The Town of Bashaw will contribute $25,000 for the physician retention program to ensure the clinic remains open all week.
Council, during its regular meeting Jan. 26, voted in favour of continuing to fund the program in 2017 through taxation.
Through discussions with the physician last year, council was informed that a reduction in funding would result in the clinic going from being open a full week to three days a week.
“It’s such an important service to our community,” said Coun. Rosella Peterman. She added that although it’s a private business, the village doesn’t want to lose the services of a doctor.
Coun. Lynn Schultz agreed saying, “We could run into some major problems if we don’t support it.”
Bashaw Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller said the clinic has spin off benefits with people from the surrounding area perhaps shopping in Bashaw when they come to the community for a doctor’s appointment.
She said it’s also a benefit to both residents and employers when people don’t have to take half a day off from work to travel to another community for a doctor’s appointment.
CAO Fuller added that if the Town of Bashaw supports aging in place then the clinic is a staple.
Mayor Penny Shantz said if the town lost the doctor’s office they would likely lose the lab and x-ray. In addition, she said the doctor personally goes to the local senior centre to visit patients instead of the patients having to be transported out of the community for appointments.
“To me that is really important.”
No decision on digital sign
Town of Bashaw council tabled its decision on a digital sign.
CAO Fuller told council, during their regular meeting Jan. 26, that it’s difficult to tell how well a digital sign would work adding that the proposed location isn’t a high traffic area. Council tabled the item until they can get more information from the chamber of commerce.
The town will work with the Alberta Genealogical Society to gather information from the Bashaw cemetery. The town currently tracks headstone information. Information the town has will be made available to the society and will eventually be available on the town’s website.
Town of Bashaw Coun. Lynn Schultz said he was surprised with the lack of feedback from the public regarding the town connecting to the Hwy 12/21 water line.
“I haven’t heard anybody that has been upset about it.”
Likewise, CAO Fuller said she thought the office would be “barraged” with inquiries.
“It really hasn’t been.”
Coun. Bryan Gust said the former town council, more than a decade ago, agreed to join the commission at a time when there was concern over water supplies after the Walkerton E. coli contamination that resulted in 2,300 people falling ill and seven dying after a breakdown in the local water system. Afterwards there was an environmental push for regionalization of water.
CAO Fuller said there was also a fear that ground water sources may dry up.
The town is holding a community engagement session for Bashaw and area residents Feb. 9 at the community hall in regards to the Hwy 12/21 water line. In mid 2017 the town will connect to the line when a 20-kilometer waterline will be constructed between Bashaw and Mirror.
Instead of having well water and selling water to the commission, Bashaw will now purchase water from the commission and be part of the regional water line.
Motions after in-camera session
After Bashaw council came out of its in-camera session Jan. 26, council passed a motion to approve a 2.5 per cent cost of living payroll increase for 2017. It was carried unanimously.
Next council meeting changed.
The Feb. 9 council meeting has been rescheduled to Feb. 17 at 5 p.m. to accommodate the Community Engagement on Feb. 9.