Esterhazy council discusses stop sign vandalism

At the regular Esterhazy town council meeting on Wednesday, the council discussed the issue of the vandalization of the stop signs at Broadview Road.

The three-way stop was put in a few months ago and has been met with some backlash by residents because it forces them to back into a controlled intersection. 

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“People keep vandalizing and taking the stop signs,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “They were taken again at the start of this week and we haven’t yet put them back up. I’m going to get ahold of the local RCMP and see if they need to be up there. We do have stop signs on the outside already, but because the road is so wide they’re recommending that we have these stop signs in there.”

The stop signs were originally put in to slow down drivers around the school where students cross the streets.

“The whole idea of this was that the area is a speed area because it’s a wide road and they speed around the corner,” said Thorley. “We wanted to put stop signs in there to slow down the traffic. Now, we’re going to look at putting speed bumps in also in that area to help slow down traffic.

“Originally when this started it was requested by the people in that area for us to do something about the speeding there because of the amount of kids in the area,” said Thorley.

Sask Lotteries Community Grant Program

Every year the Sask Lotteries Community Grant Program gives communities funding to help volunteer-operated, non-profit community organizations develop sport, culture, and recreation programs.

Esterhazy received $26,034 from Sask Lotteries and community organizations have sent in requests to the Esterhazy Rec Committee for funding.

Rec Director Brenda Redman provided the council with the committees’ recommendations of who is eligible for the grants and how much funding they’re eligible for this year.

“They’ve applied for it either for rental fees, to purchase equipment and supplies, those types of things,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley.

Aquatic centre opening

Rec Director Brenda Redman informed the council the DA Mackenzie Aquatic Centre’s tentative opening date will be July 1.

Due to being short staffed this season as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the aquatic centre will not be offering swimming lessons this year.

“Basically we’re running public swim times, potentially lane swims, and maybe aquasize,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “There’s rules and regulations we’ve put together that fall under the provincial guidelines and we’ll have a full list of what needs to be followed to operate.”

Municipal Revenue Sharing grant

The Town of Esterhazy received a letter from the Ministry of Government Relations acknowledging the town had been given their Municipal Revenue Sharing grant for 2020-21.

Esterhazy received $568,465 of the $278 million the Government of Saskatchewan is distributing to municipalities. The distribution formula is $2,025 plus a per capita grant of $226.39, based on 2016 census populations.

“To ensure that all municipalities have the resources in place to navigate these challenging times, all 2020-21 MRS funds will be paid on June 15, 2020, rather than in installments throughout the year,” Municipal Infrastructure and Finance Executive Director Jeffrey MacDonald said in a letter to the Town of Esterhazy.

Canalta Real Estate tax reduction request

Canalta Real Estate Services requested a 10 per cent reduction on property taxes because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The council made the decision to deny the request because they felt reducing property taxes for one business is unfair to everybody else. 

“Tax reductions were discussed during budget deliberations within our municipality,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “The council definitely looked at different options of giving a reduction to any of the commercial businesses in town and felt they couldn’t find a happy medium with it. We didn’t increase our taxes this year and that’s part of it too.”

Plaque for John Vanderhulst

The Town of Esterhazy received a request a few months ago to have a plaque put up to honour devout town volunteer John Vanderhulst.

The council would like to review with the Regional Park the potential of putting up a plaque in a designated area of the park. 

“We want to look into this and will be reviewing it with the Regional Park,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “The municipality is kind of joining forces with Esterhazy Minor Ball to hopefully get this done.”

Reduced lot prices

The Town of Esterhazy’s residential committee has lots for sale throughout town at a reduced price and plan to advertise the lots with a sign.

“Their plan is to put up a sign just to let the community know there’s reduced lots for sale right now and to let people who are interested know to call the town office,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley.

The residential committee will be working with Planning and Economic Development Director Tammy MacDonald to put up a sign in the near future.

Rink opening plan

Over the last few years, Skate Esterhazy has rented the Dana Antal Arena in the month of September for a fall skate school. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic they had made the decision not to rent it for the month this year. 

“We were looking at the potential of operating the rink in September anyway and giving them some ice time, but not lock them into specific amounts and rent it to other organizations,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “Then the pandemic hit so everything was put on the back burners.”

The council discussed different options on what they will do with the rink this fall and Rec Director Brenda Redman is going to look into the possibility of opening it in September, otherwise the town is looking at October 1 as a potential opening date.

“It’s a down the road decision,” said Thorley. “For now it will be looked at by our rec director.”

SaskPower tree removal

Esterhazy Mayor Grant Forester received a letter from SaskPower regarding tree trimming around power lines.

The letter said that when trees interfere with power lines it can cause outages and fires, and trimming trees around power lines can be dangerous.

Due to this, SaskPower crews are offering to remove trees in the line of power lines at no cost to the owner. In subsequent cases, the owners may be charged for the work.

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