The town council of Outlook met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday night, December 22. Present was all of council: Justin Turton, Kevin Grotheim, Kyle McLeod, Ryan Husband, Bob Stephenson, and Sharon Bruce, as well as Mayor Maureen Weiterman and Chief Administrative Officer Erinn Schreiner.
The meeting was broadcast online on the Town of Outlook’s Facebook page.
A number of topics and items were discussed, including the following highlights.
Public Works Report
Superintendent Luke Lockhart reported that all repairs had been done on a grader, which was now working good for town crews.
Lots of sand and salt was going out to address icy conditions and prevent people from suffering a fall.
It was said that the Town may need to explore its waste bylaws due to how some residents are storing their trash. Lockhart also reported that workers are noticing a lot of waste being picked up at residences, more than usual for this time of the year.
Rec Plex Facility Manager Megan Anthony reported that the Outlook Fire Department had begun flooding the outdoor rink located just behind the Rec Plex and there was hope of opening it up by New Year’s Day (it has since opened). The public were being advised that the unsupervised rink has a maximum of 30 users allowed and that masks are required. In the future, parking options are going to be explored for the outdoor rink, as well as the possibility of a “warm up” area.
The rec department is looking into having the bowling alley painted.
All three readings of Bylaw No. 1(2020) – Council Procedures Bylaw were held and officially carried.
Administrator Schreiner reported that the recent auditor visit went “very well”. She also noted that she would be interviewing people for the positions of office clerk and librarian soon.
More discussion was held on a topic that came up at the previous council meeting surrounding the residency of the Saskatchewan Health Authority in the curling rink side of the Rec Plex and what the Town could or should be collecting from them in possible rental fees per month. Some in the room wondered if the SHA’s access should be limited to ground level only, meaning the lounge upstairs would be off limits, but Councillor Stephenson believed that it shouldn’t be a big deal to allow SHA staff to use the lounge upstairs in order to have their lunch, and an agreement could be made over whether SHA staff or rink staff clean up afterward.
After discussing numbers, a motion was made and carried to charge the SHA 100% of the curling rink’s utilities plus $1250 for a minimum of $3000. Schreiner also made the suggestion to review the agreement every few months, and she will draw up the contract for review.
The Town will contact Thorstad Computers to come and assess the town offices for internet and wi-fi issues as it was said that the connectivity is low in the building for some staff.
A housing situation on Douglass Street in which a property owner wanted to develop a duplex saw the Town turn down the request because it isn’t allowed due to current zoning bylaws. The topic led to discussion on how such things could or even should be allowed as “Outlook needs housing right now”, noted Councillor Bruce. Knowing of such a need, this may lead to the Town amending its zoning bylaws and Schreiner may contact Community Planning to explore future options and gain information.
Discussion was held on whether or not to grant a request for a tax abatement for a local business. There was concern over the Town establishing something of a precedent that they don’t wish to set and some in the room wondered if the business would be better off seeking funding related to COVID. A motion was made and carried to postpone further discussion until a meeting in February.
The Town will not move forward on having its council meetings broadcast on television via Access Communications. It was said that the Town was warned against it.
The Town received a letter from someone outside of the community that allowed the year to end on a rather heartwarming note. It turns out that a woman and her husband from Young, Saskatchewan had recently come through Outlook on a veterinarian-related visit and made a few stops in town; eating, some light shopping here and there. Apparently, they were so taken with the friendliness and welcoming nature of the town, its residents and local business owners that they made a special point of writing to town council to point out how much they enjoyed their brief stop in the community.