Forestburg tractor having repeat issues arising 

Over the past number of months, Forestburg Public Works has been experiencing repeated issues with both tractors currently in the Village machinery fleet.

While the issues experienced have varied, the root causes of the repeated breakdowns and maintenance costs can be traced back to the equipment being undersized with inappropriate weight distribution for the tasks the equipment is required for.

In the past six months alone, the village has incurred repair and unplanned maintenance expenses for the case tractor at over $13,000 with many of the repairs being repeated ones to blown and torn tires and calcium replacement costs.

Additional attachments not required for the season are having to be left on the tractor to ensure a balanced load and minimize safety concerns when the tractor buckets are being utilized and are in a raised position, which is often the case for loading and unloading of materials.

During the Budget 2021 deliberations, council indicated that administration should look at equipment replacement for the upcoming 2022 budget cycle.

“We had intended on bringing forward some measure of capital equipment replacement later this year, but a combination of repeated repair costs and an opportunity to acquire a demonstration model of a replacement multi-use piece of equipment has prompted administration to bring the matter forward earlier than anticipated,” stated Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Dwight Dibben in his business item report to council.

Public Works Foreman Rob Friesen has been in contact with an Alberta-based company, Superior Truck Equipment Inc. out of Calgary, that currently has two Wille multi-purpose Wheel Loaders, Models 855 and 865, that he has experience within his previous work postings.

Each of these units would come with the necessary attachments to replace one of the current tractors and perform necessary work in all seasons from material loading to alley grooming to snow removal and all tasks in between.

The Model 855 is a demonstration unit that has approximately 500 hours on it while the Model 856 is a new unit.

Council felt the best course of action at this time is to have administration seek out more options and prices before proceeding further.

CCTI Infrastructure Fund

A motion from council was needed to authorize administration to apply for a funding application to the Canada Coal Transition Initiative-Infrastructure Fund (CCTI-IF).

In 2019, the federal government announced the CCTI-IF to support impacted workers and communities in the economic transition due to public policy initiatives resulting in the shut-in of the thermal Canadian Coal industry and the resultant uneconomic continuance of coal-fired electrical generation.

The federal government announced a five-year program starting in 2020 of in excess of $100 million nationally with funding needing to be expended by March 31, 2025.

For coal impacted communities in Western Canada, the federal department administering the program is Western Economic Diversification (WD).

Unlike other WD funding programs, the CCTI – IF application process is not through an open public online portal.

An initial expression of interest must be made followed by WD officials opening up a secure application portal for applicants. 

This initial expression has been completed and a village-based project specific application portal has been established and made available for Forestburg.

In reviewing the information required to accompany the application, a copy of a Motion of Support Item from the village is listed as required.

Council  agreed to make the motion authorizing administration to submit an application for funding for the South Industrial Subdivision Development under the CCTI- IF.

If funding is approved, the formal planning and engineering work related to improving and expanding village infrastructure could commence in the current fiscal year.

The exact financial impacts would be dependent on the level of funding support approved by the federal government.

Biomedical plant open house

Prairie Thermal Treatment Ltd. held an informational open house at the Forestburg Community Hall on Sat. July 10 to update residents and businesses on their activities related to the proposed construction of a biomedical thermal treatment plant in the South Industrial Subdivision.

Over the course of the day approximately 50 residents and local business owners were in attendance to meet with the owners, officers and project staff of Prairie Thermal with support for the project being expressed by a vast majority of those in attendance according to administration.

“There wasn’t anyone I spoke to that was against this project. People were really comfortable this time,” said CAO Dibben.

Council shared that there are still a few nay-sayers but stated that they are ‘uninformed’ as their information is based on ‘total misinformation’.

Administration recommended a follow-up letter from council be sent to Prairie Thermal Treatment Ltd. thanking them for their ongoing efforts to engage with the community and reiterating the village’s support in bringing the project to a successful completion which council agreed to do so.

CAO Dibben added that these types of letters can be extremely useful for companies as well in terms of licensing procedures and so on.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.