Starland County council dive into capital projects overview

Written by Terri Huxley

Ken Menage, public works supervisor spoke with Starland County council at the regular meeting Wed. Dec. 8 about capital projects taking place over the next three years.

He provided an update on where each project is at as some take more time than others with many overlapping years to complete.

Menage started with the projects completed this past summer including the Walker Road project.

The job was estimated to be $815,000 over 40 days but was actually $485,000 but took longer than anticipated at 62 days, starting May 4 and ending Aug. 10.

Getting the Morton Pit prepped and stripped for mining area and crushing was next and started Aug. 11 and ended Oct. 15.

It took 27 days and $157,000 to complete including the archeology work done by Stantec earlier, taking approximately $80,000 of this amount.

The re-gravel program was about $100,000 over budget but was done quicker thanks to contracting out the service for some of it. It cost between $800,000 and one million with at least half of this amount going to the contractor.

To be more efficient, Menage suggested he would like to have five graders someday instead of having four as one continually seems to be in the shop which hurts efficiency.

The only project pushed to next year was a culvert as it was too late in the season to start on due to weather.

He was extremely impressed with his crew of four workers for the amount of work they completed. They originally started with seven but dwindled to four as one person went into mowing, another to grading position and the final quitting.

He was also grateful for the new belly dumps and trucks that helped in these projects.

A few projects were suggested for next year’s construction season including four miles of road resurfacing north of Morrin on Range Road 314 from Highway 839 to the Morrin turnoff on Range Road 203.

Menage plans to bust up all the coal mix, make a structure and then turn the once paved road back to gravel as its current state is filled with washboards and other deficiencies from heavy truck use over time.

Council asked to have this project extend further to the east to fix up to the end of the cemetery as the village homecoming approaches, which Menage was agreeable to.

A bridge file will also be worked on as and other projects still being firmed up.

There will be some meetings in the near future to determine equipment and their lifespans and action plan moving forward on these pieces.

Schoolhouse sites

During Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Shirley Bremer’s report to council, it was mentioned that administration has been in contact with local avid historian Larry Anderson about the schoolhouse site markings.

At a previous meeting, council and administration were both interested in keeping history alive by erecting signs at each school site, knowing there were still many to be done.

In speaking with Anderson, he was interested in the project and already has a map of where all the old schools were located.

He also had information on the former sign maker.

There were 50 schools in total with nearly half that do not have any markings.

They hope to begin the project next year, creating about four each year until they are all completed.

“It’s a great community enhancement project for everyone and it will ease many concerns by seniors who don’t want us to forget these sites,” said CAO Bremer.

Drumheller water rate increase

Starland County was notified of an increase to the Town of Drumheller’s potable water rate.

For 2022, they have chosen to go with a nine cent increase following a one-year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mill rate is now $1.8894 effective Jan. 1, 2022.

Because of this adjustment, Starland will also be adjusting theirs but nothing was determined at the meeting.

RDRWA Requisition

A request from the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance (RDRWA) came to council to support them through the annual requisition of $1,033.

This equates to 50 cents per capita.

Council agreed to pay the requisition and accept the report as presented.

FCM membership

Council agreed to pay membership fees for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).

Council deemed it to be a good deal as it brings rural provincial issues to the national stage like advocating for the continuation of Canada Post which is a strong feature to rural living.

FCM asked for $663.25 which council authorized to pay.

Apex Utilities introduction

Shane Milner of Apex Utilities in the Drumheller office, visited with council via video conferencing as a way to introduce himself and the company’s rebranding.

The regional manager for southern Alberta shared he would have liked to have visited in person but had to use the video communications instead due to a scheduling conflict.

Apex Utilities was formerly known as Altagas but underwent a name change earlier this year.

Council thanked Milner for the short presentation on what the company is about and values as well as the ‘face-to-face’ introduction.


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.