Cypress County briefs
It was a fairly light legislative agenda at the Cypress County council last Tuesday, but there were definitely some points of interest coming out of the meeting.
Peace Officer hours changed up
Cypress County council unanimously voted to change up Peace Officer Anna Mast’s hours from straight days Monday-Friday. She will now work at least one evening a week, (the exact day and hamlet will be at her discretion), and at least one Saturday a month.
Council identified a gap in current law enforcement services during its recent County Mountie contract discussions, where evenings and weekends were not being consistently covered by either the County’s bylaw enforcement officer or the County Mountie.
Council added new after-hours duties in its recently signed enforcement agreement with the Redcliff RCMP detachment, and has now done the same for its own Peace Officer.
Council members were hopeful local hamlets and other areas will start seeing a greater law enforcement presence covering off the previous service gaps.
Graburn Raw Water Pipeline Society water rights transfer hits provincial-sized snag
Council voted a few months ago to allow the Graburn Raw Water Pipeline Society to draw 50 acre feet from the under-utilized Walsh Water Raw Water Line. The County has 295 acre feet of water rights to draw for the pipeline, but the problem is the area near the useful distribution range is sparsely populated, and the water rights, by law, cannot be transferred upstream despite being desperately needed elsewhere municipality. So transferring some of those rights to the Graburn Raw Water Pipeline Society was an easy decision for councillors to make.
However, staff reported to council last week the provincial government said if the County was only planning to transfer 50 acre feet, and had no viable use for the remaining 245 acre feet, the license would be taken away and given over to Alberta Environment and Parks.
Staff suggested, rather than risking the loss of the license, council should consider either turning over complete management of the Walsh Raw Water Pipeline to the Graburn Raw Water Pipeline Society through a signed agreement or transfer over the entire bulk of the license to the Society instead of just 50 acre feet.
However, Coun. Garry Lentz came up with an alternative suggestion. He suggested staff go back to the province, retain the 50 acre feet for the Graburn Raw Water Pipeline Society, and try to arrange a water license swap with the province further upstream for the remaining 245 acre feet, where the County could put the license to greater use. Council agreed with Lentz and voted unanimously to proceed with that course of action.
No doubt there will be more to come on this story in the month ahead should the swapping proposal fail.
Big bill coming for renovations to Irvine Sports Complex?
Cypress County Director of Corporate Services John Belanger has been touring all county recreational facilities for the past couple of months to come up with a long-term funding plan to help pay for much needed renovations and other major infrastructure needs.
His report isn’t final yet, and there are more numbers still coming in, but he told councillors at last Tuesday’s meeting the Irvine Sports Complex was likely in need of major infrastructure upgrades that could total up to $3 million before it’s all said and done.
Belanger said he was pursuing various grants to help offset some of those costs. And he would have a final tally once his long-term funding plan for all the County’s facilities was complete and ready for council’s consideration.