Kneehill County Council Report

Kneehill County Operations Director, Rob Mayhew advised Council at its Aug. 17 meeting that the structure for a bulk fill station in Trochu is up, the approach is in, and underground tie-ins are complete, as is the cement. "We are just waiting on power and the bulk fill will be ready for use." As for the Selkirk WSA, the reservoir is expected to be complete by the end of August, with only some inside work left. There has been 45 km of distribution line plowed in, and with the spider plow now caught up, they will be gone until the Labour Day weekend. The Reeve commented on a Zone meeting she'd recently attended, saying that many of the Counties had complaints about how far behind they were on road projects due to weather, but Mayhew assured Council that although they had been getting behind, they had since picked up the pace and were now doing very well and in some areas, were a bit ahead of schedule. Central City Asphalt will be starting the Allingham Road project on Monday, Aug. 16, and the hamlet re-surfacing is starting on Monday as well. Part of the project will include ditch work in Swalwell. County road crew has graveled about 2 km of the transfer station road, and after picking the lowest bid of four submitted, a construction outfit out of High River would likely begin construction on this road during the next week. Dust Control is finished for this year. No bids were received after closing on August 9 for a couple of bridge files and operations is therefore, working on alternatives. The 'Gibson' road curves project is complete with some fencing and seeding still to be done. NexTerra Wind Farms is active now and Operations is seeing some issues with roads and is "working through them on a daily basis". A traffic count for the Orkney Look Out area was completed in mid July. The average count per day is 323 vehicles, with variance of 350 to 900 on weekends and down to 180 to 265 during the week.
Council perused an updated copy of their 10 Year Capital Equipment Replacement Plan, noting that the more current purchase costs of fire vehicles were reflected in the report. Fire engines, once listed as $350,000 are now at $425,000 for a basic outfit, and tankers, previously listed as $300,000 were now at about a cost of $375,000. A financial report was completed as well on what the savings would be by changing the life cycle of fire vehicles from 20 years to 25 years. The savings seemed to be about $48,000 and Councilors were in agreement that it wasn't enough of a savings to warrant the extension of five years to the life cycle of a vehicle that would likely be too out-dated to be relied upon. "This really helps in making our decisions, to have all the facts present." The resulting increase in fire vehicles (reflective of 20 year life cycle) was a contribution of $1,474,837 to the Capital Replacement Equipment Reserve Fund.
A water costs and consumption review report was viewed by Council. It entailed each Hamlet, Water Service Area, as well as Churchill, Equity and Mt. Vernon lines. The Reeve noted that, "Everyone seems to think Kneehill Regional Water is much more expensive but the billing per user (seen on this report), shows that it is very close to our other water systems such as Mt. Vernon, and others." Total costs, ending for the June 30, 2010 period, were reported as being slightly lower, but very close to budgeted figures.
Council has given 1st and 2nd reading to a bylaw that would remove the east/west stop signs from the intersection of RR 24-0 and TR 32-2, commonly referred to as the Fred Penner intersection. It is currently a 4-way stop. The third reading was not unanimous and will have to be brought back to Council's next meeting.
The Doctor and Recruitment and Retention Committee has asked that Kneehill County consider two resolutions to be presented at the Central Zone meeting in regard to doctor recruitment and an expansion of the 'Locum Program'. There is provision by the Provincial Government in the Locum Program to cover specific situations regarding doctor recruitment, such as supplying a doctor on loan and some travel expenses. The situations however, are for a doctor on vacation, doctor on weekend off, and if a specialist is required. The committee is asking that the government make a 4th category, which is to acknowledge communities that no longer have their doctor. "As it stands now, a community with multiple doctors and one leaving on vacation is given a higher priority than a community who no longer has any doctors. If there isn't a doctor, then there is a hole in this system." Clr. Long further advised that a community can go out and bring in a Locum privately but then they would be responsible for all the costs. "There are more 'Locums' in the pool than are requested." The second resolution would be for the government, through Alberta Health, to consent to pay for travel expenses for physicians willing to investigate relocating to "communities in need". Council approved both motions for presenting these resolutions.
A motion to allow the Torrington Fire Department to keep 100% of the fire/emergency calls that they bill for was passed. The vote was carried but with three opposed. Those councillors opposed didn't have an issue with the actual funds but with a check and balance of proper billing practices. Council recently changed its funding split with all departments to 75/25. Torrington is the only fire department however, that as a hamlet, is Kneehill County's responsibility. For those councillors opposed to the idea, an addendum to the motion was that Council receive a copy of quarterly billing reports.