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Council Briefs

News and notes from the July 11 regular meeting of Estevan city council.

Not surprisingly, flooding was once again one of the issues in the spotlight at the meeting.

City manager Jim Puffalt thanked everyone who was involved with helping combat the flood. He also noted a full report will be issued by Helen Fornwald, who headed up the emergency measures committee, in the near future.

Puffalt also passed along comments from Dave Waind who is Minot's City manager. Waind was responding to an e-mail from Puffalt in which he offered the North Dakota any assistance that Estevan could provide as the community dealt with its own flood issues. Waind thanked Puffalt for the offer of help and also touched on the rumours that Canadians were being harassed by residents of Minot who blamed Canada for the flood along the Souris River.

The manager said the unfounded rumour had "gone viral" despite the fact that he and the Minot's police chief had not received any reports that Canadians were harassed or had their tires slashed.

"I believe that the average resident here knows that Mother Nature can still do things that go beyond man's ability to have total control," Waind said in his e-mail to Puffalt. "We know that (the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority) did everything they could do to avert this disaster that struck all of us on both sides of the international border. We appreciate our Canadian friends and will try to communicate that clearly."

In his report Puffalt said the City of Estevan has heard the same rumours and join with Minot to remind Estevan residents that Minot continues to be the same welcoming place it always has been.

Council approved a change order for the wiring of the score clock at Spectra Place. Thre change, which involves upgrading from a Cat 5 cable to a Cat 6 cable, will cost an additional $2,852.

The City has filled a couple of important positions in the last few weeks.

Mark Sture was hired in June as the new public works manager, replacing Owen Green who left earlier this year to take a similar position in Assiniboia. It was also announced at the July 11 meeting that Kiflom Weldeab is the new City engineer for Estevan. Weldeab will replace Zeshan Haider whose letter of resignation was officially accepted by the members of council at the meeting.

Both Weldeab and Sture bring a great deal of experience to the City. Weldeab has previously worked as an engineer in Manitoba and Ontario and is excited about the opportunity to work for a city.

"It's something I haven't done in my life and I wanted to do. This provided a great opportunity to do that," said Weldeab. "There is a lot of work needed to be done but is a great place to be."

Sture, who also comes to Estevan from Ontario, had an interesting start in Estevan as he began work on June 21 during the height of the flood crisis.

"I reported to work at 8 o'clock in the morning and there was nobody around so it took me a few hours to find out there was an emergency going on because I had no access to radio the weekend prior," he said. "It took me a while to get my feet on the ground but they threw me right in and I was able to run with it."

Sture has worked at the municipal government level for 25 years. He said the fact that Estevan is a busy and growing town attracted him to the job.

"It is a good oppourtunity to show what I can do and also to grow with the City and also to hopefully spend the last part of my career here," said Sture who added the harsh winter and wet spring will present some issues the City will need to tackle in the next couple of months.

"There is a number of challenges because of the winter you experienced here and the spring with the moisture content and the flooding. Those issues have certainly had an impact on the water system, the utility system underground as well as the road surface and we have those challenges to deal with. Unfortunately it has taken until July to address those issues and we are working as hard as we can to fix them up."