The construction of the new East Peace Gas Co-op Ltd. building in Falher is a proud moment for the organization.
Gerard Noel, the co-op chairman, highlighted this as part of his presentation at their annual general meeting on March 27.
“We have had many compliments from both members and non-members of the co-op and community,” says Noel.
“This has been a labour of love and the fulfilment of a plan 35 years in the making.”
Noel also highlighted the service work done in the last year. This includes the addition of nine rural domestic, one commercial service and one urban service; the replacement of one RMO station and 10 regulator stations; plus line upgrading at two locations.
“This infrastructure replacement and construction of almost 16 km of pipe system were done at a cost of $450,000. Most of these projects will qualify for some level of support funding.”
But levels of funding are not guaranteed, as the allotted dollars may fall short of the amount provided by the government for projects covering all the province, he adds.
Noel also commented that the challenges caused by the weak economy seem to be easing. However, the challenges of the new government are definitely not.
“The carbon levy has come into effect, but with many issues both in administration and implementation. We, with the help of the Federation and other members, continue to lobby for exemptions, especially for agricultural uses. We want all parties to be on an equal playing field.”
Dale Dupuis, the manager of East Peace Gas Co-op Ltd., also gave his report, highlighting the challenges of 2016.
“We have been plagued by issues with weather and a slow economy, not to mention more and more regulatory process and, of course, the challenges presented by the implementation of the new levies being brought forward by our new government,” says Dupuis. “This year will, hopefully, be a more cooperative construction season and signs are favourable that the economy is slowly picking up.”
The co-op has installed six new services for the commercial sector and there are as many interested on the residential side.
Also, in the first half of 2016, the company was concerned about the income side, as sales have been well below average due to 16 months of lower sales, which is mainly due to the weather.
“All in all, things are very positive, and with continuing support, we will be able to keep your utility a focus of the community and pride in ownership.”
The co-op plans to hold an open house for their new building in the near future. See Page 1 of the February 8 edition of the Smoky River Express, for Tom Henihan’s story about it.