A project to ‘increase the metropolis of Fleet by eight lots’ is coming along smoothly according to Todd Pawsey, Director of community services, at the regular Nov. 12 County of Paintearth meeting.
After surveying the area, they determined that the area where the old grain elevators used to be could be turned into eight residential lots.
He mentioned that there were already a couple of buyers interested in the project.
Water tie-ins would go to the Shirley McClellan water line. Since there was no difference in skillset, council chose to go with Shelby Engineering for $23,870 to conduct phase one and two of the environmental assessment.
Two holes will be dug in each lot to give the crew an idea of what may be buried underneath like contaminants or any residuals from the elevators.
Castor Rec Room getting upgrades
A request to give $3,000 to the Castor Arena was accepted.
In 2018, major renovations have been taking place to build new dressing rooms, accessible washrooms, and a larger kitchen.
Plenty of funding was still in the county’s recreation budget, making the decision an easy choice for council.
“We are in to our second season in the arena after the renovations and many of the walls in the dressing room are getting damaged from general wear and tear and/or sticks hitting the walls,” said the request from the Town of Castor.
This $3,000 in particular will be used to purchase and install the puck board that will prevent future damage and additional hooks for clothing.
“It’s better to nip it in the bud now and get it fixed,” said Coun. Diane Elliott.
Public Participation Plan officially in motion
The draft Public Participation Plan is officially in motion.
Council chose to accept it with little changes.
The idea of this plan is to gather feedback from residents in different areas the county can improve with a focus on cognitive diversity.
This includes Coronation, Castor, Halkirk and Brownfield.
Landowner surveys will be taken in the first round to determine values surrounding development types and intensities which will be linked to the county’s GIS system which produces detailed maps.
For the second round, evening consultations will take place where landowners will be invited. Electronic clicker voting will be used.
Groups will also do this to select from various policy options and regulatory topics discussed in the initial round.
At first, administration felt three places including the Halkirk, Castor and Coronation Halls would be sufficient for the second round but Coun. Diane Elliott spoke up, requesting Brownfield be added to the list as the other locations are much farther away.
“We drive a long way to go to anything. We have different dynamics there than other places, [we are] more of a rural community, growing with young people,” said Coun. Elliott.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michael Simpson said the cost to add the additional hall would be ‘relatively minimal’.
“It’s a big area. The flavour could be different from one area to the next,” said CAO Simpson.
“We are always going to have a social component,” added Pawsey.
Paintearth Wind project construction
Dan Tocher, Greengate Power vice president of stakeholder relations, visited County of Paintearth council chambers with an update on the Paintearth Wind project.
The Paintearth Wind Project LP (PWLP) submitted applications in June 2017 to the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC).
An amendment came the next year on May 31, seeking approval for a power plant, substation and interconnection.
The AUC looked for feedback from affected stakeholders and landowners.
“We had significant stakeholder feedback by way of interveners and so we reached out to those folks, tried to understand what the issues were, came up with some compromises and then we resubmitted an amendment based on that stakeholder feedback,” said Tocher.
“The application right now is being reassessed and we anticipate sometime in the next month or two to have a permit from the AUC on the project,” he said.
From December to the third quarter of 2020, they expect to be continually working towards their strategy to market their power whether it be through green credits or directly going into the power pool or negotiating an agreement with others in the industry.
By the fourth quarter of 2020, PWLP will submit their development permit application to the county with construction beginning by the second quarter of 2021.
It is only expected to take approximately six months from breaking ground to being fully operational.
Talks of technological advances could mean larger wind turbines coming into play for the project as Paintearth Wind explores all avenues of technology.
“Turbines are getting bigger. That’s good in that we can still maintain our 150-megawatt project but reduce the overall footprint by bringing in bigger turbines.”
Council asked about their status on environmental studies to which Tocher assured them they had already been completed with everything in front of the AUC at the moment.
At this time, the company plans to have 42 turbines in the area near Lanes Lake and the north end of Sullivan Lake.
With the nice weather the area has been experiencing, public works director Bryce Cooke felt it was important to get a head start on hauling their annual gravel stock.
The material comes from Lone Pine Crushing.
Their agreement states that they start hauling in January but council agreed to have them begin hauling right away as the half-mile incline to leave the stockpile area can be tricky with icy conditions.
The county is purchasing 30,000 tonnes equal to $365,180. Cooke determines the hauling time could be about 40 days in length or longer depending on the weather.
2020 draft budgets passed
Council approved the 2020 interim operating and capital budgets at their regular meeting on Tues. Dec. 3.
There will be no increase in taxes as it is a balanced budget.
One concern the county, alongside many surrounding communities have, is the police costing model as payments shift from the province and cities to sharing the burden with smaller municipalities.
The official model has yet to be released but administration has heard they will be starting at the low end of the scale before increasing payments as the years go on.
“We really have to wait and see what they do,” said CAO Simpson.
The CAO mentioned that a mill rate can be set as long as ratepayers know what it is for to recoup revenue when the financial burden gets heavy.
Coronation Library budget
The Coronation Memorial Library has asked the county for $7,500 as part of their annual budget.
They usually grant $5,527.20 annually but administration found that this is ‘not outside the scope of what they have granted.’
The number is created by policy.
Since the library typically doesn’t see their provincial operating grant until late June, early July, council passed a motion to give the $7,500.