New councillor for Division 4 in RM of Buckland

The RM of Buckland and RM of Prince Albert Office./Daily Herald File Photo

There was a new face representing Division 4 at the first regular meeting following the Nov. 9 election as Melinda Lavoie was elected as a new councillor in the Rural Municipality (RM) of Buckland.

Lavoie, who officially took her seat at the meeting on Nov. 16 defeated Rene Piche; Lavoie received 47 votes and Piche received 17 votes.

She explained that her victory was because of her campaigning
“I think it is because I went around door to door and met the people, handed out my little brochures and I’m known in the community,” Lavoie said.

Fyrk was happy to have Lavoie come aboard as a councillor.

“(We have) one new council member and we are glad to have her on board. Now we have a full quorum. We have a different insight now. It is nice to have a woman on,” he said.

After her first meeting concluded, Lavoie was comfortable with the dynamics of the council.

“I think it will be fine. I was involved with 4H for years so I learned to do by doing. So if I follow some of the guys around and just take their advice,” she said. Division 4 was vacant after the resignation of her husband Don Lavoie.

Fyrk, Division 1 councillor Arthur Brandolino, Division 3 councillor Orest Romanchuk and Division 5 councillor Bob From were all elected by acclamation.

 “That’s just it people will complain about councils and all of that but nobody ever wants to step up to take over. They want to complain they will complain,” Fyrk said of so many acclamations this election.

Various delegations part of the agenda at meeting

The RM had a delegation of representatives from MNP on audit services. The RM of Buckland appointed a new auditor for municipal audits for at least the next three years. At their regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 14 the RM decided to appoint MNP as auditor.

Representatives Kerry Vezeau and Jordan Walberg presented to the meeting.

“We decided we are going to go back to MNP but we also wanted them to do a presentation,” Fyrk said.

 Vezeau Described the audit approach, scope and timeline. There were a number of  questions around situation they are involved in which caused problems in the past which are still before the courts.

Councillors also asked questions around means testing and audit approach.

The auditors have already been working with administration in the RM ahead of the presentation. They also outlined impacts of COVID-19 on audits and according to Vezeau they have been through one audit season and learned lessons that can adapt if restrictions are in place. There are safeguards in place to authenticate documents.

The audit will be presented at the April 12, 2021 meeting. The independent auditor’s report will be released at that time based on approval by council.

There was also a Water Security Agency presentation on release around Anglin Lake causing issues for ratepayers in Brandolino’s division. Brandolino was not present at the meeting so other councillors asked questions in his absence.

“There was concerns over the Anglin Lake dam and how many boards they are going to leave out over the winter. You saw how they have got the dam set up there. So he said that they monitor it every day,” Fyrk said.

As water comes downstream it floods out some farmland in the RM. The representative explained that there should be more dry years to deal with the issues.

Councillors  receive feedback on bridge closure

Beginning Monday, Nov. 2 the Buckland Bridge was closed to all traffic. Various councillors received negative feedback on how the closure was handled.

“There was a lot of upset people but after a while it turns out it is just the same few people. It is what it is. We could have postponed it a few days but it still would have been closed,” Fyrk said.

“I said let’s get it out to the news because that’s out there right now. I guess we could have done it a little bit different everybody’s got an opinion,” he added.

The bridge was scheduled for replacement in the next few years.

“Now, due to the North Saskatchewan River’s ice damming this spring the water backed up over the rails, causing sizeable ice chunks to collide into the bridge, compromising the structure further,” administrator Cori Sarginson said in a release.

Due to the questionable condition of the bridge and in the interest of public safety RM council made the decision to close the bridge to traffic until the road lift an bridge replacement is complete.

According to Sarginson during the council’s August meeting, they have received their funding from the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program (MEEP) which was for $485,083 and was approved by the provincial government in July. They are awaiting approval so they can tender out bridge design which would be completed by the engineering firm. Once approval is received they can begin the replacement process.

The estimated cost is $1.5 million but there will be some approval and some upgrades to roads. There is a possibility that the bridge might have to be built up, but that is part of the discussion with the engineering firm.

During their August meeting council also placed traffic restrictions on the bridge to prevent bridge failure.

The goal is to have the bridge project completed and open at the conclusion of the next construction season.

Other issues include completion of a berm and a new speedbump

Flooding of the Shell River this year  exposed a problem with a berm in Shell River Heights. The council received an update at their meeting and the project has now been completed.

“If it floods over that berm now I don’t know what we are going to do,” Fyrk said.

The RM rebuilt the berm to stop the flooding for a total cost of $11,590.

Sarginson explained if a flooding situation similar to the one in the spring occurs, the berm won’t help much, but added it will be an asset for normal spring flooding.

As well a resolution was passed to install a speed bump on Red Wing Road near the Mark’s 9 turnoff. Reeve Don Fyrk brought the motion before the council. According to Fyrk, speed signs have not been effective because people have not been abiding by them.

The cost of the speed bump is not known but they are looking into it. Construction has been planned for the spring.