Costs rising to settle the dust in Big Lakes County

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County residents who live along gravel roads will have to pay a bigger chunk of change for the county to settle the dust caused by passing traffic.
At its regular meeting March 8, council gave all three readings to amend the county schedule of fees bylaw to increase the rates for dust control to $700 for the first and second applications.
The cost covers 15 metres of gravel road, said Kevin Cymbaluk, director of public works.
“This is the last adjustment to achieve full cost recovery for the first and second application under the county dust control policy,” he noted.
“Under the dust control policy, we have incrementally increased the fees charged to applicants since 2019.”
The new fee covers 100 per cent costs, including calcium, grader, water truck, staking, pilot truck, labour and equipment.
“We will recover 100 per cent of the cost of dust control, that’s good,” Councillor Ann Stewart said.
In 2022, council charged $658 for the first application – 100 per cent of the costs – and $514 for the second application, 100 per cent of the cost of calcium only.
From 2015-18, council charged the first application at $225 – about 50 per cent of the cost – and the second application at $112.50, which was 50 per cent of the cost of the first application.
In the same motion, council eliminated the sale of new culverts and also raised prices for people to buy used culverts and used grader blades.
High Prairie East – Banana Belt Councillor Tyler Airth was the first to oppose selling new culverts.
“We shouldn’t be in the business of selling new culverts,” Airth said.
Cymbaluk said selling new culverts is a county service to residents and few suppliers are located in the region.
North Gilwood – Triangle Councillor Jim Zabolotniuk agreed with Airth.
“We shouldn’t be in the business of selling new culverts if they are available in businesses in the region.”
“We don’t want to steal from other local businesses.”
Grouard Councillor Jeff Chalifoux also agreed.
“I don’t think we’re in the retail business.”
In the motion to amend the fees bylaw, council also increased the price of selling used culverts to 33 per cent of the cost of new culvert as tendered from $1 per foot.
Council increased the price to sell used grader blades to $1 a lineal foot from $1 a blade.
Revenues from sales are applied to the road maintenance budget.

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