Highway 855 turnoff development in progress

Like any road in the County of Paintearth, the municipality has control and direction over all of the roads within its borders.

In discussion with Alberta Transportation (AT) and a developer, the developer who is conducting this work for the Paintearth Mine is choosing to access Highway 855 directly from their own land 200 metres north of the township road 402 access.

As this access is undeveloped to the east and runs directly into a water retention area commonly known as a slu, the development in this area would not be beneficial for long.

AT has asked council to not accept this course of action but to instead allow the developer to create highway bypass, decelerating, and accelerating lanes into the proposed access to help aid in fluid travel for those moving to and from the Paintearth Mine.

The creation of these lanes will be done by widening the road in certain areas to make these lanes but the biggest benefit will be that the developer will create this right from their property onto the highway, eliminating the need for a road use agreement.

“AT has requested that we potentially, not necessarily close by bylaw but we, by resolution, support that there will be no development on the 402 east unless we consult with them at a further date and further if we want to develop 402 then we would reroute it to that turn off that the developer will be creating 200 meters to the north,” explained Todd Pawsey, County of Paintearth development officer.

In order to make this a reality, the County will be in meetings with the mine and developer to come up with a resolution versus a closure bylaw on the road as they are difficult to reverse.

“The actual closure by a bylaw means we are going to advertise it, turn it into a title and get rid of it because that is the process that we go through with land titles and surveyors and Alberta Transportation sign off and the minister signs off. That’s the nightmare and we don’t want to do that because once that is done you can not go back,” said Pawsey.

Council passed a motion at their regular meeting held on Tues. March 12 to make a resolution by agreeing that the County will not develop the 402 access eastward until consultation and consent from Transport Alberta takes place.

Hockey teams supported

Each year, the County of Paintearth supports youth 18 and under that participate in recreation and culture.

This year the Atoms, Midget A and Midget C 3 C’s Coyotes Hockey Teams asked for a maximum of $500 per team for support while they play provincials in various places across the province.

Council passed a motion to give all three teams approval at $500 each from the Recreation and Community Service Grant.

“This is sort of an ongoing thing. It’s not abnormal,” said Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michael Simpson.

“This is sort of an ongoing thing. It’s not abnormal,” said Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michael Simpson.

School Playground Project

Friends of the Coronation School Playground Project approached council in December 2018 looking for financial support of $7,500 which would be funded out of the operating budget.

The county provided a letter of support for the project at the time so they could look at the project closer during budget season to determine if they want to provide financial aid.

Coronation School’s playground was recently removed due to infrastructure that was no longer accepted by regulation standards.

“The school board just kind of came in one day and nobody even knew and took pretty much everything, even the swingset, so the kids really have nothing. I don’t think the principal even knew they were coming,” said Coun. Diane Elliott.

She mentioned how the group has been constantly fundraising but that “they are struggling.”

So far they have obtained $35,000 but have a steep climb to reach their goal of $185,000.

In the past, council has provided pea gravel as well as some money to the Brownfield playground, about four years ago.

The state of the Castor School playground was also brought up, prompting council to think more thoroughly about where funding should be going.

Council agreed to give both Coronation and Castor’s Friends of Gus Wetter Society $5,000 each for their individual projects.

Surplus divvied up

The County of Paintearth had an operating surplus as of Dec. 31, 2018, of $2,557,924 that needed to be distributed to restricted surplus.

The county had budgeted for $1,131,905 to be transferred to restricted surplus for future capital requirements but the excess has arisen from a quiet winter which decreased the need for snow removal, less gravel required for road gravelling, a decrease in the amount of contracted mulching services, and a decrease in the amount of equipment repairs required from 2017.

Council commended administration on their hard work surrounding the surplus.

Administration did have some suggestions as to where the surge in funds should go including their expected capital asset projects.

They recommended $1 million be put into restricted surplus road development, $400,000 in public works buildings, $1 million in gravel land, $100,000 in subdivision development, $10,000 in bylaw vehicles, $10,000 in Brownfield Water project, and the remaining $37,924 into restricted surplus public works vehicles.

With expected bridge replacements, it was also recommended that council transfers $1 million from restricted surplus operating contingency to restricted surplus road development as a separate motion.

Council asked about the Brownfield Water project to which administration felt building reserve funding was necessary as the water and sewer infrastructure becomes more and more of an issue.

“That’s just looking forward to the future,” said Lana Roth, director of corporate services. CAO Simpson added, “They [sewer system pipes] were put in some time ago. We know at some point we will have to replace them so we are just building reserves slowly over time to get ready for it.”

The recommendations were accepted by council.


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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