After Ponoka County decided to extend their road gravelling program, it is now starting to wind down the program somewhat.
Council heard at their Sept. 10 meeting that, to date, around 124,000 tonnes of gravel — 85,000 of that through contractors — has been hauled while there is still money left in the program’s budget.
CAO Charlie Cutforth explained that number is higher than in previous years and given there is still room in the budget, there isn’t a need to continue with the bulk of the program.
“The recommendation now is to cut the contractors loose and continue to haul with our county trucks for the rest of the fall,” Cutforth said.
“It’s been a difficult year with the weather. We gravel then it turns to slop, we grade it turns to slop and then we get people saying to keep off the roads while others ask where is the gravel. We just can’t seem to win.”
However, he did tell council that sometimes the quality of the gravel is in question, but that the county is doing the best with what they have to work with.
Operations at the tire processing and recycling facility north of Ponoka are running strong, according to a report given to council.
Cutforth stated that National Tire is running three eight-hour shifts each day and providing him with weekly updates on their progress.
“Recently, there have been some complaints about the noise, specifically from the blower and vacuum unit that is in the process of being addressed,” he said.
“The neighbours have been very supportive of the venture, but the piercing noise made has become an issue as the operation runs overnight.”
Cutforth explained the company was working on installing a muffler on the exhaust portion and if that doesn’t work, the plan is to box in the unit and insulate it to help lessen or eliminate the noise.
As far as an update on how the company is faring, Cutforth explained getting paid from the big energy companies for processing the giant mining tires is proving a challenge, since those companies work on a three to four month schedule for payments.
That is part of the reason behind the county purchasing $170,000 worth of shred at the end of July. Although, that money will be paid back as part of the agreement with the company and the contract it has with the Alberta Recycling Management Authority.
Fire hall repair
One member of council was shocked to see bills come in the past few months for more work done at the county’s East District Fire Hall.
Coun. Mark Matejka was surprised to see bills totalling nearly $45,000 over July and August to redo the concrete floor in the building and questioned administration why the work wasn’t done right the first time. He also wondered aloud if the floor had worn out that quickly.
Cutforth stated the funds, which were in the 2019 budget, paid for the resloping of the entire floor, both in the addition that was constructed last year and the original building that was converted to a fire hall in 2016.
“It was to make it uniform throughout as the two weren’t at the same level,” he said, adding that more information will be forthcoming when the fire department report is presented later this year.