taken on the Accountable Member status and has updated the City’s safety management system plan to include areas of concerns from TC. In 2017 airport training will be completed and staff will develop a Council presentation for a long term strategy addressing any outstanding concerns.”
Wetaskiwin Community Transit Service
Since the last reporting period the “Transportation” department is now called the “Transit” department to better reflect the services they provide, stated Howard’s report. In the fall, the Medically at Risk Driver (MARD) program at the U of A selected the WCTS to be part of a pilot project regarding ride scheduling software.
Public Works shop
“Since the last report the shop has completed their regular maintenance on equipment needed,” stated Howard. “This group is continuing to review usage of vehicles and will make changes as needed to ensure that the fleet is being used efficiently. In 2017 a cost-benefit analysis will be completed to outline leasing vs. owning options for Council’s consideration.”
“There were 20 new Elm trees planted in 2016 to help address the erosion of the tree canopy,” stated the report to council. “The parks group has been preparing for the 150 year celebration in 2017 and has placed orders to have all plantings with a red and white theme.” It was noted that the sidewalks in jubilee Park are not being cleared by the city, because, as work is currently underway in the park, the city is not allowed to.
“Transportation completed over 1,900 pothole repairs using 150 tonnes of asphalt. The crack sealing crew was challenged in 2016 by the rain. However, they were able to use 10,000 litres of tar and over 100 tonnes of materials to complete their work.”
Howard reported the 53rd Street project came in under budget.
“In 2017 this group will take a serious look at what major capital projects are going to be required within the short, medium and long term. In addition the Utilities group is preparing to receive infrastructure from General Electric as part of a pilot project to find ways of extending the life of the wastewater lagoons and increase the effluent quality which will in turn improve the environment.”
Waste and recycling
“In 2016 the recycling depot collected 556 aerosol cans, 5,400 litres of paint and 4,200 litres of other hazardous materials during the fall round up. The landfill fall free week saw 1,121 customers pass over the scales with only 16 of those occurring during the extended hours.