Oct. 10, 2018 meeting
A trio of Marten Beachers appeared before council to offer to work with the M.D. on a flood mitigation project for the hamlet. Acting as a sub-committee of the Marten Beach Cottagers’ Society, one thing they said is needed is a drainage plan, presumably followed by actual improvements to drainage. Also dealing with upstream debris that might cause problems in future high water events.
For starters, though, an engineering study is needed. Armed with that, the M.D. could then apply for government funding for a mitigation project (or projects). Caroline Wagenaar, one of the trio (along with Valerie Tradewell and Randy Ross), offered her expertise in preparing a grant application when the time comes.
“We’ll take you up on that,” said CAO Allan Winarski. “If these guys (council) are okay with it.”
Council seemed warm to the idea. A motion was passed instructing administration to bring back a report with recommendations on flood mitigation.
“It makes sense,” said reeve Murray Kerik. “We need something.”
Recouping a bit of delinquent taxes
Council was asked to approved an application under a new provincial program providing relief for municipalities for a portion of uncollected taxes. These are the school taxes that the M.D. has to pay to the province, but hasn’t actually collected from certain delinquent property owners.
It’s a small portion of what the M.D. hasn’t been able to collect in taxes overall in the past few years, council heard. But something is better than nothing. Council approved the application for a $35,799 rebate through PERC.
Jason Warawa, the M.D. financial director, advised council that unpaid taxes have been increasing. In the period 2008 – 2014, the number was $20,900. It took a big jump to $73,558 in 2015 and has been rising from there since. Overall, the amount of outstanding property taxes is $255,000, Warawa said, and “it is expected that this amount will more than double by the end of 2018 due to recent bankruptcies in the oil and gas sector.”
Water meter replacements to begin
Replacement water meter ‘registers’ are arriving and a program of switching the existing ones out is underway and was before council for information. The tricky part is gaining access to residents’ homes.
“We’ll be doing a combination of calling and door-knocking,” said Warawa. His written report went on to say that, “Although this change out will take only 15 minutes, it is expected that delays will be incurred due to the reluctance or unavailability of some homeowners to make contact with the M.D.”
The reason for the replacement is the batteries in the original units were failing sooner than expected.
Southshore sewer connections: ‘the time is up’
This was an update for council on the effort to get outstanding properties in the south shore communities to hook up to the municipal wastewater system. It is required by M.D. bylaw, deadlines have come and gone, but compliance has been less than ideal.
Lyle Farris, making the report, said three connections have been made this year, leaving 19. These, he said in his written report, “have either not replied or have made special requests for extensions.”
Some are proposing alternatives to the M.D. approved system, which costs a fair amount. One request is for the homeowner to choose the contractor.
Councillor Brad Pearson thought that was reasonable, up to a point. Why not let the property owner install his own tank, he said, as long as the M.D. looks after the connection to the line.
“Maybe some protocol could be worked out,” said CAO Allan Winarski. I.e. – “This is what you do.”
“Good idea,” said Pearson.
Pearson’s flexibility on the issue, however, only goes so far.
“The system was put in for the betterment of the environment and there should be no exceptions. We’ve had it in since 2015. The time is up.”
Council accepted the report as information.
Rural address system?
Councillor Pearson asked for an update on the rural address system. Only part of it is putting a new set of numbers up around the M.D. There are higher-level things that need to be done to make the system work.
“We’re dogging the entities to get this thing right,” said Winarski, without specifying what entities, or what exactly they needed to get done.
Pearson said he’s looking forward to an Internet search for his Canyon Creek address not turning up someplace in Michigan.