A few notes on the town council meeting 2005 07 06
Dated 2005 07 10
Friends and Neighbours,
Many thanks to all of you that came to attend the town council meeting, July 6, 2005. We were received a bit more hospitably than at the previous meeting. This time enough chairs were provided to seat all of us that came. Most of the members of the Bruderheim Residents Committee are elderly. It is much appreciated by all to have been treated courteously.
Not all of the items on the agenda for the official part of the town council meeting were brought up or discussed. No explanation was offered why that was so. Here is the list of the items on the agenda that were ignored:
Jack Lambert provided an update in relation to one of the items that was discussed, the http://folc.ca/sulphur_storage/Hazco.htm">proposal for the construction of a Hazco sulphur storage facility two miles East of Bruderheim. Jack Lambert stated that, although he once thought that the intended construction would benefit the Town of Bruderheim, he now thinks that the presence of the plant would actually put Bruderheim residents at risk, that those concerns had been expressed, and that, in consequence, the plant will no longer be built there. It can only be hoped that, if the plant will be built elsewhere in the County of Lamont, the movement of dangerous goods into and away from the plant will occur such that it will not involve a rail line that passes in close proximity of our town. (Note: The feeling by Jack Lambert that the sulphur storage site will not be built at the intended location is not shared by the Friends of Lamont County for Responsible Community & Industrial Development http://folc.ca/sulphur_storage/Hazco.htm#Flyer">see their flyer.) Aside from that, the Hazco sulphur storage site would produce a considerable amount of environmental pollution. Although that was not mentioned at the town council meeting, two locations, one near Thorhild and one near Gibbons, for the construction of the Hazco sulphur storage site were rejected by the residents in those areas.
It was discussed that (an unidentified number and locations of) properties in default with tax payments were to be advertised for bids in The Alberta Gazette. The plan is to ask bidders for 10 percent of the advertised price of a given property with their bid, with the balance of payment to be made in cash when a bid is awarded. The bids are to be assembled prior to the next town council meeting, so that bids can be awarded at the August 24 town council meeting.
During the unofficial part of the town council meeting the members of the Bruderheim Residents Committee once more identified issues of concern. As those concerns will not be tracked or recorded in the minutes of the town council meeting, I will list them here from memory and provide illustrations, where applicable, so that they will not disappear from view or memory.
Klara McMorran asked why the Town does not "round-up" (meaning: to apply Round-Up an all-purpose weed killer that kills grass and weeds) the weeds growing in our roads in the crack between the curb and the asphalt pavement. Jack Lambert made an attempt to make light of Klara's concern, asking, "How do you "round-up" the weeds in our roads?" It appeared that no-one picked up on that, and Jack dropped his attempt at levity. It's a good thing he did. Jack Lambert has "been in office for only about six month now", an explanation frequently offered by him to excuse the Town's tardiness in addressing problems due to neglect of proper maintenance (the figure of six months never seems to change, although town council got elected in October of 2004), when he says that the currently installed town council has not had enough time yet to compensate for 40 years of neglect. Klara, who for five years had been the town clerk for Athabasca, explained that the weeds growing in all of our roads in the crack between the curb and the asphalt pavement damage the roads. The weeds widen the crack, permit water to seep into and under the pavement, and thereby cause frost heaves to happen that eventually destroy the pavement, causing the necessity of millions of dollars worth of road reconstruction. It seemed that Jack Lambert did not at first catch on to what the concern was all about. It is a little difficult to understand why that is so. Perhaps it is the familiarity of the problem that causes contempt. After all, the members of the town council encounter the presence of those weeds every time they go into or leave the town office.
Examples of Neglect
Weeds growing in and around the parking lot in front of the Town Office (Not all are noxious weeds according to the bylaws adopted by the Town of Bruderheim, but all are weeds that no self-respecting property owner or farmer would permit to let grow.)
Thistles by the sidewalk at the entrance to the Town Office
Plantain being choked by Russian Thistle in the crack by the sidewalk at the entrance to the Town Office
Plantains by the sidewalk at the entrance to the Town Office
Plantains and Chamomile at the curb of the South-East corner of the intersection in front of the Town Office
Plantains and Chamomile at the curb of the North-East corner of the intersection in front of the Town Office
Sow Thistle, Flix Weed, Dandelions and Chamomile at the North-West corner of the parking lot at the Town Office
Manitoba Maples have been growing for a few years in the back of the Town Office, in the crack between the foundation of the building and the parking area in the back. If left to grow unchecked, they will eventually cause structural damage.
If weeds like those in the back of the Town Office were growing in the crack between your sidewalk and your driveway, would you let them thrive?
I put a bit of Round-Up into my hand sprayer and sprayed those weeds around the Town Office on Sunday afternoon, even though the best time to look after the problem would have been before those weeds at the Town Office went to seed. Anyway, by the end of this week most of those weeds should be dead. It wasn't much effort to do that and took maybe all of ten minutes.
