Outlook town council news & notes - December 9

The town council of Outlook met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday night, December 9.  Present was all of council; Kevin Grotheim, Kyle McLeod, Ryan Husband, Bob Stephenson, Justin Turton, and Sharon Bruce, as well as Mayor Maureen Weiterman, Administrator Erinn Schreiner, and office clerk Crystal Fisher.

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

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At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Weiterman noted that it was being broadcast live on Facebook, a practice that will remain going forward because “our ratepayers have been asking where we are.”  It was also said that the Town is looking into better technology for livestreaming meetings in the future.

There were no written submissions for the public hearing portion of the meeting centered around Bylaw No. 30(2020), as council intended to amend the Zoning Bylaw No. 08(2014) in order to amend regulations regarding “personal service shops”.  Specifically, the amendment is to clarify uses that are considered as a personal service shop, including amending Section 2.0 Interpretation to include fitness centres as an example.

The bylaw was passed after its third reading was held.

The Mayor and Council Forum was held for a few minutes, in which the Mayor and council speak their mind on topics and also share issues that have been brought to them by ratepayers via the notes they take in their issued ‘little black books’.  Mayor Weiterman noted she had attended some interesting webinars that provided her with some mentoring points, while Councillor Bruce said she had talked with people who asked her about the heavy deer presence in town and what could be done.  It was said that the issue would be better suited to be referred to the local Conservation Officer.

Administrator Schreiner shared in her CAO Report that the Town needs to address an issue to do with banked time with its employees.  There are substantial monies owed if the directive is to pay the time out, but it was also said that the Town really can’t afford to have many employees take any extended time off with the current workload.

An interim audit is expected to take place this week, so the town office will be quite busy.

Rec Report

Rec Director Trevor Ouellette shared in his report that the Saskatoon-based fencing company Nordic Fencing has been “difficult” to work with in relation to the outdoor rink, with repeated attempts to have them come out and commence with their work.  Ouellette said he was hoping to have them out on December 14.  In other news surrounding the outdoor rink, Trevor expected that it will be flooded soon, with the Outlook Fire Department set to begin the process.

Ouellette noted that staff at the Rec Plex have stepped up their efforts in COVID cleaning.

It was said that the Town’s financial commitment to Western Recreation for the swimming pool is now complete and that what now remains is the bank loan to be paid off.

Bylaws

Council was asked to read and review Bylaw No. 26(2020) – Code of Ethics Bylaw, after which it was acknowledged by the room.

On the topic of Bylaw No. 01(2020) – Council Procedures Bylaw, a number of highlights were discussed by council.  Going forward, council meetings will now run no later than 10:00 pm, shortened by an hour from the previously allotted maximum time of 11:00 pm.  However, council can ask for an extension of time if it is required.  There is also to be strict adherence to any potential conflicts of interest that may arise, and delegations that have asked to appear on the agenda to speak to council will have a maximum length of 15 minutes to speak and/or make their presentation.  The bylaw will be brought back to another council meeting with the requested changes to be officially passed.

Unfinished Business

The prospect of holding a fireworks display in town just before Christmas is a big question mark at the moment.  Originally, December 23 was the hopeful date, but it was said that the 23rd is a workday for the person who normally lights them off, Dalas King, so he is unavailable.  There are also concerns over the intended location of the fireworks behind the Jim Kook Rec Plex, which means there would have to be some sizable snow removed in order to accommodate parked vehicles.  As well, there was a question over whether people can even come together for a fireworks display and if it somehow violated the COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions from the province.  However, it should be noted that the villages of both Elbow and Dinsmore have had fireworks in their communities over the last two weeks, with people remaining in their vehicles.  Outlook’s fireworks didn’t happen on July 1 due to there being no Canada Day festivities at all, and the intended make-up date of September 5 over the Labor Day long weekend also saw them bumped due to weather conditions.  The Town realizes that people will be disappointed if they don’t happen at all in 2020, but they continue to explore their options.  One idea being talked about in the public is the notion of having the fireworks either on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day as a way to “kick 2020 out the door.”

In discussing the Civic Centre renovation project, everything was said to look good in the drawings from Walker Projects, notably the washrooms.  After some discussion, the Town may look into dividing the project into separate jobs to put bigger focus on “priority areas.”  A motion was made and carried to ask Walker Projects for a budgetary breakdown of key areas of the renovations.

A talk on phone systems led to the question of whether the Rec Plex could use some form of multi-extension system, depending on the cost.  It was also said that the wi-fi internet in the town office building was poor, so the Town will reach out to SaskTel to address the issue.

After each reviewing their SUMA 2021 Convention registration packages, a motion was made and carried for councillors to attend the event.

Saskatchewan Health Authority's Presence in Town

A hearty discussion on the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s presence in the curling rink portion of the Rec Plex produced some different opinions, particularly on the matter of monies that may be owed to the Town for the SHA’s lengthy stay in order to run a COVID testing site.  It was said that at $300 a day (the normal rental rate for the curling rink), the current ‘bill’ amounts to approximately $44,000, a financial directive said to have been handed down by the previous council.  Administrator Schreiner noted that a representative for the SHA apparently “went bonkers” at such a number being brought to them, but Councillor Grotheim replied that the SHA “should get over it” and understand that in the months they’ve been in Outlook, the community has lost out on recreational options in order for the testing site to be in operation.  Mayor Weiterman accepted Grotheim’s viewpoint but took an opposite stance, noting that she appreciated the Outlook Curling Club’s pre-emptive decision to not have a season and that she doesn’t want Outlook to be seen as a town that’s “sticking it” to the SHA over money.

Councillor Stephenson questioned why costs were never truly discussed and agreed upon between the Town and the SHA in order to curtail any such misunderstanding or miscommunication, but Grotheim noted that certain numbers had been discussed and decided under the previous council.  Councillor Bruce agreed that $44,000 is a lot of money but also felt that “we can’t give things away for free.”

Council wondered if perhaps the Town could charge the SHA solely for its rink expenses and bills instead, as well as possibly a financial donation of sorts to the Outlook Curling Club for having missed out on a season.  The SHA’s brief time in the Civic Centre will also have to be considered.  The matter will be sent to committee to discuss further and brought back to a future council meeting.

New Business

The Town received a purchase proposal from a firm called TUXPAN Holdings related to the Outlook Trailer Court.  It was said to be “a letter to begin a conversation”, though the intentions were apparently unclear.  A motion was made and carried to accept the letter as correspondence.

A motion was made and carried to double the amount spent on Christmas gifts to town staff due to the special circumstances of 2020.

A motion was made and carried to grant a request from LCBI High School to flood its outdoor rink, which is said to be open to the public.

Council acknowledged and accepted the Town’s Social Media Policy.

A motion was made and carried to accept a letter from the Outlook branch of the Royal Canadian Legion and put the Town’s support behind the future Veterans Memorial Park in town.

© The Outlook