The town is working on an agreement with Cypress Health Region to purchase the facility once the Southwest Integrated Healthcare Facility is in operation and the long-term care home is vacant. The purchase was discussed at council’s regular meeting on Oct. 14.
Council is hoping there will be an interest in turning it into an assisted living facility. Councillor Barry Elderkin has been in talks with the health region about the purchase and explained the biggest concern is whether or not there is anyone interested in purchasing the facility from the town to convert it for that purpose.
“If we have proposals come forward with that goal in mind, we can award it to the one that makes the most sense,” Elderkin said. “I think it’s time that we look at what’s out there, who’s interested and go from there.”
Upon purchase from the town, a contract would be in place stating what is expected. Once turned over to the new owner, the town would no longer be involved in it.
The property will be advertised locally and provincially, but council has not set a price yet.
“We don’t want to set the price too high, but we need to come up with a price where it doesn’t cost our taxpayers a whole bunch of money,” Elderkin stated.
Currently the town does not receive tax revenue from the facility as it is part of the health region, but that will change if it becomes a private operation.
“I think there’s enough interest in this type of accommodation in our community to earmarking it as that’s what we want,” Elderkin said.
Councillor Tina Cresswell added the development of an assisted living home would “round out our housing options” in the community to take residents through every stage of life.
A sale agreement has not yet been finalized with the health region as it is unsure when the new long-term care facility will be ready. In the meantime, council will continue to research options for advertising and an asking price.
In other business, council has opted to hold a voting day regarding the train whistle instead of sending out voting forms with water bills. Voting forms could not be prepared in time to be sent out with this month’s bills, and council agreed waiting until the next water bills are sent out at the end of the year would drag the issue out too long. It was decided holding a day for residents to come and vote was a better option, as it would allow more than one person in each household to voice their opinion and give a more accurate count. They will have the option of voting in favour of having train whistles continue to blow or having them silenced.
Voting will take place at the Armoury on Nov. 6 from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Anyone who is a resident or owns property in Maple Creek can vote.
The town has received inquiries from residents about having clean-up week held later in the year as residents are still cleaning up their yards into November. The town will be monitoring to see if a second clean-up week is necessary in a few weeks. Council has also discussed putting bins at the landfill in the spring for residents to take their grass clippings and other yard waste to be dumped free of charge.
A thank you letter was also received from a resident who is pleased with the new garbage truck and bins that make the work easier for town employees and will help prevent back injuries.
The town has received $20,000 in grant funding from the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation for the masonry work completed at the Armoury. The work came at a total cost of $93,418.83. More work is required to be done on the roof and eaves in the future.
Mayor Barry Rudd attended a public alert system training workshop in Rosetown last week. The municipality is involved in the pilot project, which is scheduled to be launched Nov. 1.
The program is being launched by the Emergency Management and Fire Safety Branch of the Ministry of Government Relations because Saskatchewan does not have an agency that receives co-ordinates and disseminates public safety alerts. It will be used to distribute alerts for all hazards, police notifications and public service disruptions such as road closures, Amber Alerts and school bus cancellations. By the spring, it is anticipated alerts for a specific area will be sent via text to anyone within range of that particular cell tower.
“It will be a good thing,” Rudd said. “If somebody’s out camping and they’re from Ontario and there’s a tornado warning or a plow wind and Environment Canada sends a text out to this area, everybody’s going to get that text.”
A letter was received from STARS Air Ambulance asking for a donation of $2 per capita to support the emergency response helicopter service. The mayor pointed out the town already provides a $200 donation to STARS every year, but the service does not come to Maple Creek as it would require a fueling station to be set up. He said more focus should be placed on supporting the province’s air ambulance service that does pick up patients here. A motion to donate the $2 per capita for STARS was defeated.
Council gave its consent to proceed with the rezoning of the former location of the town compound on Fifth Avenue to residential.
Council meetings scheduled for Nov. 11 and Dec. 23 have been rescheduled. They will instead be held Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m.