Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sidewalk Replacement

Older sidewalks in Beiseker have a problem.  The cement is deteriorating faster than in other areas of Alberta, possibly due to soil conditions here. There are many sidewalks in the village that have disintegrated completely.

Village Council has been working on a program to replace dilapidated sidewalks throughout the village, but this has become very expensive!

Every year, Council budgets for the replacement of sidewalks. We are gradually catching up on the deterioration but it's taking a long time. Council has traditionally shied away from declaring sidewalk replacement as a local improvement, therefore charging frontage tax on the new concrete. That means that those folks who get a new sidewalk in front of the residence do not have to pay a frontage tax. But that also means that the cost of that sidewalk must be taken from General Revenue.

Every year, Council goes over list created by the Public Works Foreman and decides which sidewalks will be replaced during the current construction season.  This is a very difficult descision to make.

If you have a sidewalk in front of your home which is badly cracked and/or heaving, as I do, my advice to you is to have patience. It will eventually be replaced through the Sidewalk Replacement Program.

The other option. is to circulate a petition amongst your neighbors asking for the sidewalk. on your street to be replaced. When the petition is presented to Council with the appropriate number of bona fide signatures, council must (by law) consider the request.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Water Rates in Beiseker

As you may know, the Aqua 7 Regional Water Services Commission received a grant from the Alberta government to refinance their loan about two years ago.  Most of that money went to pay the penalties for refinancing.

Aqua 7's loan has been amortized over a longer period of time, though, and the payments are far less than we had before.  Thus, the price of water to Beiseker (and other communities) from Aqua 7 has dropped by a small amount.

I made a motion in Council to pass some of that saving on to the water users here in the village, but my motion was defeated by council.  Other councilors felt that the decrease would be insignificant and lower the user-pay amount for water in the village.

Right now, it costs the village more money to provide water services than is recovered through the sale of water.  That shortfall is drawn from General Revenue.  Leaving our water rates where they are, will allow more money to be applied to our water services - and therefore less money taken from general revenue.

To put this whole thing in perspective, though, we're paying just over three dollars per cubic meter for water.  That means a tank full of water 1 meter high, by 1 meter long, by 1 meter wide, cost just over three dollars.  A cubic meter of water is about 1,000 litres, or over 260 gallons - so that works out to just a little over one cent a gallon.

But, it is true that many other communities in the province are paying far less than we are.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The New Fire Truck is Here!

At around 6 o'clock Friday evening, our new (or should I say, new to Beiseker) fire truck arrived in town.  Lampson Industries were kind enough to lend as their ramp to unload the truck from the transport trailer.

After everything checked out, Deputy Chief Jim Fox proudly drove it over to the our Fire Hall! It is now safely tucked away in our new Fire Hall. Members of our volunteer fire department came over to check it out. I was impressed with the ease of getting in and out of the truck.

Now the volunteer fire fighters will have to go through the truck and learn how to operate all the systems. I'm looking forward to seeing it proudly displayed in the Beiseker Country Fair parade on June 8!

To see more photos of the new fire truck's delivery to Beiseker, see this photo album on the Village of Beiseker's Facebook page.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Storm Drain Issues

There was a question at coffee time after our Town Hall meeting about storm water (and spring melt water) drainage from the village.  I gave only a short answer at the time, without a lot of details.  I'll attempt to fill in more of those details, here.

The older part of town, between the CN Rail line and the abandoned CP Rail line, is almost completely flat.  Water drainage from this area is very difficult. Over the last 60 years, successive village governments have been gradually adding storm drains and ditches to facilitate storm water and runoff leaving town, as budgets and provincial grants have permitted.  It started with the construction of a drainage ditch around the southern part of the village which empties into a natural watercourse to the east. That ditch was constructed about 60 years ago.

Two storm drain systems were added over the past 20 years. One is located on the south side of Ninth Street, while the other is located under Fifth Street. Both empty into a drainage channel along the west side of the CN tracks, which flows into that original ditch. To create a slope, allowing water to run downhill, has meant burying these drainage pipes deep in the ground.

