Funding for new firehall approved

·5 min read

Town of Beaverlodge

Regular Meeting of Council

September 13, 2021

In Attendance: Mayor Gary Rycroft,

councillors Cyndi Corbett, Terry Dueck, Judy Kokotilo-Bekkerus, Hugh Graw, Gena Jones, Cal Mosher.

Firehall funding: Second and third reading was given to Bylaw 1006 to complete the new fire hall project. The town will borrow $630,000 from the Alberta Capital Finance Authority.

The total cost of the new firehall is expected to be $2 million. The County of Grande Prairie will be contributing $1 million, with an additional $250,000 coming from the Beaverlodge Firefighters Association and $120,000 from the town's capital reserves.

The new facility will be located at the former UFA location adjacent to the service road along Hwy. 43.

Mayor Rycroft told the News this will be the first firehall the town has built; previously, the fire department had retrofitted other buildings to suit their needs.

Coun. Terry Dueck was the only councillor who opposed the funding.

“We have a chance to have a new health complex, and we don't know what hurdles we're going to run into,” said Dueck. He also noted that in the town survey that the firehall wasn’t a top priority to ratepayers.

“We are never ever going to find a time where something else wasn’t a priority,” said mayor Rycroft.

“As a council, we made the commitment to support the fire hall when we bought that land,” said Coun. Gena Jones.

Water treatment plant: The town will borrow $1,110,252 from Alberta Capital Finance Authority for water treatment plants upgrades. Council completed the second and third reading of Bylaw 1005 Monday night.

The total cost of the water treatment plant is $3,640,000; additional funds come from a provincial grant of $2,204,748 and $325,000 via Beaverlodge’s capital reserves.

The upgrades will include installing new equipment, such as new plumbing and servicing of the equipment.

GP Networks in Beaverlodge: Kobus de Jager and Brian Peterson of GP Networks were on hand to speak to council after some work was done in town without a permit.

Hi-Speed Directional Drilling, a contractor for GP Networks, entered Beaverlodge without the consent of either the town or GP Networks, said Peterson. The incident happened during the construction of a line headed to Elmworth when the contractor was working on the outskirts of the town.

“It was never our intention to proceed into the town,” said de Jager. “We gave clear instructions to the construction team.”

After contractors damaged a concrete structure on the roadside, Peterson reported it to the town. At that time, he discovered the contractor didn’t secure a town permit to perform the work.

To prevent future incidents, Peterson said GP Networks will no longer release operational plans to their contractors.

However, GP Networks will continue to use said contractor as it works to connect 75 per cent of the county with its internet service, said de Jager.

South Peace Centennial Farmer’s Market: The South Peace Centennial Farmer’s Market asked the town to reduce its monthly rental fees so it might operate out of the community centre this fall and winter. Under the regular rate structure, the market would have to pay $500 a month for four markets per month. The farmers market is asking for a 50 per cent reduction.

The farmers market is currently at the South Peace Centennial Museum for the summer month, and pays $250 monthly (for markets every Thursday).

“The more events that we have in town that will attract people to come to downtown or even to our facility, I don't know that we can put a value on that,” said Coun. Judy Kokotilo-Bekkerus.

Council decided to approve the farmers markets request for a lower rent in the winter months (up to June 2022).

Regional ice allocation: The Grande Prairie Regional Recreation Committee (GPRRC) aims to create a regional standard for ice allocation and cancellation.

GPRRC is hoping to better tackle the black ice problem in the area.

Black ice is where user groups have ice time allocated to them but either cancel within a time window or simply don’t show but still pay for the ice time during peak usage times.

The framework has four steps and a cancellation policy that ice users would have to follow.

Currently, all municipalities and ice facilities have their own systems for ice allocation and cancellation.

County of Grande Prairie council accepted the framework's first two steps to be implemented, with county administration returning with the option to implement the following steps later.

Sexsmith town council voted to accept the framework in its entirety.

Beaverlodge council decided to adopt the regional standard for ice allocation and cancellation.

Elevator road dust: A resident and some local businesses are looking for motorists to slow down and help control the dust along Elevator Road and 7 St. West. They hope to see the speed zone moved from 50 km/hr to 30 km/hr.

At the direction of administration after the complaints were received, town peace officer Mark Morrical ran a stationary radar along the road for multiple days at different times and observed 169 vehicles in different 30-minute blocks.

The top speed was clocked at 58 km/hr and the lowest at 13 km/hr.

Dust did not appear to be an issue, he said.

The administration will be expanding its budget in the future to ensure dust control is active in the area using calcium, as they had done this year.

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News

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