PEPS forming fibre optics internet working group

Written by Terri Huxley

As part of Paintearth Economic Partnership Society’s (PEPS) top priority focuses on improved internet speeds and service to residents within Paintearth County, the economic development society has been engaged with Valo Networks to create a business case that includes cost analysis, design and community buy-in which will create an overall connectivity strategy.

In order to get this process started, a fibre optics working group is forming.

PEPS chairperson and Dep. Reeve Doreen Blumhagen shared with council at their regular meeting Tues. June 1 that Valo ‘is the best fit for us’ and would be proactive in determining what communities need when it comes to internet service.

PEPS has been in contact with Delburne, another customer of Valo who recommended them as well.

The fibre optics working group will be made up of elected officials and members at large.

Council passed a motion appointing councillor Dale Norton to this position as he had voiced interest with Blumhagen earlier.

This group along with PEPS is already working with industry and now reaching out to other municipalities within Paintearth to get as much input as possible.

Blumhagen added that Paintearth was the smallest municipality Valo has worked with, noting this speaks to how ‘progressive’ the county is.

The group expects to wrap up their findings in the fall with approximately four to five meetings between now and then.

A study will most likely follow.

Airport runway crack fill

A letter was received from Castor Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Christopher Robblee asking county council for help with maintenance of the local airport.

A quote of $4,300 to provide crack fill and labour to the airport runway was submitted.

Council pondered whether to do this for free as a form of partnership courtesy or to be strict on finances.

A motion was made and passed to support this work in the form of providing manpower and supplies and services at no cost to the town.

MDP first reading

Council passed the first reading of the County’s Municipal Development Plan (MDP).

“We are comfortable right now with the content that’s in it,” said Community Services Director Todd Pawsey. “There is a lot of new directions in there from the old one that was [written] 17 years ago.

“It gives a lot of, I think, direction and freedom to the residents and farmers for overall land use. It also reflects a lot of current practices.”

In the previous MPD, Pawsey related to council there were many redundant portions but also spaces that needed to be updated to reflect modern day viewpoints collected from two years of studies collected from residents.

Councillors pointed out a few small errors to be adjusted including Coun. Diane Elliot who felt game reserves should be mentioned as well as migratory waterfowl areas.

Pawsey said these have been marked but are not as noticeable given the scale of the mapping used.

Dep. Reeve Blumhagen highlighted the need for better wording around running water as the current paragraphs indicated every rural resident will be provided with clean running water from the Shirley McClellan water line when this is not actually the case.

Mapping does show where the water lines lie.

Council agreed, understanding the general reference can be changed.

“We did have a lot of discussion on the language around that,” said CAO Michael Simpson. “We have potable water in three reservoirs which any resident in the county has access to at any time.”

A hearing for the updated MDP will be held on June 15 at 11 am.

Safety codes officer

A need for appointment of a fire safety codes officer from council.

The panel passed a motion to appoint Lorne Dewart as the fire safety codes officer for the County of Paintearth and Halkirk to carry out safety codes services prescribed in the joint quality management plan for fire disciplines.

Dewart already has all the qualifications to fill this position.

 

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