Following are notes from the M.D. of Smoky River No. 130 regular council meeting help April 16:
Amendments to Bylaw No. 20-935
Recognizing the financial difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and following recommendations made by the provincial government, council passed amendments to Bylaw No. 20-935 which allows for the council to defer utility payments and applicable interest associated with deferrals, at their discretion, in the event of an emergency.
The deferment of payment and of the interest accrued on these payments will be made on a case-by-case basis by the council.
The amendments to the bylaw received their third reading and was passed.
Pandemic plan reviewed
Council reviewed the pandemic response plan for the region.
Council has decided to table the response plan until the meeting on April 24, to review amendments, reflect the procedures administrated by the province.
These amendments will state that businesses deemed necessary to operate during a pandemic within the regional plan be designated by the province.
Letter of Support for the SRCS grant
Council approved a letter of support for the Smoky River Childcare Society’s application to the Farm Credit Canada AgriSpirit Fund in their efforts to open a licensed daycare in the Smoky River region.
Adoption of ICF with Donnelly
ICF between Donnelly and the M.D. of Smoky River No. 130, which defines the areas and terms of inter-municipal collaboration, has received its third reading by council and been passed.
Machinery, equipment surplus
Council has approved the list for the municipality’s spring surplus sale.
Report from Emergency Services
The director of emergency services, Marcel Maure, discussed the possibility of flooding within the municipality.
The director has inquired about the possibility of requesting assistance from other levels of government based upon the severity of the flooding; however, Maure has evaluated the process of making such a request and believes a response from other levels of government would be too delayed to be effective in flood prevention.
Maure stated he has acquired a sufficient amount of flood prevention equipment, including “Tiger Dam,” and will be training his crew on its use this week.
If the need arises, Maure will request assistance from residents for support sandbagging. Emergency Services will be able to provide the appropriate PPE in the event that local support is required and will abide by provincial recommendations on social distancing and COVID-19 prevention measures.
Agriculture: Clubroot of Canola
Council approved amendments to the Clubroot Policy to enhance the steps required and recommended if clubroot is found within the municipality.
Notably, the recommendation of implementing patch management when clubroot is identified within an isolated area has been added to Policy #703.
For an isolated area of infected crop, this addition recommends that infected plants be pulled and burned, that the PH of the soil be raised through the use of lime or wood ash, and that the infected area be seeded with a fibrous grass species. This is intended to prevent the spread of clubroot spores out of the patch and reduce spore levels in the soil.
Some time was spent by council considering the advantages of requiring a 1:3 rotation in infected fields, as opposed to the current policy of 1:4. Council decided to accept the amendments as they were and therefore retained the policy of 1:4 rotation in clubroot infected fields. The motion to approve these amendments was carried with four in favour, two opposed.
Agriculture: coping with COVID-19
Agricultural Services is also experiencing difficulties in providing services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At this time, Agricultural Services will be delaying the commencement of its seasonal staff, and will plan to have staff start at staggered times in the morning to reduce potential interactions. Agricultural Services will be unable to complete ditch clearing as normally occurs in May as a result of these restrictions. The plan is to have the mowing crew commence June 1.
Private drainage policy amended
Council approved amendments to Policy #807, Private Drainage, which states that the M.D. of Smoky River would no longer construct or maintain private watercourse crossings or accesses.
This is a result of various pieces of federal and provincial legislation and includes wetlands, creeks, roads, trails, ditches, and any other infrastructure on private property.
The M.D.’s director of operations will send out a letter to landowners in the next week informing them of this change.
Amendments to Policy #807 were made to reflect this discontinuation of activity. Another amendment was approved stating that unregistered ditches will only be considered for clearing subject to special council resolution given the proper approvals, licenses, permits and right of way have been acquired. The motion to approve these amendments was carried with four in favour and two opposed.
Budget 2020 – MD Smoky River
Council was presented with a preliminary budget. As a result of a decrease in the assessment of industry within the municipality, the CAO has proposed different scenarios to set the mill rate as a means of maintaining the municipalities current level of service.
The budget will be voted on in the next regular council meeting on May 13 at 9 a.m.