Trochu Council discusses EV Charging Station

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The September 12, 2022 Trochu Town Council meeting was called to order at 6:00pm by Deputy Mayor Bill Cunningham, as usual in front of a portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth II; this meeting, draped in black cloth. Joining Cunningham were Councillors Chris Armstrong, Jenny Lyver, Jaime Martel, and Chris Reeds, as well as CAO Carl Peterson, Director of Operations Dave Nelson, Recording Secretary Toni Nelson, and by Zoom, Lavinia Henderson of Civic Solutions. Mayor Barry Kletke and Councillor Cerilo De La Cruz were both away on holidays.

Council promptly accepted the meeting’s agenda, previous meeting minutes, their housekeeping report, and the Grantwriter’s report, with all in favour.

Dave Nelson presented his Operations Report. He noted that it was a busy month in Operations. The gazebos at the Splash Park were cleaned up and re-stained. There will be more repairs at the Park in the future.

The arena will open October 1st, with start-up happening, ice painting scheduled, and Live Barn installation and instruction underway.

Nelson noted that Ward Nelson, the new transfer site attendant, was hired and started work on September 1st.

The August 1st windstorm did a lot of damage to trees so crews spent days picking up branches, pruning and topping trees, with some trees needing to be removed completely.

The most substantial project has been the Main Street Revitalization project. Public Works spent two and a half weeks on the project installing conduits for power lines. ACTO installed streetlight bases, poles, and lights. Olds Concrete is taking out old sidewalks and getting ready to pour the new ones, which they estimate will be a two week process. The sidewalk base of each power pole will be poured with a dark charcoal cement, and the Trochu wagon wheel logo will be etched into the cement. Nelson and Council were very excited about this.

Nelson mentioned that the Town’s Ford F450 was stolen on August 7th and recovered in Red Deer on August 22nd, with insurance covering all repairs. There was insignificant damage, though it will need a thorough cleaning. Nelson noted that a winch had been installed on the truck, presumably so it could be used for future heists. It is currently in Red Deer awaiting parts for repairs.

Sidewalks in town were painted, though a shortage of road paint means the rest will have to be finished next year. The unexpected winter freeze in Texas two years ago affected paint production and shortages still remain.

Twelve fire hydrants in town were tested to determine flow rates. Water pressure was high and there are no concerns at this point. There was a water mainline break on August 29th in the 300 block of Poplar Avenue. The leak was discovered at 5:00pm, and was fixed and water turned back on by 11:00pm. Results from water testing came back as satisfactory with no drinking water concerns. Nelson mentioned that they are needing to hire a new Wastewater Operator.

As mentioned in the previous meeting, T.J. Paving has been hired to pave Main Street. They will not be able to pave until October.

Council filed the Director of Operations Report with all in favour.

Councillor Chris Armstrong presented his report. On September 1, Community Futures Wildrose had a special meeting to appoint Jim Bryson of Irricana as their new Director. Training was also held at their new training room in Strathmore where hybrid courses can be held because of their new, upgraded technology.

Armstrong noted that the Alberta Government is awarding grants for agro tourism. Community Futures Wildrose submitted an expression of interest for funding for Open Farm Days, a CFWR initiative. They were invited to submit a grant application. If successful, Open Farm Days would go province-wide with a $50K grant given for three years.

Armstrong also attended a one-hour course on economic development for elected officials. He forwarded the information to the rest of Council. He noted that the information does a good job of laying out the role elected officials play with economic development, even if it’s at a high level.

Councillor Jenny Lyver attended a Marigold Library Meeting on August 27. She noted that October is Canadian Library Month so there is much excitement about that. Drumheller is celebrating 100 years of its library in 2023, which she found quite impressive. She also attended a Trochu Library Board Meeting where it was reported that they’ve received $8,600 in donations for the Friends of the Library. At their July 1st used book sale, $1,700 was received.

The Trochu Library is working on a five-year service plan, and have their calendar fundraiser already underway. Lyver noted that the Library will be closed on September 30th for Truth and Reconciliation Day, as well as for Christmas holidays December 24, 2022-January 4, 2023.

Councillor Jaime Martel reminded Councillors of the stew lunch at the Arboretum on Wednesday the 14th.

Deputy Mayor Bill Cunningham attended a Police Advisory Committee meeting in Three Hills where habitual offenders were discussed. He noted that some of these regular offenders have now received more severe charges, meaning they will not be released right away. There was also discussion about a grant opportunity available to rural communities focused on crime prevention. It is possible this grant could be used to fund a school resource officer. The next meeting of the Police Advisory Committee is in November.

Council filed their Council Reports, as well as their Correspondence Listing, with all in favour.

Council filed the August 2022 Bank Reconciliation and Financial Summary, with all in favour and without requiring discussion.

In New Business, Council decided with all in favour to add September 30th, Truth and Reconciliation Day, to their list of regular, annual holidays. Town Office will therefore be closed on September 30th on an ongoing basis.

Secondly, Council had to decide whether to increase ATCO Gas & Pipelines franchise fees, or leave them the same. Administration compared Trochu’s franchise fees with other communities and found that Trochu’s fees are in the middle of the pack. Council moved with all in favour to keep the fee the same, at 20%.

Council also had to decide on a franchise fee for ATCO’s electricity distribution revenue. Council opted to keep this amount the same also, at 5% of distribution revenue. This amount is also in the middle of what neighbouring communities are collecting.

Lastly, Council saw Request for Decision 2022-12, regarding the potential Electric Vehicle Charging Station, to be built by ZAP Industries Ltd. This item has been discussed in previous meetings. Bill Belzerowski of ZAP Industries has been unsuccessful in previous grant applications. Now, he is applying through both the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC) as well as for a federal grant. Applying through MCCAC, the application would be submitted by the Town as a Town project and the land would continue to be owned by the Town. The cost of the project would be $147,335.00 and the MCCAC rebate would be $67,775.00 leaving the remainder of the cost, $79,560.00 to be paid by Belzerowski. Trochu would own the charging units and would receive $0.42/kw of the charging revenue. The federal grant option would see the Town donate the land for the charging stations to ZAP Industries. Trochu would receive $0.04/kw from the charging stations in this scenario. Should Belzerowski be successful in his federal grant, the Town would withdraw their MCCAC application.

After analyzing their options, Council felt that there was only upside for the Town, with Belzerowski carrying the capital loan amount, and the Town eligible to receive as much as $3K per year from the charging stations with no expenses. Council moved with all in favour “That Town Council resovles to enter into an agreement with Zap Industries where Zap Industries would fund the Town’s portion of the MCCAC grant funding required for an EV Charging Unit should the MCCAC grant application for such be approved.”

Council entered Closed Session at 7:05pm. The next Regular Meeting of Trochu Town Council is scheduled for Monday, September 26, 2022 at 6:00pm.