Brandt Group of Companies Purchasing Policy
Councillor Derek Neuls started the discussion around this hot button topic. Neuls said he had searched meeting minutes for previous quotes for a skid steer in the past two years however did not find anything that had come across the Council’s table. Councillor Neuls noted that after receiving a quote in April of 2019 the following day, the RM was billed seventy-eight thousand dollars for a new skid steer.
Neuls asked Council for direction as to where he could find the quotes. Things got a little heated when Councillor Cody Jordison asked Neuls if he had sent in a request to Administration to get the quotes because they existed and accused Neuls of coming against the team, “once again with some strong tones.” Neuls explained he had been told by the Reeve he wasn’t to contact Administration without Council’s approval when wanting to look into things on his own. The Reeve explained to Neuls that it is the policy that the Council cannot contact the Administration for information that the Council hadn’t approved. He explained this was because in past years, there had been issues with Town and RM councillors asking Administration to do different tasks which weren’t warranted, nor was it at the behest of the Council.
The Reeve said that he understood the CAO had gathered the quotes, which could be sent to the public works committee for analysis and then be reported back to the Council. Councillor Jordison explained that the public works manager was asked to find efficiencies in purchasing parts and servicing so that Council would not have to look at different companies and would stay with a company they already worked with. He said the policy has been working. However, he recognized it had been a few years since that policy has been revisited.
Councillor Jeremy Andrew said he wanted to address the first sentence in the email received from Gavin Semple, calling it false and that if it was going to be a matter of record, Andrew felt they should correct that. The first sentence read, “It’s been brought to my attention that the RM of Lumsden has purchased graders and other equipment over the last few years without providing an opportunity for Brandt Tractor Ltd to provide a proposal along with a price quotation.” Reeve Farago said after the public works committee has reviewed the matter, they will respond that they were given an opportunity to bid on the grader and the skid steer.
The CAO said she wants to have a good relationship with the company and noted that they might not be aware of what has occurred over the years because they are a large company.
Councillor Glenda Schlosser said she believes the RM should have a clear purchasing policy. Reeve Farago interrupted Schlosser saying Watts had been receiving direction from Council on how to proceed with purchasing. Councillor Jordison agreed with Schlosser they should give direction in the form of a clear motion/policy. Jordison said they didn’t have anything to hide and didn’t do anything wrong.
Planning and Development
The Director of Planning and Development, Aimee Bryck, gave Council an update on the Dakine Home Builders subdivision application. At the last council meeting council discussed alternative options to present to the home builder. Bryck said the agent representing the landowner was not in favour of any of the options that the Council proposed. Councillor Schlosser made a motion to recommend approval; however, the motion was defeated.
Aimee Bryck was appointed the chair of the planning and economic development committee. This position is a continuation that the former Director had undertaken. Bryck reported the committee’s priority would be a feasibility study focussing on the service road corridor between highway 11 and 54 junctions, noting this will be an economic driver for the RM after they will follow up with marketing and branding the RM.
Xplornet Asks for Support
Xplornet approached the RM, asking for support by way of a letter for Universal Broadband funding. Councillor Andrews and Langford did not want to support Xplornet, citing they had a poor reputation, lack of service and accountability to their customers. Jordison said that SARM was lobbying for the company, and he didn’t feel the RM needed to provide support when SARM was already doing that. The Reeve noted they have several providers in the area and didn’t feel they should support it one way or another. The Council didn’t make a motion and moved on.
There was a new application for a Beaver Bounty Hunter application, as all of the documentation was in order council approved the application.
Water Security Agency – Qu’appelle River Dam Info Session and Tabletop exercise.
Councillor Langford was able to speak to this after attending information sessions from the WSA. He informed the Council that the WSA is abandoning and removing the PFRA damn that goes into Long Lake. Langford said some people do not realize the Craven dam is a new, fully functional dam. The WSA asked the entire Council to participate in the info session and tabletop exercise as it has direct implications on emergency management. The WSA has identified that should there be a massive flood; the river flow would bypass the new craven dam and create a new channel. Council will send representatives to both the information session and the exercise.
Jennifer Argue, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Last Mountain Times