Stettler council votes out signage

The multitude of signage that graces the grass along Highway 12 up to 51st Street will slowly dwindle after council made the decision to change the designation of the area to Public Use District.

The vote came to a nail-biting third reading where the vote ended up with three councillors opposed to the change and four in favour of it on Tues. Oct. 2.

The number in favour carried the vote through, allowing the designation to take hold.

At the public hearing held on Tues. Sept. 18, council heard from approximately 25 people with mixed views on the land designation change.

Many echoed the opinion that the signs were distracting to drivers, especially in the school zone while others felt the signs were needed as other forms of media like the radio or newspaper were not as effective.

Now that the zoning has changed to this Public Use District, no portable signs will be installed this year and all existing signs will be phased out once their permit expires.

Council shared their concern for non-profit organizations and their limited ways of advertising.

For now, that issue will be taken to the next Committee of the Whole meeting where council can deliberate how they can give non-profit groups the opportunity to allow signage in the area unlike businesses.

Public library manager introduced

Jane Skocdopole and Rhonda O’Neil of the Stettler Public Library visited council to present O’Neil as the new manager of the facility.

O’Neil has had a long career in legal work as well as other facets of the library community.

She came prepared with “amazing references who said things about her that I couldn’t pay people to say about me,” said Skocdopole.

As time went by, O’Neil realized her desire to be a manager of a public library. Before coming to Stettler, she worked at the Parkland Regional Library in Lacombe as a consultant.

Skocdopole mentioned that her first month has been a testament to her hard work ethic.

The new manager has been completing programs that would have taken months to complete and has been inventing new kinds of games to keep the residents of Stettler visiting and enjoying the library atmosphere.

Snow dump expansion

Melissa Robbins, Director of Operational Services, explained to council that the 2018 Capital Budget includes $100,000 to expand the existing snow dump located near the ATCO building.

The town plans on expanding further to the west to the existing road to allow more movement for truck drivers when dumping a load of material off at the site.

“The logistics of when we are docking is that the dump trucks will back in all the way and continue to move without having to dump, back out, come in and then continue that process,” explained Robbins.

Site works are one component of the work. Engineering design and site stakeout during construction will cost approximately $20,000 alone.

There is also costs associated with removal of existing topsoil onsite to be relocated to the Town Shop yard and construction of two additional approaches into the site.

These costs are expected to reach $15,000 and will be completed utilizing town crews plus hiring local trucks when possible to haul material off-site.

The site work itself will cost roughly $65,000, the engineering will cost $20,000, and the topsoil relocation/ approaches will cost an additional $15,000 for a total budgetary expense of $100,000.

Packages have been sent to four local contractors for pricing of site works to construct an expansion of the existing snow dump cell.

Only one bid came back.

Northstar Trucking Ltd. submitted a price of $50,261.50 including mobilization to complete the work. The contingency was not included in the work but will be carried at $10,000 just in case.

Council moved to accept the recommendation of awarding this contract to Northstar Trucking Ltd. for $60,261.50 minus tax, roughly $40,000 under budget.

The project will be funded through the 2018 Capital Budget.

Smoking Bylaw Amendment adds Cannabis

The Town of Stettler has taken a strict approach to the smoking bylaw on public property as no public consumption will be allowed.

Public spaces like parks, playgrounds, streets, sidewalks and parking lots will not tolerate the consumption of the recreational drug.

The bylaw separates tobacco from cannabis. Tobacco policies will remain the same.

During the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) Conference in Red Deer from Sept. 26 – 28, councillors were able to talk with RCMP’s K Division and were assured that the issue is being taken seriously as public safety is kept in mind.

The first reading of the safety bylaws was defeated as presented with intention to have administration bring back a public consumption bylaw with cannabis added.

The bylaw was carried after third reading.

Goat farm rezoning defeated

A request submitted by Sally Hurley earlier this year has been denied after council defeated the rezoning bylaw after second reading.

The applicant asked the town to consider rezoning their property from Urban Reserve Direct Control back to Urban Reserve to allow farming purposes such as goats on their property.

A few letters of opposition were received and read during the public hearing held on Tues. Sept. 4.

Town residents highlighted concerns like aggression, disease control, noise, attraction of predators and safety.

Six out of seven councillors were in agreeance against the rezoning after hearing public concerns.

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