By Marcia Love
Homeowners on Harrigan Crescent will soon have their worries about flooding from runoff alleviated. Council has awarded a contract to grade the alley and construct a small berm.
Quotes from three different companies were brought to council during its regular meeting on March 24. Buckhorn Earthmoving Ltd., Koncrete Construction Group and Davis Excavating presented quotes, with varying degrees of work covered and varying costs.
Harrigan Crescent homeowners first voiced their concerns to council last summer that the elevation of the new integrated healthcare facility’s property combined with runoff, a poorly graded alley and lack of storm drains would cause water to flow onto their properties.
After detailed discussion, council decided to award the contract to Davis Excavating as it was offering to do the entire alley and the most work to resolve drainage problems at a cost of $48,500. While it was the highest quote, council agreed it wanted to have every issue addressed and resolved at the same time.
Davis Excavating will reshape the alley starting at Third Avenue and working all the way around the horseshoe-shaped alley back to Third Avenue. A V-shaped ditch would be created to drain water away from the homes, and a new catch basin would be installed and tied into the existing system. Dirt cut from the alley would be used to build a small berm along the south side of the alley on the town’s property to hold back any runoff from the new health facility. That water would then run west onto Tom Flanagan’s land and flow naturally down into a low area there. Mayor Barry Rudd said Harrigan Crescent residents have been patient.
“We need to fix it, and fix it right,” he said.
In other business, council has rescheduled the upcoming town public meeting as it works on its budget. Because the town was uncertain whether municipal revenue sharing was going to be cut in the provincial budget, it has not yet finalized its budget. When the provincial budget was tabled last week, it was revealed revenue sharing had been increased by 3.5 per cent for 2015.
“It was very good news for us with regards to… finalizing our budget,” said town administrator Michele Schmidt. “But we haven’t been able to sit down and actually work on that with that unknown figure.”
The town’s public meeting had been scheduled for April 7, but council has now changed the date to April 27 at 7 p.m. at the Armoury.
According to the town’s 2014 financial statement, the town had a total operating revenue of $6,209,369. Total operating expenses were $5,827,235 for an operating surplus of $382,134 before taking into consideration tangible capital assets. With tangible capital assets taken into account – which includes loan proceeds for the new garbage truck, the portion of the lift station completed last year and total depreciation – the town had net financial assets at a deficit of $41,945.
Schmidt said this is good, noting again that it includes 100 per cent of depreciation.
After meeting with Canadian Pacific Railway representatives, councillors said there seems to be an improvement in the length of time whistles are blown when trains come through town. The town met with CP Rail to voice concerns over train whistles being blown too long, trains travelling too fast through town and rail safety. Two phone numbers were given to call if any issues arise. CP police can be reached at 1-800-716-9132 or the Community Connect line can be called at 1-800-766-7912. CP Rail can be contacted for issues such as the length of train whistles, train speed or if the crossing arms are stuck down.
Rudd and Councillor Ellaine Hawrylak attended the South West Public Safety Region’s (SWPSR) recent annual meeting, and Hawrylak noted it was better attended than last year with a more positive response.
One of the speakers emphasized disasters are changing – from the size to the time of year.
“There’s no way any one town or one municipality or one group of people can look after these things,” Hawrylak said.
She noted municipalities seem interested in making lists of emergency response equipment in their community to gain a better understanding of what resources there are in RMs and towns in the Southwest.
“I got the feeling that some of the communities represented there are finally realizing that they do have a risk in their communities and that they are ill-equipped to deal with it by themselves,” Hawrylak said, adding this may be the “do or die” for SWPSR.
Councillor Tina Cresswell reported the Cypress Hills Destination Area (CHDA) annual general meeting was very informative. Guest speaker Christine Ciona, a joy guru and abundant living guide from Swift Current, spoke on offering people the chance to feel changed through any experience they have in the area. The CHDA’s social media presence has increased significantly in the last year, with Facebook hits increasing 1,139 per cent and Twitter up 304 per cent. Website page views were up 23 per cent as well. The CHDA has also created a promotional video, which features local attractions and Adam Cohen’s song ‘We Go Home.’ It can be found at http://www.visitcypresshills.ca.
Rudd attended a Keepers of the Vision meeting for Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge, where it was reported the number of residents is down to around 30 from 48, although this number fluctuates regularly.
“Their success rate is still hanging in at about 82-83 per cent of no returns into the judicial system at all,” Rudd stated. “So it is very good, and they’ve been like that for quite a number of years.”
The healing lodge will be marking its 20th anniversary this year, with a big celebration being planned.