Council will decide next week whether or not to extend Jasper’s new sidewalk seating program.
Since June 3, Jasper businesses have been able to use the sidewalk or parking spots in front of their property for seating or displays, but the project is set to end on Oct. 16.
At Jasper Municipal Council’s Sept. 22 committee meeting, councillor Scott Wilson said the project has been a success and council should “let the business community go for it”.
Coun. Jenna McGrath agreed, saying businesses should definitely have the opportunity to extend it, if that's what council decides.
But coun. Bert Journault said the project should conclude on Oct. 16, as planned.
He said: "It's been good, but in October the weather is cold and I can't see the practicality of extending it."
And coun. Paul Butler added that broader community feedback is needed and suggested bringing a notice of motion forward to extend it.
"That way, we give full notice to the community, get feedback from the community, and either pass it or not," he said.
The extension will be discussed further at the council’s meeting, Oct. 6.
John Greathead, director of operations, wants to see a seasonal suspension of compost collection started the weekend after Thanksgiving.
He said compost collection in the winter is laborious and in handling heavy rolling cars from the bin to the truck for emptying, staff have been injured numerous times.
That has led to an increase in the municipality's WCB claims.
As well, he said, there are times when the compost is contaminated with bags, for example.
He cited problems with contaminated compost in Banff, when animal bones have been thrown in the mix and bears and cougars have been seen digging for the bones.
Coun. Helen Kelleher-Empey said she has also seen contamination in compost bins and is in support of taking the bins away for the winter.
Mayor Richard Ireland wondered if a hiatus in service would lead to people not composting material when the service is resumed in (proposed) May.
McGrath said composting "is the right thing to do" and that it's important to see how the community feels.
"Providing this program does come at a cost," Greathead said.
Deputy mayor, Rico Damota, agreed and said cleaning the compost bins is difficult in the winter. A decision is scheduled for council's Oct. 6 meeting.
A community meeting is scheduled on Sept. 24 to talk about commercial cardboard pick up.
Greathead, Laurent Bolduc, operations manager, and Pattie Pavlov, general manager of Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce, will moderate the meeting in a Zoom format.
Greathead said staff spends many hours collapsing cardboard during their rounds, particularly in the business sector.
The bulk of the cost of the service, Fercho said, is coming from operations in the downtown core. Christine Nadon, legislative services manager, noted the flat fee for recycling is the same for residential and commercial folks.
Butler asked about Administration's follow-up to a suggestion he made at council's Sept.15 meeting, that staff keep track of attendance at the Activity Centre, Fitness Centre, and Aquatic Centre, along information about what people are using the facilities for, if they attend alone or with others and if they use more than one facility.
The idea was to have such information readily available to Administration for future use.
Butler stressed, "It seems to me that would be responsible. We should know who's coming and going."
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for Jasper, Mark Fercho, noted, "Some people are just simply walking in and out of the building."
He said as such, staff are not tracking such information.
He said: "Two doors are open with one person in the middle. Without additional staff, we can't do that unless we change the process."
Fercho said he will look into what can be done and bring that information to council at a later date.
Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh