ESTEVAN - The state of Padwick Park in north-central Estevan was discussed at the June 6 meeting of Estevan city council.
In a letter to council, city manager Jeff Ward said the park’s grassed areas were brown into the spring, and councillors and the city have received inquiries about the park’s status.
Invasive foxtail weeds took over the park the last two years, but there have been issues since the park’s original development in 2015. Last year Rod March, the city’s manager of parks and facilities, reviewed multiple options and considered scraping the grass out of the area and reseeding or sodding, since foxtail can live in the soil and sprout up again.
“Rod and a local contractor discussed with the Ministry of Environment … a way to address the invasive foxtail issue,” Ward wrote.
An aggressive chemical was approved for use, was applied last year and has resulted in grass rebounding in certain areas.There is no risk to park users from the chemical. It is a very strong chemical, but it would get rid of the foxtail in the grass and get rid of foxtail seeds in the soil. The application included the risk that the grass could die in certain areas.
“This is a large park with some large spaces that aren’t generally used too much and could have some zero-scaped areas with boulders … and some trees,” said Ward.
This chemical has been applied in other places with mixed results.
The parks department believes the areas might still rebound this spring with some rain and heat, Ward said. They have power-raked the park and over-seeded the area. If areas do not recover over the coming weeks, then the city will review alternatives, potentially implementing zero-maintenance areas in the larger open locations so that continual improvement work will occur in the park in some fashion throughout the summer.
Parks will continue to monitor in the coming weeks and provide a report back to council in July. Other options included initiating zero maintenance plans immediately for certain areas, or scraping the area and then reseeding or using sod.
Councillor Kirsten Walliser noted there have been concerns with drainage in the park. Ponds will form after precipitation and homeowners will be concerned with mosquitoes.
Council has shown support to the Long Creek Railroad for its Rafferty Road Ladder Tracks project. The railroad is applying to the National Trade Corridor Fund for financial assistance.
There would be two 5,000-foot ladder tracks located 11 kilometres from the interchange point between the railroad and CP Rail, and an upgrade to the bridge. The project would increase the capacity of the railroad by creating a more efficient interchange connection and allow the railway to carry any commodity in any rail car.
Council gave its blessing for the Estevan Fire Rescue Service to join others from across the province to once again provide fire suppression and emergency response for the Country Thunder music festival in Craven next month.
Estevan Fire Chief Dale Feser asked to allow the fire department to use a command vehicle. The vehicle will only be used by Feser or Weyburn Fire Chief Trent Lee.
Feser noted that in 2018, the Estevan command vehicle played a vital role in saving a young man’s life after a cardiac event.
“There would not have been an effective emergency vehicle to warn the public and to get them to move out of the way to deliver the AED and then to secure the landing zone for STARS [Air Ambulance],” said Feser.
The financial impact would be minimal as it would only cost fuel to get there. It would not leave the city in a vulnerable position as it is a command vehicle. Furthermore, all local firefighters providing services at Craven would do so on a voluntary basis.
Eight building permits worth $709,325 were issued in May, bringing the total for the year to 19 permits worth more than $3 million.
One of May permits was a single-family dwelling with a value of $520,000. The others were classified as miscellaneous.
Council gave first reading to a bylaw that will rezone a parcel of land from urban holding to heavy industrial. Both a large-scale greenhouse development and bio-mass plant would be potential uses in the zoning district. Existing uses could continue indefinitely.
It was noted that economic development has advanced the two projects to the point where consideration is recommended.
The undeveloped portion of the quarter-section is bounded by Kensington Avenue to the west and a gravel road that extends eastward to the truck bypass.
Second and third readings would happen at a later date, and approval of the bylaw does not guarantee development permit approval.