Sept. 27, 2017
An updated policy on how the M.D. procures goods and services was before council for its consideration. The idea of the new draft was to make it more consistent, promoting “fair competition, transparency and public confidence.”
One thing councillors wanted to be sure of was that the policy did not tie the M.D. to taking the lowest bid on any project. It doesn’t, they were told, but be aware that not doing so can expose you to legal action.
“It’s very important we communicate why we made a decision,” advised CAO Allan Winarski.
Another thing council wanted in the policy was that M.D. admin be involved in the opening of bid packages (not leaving it up to the engineering firm, in other words). When told there is extra expense involved in that (trips either to the city by M.D. staff or to the M.D. by engineers from the city), councillor Brad Pearson asked if attendance could be done remotely, by Skype.
“Good idea,” said Winarski. “I’ll look into it.”
Another request, this time from councillor Mike Skrynyk – that ‘vexatious’ liens on private property owners (such as happened in the Poplar Lane project) be dealt with in the policy.
Council passed a motion to table the policy.
No response on painting tenders
Bill Klassen reported that no bids were received on painting jobs at the Smith and Flatbush libraries. Plan ‘B,’ he said, is to get on the phone and try to scare up a few quotes. The M.D. budgeted $5,000 apiece for the two jobs.
Salt shed bids high
Klassen told council bids on a salt and sand storage shed for the M.D. yard in Smith came in well over budget. He said he’d reduced the scope of the project and advertised it again. This time one bid came in – much lower, but still about $16,000 over the budgeted amount of $46,750.
Council mulled the option of deferring the project to next year, but not for long.
“I don’t think waiting is going to do anything,” said councillor Skrynyk, making the motion to approve the bid from Coverco Buildings Ltd, for $62,607.
Ag Service Board – Councillor Darren Fulmore reported that the movement towards a system for recycling agricultural plastics seems to be gaining some traction. He got this impression at a meeting on the topic in Lacombe. On the weed inspection front, Fulmore said three notices were issued for Himalayan balsam and two for orange hawkweed. Two were enforced.
The recent solar power workshop for farmers went over pretty well, Fulmore said, with good attendance. There is help to be had in installations, paperwork.
Councillor Esau said he heard some negative comments about it, in that it could work if you are on the grid, but not if you aren’t.
On the topic of quarantined beehives, Esau said the quarantine has been lifted and “no further action is required.”
Lesser Slave Regional Waste – The landfill at Wagner is fully staffed, reported councillor Skrynyk, and “the deficit may be a little less than expected.” Volumes are down, but so are expenses. There was a break-in; batteries were stolen.
Watershed Council – councillor Rosche said a Widewater resident thinks M.D. road salt is killing his trees. Rosche suggested to the Watershed Council that it could do water testing in the ditches at the site, but his idea didn’t get support.
Trail development – the news from the Woods & Water Recreational Trails Association, Rosche reported, is that the development of a section of the Trans Canada Trail on the north shore of Lesser Slave Lake is bogged down by the ‘consultation’ process.
“When you’ve got two levels of government funding it,” he said, “what does it say about getting anything done in this province?”
Councillor Skrynyk’s view is that the province has to have an arbitration process in place, and it doesn’t.
History Check – reeve Murray Kerik said he’d attended the launch event of the Friends of Historical Northern Alberta History Check smart phone application. It’s an aid to travellers, showing points of interest, services, historical information and all sorts of other goodies in the northern part of the province.
“It actually works!” said Kerik.
No cash from Cardinal for dredging
Cardinal Energy has informed the M.D. it will not be paying a share of the 2015 Lesser Slave River dredging costs. Cardinal had just taken over the Mitsue oilfield operation from Penn West when the dredging happened. Penn West had been a partner in the dredging, with the M.D. the Town of Slave Lake and Slave Lake Pulp. All parties depend on adequate river flows and were committed to the cost of keeping the river flowing. But after a couple of years of deliberation, Cardinal recently opted out of paying a quarter of the 2015 bill.
Presenting the news, Winarski said Cardinal “is willing to discuss participation in any future projects.”
The dredging was costly – something over $400,000. It was the third time the partners had undertaken it. The Cardinal decision leaves the others with yet more unbudgeted expenses to deal with. Councillor Mike Skrynyk, for one, was not pleased.
“I’m amazed they do not want to step up as a good corporate sponsor,” he said. “They do need the water.
“We’re going to have to discuss how that is handled,” Skrynyk added. “It doesn’t automatically default to us.”