Ponoka County council wants all residents of the Village of Wolf Creek to approve security gates before being installed.
A request to approve installation of two security gates at the village was triggered by an increased level of criminal activity occurring in the region.
The gate would be paid by the homeowner’s association through an additional fee and would be closed between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. In addition, fire department after hours access would be ensured, but it would be up to residents to open it for police or ambulance use.
Councillors had some concerns with the idea.
“How is this different than four or five landowners getting together and shutting down a road for their own use,” said Coun. Mark Matejka.
“As well, the times those gates are closed or open is out of our control and the big issue is police patrols, fire access and ambulances getting in.”
Matejka and Reeve Paul McLauchlin also felt there is a need for consent from all landowners in the development.
“I think personally it would be a pain, if I lived in a gated community. It’s also a false sense of security and shows people you have some cool stuff there,” McLauchlin said. “A gate is not going to stop crime and there is a need for everyone to sign off on it, knowing there may be a delay in any emergency response.”
As a result, administration was directed to ensure all of the landowners have consented and acknowledge the emergency response concerns before the issue will be decided on by council.
Council was also provided an update on the continuing saga of tire recycling at the facility on Bobtail Road now being operated by National Tire.
CAO Charlie Cutforth as well as Coun. Bryce Liddle stated some clarity was provided during a recent meeting held with the Alberta Recycling Management Authority (ARMA).
“We met with them (ARMA) to help get things going with National Tire, who hope to have their tire mulching equipment in place soon,” said Liddle.
“They said it would take about three weeks to get things set up before work could begin, so I expect there will be some activity seen by new year.”
Cutforth added National Tire has a private market for the mulch — which is different than the usual crumble done by other tire recyclers — but the concern that the county has is the timeline for ARMA accrediting the company so they can start.
“To get them an interim accreditation should be a no-brainer, according to ARMA, but the timeline is where we have a bit of a concern. The hope is it can happen right away so that processing can start,” he said.
Council passed a motion that will allow administration to deal with an emerging situation regarding natural gas service in the Morning Meadows area.
Cutforth explained ATCO Gas approached the county to provide it access to the right of way near the intersection of Spruce Road and C&E Trail. This is so it can construct a heating building unit to keep its natural gas equipment at the location from freezing and potentially causing an outage for area customers.
“There is a bit of urgency on this as ATCO wants to do this by the end of year and we are afraid that if we have to wait until the next meeting, it won’t happen soon enough and we have to protect that service,” he said.
With the motion, administration will now be able to approve any work that needs to be done should ATCO and the landowner not agree on an acceptable plan in short order.
Also approved by council was the purchase of a new fire engine to replace the current 1991 Engine 4 at the East District fire hall. Estimated at a cost of $410,000 — plus a contingency — it will be a custom-built engine with certain features specific to rural response vehicles.
It would be paid for by a combination of $50,000 from the 2017 capital budget, just over $90,000 in 2016 highway accident revenue plus the 2017 highway revenue estimated to be just under $200,000 with the remaining to be paid through highway revenue in either 2018 or 2019.
The motion didn’t go unopposed though, as Matejka voted against it citing poor timing of the request and a need to hang on to reserves as the costs to operate the department continue to rise.