With the fire that took down the former Starland County building in May 2018, the county has been working diligently to build a new facility catering to both administration and public works by combining the two spaces.
Ken Menage, public works director, explained that Fri. March 13, some people broke into the construction site and stole a couple of contract trailers which were caught on surveillance cameras.
The vehicle is described as a white Chevrolet crew cab truck but a plate number couldn’t be identified.
They took wires as well.
Thankfully, no tools were stolen so the workers were happy with that.
The construction company has also asked if they could station a temporary ‘shack’ for employees rather than sending them to Drumheller for accommodations and travel.
Council had no objections and allowed them to do this.
There will be roughly six to eight people utilizing the shack as it has a kitchen and living room as well.
COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into almost every aspect of life for the people of east central Alberta as well as the rest of the world.
Starland County was no exception with a seasonal hiring freeze, postponed delegations, tax deferrals, closed office and shop and more.
All councillors and administration were in attendance virtually for a regular council meeting on Wed. March 25.
It was determined at the online meeting that a hiring freeze for seasonal workers would take place as COVID-19 continues to unfold.
Tax deferrals from a number of sources are expected to hit the county particularly hard as much of their revenue is derived from this.
The question of keeping their existing road program going was brought to everyone’s attention by public works director Ken Menage.
After deliberation, it was decided to hold off until a future meeting.
In the meantime, employees have been doing shift work rotation one week at a time which limits contact with other people while still maintaining roadways.
Craigmyle truck fill issues
Alterations made to the Craigmyle truck fill loading hose has stirred up some problems for Starland County councillors and administrators.
It was noted a ‘ratty 3-inch hose’ was attached to the potable water fill station which is used by many people including the agriculture industry, oil and gas and locals to the area.
Starland counted 149 account users connected to that system. Administration reported that Terrace Energy, an oil and gas company employee had phoned into the office asking if adding this hose on would be acceptable to fill their tanks as the driver had explained they didn’t want to crawl onto the tank to fill.
They received approval but it was later discovered the hose they had attached was ‘unacceptable’.
“We asked to get a clean hose which would be safe to put in the tank. What they had there was not acceptable,” said Coun. John Rew.
It was then replaced with a clean 2-inch hose later on but the system was shut down immediately.
The problem with this situation was that the integrity of the water may have been compromised with Starland’s municipal services manager Glen Riep’s name on the line.
He conducted some flushing and checked the valves to make sure they were operating properly as well as reported the incident to Alberta Water.
In the future, Riep will be proposing his capital budget expenditures including a change to that fill station which can be decided by council what direction they wish to take.
“I had to ensure that that facility wasn’t compromised,” he said. “So we basically had to shut it off and do flushing and make sure the valves were operating properly.
“The air gap was absolutely the most fail-safe application.” “I could be thrown in jail if someone gets sick because of this issue,” he continued. “We did what we needed to do to halt that situation.”
Council asked about the system itself as to whether it was pin pad accessible or not.
Riep told them it was installed with a pin pad system and suggested they put together a better application for new users which should identify if they are a ratepayer or not as ‘another line of defence.’
Majority of their customers are top-fill users.