The CAO will make ‘B’ lists to separate items for payment where there are conflicts of interest and councillors have to excuse themselves from discussing and voting on the payment.
This leaves the remaining items for payment in an ‘A’ list, which allows all of Council to be present. The CAO said the B list contained payments to Darlene Dixon and Cobra Electric. After Schmidt brought this to Council’s attention, Gary Dixon and Don Whitrow declared a conflict for the ‘B’ list.
Not on the agenda, Reeve Schmidt said he wanted to discuss business arising from the minutes. The CAO said she had forgotten to put it on the agenda. The agenda has since been updated, showing ‘speed reduction’ as being on the agenda.
Reeve Schmidt proposed reducing the speed on a 3 km stretch of road from highway 322 towards Alta Vista from 80 km/hr to 60 kms/hr. He said the reduction would be as a result of increased traffic due to road construction. He said he was also considering whether Council should further reduce the speed permanently along the lake, 2 miles out from the lake.
Schmidt said that people are getting out more to better their health, and because they don’t have walking paths Council should pick a distance from the lake and reduce the speed along all the roads along the lake. He said he has had many people talk to him on this, and he felt it was not just a safety concern, but it would protect the roads by saving wear and tear on the roads using less gravel.
Schmidt transitioned quickly from considering the speed reduction to making a motion that the RM reduce the speed to 60 km/hr from a distance of 2 miles from the lake, along the lakefront near the Hamlets. He said they would reduce the speed to Alta Vista road, then the road that goes into Sundale and Sunset Cove, and Pelican Point, Sorensons, Heritage Valley, Clearview, Shoreline, Mohrs Beach, Macpheat Park, Belmont, Gibbs, Spring Bay, Green Acres, Colesdale North and South, Sunset Resort past Island View, the road going into Maple Grove near the Bible Camp to Collingwood. Schmidt said it would extend around the corner around there because many people also walk there.
Councillor Dixon was apprehensive about the idea. He said that while he understood that people walk on the roads, the roads are meant for driving on and not walking. He noted there are many roads in the Hamlets where people can walk. He said the speed is reduced through Uhl’s Bay, but that’s because the road goes through the Hamlet. Dixon said he has no problems with speed reductions in the Hamlets.
Dixon said he was opposed to reducing the speed on roads half a mile and a mile away from the Hamlets. Schmidt responded that it is dangerous for people to ride their bikes, quads and dirt bikes on 80 km roads, and the RM can’t get control of it. Schmidt said that people drive over the 80 km limit, destroying the roads and throwing the gravel off the road, which creates dust that wafts towards the lake. He said if the Council decided, it would allow people to exercise and reduce the maintenance on the roads.
Councillor Dixon pushed back at Schmidt’s reasoning for reducing speed, noting that agricultural producers and people who live in country residential also walk on roads and would Council then move to slow those roads down as well. Dixon said he wanted to see a map before voting on it, and Councillor Bill McKenzie said he just wanted some dust control. However, when Schmidt called the vote, all of the Council voted with Schmidt. The no votes were from Dixon and McKenzie.
Council also passed a motion that the Administration would investigate the purchase of an electric speed radar sign.
Corporal Smith with the Southey RCMP attended the meeting as part of the RCMP’s yearly check-in with municipalities. The check-in provides councils with an opportunity to let the RCMP know if there is anything they would like them to focus on in the year ahead.
Reeve Schmidt said he would like them to enforce the new traffic speed bylaw. Councillor Bill McKenzie confirmed that conservation officers could write tickets for traffic violations. McKenzie also confirmed that the city police also provide traffic enforcement.
Corporal Smith said they already do a fair amount of traffic enforcement, including regular stop checks and roving enforcement in the cottage communities. Schmidt asked if the RM can request enforcement in areas where they are reducing the speed. Corporal Smith said that if the signs are posted, they will enforce it.
Councillor Marilyn Labatte, who chairs the ag committee, provided a report to the Council at the meeting on April 22nd. She noted that civic addressing and the compilation of available water sources in the RM to give to the Strasbourg Fire Department were discussed. She said that the committee introduced the speed signage for vehicles over 10 tonnes and that the signs would be going up as soon as they arrived.
Camille Box provided Council with an update on bylaw enforcement. She has reviewed the bylaws the RM would like to enforce and have given copies to the bylaw enforcement officer (BEO). He has the RM’s warnings and notice of violation books. She also reported they have a draft of the traffic bylaw to go to the Admin committee for Council’s review. Bylaw enforcement will start providing 20 hours a week of enforcement in May.
The BEO is tracking down trailers the RM has received reports on, and Box has sent out 11 trailer permits.
There were no questions from the gallery during the open forum before the Council moved into the councillor and Reeve Forum. The meeting’s public portion lasted just over two hours before Council moved into a closed session to discuss long-term strategic planning. There were no resolutions as a result of the closed session.
Jennifer Argue, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Last Mountain Times