Town of Bashaw tweaks cemetery contract

Written by Stu Salkeld

The Town of Bashaw accepted a counter-offer on a cemetery maintenance contract after the winning bidder stated the workload was heavier than expected. The decision to accept the counter-offer was made at the May 17 regular meeting of council.

Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller noted councillors recently heard back from a contractor who was awarded the municipal cemetery maintenance contract who told the town he no longer wanted to cut grass at the cemetery while giving his 30 days notice.

Fuller reported the contractor noted he’d underestimated how much work maintaining the cemetery would be and could not do the work for the amount he originally quoted. After town staff chatted with him the contractor submitted a new offer of $1,400 per cut which was presented to town council.

Fuller pointed out the contractor in question had already cut the cemetery grass twice and town staff were quickly getting positive feedback from the community about the cemetery’s attractive appearance.

The CAO reported town council accepted the counter-offer with the proviso the contract amount will be capped at $30,000; if the cemetery requires more grass-cutting after the cap has been reached the Public Works department will handle it from there.

Boil water
The CAO stated town council was notified a boil water advisory was issued for the Town of Bashaw May 12 and lasted until the morning of May 15. Fuller noted that during hydrant flushing the water system lost pressure.

After contacting Alberta Health Services (AHS) about the problem the town was advised to ask certain businesses to shut their doors until the issue was resolved. However, it was clarified later by AHS that businesses could remain open if they followed certain safety protocols.

Fuller stated council was aware businesses affected by the closure were not very happy about the situation. Councillors decided the town needs to look at how communication is handled in situations like this and find improvements.

Social media
Fuller reported town council approved the draft social media policy after a discussion. Fuller stated the policy was developed to address topics such as who speaks on behalf of the Town of Bashaw on social media.

The CAO also stated the lack of a social media policy could be an issue if problems arise. “it’s not a problem until it becomes a problem,” said Fuller.

The policy includes details such as prohibiting the use of the Town of Bashaw logo unless clear permission has been granted and the town’s social media page being used for outgoing information only.

Beautification funds
Fuller stated that councillors agreed to reallocate unspent beautification committee funds to a different account. The CAO noted $12,700 of that committee’s funds were unspent at the end of last year’s budget.

The committee asked that those funds be placed in the operating parks reserve. Fuller stated its possible the funds could be used for projects like noise control, tree trimming or a number of other jobs.

No options at all
Councillors discussed a letter from Yellowhead County regarding the Alberta provincial election. Readers will note Yellowhead has been dealing with serious disruptions caused by wildfires. The mayor asked for a delay or cancellation of the election so the municipality could focus on its emergency situation.

It was stated during discussion that once a provincial election is called in Alberta it cannot be changed or cancelled, apparently.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.