Council for the MD of Pincher Creek met Oct. 25 to discuss a number of topics, the biggest budgetary item being the purchase of a new road grader.
At the request of the public works department, council considered purchasing a new Cat 150M road grader for $675,000. The MD currently has 10 graders in operation, with one reaching its end of life soon.
Purchasing a new grader was originally intended to be part of the 2023 budget, but with equipment prices expected to rise by the end of the year as demand outpaces availability, administration recommended bumping up the purchase.
With such a sizable cost, Coun. John MacGarva said the tricky part of the decision was determining if the extra equipment was necessary for the municipality’s needs.
“The trouble with me as a new councillor — I can’t just seem to figure out how many graders we need,” he said.
“We get a big dump of snow, it’s nice to have more graders. I don’t know if the risk would just be that we wouldn’t be able to provide as good a service in a real major event, or if it’s just we couldn't even do our regular service properly.”
Public works superintendent Eric Blanchard said the MD previously had 11 graders before downsizing to 10.
“In a normal snow event, we need nine graders. We also use that spare 10th grader when we have a lot of snow in Lundbreck,” he said. “I think that where we’re sitting is just pretty much where we should be.”
Council approved the purchase, with funding from the Municipal Sustainability Initiative grant. It is expected the grader will take 10 to 12 months to arrive.
Bylaw 1340 and PCESC
Council approved second and third readings for Bylaw 1340, which redesignates a portion of land off Highway 6 near Twin Butte from agricultural to rural recreation (R2). The redesignation came at the request of Spearpoint Cattle Company, which plans to build a handful of silo tourist accommodations.
Council also approved a $140,631 contribution to Pincher Creek Emergency Services Commission, as requested by the commission itself. The funds were drawn from the MD’s PCESC equipment reserve.
The next regular council meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 22, 6 p.m. in council chambers.
Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze