Sunday, July 24, 2016

Town and MD to fund Bobby Burns Fish Pond washroom upgrades

Toni Lucas - During the regular meeting of Council for the Town of Pincher Creek on Tuesday, July 19 council met with a delegation consisting of Dick Burnham and Fred White from the Pincher Creek Royal Canadian Legion #43.  regarding the funding of Bobby Burns Fish Pond washroom upgrades. The issue of the upgrades was brought to the attention of the Town council by a letter from the Municipal District of Pincher Creek and discussed at Town council's meeting of Monday, June 13.

The land for the Bobby Burns Fish Pond was donated by the Burns family and is located adjacent to Juan Terran Park at the east end of town. Residents of the MD and the Town use it for the intended use of a safe and accessible place for seniors and people with handicaps to fish, as well as to picnic, hold gatherings and for photography. It is maintained by Royal Canadian Legion #43 members. In the letter it stated the Legion had received a quote for the upgrades in the amount of $22,500.00. The MD informed the Town the MD Council had agreed to fund one-half of the project cost, waive the development permit fee, and supply gravel at no cost for the project.

There were upgrades to the deck and cookhouse approximately two years ago. White said, "The town chipped in and paid half on that. It was $3,5000 the town put in." White said that the issues with the current outhouses were identified close to two years ago. He explained the system now does not have an enclosed septic tank, but a gravel bed. He is concerned from an environmental standpoint that the effluent from the outhouses will contaminate the water supply of the fish pond. He said the Legion did discuss the project with Leo Reedyk from the MD at that point in time in regards to working with the town and tying in to the Town sewer and water services. "Because of the distance and everything else, instead of a $20,000 project, we are looking at a couple of hundred thousand dollars," he said part of the increase in the cost would be the infrastructure and they would have to have environmental studies done if they went that route.

The new outhouses are to be fully handicapped accessible, have skylights, and be a contained unit which can be pumped out regularly. White said they had three bid estimates each came to just over $20,000 each including finishing, venting, and cement work. "At the end of the day, people with their scooters or wheelchairs can get into the washroom and utilize it without any problems."

White explained they approached the MD as it is MD land. The MD agreed to pay one half of the project, and then the MD would ask the Town to contribute. The Legion was not expecting to have the town contribute the other half in total. "We are not asking the town for the full $11,000 difference, but whatever you, the council feels would be willing to contribute to the project would be more than greatly appreciated." When asked how much the Legion had already gathered toward this cause, Burnham said approximately $1,000.

Mayor Don Anderberg said, "When the request came from the MD, my statement was we always try to support the community, so we will talk about it. My other statement was it is really nice when it's reciprocal. We know how valuable this park is." He said the Town pays 100% of costs for various parks in the Town of Pincher Creek, and the MD is responsible for the Bobby Burns Park. "I think the project you are talking about is excellent. You have to have the facilities."

The mayor added, "The thing that kind of upsets me about this, I'm going to say this, you have been working on this, you stated two years. We got the letter and we are being asked for money, which is fine, we will make the decision whether we can afford that out of our budget or not. I guess we would like to be in the loop. So if you are going to do something else, let us know, give us a heads up."

Later during discussion Anderberg said on of the issues he had with the request when it came through from the MD was there was no background information to base the decision upon.

Council voted unanimously to support the Bobby Burns Washroom Project to the sum of $11,000.

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