The town council of Outlook met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday night, August 26. Present was all of council: Donna Smith, Kevin Grotheim, Kyle McLeod, Maureen Applin, Floyd Childerhose, and David Simonson, as well as Mayor Ross Derdall and office clerks Crystal Fisher and Renee Buys. The meeting was broadcast on the Town’s Facebook page.
Council acknowledged and accepted a letter from the RM of Rudy that apparently left some in the room confused. The contents of the letter were not discussed in-detail during the meeting.
Council also accepted a letter from Dr. Padilla of the Outlook Medical Clinic. The letter formally indicated Dr. Padilla’s resignation from the clinic. Council indicated that they were sorry to see her go and accepted the letter.
In a letter received by the Town from the Minister of Rural and Remote Health Warren Kaeding, it was said that assessments are being done in September that may see a suitable physician assigned to the town of Outlook.
Councillor Applin shared a text message that she received from a local ratepayer, Bree Campbell, in relation to the new fire hall project in Outlook. Campbell reportedly indicated to Applin that the magnitude of the tender related to the new fire hall was “out of line” with what is needed.
“I don’t know why there is so much concern to do with our new fire hall,” said Mayor Derdall.
Applin noted she was unsure why there is concern over the fire hall when the final financial figures aren’t known right now, but Councillor Grotheim replied that they have something of a “ball park” figure. Grotheim said ratepayers feel “blindsided” because there was no public consultation.
Councillor Childerhose noted that when council originally came up with its concept of a new fire hall, it was with the entire community area in mind, including within the RM of Rudy.
Grotheim said that once the tenders do come in, that could be an opportunity to hold something that would involve some form of public input.
“Maybe there are some comments that are valid, or maybe they’re nervous over the costs, and they could have a say and some people could be happy,” said Kevin.
“Where was that nervousness when we were building the new pool?” Applin asked.
It was said that once the tenders come in for the new fire hall, council might look into having something where the public could have a say, ask questions they may have and learn information about the fire hall project.
“I think we could have an evening, but with the proper restrictions in place,” said Ross. “But we do need a price first!”
In discussing council meeting or committee minutes that are recorded, Councillor Grotheim asked if there could be more information included so that people reading minutes have a better understanding of what was discussed, as opposed to simply reading recommendations and motions. Council was understanding of that idea and they understand that people are always looking for more information from their elected officials. Councillor Applin noted that those who are taking the minutes need to be aware of any kind of confidentiality or privacy concerns, and it was said that’s why the minutes need to be looked over and any suggestions brought forward before passing and approving them.
Outlook and District Heritage Museum Meeting
Floyd and Ross attended a meeting held by the museum board on August 20 in relation to the Bounty Theatre building. Childerhose felt the meeting was somewhat “defensive”. It was said that the museum’s books appeared to now be in order. It was said the museum pays $31 a month for power to the hall. Another concern was applying for grants for the hall, and Crystal noted she had applied for grants on the museum’s behalf, and it can be done again if needed. The Town had asked about fundraising, but with the Covid pandemic, that has taken a hit although someone suggested the idea of a virtual garage sale to raise money. People have shared interest in actually using the Bounty Hall for events and there’s a thought that the hall could be a money-maker. It was said that now that things are in order, the museum could invite more people to be a part of it. Ross commended Floyd’s involvement with the meeting, but shared that there are still issues that need to be addressed in the future.
“I want us to work with them on this and try to maintain that building,” said Councillor McLeod. “I want to see it open and I want to see it thrive.”
“I think we intimidated them, which wasn’t our intent at all,” said Childerhose. “They’re a very official board, and from our point of view, we’re there to help them and make that museum better.”
“We just need to work with them to see what the end goal is,” said Grotheim, and noted that there could be more opportunities for grants to go towards the museum and hall if there was more of a working partnership between the Town and museum board.
On the topic of a needs assessment survey that council was asked to fill out for the Outlook & District Regional Park, a few in the room handed over their forms that they received. Mayor Derdall noted that he doesn’t use the park and that he wouldn’t feel right sharing his opinion or views on what the area needs. Councillor Smith said that there may be a newer survey coming out.
Council discussed the prospective planning surrounding the town library, of which the proposal is to relocate it to another part of town. Councillor Grotheim wasn’t convinced that the former recycling depot land was the best idea for a new library, but the rest of council was unsure where else would be sufficient.
“We’re in the middle of backlash or an issue with the public to do with the fire hall,” said Grotheim. “Now we’re talking about moving the library. Do we say, ‘This is the scenario’, and do we have a public forum?”
“We’re going to have a public forum for everything?” said Mayor Derdall. “I have no patience for them.”
Grotheim felt that they’re in the midst of a “fast knee-jerk” reaction to do with the library, but Ross noted they were in a situation with the school division where the Town’s answer may end up being made for them at any point. Councillor McLeod noted that they’d also spoken with the librarians and they thought it was a good fit.
A motion was made to go with Walker Projects to have the drawings done.
On the topic of a contract renewal for plumbing and heating services around town, Councillor Applin felt the Town should put it out for tender and allow others to put in a bid to keep the playing field level. Council agreed, and a motion was made and carried to do so.
A motion was made and carried to honor a request by Variety Place related to landfill access.
A motion was made and carried to go with Ren-Pro for arena board skirting if the money has been budgeted for the work.
On the topic of having an official community profile done, Councillor Applin touched on Townfolio, a software and data firm that compiles municipal analytics and has put together many community profiles from across the province and Canada. With the potential growth in Outlook, Applin feels the Town may be flooded with calls and requests for information on everything to do with the community. If Outlook does have a town profile, it could be accessed online and serve as a “one stop shop” of information for potential investors as well as new and/or temporary working residents. Applin feels that Outlook needs to get on board with such a project.
Grotheim asked if it was something the Town could do itself on its own website. Applin said they could “to a point”, but noted that Townfolio has such a reputation right now that investors tend to look for their involvement. Council will look into it and possibly inquire about pricing in the near future.
Council discussed the Railway Avenue Subdivision and Highway Commercial Subdivision. There has been interest in the town office about commercial usage, both on Railway and the highway. A motion was made and carried to start on a number of tasks ASAP related to Stage 1, although council said they are still seeking a meeting with Associated Engineering and Urban Systems.
Council also touched again on the new fire hall. The brunt of the concerns appear to be surrounding the possible costs and intended size of the new hall, as well as how much of the cost that taxpayers are going to be on the hook for. It was said that people with such concerns should make a point of contacting the Town, sending in a letter, or perhaps speaking to council as a delegation at a future meeting. Council elected to have the budgeted costs and information on the Town’s website, as well as information and photos of the hall concept in the newspaper.
Council moved to their in-camera discussion, which included land, legal, and personnel matters.