Big Valley council decides on ‘one-sidewalk’ streets

Written by Stu Salkeld

After receiving a sidewalk replacement quote that was about double what they budgeted, the Village of Big Valley decided the municipality will only have one sidewalk per street moving forward. The decision was made at the Sept. 14 regular meeting of council.

Councillors read a report from Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Elaine Macdonald which noted a budget of $40,000 for sidewalk replacement was upended by a contractor’s quote of $80,000.

“At a special meeting of council held July 27 council was presented with a quote for sidewalk replacement,” stated Macdonald’s memo.

“The quote would have required us to move some grant allocations from other projects to this one. At that time, council requested that we amend the project to keep it in line with what had been allocated to Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) capital and to bring the item back to the September meeting so council can discuss how they would like to proceed going forward with sidewalk replacement/maintenance.

“Council asked for a report of any sidewalks that need to be taken out entirely because of the condition.

There is one such sidewalk and that is on 3rd Street South. We have looked at the sidewalks that are in the worst condition for replacement this year and the quote for those and the slab at the park are within the amount allocated in the MSI application and previously approved by council.

“The contractor didn’t recommend mud-jacking as was suggested by council, but instead he would recommend lifting the sidewalks and anchoring them with rebar or something similar. This is outside our budget for this year and could be considered in a future year.”

Coun. Clark German stated he was in favour of sticking to the budget and maintaining sidewalks where they are and in fact moving away from having sidewalks on both sides of the streets, taking into account safety issues.

Mayor Dan Houle agreed, noting one-sidewalk streets would also mean each route is eventually widened. Houle suggested setting this item aside until next spring, but the CAO noted a decision had to be made because a contractor was scheduled to do the original $40,000 worth of work before winter.

Councillors agreed to proceed with the original budget and also have staff develop a plan over the coming winter to have one sidewalk per street.

Changing of the guard
Councillors passed all resolutions necessary to appoint Colleen Mayne as the new CAO for the Village of Big Valley. It was noted during discussion current CAO Macdonald was retiring.

A staff memo noted Mayne had begun work Sept. 5 with Macdonald helping her become accustomed to the Village of Big Valley operations.

Mayne introduced herself during the meeting, noting she’s got 23 years of municipal administration experience. Mayne noted working in the municipal world allows her to indulge in two things she enjoys: working with people and solving problems.

Unsightly extension
Macdonald provided councillors with a request from a Big Valley resident to extend time for an unsightly premises clean-up.

“When we did the unsightly letters, one was sent to a resident that has now submitted a request to council for an extension for one of the items on the list,” stated Macdonald’s memo to council.

During discussion Macdonald revealed the resident had hired people to clean up the property for him, but one major item, fence replacement, apparently can’t be completed until 2024. The resident was therefore asking for an extension of the village’s deadline.

Coun. German stated it sounds like the resident has been reasonable in dealing with the village so his request should be granted.

Coun. Amber Hoogenberg noted the resident also tried to find local contractors to do the work but had no success.

Councillors unanimously agreed to extend the deadline as per the request.

Rodeo refusal
Councillors unanimously turned down a request from the Bust Out Rodeo Association for a $250 grant. The letter of request dated May 4 noted the rodeo was to be held the weekend of July 28. Macdonald stated a rodeo volunteer brought the letter by as the event still has expenses to pay.

During discussion councillors agreed to deny the request, noting the funds would have to come from tax dollars and the village already supports the rodeo by providing land for free.

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.