Restaurant bale fence coming down

The bale fence that was constructed at Moose Cave in Coronation, Alta. to create outdoor patio dining. ECA Review/J.Webster
Written by Terri Huxley

Dale Norton, owner of the Moose Cave in Coronation, came to Coronation council as a delegation regarding the recent concern raised surrounding a bale fence for patio usage.

With COVID-19 orders restricting restaurants from holding in-door dining service, many have been pushed to create outdoor spaces to accommodate.

The local restaurant has a one layer 4’ high straw bale fence with some areas with two layers.

The fence is approximately 3 1⁄2 to 4 ft wide and 3 – 4 feet from the street corner and is near the intersection control stop sign.

The town investigated the issue, finding the visibility to the oncoming traffic is not hindered by the fence, however, it would require a vehicle to pass the stop sign to see any oncoming traffic from the west on Railway Avenue.

Coronation’s Fire Chief, Chris Brearly has stated he has some concern about the straw bales being ignited by passersby or individuals with ill intentions.

Many residents and business owners have called to complain about the fence and have stated it is unsightly and a potential fire hazard they wish for all the bales to be removed.

Norton has been presented with the option of using the town’s snow fence free of charge but declined the offer prior to the meeting held on April 26.

“I don’t see anything wrong with what we are doing,” said Norton.

“A lot of people don’t like the look and feel it is a fire hazard,” replied Mayor Ron Checkel.

He added that other restaurants such as the Frontier Hotel are seeking building permits to make a patio ‘which is something easy to get’.

Norton shared he didn’t realize a permit was needed as the structure is not permanent.

As for the fence itself, Norton explained that the bales deter people from stealing their picnic tables and other outdoor items which do not come cheap.

“We don’t want to deter you from anything and make sure you succeed during this time,” said Dep. Mayor Mark Stannard.

During a recent meeting with Paintearth Economic Partnership Society (PEPS), it was suggested they help local eateries but have not kickstarted a program yet.

Coun. Jackie Brigley suggested Norton use the slab fencing often used for the rodeo as it is owned by the town combined with some cement blocks to avoid stealing, at no charge.

Council offered to have public works help move the bales out as well.

Norton agreed to this solution.


Municipal grant allocations, projects

Currently, the provincial government has provided the town with the 2021 Municipal Stimulus Program (MSI) and Gas Tax Fund numbers.

The police costing download has begun this year as well.

Federal Gas Tax came to $56,284 which has been scheduled to continue purchasing water metres and MXU’s for the municipality for this year and the following year for the full amount.

This also includes an additional $50,000 from the MSI carry over that will complete the purchase of two years’ worth of water metres and LTE units.

For MSI Operating, $60,786 will be used to provide funding as it has over the last few years to the different municipal departments and societies for operating expenses.

The Coronation Fire Department asked for $7,500, Coronation Library for $21,835, $26,450 for PEPS and $6,000 for recreation.

The MSP grant yielded $111,000.

In the 2020-year council allocated the MSP Grant to continue the work to be done on Diana Lane.

Currently, two companies have been requested to provide the municipality with updated quotes to begin work on these sections of road upon approval.

This grant can possibly be used for sidewalk repairs but would need to submit a change in scope to the Alberta Government application for the grant.

A project for the Alberta Community Partnership Opportunities (ACP) grant is on hold until Coronation and Paintearth County find further additional construction funding for the new building.

This grant can also be reallocated if council and the county council wish for arbitration for the recreation negotiations. 

However, both parties will need to agree to have the change made over to fund arbitration.
The remaining MOST grant amounting to  $53,868.37 will be used to help alleviate pandemic pains.

From the approximate $100,000 received, the town purchased virtual communications equipment for council chambers, upgraded laptops for staff and council, paid for COVID-19 related hours for staff, purchased disinfectant equipment for the arena, bowling alley and swimming pool as well as personal protective equipment for staff and council.

Council passed the municipal grant allocations and projects as presented.


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.