Morrin mayor is ‘flipped the bird’

Morrin council passed a motion to ask the Morrin Library Board Chair, Darcy Graham to request an apology from Library Secretary David MacLeod for unprofessional, rude and inappropriate behaviour exhibited in public.

The sample letter approved by council at their regular meeting on Nov. 21 stated in part, “MacLeod went out of his way to attract my [Mayor Howard Helton’s] attention, while I was clearing snow from the walk at the Lutheran church, in order to flip me the bird.

“In keeping with his [MacLeod’s] history as Deputy Mayor of the Village of Morrin and currently as secretary of the Library Board, he should be more mature than to behave in this matter.”

Helton added, “This isn’t the first time it has happened.”

Main street sewer line blockage 

Morrin’s public works foreman, Dave Benci, was present with his report regarding the condition of the sewer line on Main Street from the hotel east to the county office.

Benci noted there was calcium buildup blocking over half of the diameter of the sewer main in at least two places that prevented the initial flushing and the ability to camera the line.

He mentioned that it looked to be an old abandoned service line allowing a solid calcium-like material to leach from the soil into the main line and fill about half the pipe over time.

Benci explained, “It is still a problem for the remaining 51 meters. “MPE [Engineering Ltd.] has it on their list as a priority as well so it is just a matter of deciding what infrastructure you want to do repairs on first. Sewage is flowing well now, no problem.”

“It’s been recorded there’s been kind of an issue with that section since 2007,” said Mayor Helton. “So bearing that in mind, we need to look at how we are dealing with the sewer infrastructure.

“When this was first noticed,” asked Helton, “was it ever cameraed, and some kind of maintenance established as to how it’s developing?”

“No,” replied Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner.

“Or do we just wait until we can’t get something through it, then say we have a problem?” continued Helton.

“That’s where I’m going with this,” said Helton, asking about the public work’s guidelines to develop a water main break and sewer repair and record keeping procedure that was given to CAO Plachner in the February meeting for input from public works.

“Was that ever reviewed and implemented?” asked Mayor Helton. “Have you a copy of this?”

“No, I have never seen it,’’ said Benci.

“I’ll give you a copy after [the meeting],” said Plachner.

“We need your input to bring it back to us,” said Helton.

“I understand,” said Benci, “that can be developed, no problem.”

Benci added that a water break procedure has been started and nearly finished but has “nothing to do with extra maintenance on the infrastructure”.

Water shutoffs

An email from resident Dini Visser expressing advance notice of water shutoffs was addressed by council.

“So we haven’t gained much on being proactive enough in letting people know of a shut down?” asked Helton.

“We didn’t know anything about it,” said CAO Plachner.

“It’s up to us to know about it,” replied Helton.

“I don’t think they knew they had to do that,” said CAO Plachner. “They were putting in the electrical. It was only off about 10 minutes. They never had any time to tell anybody.”

“That’s unacceptable,” responded Helton, “because that’s part of project planning.

“There’s no excuse. Whoever is looking after that job, that’s part of the job. You know you’re going to interrupt power, you know that the power is running pumps so that’s what you do, you preplan the job.

“We had that issue with the water main break here last winter so we chased that [notification] all around.

Almost a year later, the water is still being shut off without people knowing,” said Helton.

“When we have contractors working on something we have to be proactive enough to point out to contractors before they walk into that building [pumphouse] that to prepare each day and notify public works or administration that they anticipate shutting off power at such and such time of day.

“If they are working on our facilities, then we have to know,” said Helton.

“We are trying to foresee these things so people aren’t sending us those letters, and here we are a year later, it’s still the same,” concluded Mayor Helton.

At council’s special meeting on Sept. 25, Glen Riep for Starland County confirmed to council that he was overseeing, as project manager, the installation of the generator and electrical at the water pump house.

Fire hydrants becoming liability issue

Benci reported on at least five fire hydrants that have serious issues.

“I have developed a routine to check the water mains and the water valves feeding the hydrants and to test the hydrants,” said Benci, “and I have phoned Glen [Riep] every year to do that. I can’t do it alone because he’s in charge to contact for water shut off valves and we just can’t seem to get together to do it.”

Mayor Helton felt that this issue needs to be resolved soon as liability issues can come into play if the hydrants aren’t working properly.

“It’s gone on too long,” said Helton.

“Obviously you’ve certainly been reaching out for him.”

“He is [busy], I know he is,” said CAO Plachner.

“That’s fine, we’re all busy but this is critical,” said Helton.

“If you can’t open a fire hydrant we are in serious trouble. If we had some kind of problem, then we are liable, everybody’s liable. He [Riep] has to understand that.”

“The village are the ones on the hook if something should happen,” concluded Helton.

Council approved a motion to prioritize with Glen Riep the village fire hydrant deficiencies as per the public works verbal report.

“We need that done sooner than later. This is probably a dollar item and it has to be available to us before the end of the year for our budget,” concluded Helton.

Accounts payable

Mayor Helton questioned why there were no invoices presented for approval by council for janitorial services, remuneration break down, and Peir Enterprises as per the instructions from the village accountant, Tim Ell of Endeavor Chartered Accountants.

Ell had told council at a previous meeting that cheques should not be signed by council unless there was an invoice and that invoice should be initialled by the councillor signing the cheques.

“What is Peir Enterprises, anyway?” asked Coun. M’Liss Edwards.

CAO Plachner explained it was Glen Riep’s company and he was contracted many years ago as the water and wastewater operator for the village at $682.50 monthly.


J. Webster

ECA Review

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