Just a day or two prior to the town council meeting Leo Genier had asked Kelly Rudyk, the town manager, whether it would be possible for the Senior's Centre to obtain a Bruderheim Town flag, so that a full complement of the Canadian flag, the Alberta Flag and the Bruderheim Town flag could be put on display at the Senior's Centre. Kelly Rudyk said that all they had was a couple of flags that had been used but were, although a bit frayed, still presentable. He gave one of those flags to Leo. It turned out not to be a flag of Bruderheim but an Alberta Flag. At the July 6th town council meeting Leo asked again whether a Bruderheim flag could be made available to the Senior's Centre. Jack Lambert turned to Kelly Rudyk and asked him to provide Leo with one of those flags that the Town has on hand. Kelly Rudyk had no problem getting one of those flags and gave it to Leo. The flag is in pristine condition because it has never been used. Perhaps it arrived at the Town Office just in the afternoon of the day of the Town Council meeting. Perhaps it had slipped Kelly Rudyk's mind that those flags are on the shelf in the Town Office. Nevertheless, the Seniors Centre thanks the Town Office for making the flag available.
I had been told by Myrtle Kaus that the Town Office had ignored her report that the sewer line from her house is plugged up. I asked at the town council meeting what the procedure is in such cases. Does a home owner hire a plumber to investigate and does the Town reimburse the home owner if an examination of such a problem shows that it is caused by the Town's sewer system? The response was that the Town indeed does reimburse a home owner for the plumber's bill if it should turn out that the Town's sewer system is the cause of such a problem. Jack Lambert asked Kelly Rudyk to investigate the situation, which the latter promised he would do. Kelly Rudyk asked whether I could provide him with a civil address for the Kaus residence. I did not have the house number but told him that there is a listing in the phone book and that he should have no problem finding the address, as the Town had just a couple of weeks prior sent a weed notice to the Kaus residence. As of today (July 10, 2005) the Town Office staff has not yet been in touch with the Kaus sisters. However, when I spoke to Myrtle Kaus this morning she told me that the problem has been solved. She had asked her nephew to come out and look at what can be done. He managed to fix what was wrong.
The members of the Senior's Centre would like to play Bocce at the Ag Grounds by the Walker School. Now and then members from other senior's clubs (e.g.: Chipman, Ardrossan and Sherwood Park) would participate in those games (about once every four or six weeks). The problem is that the players, all elderly, need convenient access to washroom facilities, and the washrooms at the Ag Centre cannot be made available. That would make for frequent emergency situations for participating seniors. Given those circumstances, it would not be practical to hold Bocce games at the Walker School, and a good opportunity for advertising the beauty and friendliness of the Town of Bruderheim would be lost. After I explained that, Jack Lambert said that the Walker School is owned by the Ag Society, but that, as a member of the Ag Society, he would try to work out a solution to the problem with washroom access for seniors during Bocce games. If everything else fails, we could perhaps rent a couple of Porta-Potties or even build a proper outhouse. We do have a good set of plans for that, but that may require a building permit. Update 2005 07 12: Yesterday evening Vic Schneider, his granddaughter Casey and Leo Genier cut an area of grass at the North-West corner of the Ag Grounds. Jack Lambert had told Vic in the morning that a key to the washrooms in the Walker School will be made available when the seniors wish to play Bocce there. Thanks to all that made that possible. It is intended that the first Bocce game will be played there tomorrow night Thursday, July 13, 2005. You may wish to come out and watch. If you wish to play, two courts will be available. A total of 16 players can be accommodated.
At the previous town council meeting I had asked the councillors present whether anyone had not seen the web pages describing and illustrating the issues of concern covered by them. Not a single hand came up. Therefore I proceeded with my presentation on the assumption that all were familiar with the issues. As it turned out, none of them or perhaps only a few had taken an interest in the pages, and some had definitely not seen them. Given that Les Boyd is the councillor in charge of public works, I formally presented a set of copies of the pages at the town council meeting on July 6th, to be forwarded to Les Boyd. I hope that is the last time I have to do that, as the printing of those pages costs a fair bit of money. I have only a limited income to cover those printing costs. It would be far more efficient and much cheaper for all to view the web pages used to make those copies. Moreover, the pages accessible at http://fathersforlife.org/Bruderheim/index.html always are the latest version, and provide an up-to-date agenda for things requiring attention.
Everett Grant had identified at the previous town council meeting that about exactly a year ago he had inquired in writing whether he could purchase the property at 4924 - 48th Avenue, and that the Town never gave him the courtesy to respond to his inquiry. Jack Lambert had then asked Kelly Rudyk for an explanation as to why the town office had not responded to Everett's inquiry. Kelly Rudyk stated then that the issue may have slipped by him or may have slipped his mind. Jack Lambert asked then that Kelly Rudyk follow up on the inquiry within the week. I identified that as of July 6, three weeks after Everett had voiced his concern, the Town still had not responded to Everett Grant's inquiry. Kelly Rudyk responded that by July 8, at the latest, he would discuss the issue with Everett Grant. As of July 10 Everett still had not had the promised response from the Town about his inquiry.
That is all for now. If anyone can think of something that I left out, let me know, and I will add what needs to be added.