Outlook town council news & notes - May 27

The town council of Outlook met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday night, May 27.  Present was all of council; Donna Smith (teleconference), Kevin Grotheim, Kyle McLeod, Maureen Applin, Floyd Childerhose, David Simonson, as well as Mayor Ross Derdall and Chief Administrator Huguette Lutz.

The meeting was broadcast on Facebook Live with an average audience of 30-35 viewers.

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It was learned that the Town may be having a meeting, or possibly even a “series” of meetings related to council proposing some changes to the zoning bylaw.  The meeting(s) would more than likely take place at the Outlook Civic Centre, and they would accommodate the public and enable them to have their say on a number of topics and/or initiatives.  It was discussed how exactly such meetings would take place, with teleconferencing technology likely being a key component.  If that is to be the case, Mayor Derdall said that the technology “needs to work” in order for the people of the community to have their say.  Dates for the possible meeting(s) are being explored, but June 18-19 or June 25-26 were touched on in the room.  More precise information on the exact nature of these meetings was requested immediately following the broadcast of the council meeting, but this reporter had not heard from the Town before publication.

EDIT:  This reporter misheard the main purpose of these intended meeting(s) during the Facebook broadcast and mistook the purpose as being related to the Town’s Community Planning initiative.  The mistake is unfortunately contained in the June 4 print edition of The Outlook as we had not heard from the Town as to the exact nature before our publication date.  We regret the error.

Communications

The Town had received correspondence from the Outlook Regional Park, to which Councillor Grotheim called it a “positive letter”.  Councillor Smith noted that the park’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is set to take place on June 9 down in the park’s camp kitchen area, provided the weather cooperates.

Council had no problem with granting a request from Outlook High School related to graduation, with the dates of July 15-19 and the use of the Civic Centre being mentioned.  Again, more precise information was requested following the meeting, but this reporter had not heard from the Town before publication, although OHS Principal Walter Wood did share Monday afternoon that the school had been looking for an indoor location to hold the school’s graduation photos.

The local branch of the Wheatland Library was discussed as it relates to Phase 4 of the Reopen Saskatchewan Plan.  Council is unsure of how to proceed as it relates to reopening the library because the connecting school is closed.  It was said that the matter is really up to the Sun West School Division.

CAO Report

Discussion was had on reopening the Town of Outlook offices, which has been closed to the public since March 17 due to the COVID pandemic.  It was said that Plexi-glass protection would likely need to be installed, similar to what has been adopted at other businesses such as grocery stores.  It was said that the Town is shooting for a reopening date of June 15, though nothing was set in stone.

Assistant Admin Report

Discussion was had on Access Communications obtaining the live stream of the town council meetings, which carried the possibility of broadening the viewing audience that has been watching the last few meetings over Facebook Live.  Councillor Grotheim said it’s a good idea as the currently broadcasted meetings have allowed more people to be engaged with what’s being discussed by council, especially since no one can watch them from inside council chambers right now.  A motion was made and carried to allow Access Communications access to the council meetings, though not before Councillor Simonson requested a recorded vote.  Due to a slight audio issue with the meeting’s video feed, The Outlook reached out to the Town for the specific results of the recorded vote, but had not heard from the Town before publication.

Recreation Report

In regards to the swimming pool, it was said that if the province says it can open by July 15, then the Town is satisfied and will move ahead, but if it can’t open until a later date, then there may be no point in having a season at all because it would be far too short.  Councillor Grotheim questioned why it couldn’t be open after July 15, and it was said that pricing would have to be adjusted and the facility likely wouldn’t recoup much money.  Grotheim countered that you could utilize less staff, but the discussion seemed to fizzle out.  In the meantime, the Town is waiting until the province announces the Reopen Saskatchewan Plan’s Phase 4 implementation date.

New Business

As it relates to the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program (MEEP), it was said that the Town of Outlook will receive $327,557.  A suggestion as to where to direct the funds was renovations for the Civic Centre, of which the room seemed to agree.

“It’s getting to the point where it’s a safety issue, and this is ‘found money’; the Civic Centre is a disgrace,” said Councillor Applin.

Councillor Smith agreed with Applin and said it’s a good project to direct the funding.  Councillor McLeod said the bathrooms need to be addressed in the building as a priority.  It was said that using the money for the Civic Centre would be seen as “more visible” to the public, which council liked.  A motion was made and carried to direct the funds toward the renovations of the bathrooms, walls and ceiling of the Civic Centre.  In the meantime, exact quotes and work plans are set to be explored.

Depot Equipment Bids – This was also seen as ‘found money’.  The Town will accept what’s been offered for the depot equipment that they offered for sale.

Council then moved to in-camera discussions, and that agenda included items related to land, legal and personnel matters.

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