Thursday, January 26, 2012

Town Council and Committee of the Whole notes, January 5 and 23, 2012

Chris Davis, Pincher Creek Voice

On January 5, 2012, the Town of Pincher Creek held a Committee of the Whole (COTW) meeting.  On January 23 a regular Town Council meeting was held.

Oldman Rose Society
Jan Firth and Ianthe Goodfellow gave Town Council a status report on the "State of the Rose Society and it's worth (Firth)."  Goodfellow is the Society President.  She showed council pictures of the Festival of Roses held last summer (click here for the Voice story about that event) .  Goodfellow was very pleased to report that the Society has received a Community Initiative Program grant from the Government of Alberta  that will enable them to start phase three the rose garden located east of the Lebel Mansion. "This is our gift to the community," she said.  "We definitely appreciate everything you've done," said Mayor Ernie Olsen.  Firth and Goodfellow, with the approval of Council, enlisted the assistance of the Town's Director of Operations Al Roth to ensure the new sidewalks meet Town standards and potential issues are identified.

Firth explained that the Society would finish off four beds, making the garden circle complete, and would also create new sidewalks to improve universal access to the garden, including a connection to the south Lebel parking lot, which would also alleviate some of the pressures on the north (front) parking lot.  According to Firth the work will commence once spring arrives.

Pincher Planters
The COTW passed a recommendation to support various proposed Pincher Planters initiatives.  These include:
A Main Street Flower Pot and Bench program, with participation by Main Street Businesses, with the condition that these improvements not pose a safety hazard or obstacle to pedestrian traffic,  and subject to a review of the Town's liability.
The Preserve a Tree Program, to be developed and managed by the Communities in Bloom Committee.
The reinstatement of the Pincher Mural Program.

The COTW recommended that Council decline to support the placement of recycling containers in publicly owned locations around town, and that Council refer a request for doggy stations and dispensers to the 2013/2014 budget deliberations.
Town Council declined to support the creation of No Idling Zones in Pincher Creek.

Town Council passed a motion approving the Flower Pot and Bench program, the Preserve a Tree program, and the reinstatement of the Pincher Mural program.

Councillor Wayne Oliver expressed the hope that Council would at some point discuss the idea of putting a recycling bin in front of the Post Office to deal with flyers and other material left behind by Post Office customers.

Pincher Creek Humane Society (COTW)

Councillor Don Anderberg recommended that administration contact the neighbouring municipalities to determine if there is interest in a regional Humane Society, to be brought to the Regional Council Meeting scheduled for March of 2012.

Parking at the Post Office
Town Council discussed the handicap parking situation at the Post Office, as a result of citizen Anne Cisar's request at the January 12 Town Council meeting (click here).

"I've heard this loud and clear," said Councillor Roy Smyth, referring to Cisar's request.  "I feel ashamed that we haven't done something.  It's been talked about 1978.  My wife can't go to the Post Office."
According to the record, the administration for the Town has been dealing with disability access issues since as long ago as 1978.  An excerpt from the General Municipal Plan study that year reads "Parking in the Post Office are is hopelessly inadequate, also the ice on the sidewalk in that area was very dangerous this past winter, particularly at the lane entrance."  Subcommittees have been formed to address the issue at least four times since then.

Council discussed the issue in detail, clearly sympathetic to the problem handicapped people face at the Post Office.  Every possible solution seemed to come with a potential problem.  Councillor Don Anderberg pointed out that the curb in front of the Post Office was quite high, creating access issues at that location as well.

One of the proposals put forth by Stantec Consulting, a firm hired to advise Council on this issue in 2009, was to widen the roadway in front of the Post Office to provide angle parking there, and another as to close the roadway north of the Post office to provide additional parking there.  Stantec concluded these two solutions combined would double the parking on East Avenue, where the Post Office is located, from 10 to 20 spots.  Director of Operations Al Roth said there was valuable information in the Stantec report that Council should be aware of,  including engineering and traffic flow issues.

Stantec also recommended Council construct an island at the East Avenue /Main Street intersection so that traffic turning onto Main Street would be forced to turn right only, eliminating a significant bottleneck created by left-turning traffic.

Councillors Don Anderberg and Sahra Nodge also noted that some people park all day in spots designated for 15 minute parking only, compounding the parking issues at the Post Office location.  They also raised the issue of the power pole in front of the Post Office that would have to be moved or replaced if work was done on the sidewalk at that location.  A sidewalk cutout in front of the Post Office was also discussed as being problematic from an engineering point of view.

Council voted unanimously to direct Administration  to bring back recommendations towards possible solutions to the March Committee of the Whole meeting.

Bylaw Department 2011 Year End Report excerpts
CPO Gordon Pitt mentioned the ongoing noxious weed control initiatives in Pincher Creek, naming Wendy Ryan and other volunteers as participants in the endeavour.
The Traffic Bylaw was amended to assist the Department in controlling the use of slideouts on RV trailers.  A fine of $50 can now be levied when a slideout is left open while parked on a road in town, resulting in one such charge in 2011.  The Department reports a high level of compliance.

According to the Department, the new traffic roundabout has been working out well for the Town, with very few issues or complaints.

Vandalism at the Pool
On the night of December 24, 2011 vandals broke two large windows on the north side of the pool.  These were recently replaced.

Lebel Mansion retaining wall
The retaining wall at the front of the Lebel Mansion was removed last month  and the yard was re-sloped, due to damage caused by time and the force of the earth against it.  The historic wall and fence was surveyed and documented first, and the wrought iron fence materials and stone and brick materials have been saved until the wall and fence can be rebuilt as it was.  Gardening in that area will be designed around low-water plants in the future to decrease the pressure on that newly reconstructed wall and fence.

Early Childhood Mapping Project
Colette Sinnot and La Vonne Rideout gave Town Council a presentation regarding the Early Childhood Mapping Project.  This presentation was virtually identical to the one they gave at a recent MD Council meeting, which you can read about by clicking here.

MD and Town part ways on Regional Water Proposal
The MD of Pincher Creek  stated in a letter to Town Council that they were "No longer interested in pursuing a regional water system with the Town of Pincher Creek."  The Village of Cowley sent the Town a similar letter.

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