Wetaskiwin city aiming at ditch upgrade after special meeting July 11

Wetaskiwin sets aside almost $300K for ditch upgrade; agreement required with nearby landowner

The City of Wetaskiwin decided to upgrade a ditch on the south side of the city after a special council meeting was held July 11.

The meeting saw two councilors, Patricia MacQuarrie and June Boyda, physically absent but trying to attend via Skype, a teleconferencing technology. However, city staff couldn’t get the Skype to operate fully; MacQuarrie and Boyda were visible on TV, but their audio was missing. Councilor Tyler Gandam patched their audio through his laptop.

The drainage ditch issue was not originally listed on the meeting agenda; instead, an “in-camera” session was listed. “In-camera” is a private session where only councilors and certain staff may sit in, usually to protect contractual information, staff issues and a few other topics. Council may not make any formal decisions “in-camera” and can only do so once the “in-camera” session is closed.

The Pipestone Flyer contacted mayor Bill Elliot July 13 to find out if council passed motions. He said they did, and the issue was pertaining to a drainage ditch that needed rebuilding but the city found that the easement hadn’t been registered.

Eliot said the city plans to allow a nearby landowner to use the property in question after an agreement has been hammered out.

The location in question is in the 37 Ave area in front of the Masco office, east of the tracks.

According to the unofficial meeting minutes, after adjourning the “in-camera” session, councilor Bert Horvey moved that council approve the redevelopment of the ditch located on lot 9, block 53, plan 7821171 subject to the property owner entering into a utility right of way and an easement agreement with the cost at no more than $290,060 with funds coming from the water reserve. It was passed unanimously.