Topsoil removal becomes costly for snow dump

Stettler Welcome Sign - South Entrance. (Terri Huxley/ECA Review)
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Melissa Robbins, Director of Operational Services, brought topsoil removal of the snow dump expansion to the forefront as new issues have arisen since it was accepted during the Oct. 2 council meeting.

At the time, general discussion took place regarding the nature of the sitework and a required contingency. It was noted that the site will be constructed as one continuous storage site, with a separate settlement site.

The original budget accounted for site works, engineering and the topsoil relocation for a total of $100,000 to expand the existing snow dump area.

Northstar Trucking Ltd. won the bid to remove and haul the topsoil for $60,261.50 but the anticipated volume of topsoil to be removed was nearly 2.5 times the quantity expected.

The unexpected amount requires more time to remove the topsoil, plus the added cost of hauling clay to provide additional material to build the snow dump.

This ultimately raised the cost of the Northstar Trucking contracted work to $90,000 which the Operational Services Director was asking for acceptance of.

In turn, money has been shifted within the budget to adjust for extra soil needed to be removed.

Robbins did note that town trucks were used as much as possible throughout the process to supplement the work and reduced engineering fees to keep the project within the $100,000 limit.

During the meeting held on Nov. 6, Council accepted the recommendation to approve the Snow Dump Expansion Budget Update to account for the cost of moving the extra materials by increasing the approved expenditure to Northstar Trucking Ltd.

The town still has an approximate 7,000 cubic metres to remove.

Lagoon cell desludging

As part of the 2018 Capital Budget, the desludging of four lagoon cells is of top priority.

Lagoon Cells A, B, C and D are under the microscope as the sludge continues to build and produce a rather powerful odor.

Five bids to complete the work were received but only one was deemed compliant under all rules laid out for the tender.

The budget has $350,000 allotted for this project including the use of the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding.

American Process Group (Canada) Ltd., the only company to comply with all rules, gave a quote for $841,805.70. Both council and administration found this number to be quite high so administration recommended they retender by modifying the scope of work for just one cell compared to all four as it can be seen as ‘shopping for bids’.

They chose Cell B as it has no sludge, whereas the others have a large amount of sludge that was not anticipated.

Council made the motion to not take the single bid for $841,805.70.

Tax public auction

Lot 11, Block 40, Plan 244AE. 49th Avenue is a house with a garage that was recently put up for bid at the Tax Public Auction on Thurs. Oct. 11.

No one attended and the property was not sold.

This left council with three options: tax forfeiture title, clear the title, or to do nothing.

Administration recommended council to refrain from not taking title to the property through tax forfeiture at this time.

No one lives on the property but the current owner of the home is attempting to sell it.

Upon sale, any debt owing to the municipality would have to be paid by the new owners.

Council made a motion to not do anything with the property at this time.

Taxes and penalties will continue to accrue and remain on the municipalities’ books as a growing liability.

The municipality cannot dispose of the property or rent, license or lease it.

This option does not allow the property to revert to the municipality after the 15 year time period, however, the Town has the option of ‘Tax Forfeiture’ at any time moving forward provided the taxes remain in arrears.

RCMP delegation

Phil Penny, Detachment Commander of the Stettler RCMP, came to council to give them an update on things going on in and around Stettler.

He along with Coun. Gord Lawlor attended a crime reduction workshop in Camrose which took place over four days.

The commander felt there was more value in the conversations between detachments than the actual presentations themselves.

“It was not what we were expecting,” said Penny. “I don’t think it was a complete wash.”

“It was a great place to start to give everyone the opportunity to try new ideas discussed with other detachments,” Penny continued.

Both agreed that this workshop could be useful as an annual gathering.

Penny moved on to current issues throughout the year that was worth highlighting as well.

Continued work with county and neighbouring detachments have strengthened. Informal check stops have been conducted with Bashaw’s detachment where they have been successful.

Some of the Stettler officers had the experience of working with Fish and Wildlife to learn more about poachers.

Hotspot target patrols have been conducted to help narrow the focus of attention as well.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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