Big Valley Council: Damage caused by staff will be repaired by village

Big Valley village council decided it will repair damage caused to a resident’s property by a municipal staff member. The decision was made at the May 13 regular meeting of council.

Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Colleen Mayne requested councillors make a decision on damage caused by a Public Works employee to private property. According to Mayne’s report the incident occurred last fall.

The CAO stated village Public Works was working along a road and collecting material; the staff apparently backed or moved a village vehicle into a position in order to collect the material, but went too far and struck a cinder block wall surrounding a residence. The cinder block wall was private property reported the CAO.

The CAO stated a few minutes later the Public Works employee did it again; the vehicle was moved so staff could collect something and backed up too far and struck the same cinder block wall.

Mayne noted the village was made aware of the incident because the property owner watched both collisions as they occurred.

The property owner told Mayne the village staff member was aware of the collisions and acknowledged the property owner at the time as well.

During discussion Mayne noted the employee in question no longer works for the Village of Big Valley.

Mayne stated the property owner requested the village arrange and pay for repairs to the cinder block wall.

She recommended council pass a resolution for the CAO to seek out a contractor who will provide a quote for repair of the cinder block wall as Mayne described.

Councillors unanimously voted in favour of doing so.

Third opinion
The CAO provided councillors with a third opinion on needed repairs for an important piece of Public Works equipment, the John Deere 6210 tractor; this vehicle tackles many important jobs including snow removal. The village obtained two estimates in the past.

Mayne noted a mechanic, Whitesand (Auto) Farming, provided a repair quote of $40,266.45, a copy of which was provided at the meeting to the public and media.

The quote listed all of the issues the mechanic found with the John Deere, including but not limited to the vehicle couldn’t be placed in park or gear, the right side inner tie rod end must be replaced and multiple oil leaks.

During discussion Mayne stated the third estimate told her that the front end of the tractor is totally shot and must be replaced. The mechanic also told her he had to rig a screwdriver to keep the tractor in gear. Apparently, the mechanic also said when the tractor was parked it began to roll freely.

The CAO stated repairs would have to be included in the 2024 capital budget as no grant money is available for something like this.

Councillors discussed what the ideal replacement would be, with the CAO responding a backhoe or skid steer that has the proper attachments.

Councillors unanimously accepted the third estimate as information.

Lagoon update
The CAO provided a brief update on issues facing the Village of Big Valley’s municipal lagoon. She reported MPE Engineering began the geotechnical analysis of the lagoon; a crack in a berm at the lagoon had already been observed.

Mayne informed councillors that a lagoon like Big Valley’s is scheduled for discharge once a year, but Big Valley’s didn’t have a discharge in 2023.

She stated that after discussion with the engineers there was some concern that the berm crack could complicate a discharge in 2024.

To address this, the usual discharge time period, three weeks, will be lengthened somewhat. All neighbouring property owners have already been informed of this.

Mayne stated that ideally the engineer’s geotechnical report of the lagoon will be ready by June.

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.