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Outlook town council news - Waste disposal dominates discussion

A proposal from Loraas Disposal resulted in many opinions at the October 19 meeting.
2020 Town Sign

OUTLOOK - The town council of Outlook met for a regular meeting on Wednesday, October 19, which had been rescheduled from its original date of October 12. Present was all of Council; Bob Stephenson, Justin Turton, Sharon Bruce, Kyle McLeod, Ryan Husband, and Kevin Grotheim, as well as Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Trew and returning Assistant Administrator Rachel Sillers. Absent was Mayor Maureen Weiterman, who is recovering and on sick leave.

The meeting was broadcast live on the Town of Outlook's Facebook page.


Council discussed Bylaw 19(2022) Emergency Measures Organization prior to its first reading. It was said that while the Town had previously contracted with the company known as DataSafe for such a plan, the Town "didn't have a great time working with" them, so a new plan was brought forward that is said to be more localized and didn't cost anything to create and adopt. A motion was made and carried for the first reading.

Reports of Administration, Staff and/or Committees Requiring Decision

Council passed a motion to reimburse Councillor Turton $105 for a training session that he undertook.

Unfinished Business

Council discussed a waste disposal agreement with Loraas Disposal related to solid waste hauling, which turned into a lengthy, back-and-forth discussion. It was said that the roll-out of Loraas's curbside services in 2019 left a bad taste in some peoples' mouths due to the controversy that stemmed from the closure of Outlook's recycling depot, which both the Town and Loraas do not want to repeat. It was said that Loraas was not the only transporter of solid waste that was interested in working with the Town to provide the service. The Town has been happy with Loraas as far as providing the community's recycling service, and in fact they've renewed their contract for another two years.

Loraas has approached the Town with a two-year contract to not only collect and dispose of recycling, but to add household and commercial waste disposal to the existing agreement, which would provide a receptacle for every customer and include an automated pickup system.

Administrator Trew said that if the contract was signed, no jobs would be lost in Outlook's public works department, but those working in waste pickup and delivery would be reassigned within the department. The Town is also expecting more staff to be needed at the regional landfill.

If the Town is to continue taking care of solid waste pickup, then capital equipment costs include the purchase of an automated truck in 2023 that could cost from $200,000 to $300,000, and the Town would also need to provide carts at an approximate cost of $200,000. This would see a cost of as much as half a million dollars in capital expenses, and it was said that there are no reserves to cover it.

The Town has discussed opening up the landfill regionally to local users, which would involve partnering with neighbouring municipalities, and they're currently headed in such a direction, with interest already coming from a number of municipalities.

The recommendations coming from committee with this proposal were three-fold. First, that the Town of Outlook contract residential garbage collection and transportation to the regional landfill with Loraas Disposal Services, with a 95-gallon curbside waste cart emptied on a biweekly basis for $4.65 per cart + GST, with a variable rate fuel surcharge and federal carbon levy effective January 1, 2023, expiring the same time as the current recycling contract. The second resolution was that the Town of Outlook allow Loraas Disposal Services to dispose of residential solid waste collected from within the legal boundaries of the Town of Outlook only at the regional landfill effective January 1, 2023 at no additional charge. Finally, the third resolution was that the Town of Outlook allow Loraas Disposal Services to dispose of commercial solid waste and construction waste collected from within the legal boundaries of the Town of Outlook only at the regional landfill effective November 1, 2022, as per schedule of charges outlined.

If the Town was to continue with its current weekly service and adding automated services, the four-year average showed a cost of approximately $170,000 per year, whereas if the Town hired a contractor for weekly service, the four-year average worked out to roughly $126,000 per year. Going to a biweekly service, which is what's being proposed, the cost goes to approximately $68,000 per year.

Acting Mayor Grotheim shared his "gut reaction" that he felt that Council wasn't prepared to vote on the matter at this time.

"At least, I'm not, but like I said, I wasn't at that committee meeting," he said.

More discussion was had in the room, with Councillor Husband noting that if the community was looking at ways to reduce taxes, then you do that by offering different levels of service, and going to a biweekly service looked like the Town was reducing its costs by "quite a bit".

Councillor Bruce shared both sides of the coin in her remarks.

"If your garbage is only getting picked up every two weeks and this is the bin that you have, then you might be more responsible with what you throw in the garbage because you only have this much room," she said. "The flip side of that is you may find people throwing their stuff in other garbages. But hopefully, people would remain responsible."

The feeling in the room was that people were in favor of going to an automated system, but the question is does the Town take charge of that or contract it out to a company such as Loraas?

Councillor Stephenson said he was on the fence about the proposal, feeling "skittish" about jumping into a deal and going past the point of no return.

After further discussion, Administrator Trew pointedly brought up how this topic has come up time and time again, with no real forward momentum on how Council wishes to proceed.

"I'm going to control myself," he said, directing his comments to Grotheim. "This is the third time we've talked about this, and every time we talk about it, you come up with more things that we should talk about. Now, I know you're my bosses, but I'm not doing it again. Either we're going to go ahead with something and it could be today or next week, I don't care, or we're going to go with this other route because right now, I'm not doing it again. I'm sorry, but it costs you guys a lot of money for me to be doing this every time."

Trew then added, "I shouldn't say that; if you want me to do it again, I can, but I don't think it's financially sound."

