Town of Esterhazy in talks with school on facility sharing arrangement

·6 min read

At the regular Esterhazy Town Council meeting on Wednesday, a motion was passed to use the Sask Lotteries Grant of $1,500—if it meets the criteria—towards staffing and costs for a future hockey academy program through PJ Gillen School.

The Good Spirit School Division is currently working on a proposal to run a hockey academy through the school at Dana Antal Arena. It would be a part of the curriculum.

“It’s a proposal that’s been verbally submitted to us saying that they would like to do this,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “We want to review our current policy that we have for joint use of school facilities and town facilities.”

The school currently uses the D.A. Mackenzie Aquatic Centre as part of a school swimming program and the rink for open skating. This program would be hockey specific.

“I want to make sure the agreement we have in place can accommodate all kids,” said Councillor Randy Bot. “All kids can swim and it gives every kid the same opportunity. Hockey isn’t necessarily the same because it targets only certain kids, does this give every kid the same opportunity?”

The proposal of entering into an agreement with the school is still in preliminary talks and there’s more to be sorted out about the details and how the program would run and be offered, but it would be a part of the school.

“We need to look at this with the school because it’s not an extracurricular activity,” said Rec Director Brenda Redman. “It would be through the school.”

“We need to take a look at the agreement and talk to a representative from the school to come up with an agreement together,” said Mayor Grant Forster. “We need to do more work and come back to this.”

The council was in agreement that the next step is having Thorley and Redman talk with the school to figure out exactly what the agreement and program could look like before this goes further.

“We’re going to review the entire agreement,” said Thorley. “It was back in 2014 when our community was a little bit more in co-ordinating baseball and other things in town so we did a lot more on the grounds of the school and we don’t do as much now.

“When there was programs like volleyball that needed the gyms in the evening, that’s when the agreement was made, back in 2014.

“We don’t use their facilities as much, but we’d also like to open those doors to make sure we have the option to do that and have a joint policy. We’ll review this and talk with the Good Spirit School Division so we can look at the entire agreement all together and make sure we can refine it.”

Minor hockey and

figure skating to continue

With the recent announcement from Premier Scott Moe that the current Covid-19 restrictions will stay in place until at least February 19, Esterhazy minor hockey and figure skating plan to continue practicing within the current restrictions at Dana Antal Arena.

“Minor hockey has said they will run until the end of February,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “Figure skating is hoping to run until the end of the season as best they can within the restrictions and they’ll try to make up sometime they’ve lost in some areas.

“We also have a private user that’s looking to rent for the month of March and they would basically pick up minor hockeys times. So we can continue to keep the arena open until the end of March for sure.”

Council remuneration

A motion was passed by the council to adjust council remuneration to a monthly rate rather than by a per-meeting rate. Councillors will now receive a $600 per month remuneration with a $25 per month car allowance.

The reason for this change is to allow more flexibility when it comes to sitting on committees. Now more councillors will have the opportunity to sit on different committees without a cost to the town.

“We did an internal survey to see what costs were for councillor remuneration for the last eight years,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “Every time someone goes to a committee meeting they get paid around $88 and every time they come to a council meeting they get $200, so throughout the year depending on which committees you sit on, you get a certain amount of dollars.

“We took the average of it all and felt comfortable with it. Now it allows us to move people around on committees and provides us more flexibility to add people or remove people from committees. It’s more flexible, cost-effective, and keeps everybody on the same page.”

Yearly operating rates

The council passed a motion to accept some yearly operating rates. They didn’t pass landfill operating rates and will return to it.

Yearly custom rates will increase by 15 per cent, office miscellaneous rates won’t change, and there will be an increase to $30 for dog and cat licenses.

“Yearly custom rates are if someone wants to rent our sander for an hour, those types of rates went up 15 per cent,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “Office rates are for things like photocopying, and with the pet licenses we’re hoping to put some of that money into things like the dog park.

“Anyone that has paid the dog and cat licenses to date right now won’t be asked to pay more because this was passed after that point. We’re going to review the landfill because we’re looking at potentially putting a scale in it.”

Golder Associates awarded tender

The council passed a motion to award a tender of up to $20,000 to Golder Associates for a climate lens assessment at the water treatment plant.

“Under our water treatment plant we have two stipulations that we have to complete as part of the funding,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “It’s a climate lens assessment that has to be completed for provincial and federal government regulations. Basically the governments say we need to do this because we’re doing work so our engineer put it out for tender and we received about eight of them.

“We then did a pretty comprehensive evaluation and Golder Associates was the choice. So we’re spending up to $20,000 within a contingency of items.”

Airport hangar lease

The council passed a motion to enter into a three-year agreement to lease the airport hangar for $600 per year.

“We have leases for up to three years and we have about four or five buildings we have leases on,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “We were recently informed the hangar was sold, and we don’t own the hangar, but we own the land it’s on so we lease the land to them. The new owner has engaged in a three-year lease with us.”

Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator