– Testing for Forest Tent Caterpillars has taken place over the past couple of months. While indications show that there may be some caterpillars this summer the projected extent of survival over the winter and subsequently the number of caterpillars throughout the District is expected to be greatly diminished. Therefore, spraying for caterpillars is not scheduled for 2017. Note: spraying will not take place in the Great Blue Heron Provincial Park either.

– Public Works seasonal staff will be coming on full-time in the last part of March / first part of April.

– Property inspections have commenced for the clear display of civic addresses. Tickets and warnings have been or will be issued for non-compliance as clear addressing is required for service providers including emergency services.

– The 2016 audit is complete with a clean report.

– Diana Bird has been hired as CPL Recreation Director for Jade Dreaver’s maternity leave effective April 1. Congratulations to Jade on the arrival of daughter, Violet Kelly, on April 8.

– Council directed that a letter of concern be sent to the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region on the discontinuation of the monthly Wellness Clinic in Christopher Lake effective February 16. This service was discontinued without consultation or notice to any of the municipalities impacted by the loss of this service.

– Work was done to address drainage on the south end of Carwin Park, which resulted in a slight widening of the road which also addresses safety issues. Some matters of inconvenience were expressed by a couple of residents, which included concerns regarding future drainage and road conditions. Measures are being taken to finalize this project (early snow in October impacted the fall work), and address any drainage concerns. We expect the work done will be of benefit to both the drainage and road conditions in the future.

– A resource operational plan related to safety and policing over the May long weekend is being developed by our Protective Services Department with input from the RCMP, Ministry of Environment Conservation Officers, and Great Blue Heron Provincial Park staff. Staff also attended an information / collaboration session regarding Crystal Methamphetamine and Fentanyl.

– Trailer License Fees were increased to $425 / year (in lieu of property taxes for mobile homes and trailers). This fee includes both the fire and sanitation levies, and a portion of the remaining fee is also remitted for SK education taxes.

– Council was informed of the provincial government budget cut of 58% to the Wapiti Regional Library. The Wapiti annual general meeting will be held on April 29, after which information regarding the impact of this significant reduction of funding will be provided. Correspondence directed to SARM and a press release was received from the Saskatchewan Library Association expressing their concern about loss of library services throughout Saskatchewan.

– There was discussion regarding the designated day for garbage pickup (Monday), and the location of communal containers for those residents who are not available to move their garbage carts off the road after the Monday morning pickup. We will continue to provide information and suggestions about how to address the issues faced by residents such as co-ordinating with their neighbours and use/location of the communal containers for both garbage and recycling.

– The Environmental Advisory Committee is working on an educational brochure (zebra mussels, all-terrain vehicles / ATV use, environmentally friendly fertilizers, dark sky lighting) which will be sent out with property tax notices by the end of June

– The 2017 education mill rates (EPT) have been set and will be assessed on 80% of residential properties (up from 70% in 2016): residential 4.12 mills. Other categories include agricultural 1.43 mills, commercial/industrial 6.27 mills, resource 9.68 mills.

– Tax assessment notices have been mailed out. As 2017 is a re-evaluation year adjustment, property values in most regions of the District have shown an increase of approximately 28%. The District has made arrangements for SAMA (Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency) staff to be at the office on Friday, May 12. Please call the office at 306.982.2010 to make an appointment if you have questions related to your property assessment.

– Following the April council meeting, Council and senior staff met to review the proposed operating budget for 2017 and the five-year capital plan. It is expected that the 2017 budget including setting of the mill rate and capital plan will be approved at the May Council meeting.

The ratepayer concerns have been primarily related to snow clearing (hopefully we won’t be concerned about snow for a few months), followed by road maintenance and culverts/drainage related to the spring thaw.

While the contact information for myself and all councillors is on the website and/or available through the District office, we encourage you to contact the District office if you have a concern or require municipal services (and saying thank you for good service is always appreciated as well) so that it can be addressed in a timely manner.

Cheryl Bauer Hyde