Forestburg Council fights to fix issues before election

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An eventful meeting for the Forestburg Town Council took place on the September 5, 2013 that may herald some changes for the municipality, who are seeking to clean up several issues before the election this year.

Upcoming energy plans

A delegate from the company 8760 Energy attended the meeting and spoke to council about their energy pricing plans. The town’s current energy provider, AMSC offers five year contracts; 8760 Energy said they offer a variety of contracts from one to three years. The town’s current contract with AMSC ends December 31, 2013.

“We will inform AMSC of the possibility of a new provider, and give them the invitation to also present new contract terms to us before we make a final decision,” Mayor Robert Frizzell said.

Debra Moffat, CAO, said there was discernible variance in customer service between the two companies.

“I find the difference between AMSC and 8760 Energy is they will speak plain English,” she said, “They will actually sit down and explain things to you, rather than assume you understand their technical terminology.”

Water treatment plant issues

It was discussed that to date council still had not heard back from the engineer assigned to plan the new Town Water Treatment Plant.

“I am getting very frustrated,” Moffat said, “I write to him, email him, call him and there is no flow of information. We are of the opinion that these delays could cause increases in the cost of the project and could also put us at risk of the province pulling our funding due to such a delay in construction.”

In March of  2012 council received approval for the funding of a new Water Treatment Plant, and alerted their engineer immediately to begin crafting plans.

Earlier this year, the province said that due to budget cuts the Plant would no longer get funding, but their grant would still be honoured. However, the engineer discontinued work on the project due to his misunderstanding of the cut, believing that reduced funds meant the project was cancelled.

Council passed a motion to hold a special meeting on September 10 to speak with the engineer in person on the issue.

“We should be contacting other engineers and make it very clear to him that we are,” Moffat said.

Emergency plan update

Mayor Frizzell said he had made slight progress with contacting the Battle River Railway (BRR) on the issue of their lack of an emergency plan during an accidental encounter with Ken Eshpeter of BRR.

Frizzell said he encouraged Eshpeter to attend a council meeting as soon as possible, and that Eshpeter said he had a busy schedule and felt that risk of a railway disaster was very low in the area. Eshpeter said he would be able to see council ‘after harvest.’

Council discussed that this issue is increasingly important after Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM)’s recent meeting in Montréal decided that “municipalities need to know what dangerous goods are being transported through their communities” and “railways and federal agencies cannot plan for emergencies alone.”

Other news

There was discussion of the repairs of multiple small potholes and minor problems with drainage within the town. Motion was passed for Public Works to review all of the trouble areas and make a listing for Council’s approval.  Then they will be doing some of these minor repairs next year, depending on the money earned this year.

“We take pride in our town and want it looking its best and running smoothly,” Councilor Oberg said about the pothole issue.

In relation to all the issues that came up at this meeting, Mayor Frizzell said “With the upcoming election we should be insuring that everything is dealt with and secure, if we are still here next term or not.”

Nomination day for the election is September 23rd.

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