by Rob Paul
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
At the regular Esterhazy Town Council meeting on Wednesday, the council passed a motion for the use of the S.N. Boreen Centre at a rate of $300 per day or $755 per three days for any non-profit organizations based in Esterhazy.
The non-profit organizations have to have the provincial or federal non-profit status to use the S.N. Boreen Centre at these reduced rates.
“This has been bounced around for about the last two years,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “We have organizations that come and want to use it at a reduced rate.
“We looked at it as there’s no (additional) cost for us to operate these things and most of the time when the organizations come in they’re for big events.
“The organizations are willing to pay some money to use it, but they’re also putting money back into the community and raising money so we just want to make it equal for all of them with the reduced rate. We have a couple organizations that do it and we want to encourage more to use it if they have the registered non-profit status.”
James Street parking bylaw
At the previous council meeting, the concerns of a resident about parking on the bay of James Street were brought up.
The council shared the same concerns regarding the lack of space for vehicles with parking on both sides of the street.
The biggest reason for the concerns were that if a fire truck or ambulance needed to use the street for an emergency, the congestion wouldn’t allow them to fit through. A decision was made to look into the bylaw and as it turns out, there is already one in place that restricts parking and now signs just need to be put in.
“The area is by our care home in town and we had some legitimate concerns because people are parking in the one zone that makes it hard for vehicles to drive there,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “It would be very hard for an emergency vehicle to get in there so we thought we’d have to make a specific change to the by-law, but once we reviewed it, we saw the change was actually made awhile ago to our traffic bylaw. We just need to put the signs up to be able to do it. This will clean up the situation a little more and hopefully the signs will be going up in the next week or so.”
Cleanfarms equipment bid
The council passed a motion to bid on the equipment needed to recycle grain bags. The last remaining part of entering into an agreement with Cleanfarms to be a part of their grain bag recycling program for the Town of Esterhazy is to purchase the needed equipment.
They’ll be bidding on a full unit in southern Saskatchewan that has the needed roller and trailer.
Councillor Vern Petracek recommended to the council bidding on the equipment would be the best route and should cost less buying everything together used than all the equipment separately new.
“It’s exactly what we need,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “The criteria we have to meet as part of Cleanfarms is to have the equipment in place so that’s our last stumbling block. We have a contractual agreement with Cleanfarms, we just recently had a webinar with them. We’re trying to assist the agricultural area around and be another port for people to be able to bring their grain bags in—and potentially twine, but we’re not there yet—we want to give them that option. We’re a good hub to be able to do this.”
How the Cleanfarms’ government-approved program works:
First sellers must register with Cleanfarms to become a member and are required to finance the program costs.
Similar to programs for electronics or oil, this program is funded by a non-refundable Environmental Handling Fee (EHF) which is $0.25/kilogram.
The EHF has been applied as a visible fee at the Point of Purchase since November 1, 2018.
First Sellers must add this EHF to grain bag purchases and remit the EHF to Cleanfarms.
Purchase of piece for town well
The council passed a motion to purchase a backup variable frequency drive (VFD) for the town wells for $5,248.31.
It allows for regulation of how much water is pulled out of each well.
“We had one that just went down on us so our backup was put into place,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “We have multiple wells in play so we like to have a backup in case something does go down and we can quickly replace it.”
Suicide prevention hotline
The council passed a motion to support Yorkton-Melville MP Cathay Wagantall in the development of a nationwide suicide prevention hotline. The suicide prevention hotline would be a three-digit 9-8-8 number for those in need to call.
“They wanted to see if we support it and if other municipalities support it,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “They basically wanted to see if we would endorse the idea of having a 9-8-8 crisis line initiative for all communities.”
The entire council strongly supported the idea of having a quick and easy number to call, especially with the increased concern over mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is a really good idea,” said Councillor Maggie Rowland. “I really support this.”
Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator