Thursday, May 12, 2016

Pincher Creek Town Council hears concerns about drainage and leveling at agricultural grounds

Toni Lucas

Council for the Town of Pincher Creek met with a delegation from the Pincher Creek and District  Agricultural Society during council's regular meeting on Monday, May 9.  Society President Janet Watmough and Vice President Hilary Matheson voiced number of concerns, including leveling, drainage, fencing issues, and safety for riders due to changes on the grounds due to construction, and insufficient restoration. Matheson did most of the presentation saying, "We are here to discuss several issues that have cropped up in the last month, I would say."

"On our lower parking lot, there is a ditch that has been built to let the water out, apparently. Unfortunately, it is such a ditch that it high-centered a trailer." She said the only way to avoid the ditch is to drive up against the hillside. Matheson said as the ditch is not continually sloped areas of it have been filling with water and not draining. "You can't have the ditch in the middle of your parking lot." She said the parking lot has huge puddles due to leveling issues. "I think I counted 14 holes in it today that had huge puddles, so it was never leveled. It was sort of leveled." She said the puddles were deep enough to go over her ankles.

"The road got made higher than the round pen. And as we all know water runs downhill. So today, the our round pen has again eight inches of water over top of it. It's not level either."

"When we made that round pen we dug down about a foot, and filled it with sand, and we put a 10 foot perimeter around it so people could go on the outside of the round pen and use it while people were using the inside of it. We don't have a lot of warm-up area." That perimeter is now lost due to the road construction. "Worse than that, when the first contractors came they filled it with a sort of sand." After more construction was performed, "They didn't dig it down, All they did was throw this sort of rock, gravel, dirt into it. For anybody who rides, you know you don't want to land on rock, gravel, and dirt. You really don't."

Matheson said the society spent a lot of time money and energy to create a sanded round pen with help from the Municipal District of Pincher Creek, who donated the sand.  "We honestly don't feel at this point it is our responsibility to put it back to the way it was."  She was concerned for more than appearances.   "At this point, it's a dangerous pen, and we are very conscious of liability." Another issue Matheson brought forward is black plastic used as a retaining device along the creek. "That has been there since last September. We are hoping it's not a permanent thing. It is A.) unsightly and B.) it will degrade."

Councillor Mark Barber asked about who is responsible for the chain link fence to the south of the soccer field on the grounds. Matheson said "It is sort of a shared fence, I'm thinking," and explained that in the early 1980s the area was just a field, and then it became a ball diamond, and now is a soccer field. She said there have been issues with fencing as well. Graders push snow into the fence, causing issues, and people go under, over and cut the fencing on the grounds.

Matheson said the facilities are used regularly from now through fall, with a lot of regular heavy usage beginning in two and a half weeks.

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