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Drayton Valley council briefs

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BRIDGE MAY SEE TRAFFIC LATER THIS YEAR

If all goes well motorists may be driving over the new North Saskatchewan River bridge by the end of October, but a lot depends on work being done to shore up an embankment on the east side of river.

Last week council welcomed Afzal Paracha from Alberta Transportation to the council chambers to give an update on progress of the construction in and around the new bridge.

Councillors didn’t get the firm date they were hoping (and asking) for on a timeline for when the bridge would be open, but Paracha said Alberta Transportation is hoping it will be by the end of October. The opening depends on work on fill on the east side of the project that had been the location of a landslide previously. Paracha said crews are working to stabilize that piece and reach the standards that are necessary to allow traffic on it. Barring any delays, such as weather, they are aiming to have that completed for a fall transfer of traffic. The bridge itself is just undergoing final finishing touches, he told council.

With work currently underway at the intersection of 50 St. and Hwy. 22 Paracha said Alberta Transportation is anticipating that signal lights will be up and operational by mid-September at that intersection.

On the heels of a presentation from Telus and in light of the recent loss of telecommunications services as a result of a cut line, Mayor Glenn McLean told Paracha that council wanted to emphasize the need heightened attention to any lines that may run through the construction zone.

Coun. Debra Bossert also expressed concern about the upkeep of the existing bridge, noting it appeared to need to be swept of debris and have lines repainted. Paracha said required maintenance work to the structure is ongoing and will continue to happen until the bridge is decommissioned. He said he would look into having lines repainted and getting the surface swept of debris.

Once traffic is rerouted onto the new bridge, Paracha said the existing bridge would be demolished this winter. Demolition is required to take place in the winter to meet environmental requirements, he said.

MAJOR OUTAGES SHOULD NO LONGER BE ISSUE

Once a redundant telecommunications line between Entwistle and Drayton Valley is fully operational, customers shouldn’t be faced with major interruptions in Telus service.

Last week Andy Balser and Philip Moore from Telus were in front of Drayton Valley Town Council to talk about the recent loss of service and what steps are being taken to ensure customers retain service in the future.

Although the last outage was the result of a line cut during construction work, Balser said Telus takes 100 per cent accountability for any outages that impact its customers.

The last outage that happened on July 19, with service fully restored on the morning of July 20, was just weeks ahead of the corporation’s redundant line coming into service. Last week council heard that many of the services are already configured to be supported by the redundant line, with others to follow. That means in the event of another line cut, or damage to the main line, customers should not notice any interruption in their services.

Balser noted that of the four major service interruptions customers in the area have seen since 2012, two of those were weather related (causing slides that damaged cable) and two of them were the result of cable being sliced by construction crews.

With that in mind Moore said the company is trying to reinforce the importance of doing line locates, whether on individual properties, or major construction projects.

“Cable cuts are the No. 1 enemy of reliability,” he said.

Balser said Telus is going to be proactive in visiting construction sites and talking to companies and workers about the importance of properly locating lines.

Coun. Nancy McClure told Moore and Balser that one of areas she and others she had spoken to found lacking in during the service outage last month, was up-to-date communication letting customers know what was happening.

The Telus representatives also took the time to talk about the fibre optic installation that is ongoing in the community, noting that residents interested in taking advantages of services the fibre optic will bring should be able to do so starting in November.

GRANT FUNDING AWARDED FOR CULTURE DAY

Community Event Grant funding of $1,000 was approved for the Eleanor Pickup Arts Centre Society last week. The money will complement $4,000 in provincial funding the society received to provide public events for Alberta Culture Days next month.

The Eleanor Pickup Arts Centre (EPAC) has been named as a Celebration Site for this year’s Alberta Culture days and will be hosting events throughout the day on Sept. 27 and in the afternoon of Sept. 28. The budget for the event is approximately $5,000. With a provincial grant of $4,000 the EPAC Society was applying to the town’s Community Event Grant to cover the shortfall.

The Community Event Grant has $10,000 available per year to help local groups and organizations with planned events. With the approval of the EPAC request three groups have been granted a total of $4,700.

NEW CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT APPROVED

There was more good news for the Eleanor Pickup Arts Centre Society at council last week as councillors approved a new construction management contract that will allow renovations on the facility to continue.

Renovations on the arts centre started last summer and continued until early in 2014 when the general contractor had to step away from the project due to personal reasons. As project manager the Town of Drayton Valley then started looking for a new contractor to take over the renovation project. After several months a new contractor was found and a construction management contract negotiated.

Under the new contract renovation work on Phase I of the EPAC project will continue and includes replacing the roof, completing the new addition that includes new washrooms, removing and replacing or reinforcing existing foundation as directed by consultants and a number of other items required to complete Phase I of renovations.

TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT FUNDS TO GO TO COMMUNITY PROGRAMS

When money from automated traffic enforcement (ATE) starts coming in to the Town of Drayton Valley later this fall, any revenue will be going to initiatives for a safer and healthier community.

Town councillors adopted a policy last week directing that money generated from tickets will be held in a Safe and Health Community Reserve. Accumulated money can then be put toward projects or programs in the area of community resiliency initiatives, youth summer camps, arts and culture, recreation facilities or programming and community safety initiatives.

Automated Traffic Enforcement will begin in September with warning tickets being issued and will come into full effect later in the fall.

In addition to approving that policy, council also approved terms of reference for the creation of a Traffic Advisory Committee. The formation of an advisory committee was a recommendation from Independent Traffic Services Ltd., which will be providing the service in Drayton Valley. The role of the committee, made up of representatives from local emergency services, bylaw enforcement, town administration and two members at large, will be to advise council and administration on matters of traffic concerns in the municipality and recommend ways to address them.

COUNCIL APPROVES DRILLING TAX

Final approval was given to a bylaw that allows for a one-time well drilling equipment tax based on the depth of the well being drilled. A formula to determine the tax is provided by the province.

FEES WAIVED FOR HHH

In accordance with a town policy, council has agreed to waive a development permit fee of $150 and offsite levies totalling $2,896 for Humans Helping Humans Housing Foundation.

The policy allows for the waiver of in-house development fees for non-profit organizations.

An attached letter from the organization states that the organization will not be starting its next build until summer 2015, but a lot has been purchased and are moving forward in preparation of the upcoming project.

COUNCILLORS APPOINTED TO NEW COMMITTEES

With the formation of three new committees recently, town council appointed its representatives last week.

Councillor Graham Long and Coun. Debra Bossert will sit on the Waste Management Committee.

Councillors Nancy McClure and Dean Shular will represent the Town of Drayton Valley on the CETC Committee

Councillor Nicole Nadeau and Coun. Fayrell Wheeler will both sit on the Sustainability Committee.

PARAMETERS FOR

PROCLAMATIONS

The Town of Drayton Valley now has a policy when it comes to proclamations. Last week council approved the Proclamation Policy that will aim to streamline requests from organization for proclamations and sets out guidelines on eligibility.

In order to be eligible a proclamation must have significance to the Town of Drayton Valley or its residents. Among the topics that are eligible to have proclamations made by the mayor at council meetings are: civic promotions, public awareness campaigns, charitable fundraising campaigns, arts and cultural celebrations.

Issues involving political controversy, religious organizations or religious events/celebrations, individual convictions, events/organizations with no direct relevance to the Town of Drayton Valley, those involving for profit ventures, contrary to town policies or bylaws or those that attempt to influence government policy, will not be eligible.

Individuals and organizations interested in having a proclamation read are require to fill out an application for proclamation, which is available at. The application will then be reviewed as part of the approval process.

 

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