Electrical franchise exclusivity reinforced

In August of last year, Fortis confirmed its exclusive rights to providing power with Bashaw under the franchise agreement.

In a letter to Bashaw Council on Thurs. May 23, Fortis recommended the town pass a bylaw to instil an immediate transfer of any Rural Electrification Associations (REA) members if there were any overlapping areas between Fortis’ coverage area and any REA.

The bylaw, which council passed after three readings, is meant to provide clarity to residents as to where the electrical distribution lines and cuts off.

It gives the town an easier way to collect franchise fees and linear taxes from residents and stops the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) from receiving more unnecessary appeals.

The use of an exclusive franchise agreement can be considered double-edged at times as the agreement can give consistent infrastructure and paperwork to the municipality but can also be difficult if there are other providers interested.

“There’s pros and cons but we are in a franchise agreement already,” noted Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller.

Deadfall on walking trail

Deputy Mayor Rosella Peterman brought forward the topic of deadfall on walking trails within the town.

She encouraged feedback on which direction to take in order to keep the village tidy and limit fire hazards.

One idea she shared was to have a volunteer group clean up the trail or to notify residents who have wood burning stoves to pick up some brush as this is already common practice in some cases.

Council directed administration to come up with some ideas between themselves, public works and the beautification committee.

Setting the ground rules

CAO Fuller introduced a  standard lease for the new Bashaw Seed Cleaning Co-op Association.

One of its highlights includes an amount equivalent to $1,000 per year in rental fees.

To ensure the ground’s stability remain intact, Coun. Lynn Schultz asked to have a clause surrounding the responsibility of maintaining it and making it suitable for any structure such as a grain bin.

Councillors noted that this rental cost seemed rather low compared to other leases.

CAO Fuller mentioned that this lease is meant to last only a short time period of approximately two years while other leases are set for 25 years or more.

“The length of the term is quite a bit different like the telecommunications tower, they are looking at 25 plus years or even after that. It all depends on the condition of the tower whereas this is basically two years until they basically build up a profitable business so they can purchase the ground,” said CAO Fuller.

“And $1,000 is pretty much in alignment with what many of the leases I’ve reviewed,” she added.

Council approved the lease as amended with the change to add the responsibility of storage and ground stabilization.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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