Asphalt patch repairs for Lake Thelma Road

Asphalt on Township Road 352 (Lake Thelma Road) between Range Rd 123 and 124 has been slowly deteriorating for the past few years, but unexpectedly in the past few months has broken apart making it hazardous to drivers.

“We are going to dig out all these soft spots and repack with an aggregate base. We will then need to resurface with a new layer of asphalt completed later this fall. 

The patchwork would include milling at our transverse joints, tack oil, lift-up to 35mm asphalt to level any rutting where needed, and then 50mm lift at designed road width,” stated the request from Public Works Director Bryce Cooke.

Financially, it is estimated to cost to contract paving at $100,000.

This work would be funded from the current capital budget.

Public Works will not be completing bridge file 71530 (a culvert) which was originally budgeted at $25,000 and from a current surplus in culvert liners and augering which has allowed for some funding to open up to address this pressing issue.

Council agreed to put out a tender to do the work either this year or next with the condition that the tender is below $100,000.

Resident land requests

County of Paintearth resident Tim Smith sent in four letters with four different requests to be posed to council.

At the regular meeting held on Tues. Aug. 17, council had a chance to review the requests made on July 29.

The first was to consider support by public works to improve access to NE 23-37-9 W4 by using dirt from the road allowance north side of the quarter section for fill across the road where there is a wet marshy area with enough width to provide necessary access and dry fencing location east/west along the property boundary.

He added that this request leads to installing proper Texas gates onto the road allowance later on when finances permit.

Council agreed to allow him to improve the access but not with county resources. Public Works Director Bryce Cooke was asked by council to check the site before and after completion to ensure all was done correctly.

The access is currently trail access but has the potential for someone to use it and doesn’t affect anyone else’s land.

The second request comes from the recent drought experienced by the province. 

Smith noted that his cattle need access to water for grazing on section 25-37-9 W4 that can only be provided by having access for them across the road allowance that divides Section 1 and 2.

He asked to install Texas gates at the end of the road plan so that the cattle can access ‘reliable water and shelter available in the hills to the south’.

“My primary use is likely winter and this road allowance is normally snowed under and non-travelable. That said, I will provide wide bypass gates beside the Texas gates to facilitate anything else that might travel along the road allowance,” stated Smith.

Council passed a motion to allow him to install Texas gates at the bottom half of section 25 under a road use agreement plan.

Thirdly, Smith asked to purchase the road allowance (Road plan #4389 CL) between NE 23-37-9 and NW 24-37-9 W4 for the purpose of making a better watering system.

Council turned down this request as it is a public road and could possibly be used by the public in the future.

The last request came down to a fencing dispute between two neighbours, Smith and Pat Davis.

In Smith’s request, he stated that his property is bordered by a road allowance owned by the county.

“There has proven to be a problem when cattle stray from Davis pasture onto road allowance and use or abuse the fence that we have on our property. 

Mr. Pat Davis has refused communication multiple times and has failed to provide for containment of his stock on his property.”

He added that once the cattle are loose they come onto Smiths’ land and eat their crop.

He asked that a county representative discusses with Mr. Davis the requirements of landowner fencing to prevent livestock straying onto road allowances and other landowner’s property.

Jeff Cosens, Director of Environmental Services suggested at the meeting that Mr. Smith contact the Farmer’s Advocate.

Council agreed to this suggestion, stating they would not take a side on the matter and deny the request for intervention.

After-school care program

Ellyn Schaffner of Gus Wetter School’s After-School care program sent in a request to council asking for $5,000 to keep the program viable.

The program was on the chopping block from Clearview Public School Division as funding for employees has dried up in this program.

The Town of Castor has already taken a look at the request as it was sent to both the town and county.

Castor councillors at their meeting on July 12 agreed through resolution to instruct the  Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to gather more information about the after school program before they made a decision, including the program’s current budget, how it’s currently funded, when the after school program last raised its user fees and more information about its programming.

County of Paintearth council also wished to know the same answers but agreed in the end to fund the $5,000 for one year contingent on Castor’s decision to also do the same.

Coronation RCMP quarterly report

Sgt. John Pike, Detachment Commander of the Coronation RCMP detachment came to council to provide a quarterly snapshot of the human resources, financial data and crime statistics within the area.

The report is for Quarter 2 from April 1 to June 30.

Sgt. Pike has been at this detachment since December of last year and has been an RCMP member for 15 years since November.

The detachment has two main priorities outlined including theft being number one and traffic, specifically speeding.

In terms of theft, there has been an increase in the area.

In quarter 1 of 2020, there were 32 property-related crimes whereas in 2021 in the same period there has been 144.

“This was largely due to graffiti in Coronation, theft of copper in Paintearth County. We are working in partnership with the oilfield companies to ensure they are reporting copper thefts that they were not reporting in previous years,” stated Pike’s report.

He noted that last year, the files were being walked together even if there were multiple victims on different incidents whereas this year members are creating separate files which shows why there is such an increase in cases.

Of the 144, one is still under investigation. Of the remaining 143 files, 31 were cleared, which is a 21.66 per cent clearance rate that just misses the targeted rate of 26 per cent.

As for traffic, with travel restrictions being lifted and people beginning to travel, the detachment has been able to start safe road initiatives. 

First quarter started out slow but ended with 289 traffic related offenses, 159 of which were speeding with 98 per cent being issued a violation.

Last year, only 102 speeding infractions were recorded for the entire year.

There are five established officer positions of which three are currently filled with two detachment support positions filled out of three available.

The third support position will be re-filled in January as one person is on parental leave.

With the recent burning of two police vehicles, Sgt. Pike shared that the cost for one is $157,500 approximately for everything including the lights, radars, cameras and other equipment.

Sgt. Pike noted that the province is rolling out body-worn cameras for officers which will be phased in over the course of three years.

In terms of cost, the Federal Government recognizes that this was not in the multi‐year financial plans for Contract Partners, and thus has agreed to fund the first 3 years of the roll‐out.

Once costing is known, financial forecasting to communities with Municipal Policing Service Agreements will be sent out.

Council accepted Sgt. Pike’s presentation as information.

Local sports funding requests

Six individual sports team funding requests were received, reviewed and accepted by council.

The first came from the Coronation Stealers for the U16 Girls Provincial Softball tournament for $100 while the second came from the same team but for the U14 Girls Provincial Softball tournament.

Others include the U15 Boys Provincial Ball, Coronation, U16B Provincial Softball Championships for Castor Crush and Castor Raiders U18AA Finals.


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.