A lot of construction work is getting started this summer at Beaver Mines as the hamlet’s water/wastewater project ramps up.
Beaver Mines Community Association is hoping to pair some other long-anticipated work with the pipeline laying: a paved walking trail for residents.
The association has asked the MD to help cover the cost of preliminary plans for the trail, which sits at $21,000 and includes surveying, design drawings, tender specifications and Alberta Transport applications.
Once plans are set, the community association has indicated it will fundraise and make a formal presentation to the MD to include the pathway as part of the 2023 capital projects. An official plan will also increase the likelihood of receiving grant money to help with construction costs.
MD council considered the $21,000 ask during its May 10 council meeting.
Coun. Dave Cox said the project would involve more planning than simply marking out a path to build on, but that the overall concept was sound.
“They’ve got some concerns about lighting, they’ve got some concerns about proximity to people’s backyards and cutting their trees and other things that are kind of an overall wish list,” he said. “But the concept I think is sound in that we’re looking at trying to develop pathways before we clean the pipeline site instead of going back in there and digging it up a second time around.”
Other council members, however, weren’t so sure, especially since a paved pathway would result in a capital project exceeding $100,000.
“The potential of the money that is going to be spent on this pathway because they want it paved — it seems excessive, and I will not support it,” said Coun. Tony Bruder.
Part of the problem, he added, was that it would be inappropriate to use tax dollars from the entire municipality for the hamlet’s pathway, especially considering many property owners in Beaver Mines don’t live there full time.
“The money we dump into this community for 60 per cent of the people that don’t even live there permanently, it just blows my mind,” Bruder continued.
“We walk out down the cow paths every day at our place and I don’t expect the MD to build me one. At some time the tap has to get shut off to the citizens of Beaver Mines that want everything that they can have in Calgary.”
Although no official council resolution had committed the MD to provide funds for a pathway, CAO Troy MacCulloch said previous verbal discussions between the MD and the community association had created expectations the pathway would eventually get placed.
“There is a perception within this community that this has been promised by previous councils, even before the previous council because this was brought up in 2012, 2014,” MacCulloch said.
“Just be prepared that if you decide to go a different direction, expect some phone calls.”
While hesitant to foot the bill for the majority of the walkway, council members did say they would be willing to cover costs for the preliminary plan if the community association agreed to pay for the construction independently.
As a result, council voted to table a decision on the $21,000 request until the next meeting, to allow time to discuss the matter with the community association.
The next council meeting is Tuesday, May 24, 6 p.m. at council chambers.
Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze