The playable condition of the outdoor rinks during the winter was a topic of discussion at the Town of Stettler Council meeting on November 18, 2013. Snow events, especially major ones, make it difficult for the road crews to get to the rinks in a timely manner.
The rink beside the Stettler Recreation Centre is lit and has boards. The other three are ice pads located in different residential areas. The east end ice pad is on private property donated by Wells Furniture.
The Parks and Leisure Department (PLD) brought forward recommendations to Council that would first address improved snow removal on the ice surfaces and then down the road investigate the possibility of adding lights to all community outdoor rinks.
PLD recommended that winterized hydrants be provided at each rink. That would eliminate expensive water hauling equipment and pumps.
It was further asked that the duty of outdoor rinks, currently Public Works’ sole responsibility, be shared with PLD, and that a second bobcat be purchased. This machine would be used to clear snow on the outdoor rinks, help keep the Seniors Centre and other priority parking lots free of snow and be a stand-by unit to help Public Works with priorities.
In the summer, PLD would use the bobcat most days to improve the cemetery landscape, reduce lifting of many items, improve drainage of parks on an ongoing basis and train new operators when convenient. Currently one bobcat is shared between three departments.
Council agreed this item would be brought forward during the 2014 capital budget discussions.
A motion was passed to leave license fees for cats and dogs unchanged for 2014. They are $25 for an altered dog or cat; $50 for an unaltered dog or cat; $10 for replacement tags and a $10 discount for anyone paying their fees between December 1, 2013 and January 31, 2014.
Pop machine troubles
The Pepsi-owned fountain pop machine at the Community Hall has become a great source of frustration for users. A recent letter from Terry O’Malley, on behalf of the RBC Financial volunteers, highlighted some of the on-going problems. In 2010, the fountain machine worked, but ran out of syrup in one of its cylinders. In 2011, the CO2 would not turn on so pop was syrup-like. In 2012, the fountain machine did not work and in 2013, it made loud noises disrupting guests close to the machine and had to be turned off.
Since patrons pay bar and corkage fee in addition to rent, O’Malley requested a solution for the benefit of all community hall users.
Administration advised that the price with Pepsi, and the quality of machine was not comparable to other venues because the volumes used are much lower at the Community Hall.
For the past two years, expenses relating to the pop machine have outpaced revenues. Administration estimated that grocery store pop could be purchased for approximately 12 cents per cup, whereas the fountain pop at the Community Hall averaged 87 cents per cup.
After considering options provided by Administration, Town Council agreed to let the contract expire with Pepsi in January 2014 and then make a final decision.
Administration has recommended removing the pop machine and letting everyone purchase pop from the grocery stores at the best price available.