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BEAVERLODGE, ALTA – Council passed Beaverlodge chief administration officer (CAO) Jeff Johnston’s request for $140,000 from the capital reserves to continue current road work.

“We were looking at doing some of this work over two years, and because of favourable pricing, and the availability of the contractor, it just made sense for us to try to get more work done in 2021,” Johnston told Town & Country News.

With the current paving underway, the town is looking at a total cost of $225,000 this year, which was initially planned over a two-year time frame, Johnston told council.

The additional $140,000 would be spent next year anyway, but there is the time and ability to do it now, said Johnston.

He hopes to have the work done in the next two to three weeks, and then road lines and crosswalks can be painted.

“We would ideally be spending this money, this kind of money, every year to sort of keep up,” he said.

As for what sections were picked for repair, Johnston said work would be carried out in an orderly fashion.

“Anybody has questions they can point to me,” said Johnston. “There will be concerns of why here and not there” but he is working within the allotment that has been funded.

Johnston doesn’t believe that the additional funding will affect the budget next year as he begins work on the town’s five-year capital plan.

CAO revise and consolidate bylaws: Council passed a new bylaw to establish the CAO as the designated officer to revise and consolidate bylaws.

The recommendation to make the CAO the designated officer comes from the municipal accountability program (MAP), said Nicole Young, Beaverlodge executive assistant.

Fire chief : Council unanimously passed a bylaw to make the fire chief an employee of the town and report directly to CAO.

Previously the fire chief reported to the council said Johnston, and the recommendation for the change comes from the MAP.

Functionally this is how the town has operated in the past, but this was needed to be put into a by-law in accordance to the MAP, said Johnston.

The fire chief will still have complete control of the fire department and resume duties as they have in the past.

Beaverlodge walkability: Coun. Gena Jones is asking council to support establishing walking trails within the town. Jones said that there more than 200 people in the Beaverlodge Walk and Run club who are in support of having more trails.

After some deliberation, the council made a motion in principle to look into Beaverlodge walkability, as they believe that walking trails may come with certain expectations.

Firehall committee: With a $2 million firehall build slated, council created a committee that will work through all aspects of the building project to make recommendations to the council.

The committee will consist of one representative from the Beaverlodge Firefighters Association, the fire chief, the CAO, three town councillor and a county representative.

Counc. Hugh Graw, Cal Mosher and Terry Dueck have been named to the new committee.

The total cost for the firehall will be $2 million: in addition to the $630,000 debenture, $120,000 will come from capital reserves, $1 million from the County of Grande Prairie and $250,000 from the Beaverlodge Firefighters Association.

Resident letter: Pat Fraser sent council a letter of concern over her basement flooding.

In her letter, she writes, “something somewhere in this town’s water system, and I am convinced it is the water system, was turned off in March for a two-week period.”

Her concerns arose from the fact that her sump pit was usually full of water dried up for a two-week period in March.

Johnston said that when he received the letter, he and the public works manager went to Fraser’s home, where they reviewed her water bills and found no irregularities.

Fraser said that the town’s answer is always that flooding is due to the high water table within the town.

“There is nothing from a town perspective that I can identify as being an issue,” said Johnston.

“This is that notion of a high water table, and there’s areas in this town that have a high water table.”

Standardization for utility hook-ups: Johnston brought forward a motion to create a standardization for service connections for new residential and commercial builds within the town.

He said the town would work with current developers in town who are currently in construction phases and any new builds will be given the requirements.

This will help ensure that the proper infrastructure is in place, said Johnston.

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