"This has been on the table since March and we didn't talk about it for the longest time," added Councillor Turton, stating that he'd like to see the Town outsource waste hauling so that they could concentrate their funds on other things.

A motion was called to proceed with the first motion, that the Town contract with Loraas to provide the services. Acting Mayor Grotheim asked for a recorded vote, and councillors Husband, Bruce, and Turton voted in favor while councillors McLeod, Stephenson, and Grotheim were opposed. As such, the motion was defeated, which nullified the second motion. The third motion, regarding Loraas taking care of commercial and construction waste in town, was also defeated with councillors McLeod, Grotheim and Stephenson in favor, and councillors Turton, Husband and Bruce opposed.

New Business

In discussing long term financing, a number of projects and their associated costs were brought up, highlighting the Town's "aggressive" ten-year plan. Such projects include the completion of the railyard subdivision, with total costs expected to come in at $2.8 million with costs expected to be covered upon the sale of the lots. Stormwater outfalls rehabilitation is expected to carry a cost of $1.157 million, with total costs including engineering and oversight expected to be around $1.4 million. Construction for the project is covered largely by grant funding. Highway, water and sewer main upgrades in Phase 1 carries a total construction cost of $1.884 million, with engineering and oversight pushing it closer to $2 million. The landfill decommissioning project is expected to be less than $1 million, though the total cost has not been finalized and it's grant-covered up to 75%. The water intake system's total constructed cost is $8 million, with grant funds covering 75% up to just over $5.35 million. The Town's costs are not budgeted at this time for that project, but they're estimated at $3 million.

As well, Highway, water and sewer main upgrades for Phase 2 are estimated at an additional $1.5 million for the summer of 2023. Highway corridor lighting, turnout lanes, and extending of Mann Street, and related projects are estimated at $700,000, with some of the costs to be covered with the sales of eventual highway and commercial lots.

The cash output for the Town totals an excess of $12 million, and it was suggested that Council look at borrowing for projects over the next 18 months. Administrator Trew has discussed long-term borrowing with Prairie Centre Credit Union, who are offering long-term financing for the $2.5 million for the railyard subdivision with a five-year fixed term of 4.72% or a ten-year fixed term of 4.02%. BMO has prepared a discussion paper regarding all of the Town's upcoming projects and are offering a rate right now of 4.74% on a five-year fixed term.

The recommended resolution was that the CAO prepare application loan documents and bylaw for a ten-year fixed term loan with Prairie Centre Credit Union in the amount of $2.5 million to cover the fees paid for by the railyard mixed-use commercial industrial subdivision.

After some discussion around the room on the dollars and cents that are centered around these projects, the motion was made to move forward on the recommended resolution, which was carried.

In other points of discussion throughout the meeting, as the current Deputy Mayor, Councillor Grotheim was officially appointed the Acting Mayor of Outlook as Mayor Weiterman recovers. She is currently expected to resume her duties as of November 1.

Owing to her return to the offices, Assistant Administrator Sillers was re-granted signing authority for all Town of Outlook banking accounts, and the decision was made to remove Municipal Clerk Crystal Fisher, who served in Rachel's absence, from having that authority.

In discussing the appointment of someone to serve as an emergency measures coordinator, it was said that Jim Cheyne had vacated the position and that Bob Laidlaw had interviewed for it. After some discussion, a motion was made and carried to appoint Laidlaw as the new Emergency Measures Coordinator.

Public Works Report
Prepared by Luke Lockhart
Superintendent of Municipal Operations

- DLN Construction has completed the paving on Cedar Place; this concludes our paving projects for 2022.
- We have started another round of pot hole repairs including residential streets as well as the highway sections.
- Hank’s Concrete has finished all of our sidewalk access ramps, remaining sidewalk work to be done is the section in front of the bakery.
- We have received our street sweeper, and have swept the majority of town to date; we will continue to sweep as needed for leaf pickup. Our sales representative will be onsite next Friday to answer any operational questions we may have.
- We have noted 4 residential sewer connections needing replacement, along with 2 fire hydrants, and 2 main water valves; these have been passed on to Brunners to complete over the next few months.
- Raw water intake, floc chambers, and lift station cleaning will be done next Wednesday.
Environmental Health:
- Groundwater monitoring for the landfill, and the lagoon have been completed by Tetratech, we do not have results back as of yet for either.
General Public Works:
- Compost pickup is still steady with garden refuse and leaves.
- We will be doing some tree trimming in alleys, and overhanging streets in the near future.
- We have added 3 members to our public works team; Brad Bilodeau at the landfill, and Clay Gamble and Graham Thomson for general public works department.

Recreation Report
Prepared by Megan Anthony
Recreation Director

The recreation department has been busy making ice over the last few weeks. We will have the skating ice ready for our user groups by October 17th. We began the curling ice October 11th and should have it completed by the end of October.

The RecPlex has been receiving some TLC over the last few weeks with the new boiler system being completed, the ice plants both received some repairs as well as our Olympia. We are also upgrading the water fountains at the rink to include a water bottle fill up station. Living Skies electrician, Josh, came out to check over our delta controls program as we were having a few issues with it and he has rectified those issues. Our kitchen manager Laurie Anholt has been in the kitchen for the last few weeks organizing and getting ready for the kitchen season. We have purchased a new point of sale system for the kitchen and we are looking forward to the ease of sales with this new program as well as a more efficient way of reporting and keeping track of the inventory.

We look forward to a busy skating and curling season ahead of us!

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