M.D. of Lesser Slave River Council notebook

Feb. 23, 2022 meeting

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

The return of Jassman

Retired for about three weeks, Russell Jassman is back working for the M.D. Up for re-appointment as the M.D.’s agricultural fieldman, Jassman had to endure some good-natured wisecracks from councillors.

“It’s good to be back!” he said. “It was a short retirement.” As Jassman explained in his presentation, it’s important to have an ag fieldman duly appointed, so as to make sure the M.D.’s obligations under various pieces of legislation are carried out. These are the Agricultural Service Board Act, the Weed Control Act, the Agricultural Pests Act and the Animal Health Act.

Jassman has been hired back as director of rural services for a three-month period, ending on May 15. The position became vacant due to Barry Kolenosky being appointed interim CAO, that position having recently become vacant.

Spencer appointed to Chamber

Following a formal request from the Slave Lake & District Chamber of Commerce, council appointed councillor Lana Spencer to represent council on the Chamber board, as a voting member.

That was one of three requests made of the M.D. – first in person, by Chamber president Josh Friesen, and later by way of a letter. The other two were a $5,000 contribution to the Chamber in 2022 and for council to “consider the (Chamber) as a partner for any future projects that may impact the economy or business community of the Lesser Slave River Region.”

North Shore Trail report

Travis DeAlexandra, president of the Woods & Water Recreational Trails Association, updated council on what the group has accomplished in upgrading a section of the Trans Canada Trail in the past few years.

Phase I of the roughly 40km project has been mulched, surveyed and has four new bridges, DeAlexandra said, showing pictures of spots on the trail, some with newly-installed culverts donated by the M.D. Permission to proceed on Phase II is pending.

Councillors had a few questions, including one about a staging area at (or near) Marten Beach. It’s on hold, DeAlexandra said, thanks mainly to land claim issues in the area.

Based on their comments, councillors seemed to like the idea of the trail. Reeve Murray Kerik offered council’s help in pushing for a staging area location. Councillor Brad Pearson said it might be a good thing for the regional tri-council to discuss.

Gravel haul to be tendered

There are different ways of organizing the annual M.D. gravel haul. At least two have been tried in recent years. One is to hire one contractor to handle hauls from all four M.D. pits. Another is to hire a different contractor for each pit. The third is to hire individual operators and manage the project in-house.

Presenting the report, transportation coordinator Shari Spencer said the third method, which was tried a couple of years ago, cost the M.D. “at least 50 per cent more.”

Tendering the hauls separately makes it easier for smaller companies to bid, Spencer said, but it makes for a lot more administrative work for the M.D.

The recommended course was to tender the entire job. One strong argument in favour of that route was how well it went last summer. “The project was completed in record time (weather helped), with little incident or delay,” said Spencer in her written report.

Go ahead with the tender as recommended, said councillor Spencer, in the form of a motion – approved by all.

Shoulder pulling on 664

Spencer’s next item was to recommend going out to tender on a shoulder-pull job this summer for about 5.6 kilometres of township Road 664. This is the road leading from the M.D. gravel pit, and it sees a fair amount of heavy hauling, with damage to the road structure accumulating. The shoulder pull, according to Spencer’s report, brings material that has migrated toward or into the ditches back onto the road. The crown is re-established, packed and then re-graveled. It costs an estimated $50,000 per mile.

Councillor Pearson said he supported the proposal, but asked about Bayer Road. The M.D. has talked about upgrading it for years now, he said.

Drainage work the M.D. did there a year or two ago helped, Spencer said.

Councillor Norm Seatter agreed.

“It made a huge difference,” he said.

How about improvements at Eating Creek, was councillor Spencer’s question. Engineers are drafting a scope of work on improvements there, Spencer said.

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