Ask TPR Vol. 3

July 3, 2018

This is the third post in an ongoing series called ‘Ask TPR’ where frequently asked questions from residents are answered publicly. If you have a question about Town operations please use the form at the bottom of the page.

What is the status of the Petition?

We confirm our understanding that a petition concerning Town Council’s processes and operation has been filed with Alberta Municipal Affairs. To date, neither the petitioners nor Municipal Affairs have provided the Town of Peace River with a copy of the petition statement.

The Town of Peace River is bound by and will continue to respect the petition process as outlined in the Municipal Government Act.

We understand that Municipal Affairs will now seek to validate the petition and the signatures appearing on it. Once that process is complete, representatives from Alberta Municipal Affairs will, ultimately prepare a report for the Minister of Municipal Affairs on the subject matter of the petition.  Assuming the petition is validated, the costs of the entire process will be charged back to the Town.

For more information on the inspection process please visit the Municipal Affairs website.

Is the Town being Sued for $5 Million?

The Town has been served with a Statement of Claim issued by Can-West Corporate Air Charters and its affiliate, Nor-Alta Aviation Leasing. The Claim is issued against both the Town and Northern Air Charter and seeks $5,000,000 or more in damages.

As well, Highland Helicopters filed a lawsuit on June 13, 2018 against Can-West Corporate Air Charters and its affiliate, Nor-Alta Aviation Leasing, claiming $1.8 million dollars in unpaid funds.  In their defence to this claim, Can-West has named the Town as a third party.

The Town is preparing a Statement of Defence to the first suit that will refute the allegations of the Plaintiffs in their entirety. Regarding the third party claim, the Town denies any liability, and Council has instructed the Town’s lawyers to prepare an appropriate response to Can-West’s allegations, all of which are, in the Town’s view, without merit.

All that said, we wish to confirm that Town Council remains open and willing to discuss and hopefully resolve the concerns of the parties involved without resorting to further Court proceedings.

Could we lose our air ambulance base?

We have been told repeatedly by both Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the Minister of Health that they plan on keeping a base in Peace River.

In the June 27, 2018 issue of the Peace River Record-Gazette, AHS EMS chief paramedic, Darren Sandbeck is quoted as saying:

“Alberta Health Services remains committed to maintaining air ambulance operations out of Peace River. The current split location model, with a 24-hour emergency plane in Peace River and scheduled air ambulance in Grande Prairie, is intended to be temporary while CanWest works with the Town to secure permanent hangar space at the Peace River regional airport. This work is ongoing and AHS is monitoring the situation closely. Given that the matter is before the courts, AHS is not in a position to speak further on the specific aspects of the various legal actions.”

Does the Town have a pothole patching machine?

We have a spray patch machine, which is only suited to crack sealing of road cracks. It is not suited for patching of larger potholes. To address the larger potholes we use either cold mix asphalt (a.k.a. Throw and Go) or hot mix asphalt.

We have reviewed possible pothole patching machines that are in use by other municipalities to see if they would be a good fit for Peace River.  Currently, it is still more economical to repair potholes using traditional pothole patching crews.

Why does pothole patching begin in late-Spring?

Both asphalt applications are applied during dry conditions at temperatures above freezing to prevent failure. Cold mix can be used in cooler and wet conditions but is typically only used to temporarily repair a pothole. Patching completed at warmer temperatures have improved rates of success in binding to the original surface.

We also monitor various transportation lab testing results on asphalt mixes to ensure we use the best product we can to ensure we are maximizing our maintenance dollars.  This also includes cold mix types that may be applied in cooler wetter conditions.

Why is the Town paying $30,000 for a new surface at the Spray Park?

This upgrade has been a goal for a while. The current concrete padding presents a number of health and safety related issues that would be solved by installing a rubberized surface.

Concrete dries unevenly, this can cause puddles to form that develop a slippery surface. Additionally, concrete is not an ideal surface a for a child to have a slip and fall. Installation of a rubberized surface will address those concerns.

The Town was able to obtain a grant of $15,000 to assist with the overall cost.  This grant is through the Alberta Recycling Management Authority.  Initially installation was due to take place in late June, however, damp weather prevented that from happening. The installation is now scheduled for mid-August.

How is the Recreation Centre construction progressing?

Construction is going great and the building remains on schedule for a fall 2019 grand opening.

On-site crews were busy working on the installation of deep services such as water and sewer, much of the interior masonry work was completed including 80% of spectator seating, the elevator lift-shaft, and changeroom walls. A lot of concrete was poured as well, forming the floor base in the centre of the building and the fieldhouse.

Did the Town hire a grant person? What do they do?

In March 2018, Council approved a two-year contract for a Grants and Special Projects Coordinator, which commenced at the end of March.

The grants part of the job role is broken down into three categories: evaluation, application and reporting.

To date, the Grants and Special Projects Coordinator has reviewed 75 different funding opportunities, triaging them to locate the ones that most suit our needs. Currently five grants applications are in progress:

  1. Healthy Communities Grant (construct trails and improve the accessibility of Saddleback Park) – $50,000
  2. Alberta Community Resilience Program (Inspection, repair and improvement of the dike) – $4.99 million
  3. Alberta Water/Wastewater Management Partnership (replace Reservoir 365) – $6 million
  4. Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (Peace Regional Recreation Centre) $8 million
  5. Legacy Fund (Centennial project – accessibility and safety renovations to Athabasca Hall) – Engineering Costs

Along with applying for grants funds, grant reporting is incredibly important. Grant providers, especially other levels of government, have very strict reporting requirements. Proper reporting improves our odds when applying for future grants.

The Grants and Special Projects Coordinator has also finalized reporting on two major projects: 1) The Shaftesbury Water Treatment Plant upgrade, which ran from 2005 to 2015; 2) Final reporting for a grant related to a reservoir upgrade for a project that ran from 2007 to 2016.

With respect to the Special Projects part of the job role, legislative research and bylaw drafting have been undertaken. Two recent examples are: 1) Bylaw 2015 the Council Code of Conduct Bylaw; and 2) Bylaw 2030 the Council Procedural Bylaw. Both of which were passed on June 25, 2018. Additionally, this role administers the documents for some of the Town’s legal files.

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