M.D. of Lesser Slave River Council notebook

Oct. 28, 2020 meeting
Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Finishing touches
Acting CAO Barry Kolenosky, reported on the state of affairs over the previous two weeks. He told council the “final touches” were being done on the Bayer Rd. project. This was drainage improvement work, which is the first step to resurface the road. The culvert replacement job on the West Mitsue road was delayed a bit, but was nearly finished as well. The re-decking of the Smith bridge was “moving ahead,” with the contract awarded.

Rural addresses
Kolenosky said the problems arising from the rural addressing system are being looked into. What has come to light is the addresses are correct, but the road signs leave something to be desired. It turns out roads with names also need numbers, he said.

Early morning patrols
Kolenosky’s report touched on some work being done by the bylaw officer to catch violators on the roads. Early morning patrols, he said, have found some log haulers “trying to sneak through on the little bit of frost we’ve had.”

Hazardous stuff
The hazardous waste round-up at the regional landfill didn’t result in a lot of stuff being brought on the day, Kolenosky said. But what was, plus what had accumulated prior to that, amounted to over 6,000 kilograms shipped off.
Not included in that amount were household batteries. It turns out the lithium ones and non-lithium ones have to be separated, Kolenosky said. “We have to do that. We’ve got about three drums of them, so over the winter, in our free time….”

Concrete solution
Councillor Brad Pearson asked Kolenosky (who is also serving as the landfill manager) what the plan is for “that monster of a pile (of concrete)” at the landfill.
Kolenosky said the plan is to get it crushed eventually. It’s expensive, though, so the practice is to build up six to 10 years’ worth of the stuff before engaging a crusher. The crushed concrete is valuable stuff, he said, worth $40 to $60 per tonne and is used to improve road surfaces.
“Oil companies love that stuff,” he said.

Recycling confusion
Councillor Darcie Acton had heard from a constituent, who was unhappy about being told at the landfill that the plastic material he or she had taken the trouble to collect for recycling was going to have to go into landfill.
“What’s the story?” she asked.
Councillor Pearson, who sits on the landfill commission, said hard plastic can be chipped, and is sent to Westlock for that purpose. Not so plastic film. It is landfilled.
Kolenosky said if plastics are properly separated and in blue or clear plastic bags, they can be accepted. If they show up in black bags, not so much.
“Let’s do an education campaign,” said Acton.
On the electronics side of things, Kolenosky said the landfill will get $100 per tonne back on “anything with a cord,” not counting computer-related stuff. That’s $200 per tonne, under a new government program.

Change of scope on LUB re-write
The M.D.’s Land-use Bylaw is being revamped, at considerable expense. The cost just jumped $30,000, thanks to some unanticipated work uncovered by the consultant.
According to a report for council, other planning documents “do not align with the current Land-use Bylaw, nor will they align with the new” one.
The contract did not include rewriting the Municipal Development Plan or nine Area Structure Plans. It’s work that needs to be done, so the proposal was to add it to the contract for the sum of $29,995, excluding GST.
Council approved the change of scope after hearing from the administration that “it goes beyond what we have the expertise to do in-house.”

Final push on water meter replacement
Something like 30 – 40 per cent of properties in the South Shore area still don’t have the new water meters installed. The M.D. is starting a push to finish it off, council heard. A former employee has been contracted for the job and appointments are being set up, with work to begin in mid-November.
Councillor Pearson expressed some concern about problems that might arise. Some metres are exposed to the cold and need to be properly heat-taped and wrapped with insulation, he said. He urged whoever is doing the work to make sure the new meters are left in the right condition – maybe even take a picture, “to confirm we left it in good shape.”
“Great suggestion,” said Ryan Tufts, the department manager making the report.

Flatbush pit
At the last meeting, council approved a proposal to get extra gravel crushed at the Flatbush pit.
Meanwhile, Carwald discovered even more ‘leftover’ gravel around the pit. So would council like to get that crushed too?
Councillors toured the site.
The consensus was to get it done. The site was very wet earlier in the season. It’s dry now, so it’s more convenient to work. The M.D. will certainly need all the gravel that can be produced for its 2021 and 2022 re-graveling program.
It’s estimated that at $6 per tonne of crushed material, there is $90,000 to $110,000-worth left in the pit.
“How are we verifying the tonnage?” asked councillor Pearson.
“Surveys using drones to give us a 3-D scan,” said Ryan Tufts. “So we know the volume of the pile.”

Bad smell
In council’s package was a letter from a Wagner resident about the bad smell emanating from the oil treatment on Southshore Drive East. It has ruined the experience of cycling on the road, the letter says. It adds that the smell is “still very dominant after two years of weathering.”
Dust control complaints were the main reason for the treatment in the first place, council heard. They also heard that “once it settles down” the odour is much less. Councillor Becky Peiffer said that happened with a similar application in Smith.
Other treatments have been proposed, but some of them are much more expensive. Of course there are options of going back to calcium, or doing nothing. Or paving, at a cost of about a million dollars per kilometre.
“You’re going to have the same smell with asphalt until it cures,” said Marvin Schneider, the M.D. roads foreman. “Same with this until it gets hard.”

‘I’m in the running’
RCMP Sgt. Don Racette updated council on various aspects of policing in the area. One was the process for finding a new detachment commander in Slave Lake.
“I’m in the running,” said Racette, “so I don’t know how it stands.”
In other personnel matters, three new constables fresh out of the RCMP training academy are expected over the next few weeks. Racette said they can’t be by themselves on duty for two months, and it will be only after six months on the job that they can “go to a call by themselves.”
Overall, there’s been an 18 per cent decrease in crime in the M.D. this year. The 133 calls so far was a five-year low.
Asked about response times to calls in rural areas, Racette spoke about a government plan to improve that by training Fish & Wildlife and Sheriffs to respond if they are in the area.
Racette was also asked about the notion of Alberta establishing a provincial police force. It’s being studied, he said. He’s heard there will be a public consultation process.
“It’s out of our hands,” he said.
If Alberta replaces the RCMP with a provincial force, the RCMP would remain to deal with only federal matters, he said. The expectation is about half the RCMP force would move over to the provincial police.

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