Outlook town council news & notes - April 28

The town council of Outlook met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday night, April 28.  Present was all of council: Sharon Bruce, Bob Stephenson, Justin Turton, Kyle McLeod, Ryan Husband, and Kevin Grotheim, as well as Mayor Maureen Weiterman, Administrator Kevin Trews, and Assistant Administrator Rachel Sillers.

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

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A number of topics and items were discussed, including the following highlights.

Delegations

John McPhail was in attendance to speak to the Veterans Memorial Park to be constructed on the greenspace located at the four-way stop intersecting Saskatchewan Avenue and McKenzie Street in Outlook.

McPhail noted that funding is in place and that they can “comfortably” go ahead.  They’re looking at roughly $60,000 for the project, and they’ve received $25,000 from Veterans Affairs Canada.  It was said that generous donations keep coming in, so it’s “full steam ahead” for the Legion.  One of the biggest tasks will be moving the old arch located in the park, and the people doing it for the Legion are confident that all will go well in moving it.  Broderick Garden Centre is looking after the landscaping for the project, having started on it already.  The project has also acquired some original seeds from Flanders Field.  There will be LED lighting installed, which will light the arch and make for a must-see image in the evenings.

It was noted that a dedication ceremony may take place in the fall with a handful of Legion members while live-streaming it for the larger public to take in and watch, and maybe a bigger event would take place in the spring of 2022.

John had asked about getting the monument declared a historical landmark as it goes back to 1926, but he was advised by the Town to move it and then apply for the status.

Mayor Weiterman noted the hard work that McPhail has done to ensure that this entire project goes ahead, and she commended Branch #262 for all they’ve done.  The Town will be watching “with great anticipation” to see the Park come to fruition.

CAO Report

Given to this reporter after the meeting, the following are highlights from the CAO Report as compiled by Administrator Trews.

Policy and Procedural Items:

We are working at transparency of government - Prior to my arrival, the Acting Administrator, Acting Rec Director, PW Foreman and PW Superintendent were part of a team meeting every two weeks – we have named this the Executive Team and we will meet on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays in the morning; the 1st meeting of the month, they will prepare written reports for me; I will present these to Council’s 1st meeting of every month; following approval we will post these reports on our website; should staff need to be present at the Council meeting, they will be.

We are working at efficiency of government - On this meeting’s agenda – we have started using a consent agenda – it will take some time to work out the tweaks and I expect some removal from time-to-time so hopefully we will all see the benefits.

We are working at accountability of government – For the next meeting of Council, our executive team will have a briefing note suggesting a strategy to involve community members in committees of Council.

Accountability again! – we will continue to report a list of payments for approval at each meeting of Council, we are developing a continuous agenda wherein we will report quarterly (April, July, October, January) at the 2nd meeting of the month a quarterly balance sheet and quarterly summary income statement with comparables to last year and budget (when able) along with a cover page; on the other 8 months we plan to focus on specific departments with a more detailed department income statement with each 2nd meeting of the month – we are working out the kinks for the first quarter report and it will be ready for the 1st meeting of May.

We can never have too much transparency – the complete agenda for Council along will be ready for at 5 the Friday before Council meeting; items and attachments will be up at that time; any additional items will be prepared and placed on Monday by noon, the CAO will notify all of Council if there have been necessary additions following these deadlines set; the agenda for public consumption will be placed on the website and Facebook by noon on Tuesday before the meeting.

Current Unfinished Projects:

Landfill Decommissioning of Old Cell – Our team is meeting with MoE to discuss outstanding items this week.

Raw Water Intake Project – Very early stages, ICIP was approved up to $10 million in principle, next step will be to explore various alternatives with an engineer.

Storm Water Outfalls – We will be using Gas Tax Funds for these projects over the next 2-3 years – Council has identified the priority areas with Associated Engineering’s recommendations – staff will follow up for next steps – 2021 budget item.

Civic Centre Project – Request for tenders has expired, awaiting recommendations from Walker Projects.

Subdivisions Projects

Mann Street Residential – Urban Systems is preparing a concept plan; upon receipt of that Council will likely put this on hold; PW is finalizing decommissioning of airport which includes removal of windsock and signage on runway that it is closed – instead we are contacting lessor of land to discuss conversion of runway to farmland in 2021 so it is used and no longer visible.

Highway Commercial – Drainage plan is part of the Mann Street Residential – this is priority 2 for subdivisions.

Railway Commercial – Priority 1 for subdivisions; we are working with Associated Engineering on this project and awaiting them for next step.

Future Projects:

We are working at vision of government – we expect a draft budget to be prepared over then next 3 weeks and we expect to begin working on a strategic plan following that as a long term project engaging many stakeholders including staff and the general public.

We are working at connecting and communicating with our stakeholders and customers – the website is being updated and kept up to date so that we can refer people to it.

End of CAO Report

Bylaws

A third reading was held for Bylaw 02(2021) – A Bylaw of the Town of Outlook to Regulate the Proceedings of Municipal Council and Council’s Committees.

Communications Requiring Action or Decision

On the topic of a tax abatement request on the part of the property where the Outlook Community Garden sits at 311 Selkirk Street, Councillor Turton and Mayor Weiterman recused themselves, at which point Deputy Mayor McLeod stepped in.  Councillor Bruce said that she believed the program had substantial value and that it’s something that can be used by anybody, particularly at a time when there’s a pandemic.  Councillor Grotheim made the motion that they take the base tax for the property and abate it, which passed.

New Business

On the topic of renovations to the fire hall, councillors Grotheim and Turton recused themselves citing conflicts of interest.  A number of quotes came in for the project.  A recommendation was made from the Protective Services Committee that they proceed with the renovation.  A motion was made and carried to proceed with the renovations, with approved costs of up to $22,000.

In discussing user rates at the Jim Kook Rec Plex, a recommendation from the Parks and Recreation department came in to approve the arena rates that were presented.  Councillor Stephenson noted that the Rec Plex should be run as a business in order to make money and forge ahead.  A motion was made and carried to accept the rates.

Nothing was discussed in-camera at the meeting.

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