By Marcia Love
A wealth of tips and information on enhancing heritage districts and the Main Street Program was gained from a conference attended by council members last week.
A report was brought to council during its regular meeting on Feb. 24.
Mayor Barry Rudd, Councillor Ellaine Hawrylak and Main Street Program co-ordinator Royce Pettyjohn attended the Main Street Saskatchewan Conference in Regina on Feb. 20, where communities that are new to the program learned more of the ropes.
Donna Harris of Heritage Consulting Inc. in Philadelphia was one of the presenters and shared a bit about how heritage districts are operating in the U.S. In some communities, instead of offering incentive programs to business owners for work on heritage buildings, heritage district memberships are sold with the funds used to preserve old buildings and support the Main Street Program. Harris explained that in Woodbine, Iowa – where the population is less than 1,500 – Main Street Program work there resulted in substantial gain in business starts, 39 new jobs and a total of 44 Main Street building rehabilitations.
A second presenter, Sylvia Allen, a professional sponsorship salesperson, spoke on money soliciting and the sales process to find sponsors for projects. She presented various methods, but Hawrylak noted one of the suggestions Allen brought forward was regarding platinum, gold, silver and bronze sponsors, which the speaker believes are unnecessary.
“Her idea is that they’re no more important than the $5 and the $10 donations,” she explained, adding many donors do so to help without expecting recognition.
In other business, Rudd announced he will be stepping down from his position on the South West Public Safety Region (SWPSR) board, and the town’s newly-appointed Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) co-ordinator Christine Hoffman will be taking his place. He has held the position for the past four years and said Hoffman will do an excellent job.
An EMO meeting was also held on Feb. 19, with the town and RM of Maple Creek, Maple Creek Fire Department, Cypress Health Region and Hutterite colonies all taking part.
“We had good, positive comments from everybody,” said Hawrylak. “The only job they have to do before the next meeting is to go back and compile a list of all the resources that they have.”
Work will now begin on the structure for a community EMO plan.
In discussing health and safety, Rudd said the town should continue looking into the best locations to have automated external defibrillators (AEDs). The one located at the arena has been replaced with a newer model, but he noted others could be placed at various public locations. Councillor Michelle McKenzie looked into getting several more donated for the town, as some small communities have six located throughout town. Rudd added the life-saving devices are now much easier to use.
Town administrator Michele Schmidt announced Annie Dietrich will be returning to her role as tourism and community economic development officer. The position has been vacant since she left it to pursue other opportunities in September. However, she will be returning to Maple Creek and her position on March 4.
Councillor Tina Cresswell reported on the Cypress Hills Destination Area board meeting, where it was noted lots of tickets are being sold for the RCMP Musical Ride which will be held at Fort Walsh on July 21. A VIP package is also available for $125.
“We’re really going great guns,” Cresswell stated.
A letter was received from residents of the 400 block of Aspen Street who are concerned by the noise of a bus that is parked on the street. Due to a bylaw that does not allow semis or buses to idle along or adjacent to Highway 21, the owner of the bus is unable to park it at the rear of the property. However, council will review the bylaw and make the appropriate changes to allow the bus to be idled at the rear of the property.
Schmidt brought to council the issue of an outstanding water bill that has not been paid by the renter of a property in town. She requested council’s permission to give notification to the landowner that the outstanding arrears will be applied to the property taxes. While the renter has made the $300 deposit for water that property renters are required to do, it does not completely cover the outstanding amount. The administrator noted the motion would be for this specific property and if another case arises it must be brought to council again. Council consented and the renter and property owner will be notified the bill must be paid within 30 days.
Sidney Street School and Maple Creek Composite School staff have asked the town to establish fixed rates for renting the arena and pool for physical education classes. A fee of $800 – $400 per school per school year will be set for ice rental, and a fee of $500 – $250 per school per school year will be set for renting the pool.