After a very busy summer, staff and council have taken the time to review issues that have surfaced. We have also met to review and update our strategic plan
Upon completion of the municipal shop, council took time from our regular meeting to join Ernie and the admin staff for lunch and a tour. This is the last major addition to our public works assets and will assist our staff in providing continued good service especially during the winter months.
Our council has asked me to join the second bridge committee along with a representative of the City of PA as well as municipalities surrounding the city. Many studies have been done with respect to the existing Diefenbaker Bridge as well as the need for a second crossing of the North Saskatchewan River. Vemax Consulting prepared a report that considered the economic impact of partial or full closure of the Diefenbaker Bridge. The results estimated the daily economic loss to the province of $1.6 million for a full closure and over $100,000 for a lane closure. The report goes on to state that 75% of the traffic using this bridge has origins and destinations outside the City of PA. I believe that these two factors make a strong argument in favor of another crossing and that a significant portion of the cost should be borne by senior levels of government.
One other notable statistic contained in this report is that the bridges crossing the North Saskatchewan River are located at Petrofka (with average crossings of 4,900 vpd); Prince Albert (23,000 vpd) and Gronlid (170 vpd).
Based on engineering studies of suitable locations it is likely that a second crossing will not be within the City of Prince Albert, but east of the city with a possible road network connecting to highways 2 and 11. Based on this information, I believe a strong case can be made to our provincial government that a new bridge should be a provincial responsibility.
I realize that the bridge is a very important link for all ratepayers in Lakeland, but should our municipal taxes be required to contribute to an equity position to get another crossing built?
I have also been appointed to a provincial Landfill Advisory Team established by the Ministry of Environment. Our initial meeting will be held in Saskatoon next week. Terms of Reference have not yet been established, but will deal with development of a Solid Waste Management Strategy for the province. I look forward to positive developments coming out of this committee.
As we look forward to 2016, Waste Management will be a key issue for council. We applied for senior government grants to build a new cell at the lagoon. Some grants were issued prior to the federal election but the majority of the promised funding has not been allocated. With the volume of effluent somewhat less than 2014 and higher evaporation rates, we were able to operate the lagoon properly in 2015.
We have made application to the province to purchase the land presently occupied by the lagoon and landfill and anticipate that transaction will be completed 2016.
I would like to take this opportunity to send Christmas greetings to all readers of this blog. We have had a perfect introduction to winter for everyone except those that need a lot more snow for sledding or tobogganing. However, after two successive years of really deep snow in late October, many people were looking for a reprieve.