Council for the Town of Nokomis met for their regular meeting in the Nokomis Community Hall. There were several additions to the agenda before the council accepted it.
The council reviewed the Last Mountain Regional Park financial statement. Mayor David Mark said that there was, “amazing amount of work that goes on down there. I’m always impressed.” He noted that the last year was difficult and gave the Park credit for doing well.
The Mayor commented on the new observation tower at the park.
The Town Foreman presented his report to the council. He said the big mower was tuned up, and it will now provide more coverage. He said there are plans to re-sweep some of the streets in town later in the fall. Because after it rained, the dirt packed down, which left ridges and bumps.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Tanya Zdunich said she received an update from the consultant engineer, Tim Ledding. He highlighted an urgency to get 3 phase power service to the new wellhead.
The foreman said there had been alarm issues because of power interruptions at the well. There had been communication issues between the water treatment plant and the wellhead, which have since been rectified. The town put natural gas generators at both the treatment plant and the lift station to mitigate the issues due to power interruptions. If there is an extended loss of pressure, it will trigger a boil water advisory.
An inspection was conducted of the sewer system. The inspection resulted in a recommendation to clean out the wet well at the lift station. The foreman wondered if there were grease traps at the restaurants because he noticed a lot of grease in the wet well. He noted they stopped using enzyme treatment two years ago because everything has been in good shape.
Weather depending, the campground will shut down within a few weeks.
The meeting was Councillor Ken Koenig’s last meeting, submitting his resignation, which the council acknowledged. Koenig has been on council for 12 years and has resigned as he is moving to Saskatoon.
Mayor Mark thanked Koenig for his service, “We were lucky to have you at the table. You have made some major contributions.” Councillor Koenig said with a grin, “my political career is officially over.” Councillor Dennis said, “We are going to miss you.” To which the other councillors agreed. Koenig said, “I’ll miss you guys too.”
Council made a motion to approve underground construction on the project, which will start in 2022. The project is part of a federal initiative to bring high-speed internet to rural areas. It requires zero buy-ins from the town or the ratepayers and will come right to people’s homes. The town held a town hall meeting at the beginning of October. Mayor Mark said there would be more communication with ratepayers throughout the project’s development.
The Mayor said it was a very exciting opportunity for Nokomis and its future development, bringing phone, tv and internet to the town. He said working with Red Bird has been a real eye-opener for him compared to what SaskTel has been offering the community. The Mayor said that the maximum that SaskTel offered the town was the minimum speed of Red Bird’s service quality.
Council discussed renting the hall for piano lessons. They decided to provide the rental free of charge with the caveat that the lessons would need to work around potential hall rentals and consider health regulations.
Councillor Lois Mortenson declared a conflict of interest and left the meeting. Council discussed the quotes and decided on hiring Myers Construction.
Tax Enforcement- Council acknowledged a list of lands in arrears and will publish those lands in the paper. The Mayor noted the amounts owing had decreased dramatically.
The council received a letter from the school asking for support for the book fair. After discussion, the council decided to increase the previous year’s donation from $500 to $750.
Kalie Hendry, Principal of the Nokomis School, presented as a delegation to the council. Hendry brought two ideas forward for potential ways to celebrate Christmas this year instead of a Christmas concert. She proposed that the school and Town put on a joint Christmas Festival where the town could put on a tree lighting and the school could organize carolling, sleigh rides and hot chocolate.
She said the festival would promote getting to know new families in the community, with the school taking on most planning. Hendry said the kids and staff liked the idea. She noted it would free up teachers’ practice time that is usually spent preparing for a Christmas Concert and that it would get people outside and not in an indoor space.
Hendry mentioned the work the Town of Semans does for their Christmas festival. The Christmas festival could include businesses and a way to bring everyone together. A councillor noted that the Beautification Committee would also like to be involved. Councillors were brainstorming with ideas such as a bonfire, late-night shopping,
Hendry said the community of Waldheim has a Christmas tree decoration program where local businesses adopt a tree in the park. Waldheim shared their information on how they put the event together.
Council was very supportive of the idea. Comments from council included:
“Being outside is such a good time to do things with families.”
“Getting families out to be together.”
The Mayor said, “Great idea, let’s do it.”
Nokomis is involved with Thrive. Thrive is a program through the Saskatchewan Economic Development Alliance, a community development program that provides a program consultant to discuss community development opportunities. The first sessions were in 2020. An invitation will be sent to the community to see if more people would like to get involved.
The new, upgraded town website is expected to go live in a few weeks.
Council discussed a potential vaccination policy. Council was unclear about the information received from the provincial government. They questioned why they would have to make a policy if the government directed them to put one in place.
Council discussed leadership on the matter if people are refusing to get vaccinated. The Administrator noted that hundreds of CAOs want SUMA to make the policy.
Because the council had questions they needed to be answered, they decided to table the discussion until the CAO gathered more information.
The town logo goes back to the marketing agency for a revamp after the council agreed it did not meet their vision. The Mayor noted that community members are more attached to a Town logo than they would be attached to a private logo.
The next meeting of the council is on October 20 at 7pm in the Community Hall.
Jennifer Argue, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Last Mountain Times