At the junction of fifth Street and fourth Avenue there is actually a well from which the water must be pumped into the adjacent ditch. The Ninth Street Drainage pipes (there are two in parallel) still depend on gravity!

Slow-moving water along  Second and Third Avenues is causing problems along those roadways. Sidewalks and roadways are deteriorating, and standing water poses an ongoing problem.

The village plans to address this problem by eventually constructing underground drainage channels and above ground ditches to move water towards Ninth Street, or Fifth Street.  But these projects will be expensive, and the village will need assistance from the province to complete them.

In the meantime Beiseker Public Works will continue to keep surface water moving down those avenues as much as possible. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

New Fire Truck!

Good news! It appears that our village is the proud owner of a newer fire truck!

After significant investigation and deliberation, the village has purchased a used fire truck from a brokerage firm in Texas. The vehicle checked out as mechanically safe and reliable.

We are having the truck delivered instead of driving it all the way back to Beiseker. We look forward to its arrival here.  I hope it arrives before our Country Fair Day on June 8th, so or volunteer fire department can drive it in our parade!

The village did take out a loan to buy the vehicle, but our fundraising program is going extremely well. We hope to be able to pay off most of that loan before the end of this year. Thank you to all who donated to this worthy cause. Your contribution has definitely made a difference!  This coming week, I am personally making a donation to the fire truck fund at Mountain View Credit Union. I invite all of you who have not yet made a donation to join me!

Together, we can make Beiseker even better!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Very Short Town Hall Meeting!

Lasting less than an hour, I think that was the shortest Town Hall meeting I've ever attended! 

We only had about a dozen folks attend our second annual Town Hall meeting at the Community Centre. The crowd was small, but the questions were good! We had questions about the repairs on Main Street, water rates, storm water drainage, and sidewalk replacement.  I think we were able to answer all the questions well.

Over the next few days, I will try and address each area of concern here on my blog.

And I want to thank those people who gave up part of their Monday evening to join as at the town hall meeting. I very much appreciate your participation!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Action at the Grasslands Subdivision
If you've been through Beiseker lately, you've probably noticed the action in our formerly stalled residential Grasslands subdivision!  As I've mentioned before, Metro Paving has taken over the subdivision, and they are moving ahead like gangbusters!

If you're looking for a larger residential lot at a reasonable price to build your dream home, check out the Grasslands of Beiseker

Grasslands is the latest addition to a vibrant community, with many opportunities and things to do for all ages.  And don't forget, if you moved to Grasslands in Beiseker your kids can walk to school, no matter what grade they're in!  Think about that!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

2013 Village Clean-up Went Well!

The Beiseker Clean Up Day 2013 went very well, indeed.  Our turnout was small, but those who came were keen and dedicated!

They managed to clean up about two thirds of Beiseker.  The south side of Seventh Street and both sides of Eighth Street from First Ave. to Fourth Ave. were left for another day.  If you live in that area, please help us by picking up on the public areas around your place.  That would be a great help!

A huge "Thank You" goes out to all of you who helped out this morning!  Good job - Well done!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Second Annual Town Hall Meeting

photo by Jessica Wallace,
Rocky View Publishing
The second annual Beiseker Town Hall meeting will be held on Monday, May 13, at 7 PM at the Beiseker Community Centre

We will follow much the same format as we did, last year.  We'll start with a regular village Council meeting, and after that business is completed, we'll adjourn the regular portion of the meeting and open it to questions and comments from the floor.  Personal attacks against Councillors or Village staff will not be permitted. 

I and my fellow Councillors hope to hear from you about concerns you have in the village. It would also give us a chance to answer some of your questions regarding property taxes, water rates, commercial and residential developments -- or any other relevant topic!

I hope we will have an excellent turnout as we did last year. Come and join us! We'll have the coffee on!

You're Invited to the Village Clean-Up!

This coming Saturday, May 4, is Beiseker's Clean-Up Day! We're meeting at the Village Office at 10 AM.  Each of us will get an assigned area of the village to clean up --We'll have garbage bags and gloves for everyone!

After the cleanup, which usually takes about two hours, we'll all meet back at the village office for coffee, juice, and cookies! I hope you will join us. See you there!