Bashaw Council: Water commission will avoid ‘heavy-handed’ approach

Bashaw town council heard a report the water commission which services the municipality won’t be heavy-handed when it comes to enforcing certain rules this summer as drought looms. The report was made at the May 22 regular meeting of council.

During the consent agenda portion of the meeting, which is comprised of letters which councillors usually don’t discuss, councillors read a report from the Hwy. #12/21 Water Commission regarding the municipality’s 2024 annual water allotment, which is the water each member municipality commits to purchasing from the commission.

The letter noted the Village of Alix council wanted to know, “…If the commission rations water delivery are commission members still responsible for the costs associated with 90 per cent of their annual requested allocation?”

Essentially, some Hwy. #12/21 members wanted to know if taxpayers would be expected to pay for water which they weren’t allowed to have.

The provincial government has asked municipalities to voluntarily plan ahead for 10 per cent water conservation this summer, with the possibility of more restrictions if drought conditions worsen.

The commission letter noted the organization is well aware of drought risk and wants to work with members on water conservation.

“The board communicated to the commission manager that the commission’s intent is not to profit from a situation where commission members do not have the ability to sell 90 per cent of their requested allocation due to a water rationing situation,” stated the commission letter.

It was noted the commission’s agreement with municipalities provides for situations such as severe drought.

Tax rate bylaw
After approving a revised 2024 budget earlier in the meeting, councillors unanimously passed their tax rate bylaw; staff may now mail out property tax bills.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller noted during discussion that the 2023 audit has been delayed; the agenda noted that councillors may hold a special council meeting when the audit is completed.

That darn grass
During discussions about the 2024 capital budget, councillors heard Public Works Foreman Patrick Taylor discuss difficulties with residents blowing grass cuttings onto the public street.

The CAO noted that grass clippings can add up when lots of people are contributing to the problem and eventually affect the gutters; it was also noted that grass clippings contribute to the spread of weeds. Taylor suggested residents keep grass clippings on their property.

Coun. Jackie Northey observed some residents may not realize clippings cause a problem and would be willing to help if they had this information.

Rough landing?
Councillors accepted for information a letter from out-of-town pilot Mike Truant who voiced concerns something bad was looming at the Bashaw Municipal Airport.

“It has been brought to my attention that there has been talk of shutting down the Bashaw airfield,” stated Truant’s letter that was received by the town on May 8.

“I have been using the strip since 2015 at least twice a month and I know several other pilots who do the same. The alignment of the runway makes for great crosswind training and the grass strip is long, wide and forgiving, especially if you fly a traildragger.

“I usually fly from Red Deer to Bashaw then on to Rimbey and Hespero for more touch and goes. About two hours of practice time away from the busy airports and more importantly for me, on grass or snow.

“To get a more accurate number of airfield uses you may want to circulate an email request to local flying clubs and offer their members an option of emailing annual visits,” stated Truant. He also offered to join the local flying club if it would help the Bashaw airfield’s financials.

As the letter was part of council’s “consent agenda,” it was accepted for information and not discussed.

Denied again
Councillors, as part of their consent agenda, read a letter from Service Canada denying the Town of Bashaw funding for the Canada Summer Jobs program.

“After assessing your application we regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you funding at this time,” stated the federal government letter. “Please note that due to a high volume of applications and limited funding, not all projects will be funded.”

Coun. Cindy Orom stated she was disappointed the town wouldn’t have extra help this summer. Coun. Northey stated the Town of Bashaw has been denied by this program for several years now.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.