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Joint Council Carberry/NCL Fire Department now has 20 members

posted Oct 29, 2018, 9:35 AM by Kathy Carr
The Joint Councils of Carberry and North Cypress-Langford met for the last time before municipal elections on Monday, October 22, with Mayor Olmstead in the chair, and all councillors present except Mann and Drayson. Also present were CAO Jones, Fire Chief Keith Loney and Deputy Chief Grady Stephenson, and candidates Dallis Olms­tead and Matt Tolton.
Delegation
The report of the Fire Department was the first order of business, and was given by Fire Chief Loney. He reported that the department now has 20 members, and has been on 40 calls to date this year. During the recent snow storm, there were many calls that he was counting together, as they fell within the minimum call-out time. Taken separately, they could have brought the annual total call-outs to 53.
He outlined the many annual costs to maintain the department’s equipment. Safety inspections for the pumpers, tanker, and trucks; hydrostatic and flow tests for the air equipment; new tires for #106; unlimited paging for the year; Code Red — it adds up. There have also been special expenses for the year: new slow/stop signs, a replacement laptop computer, with which councils have helped directly.
The members have been steadily upgrading their skills. There are two new members this year and two students. The Fire College organizes the training, and depends on trainers within the department and neighbouring departments in the Grand Valley Mutual Aid District.
Some special acquisitions this year included gas detectors for just over $1000 bought with funds from HMS, MNP, and McPhail Travel who held a hole-in-one contest at their golf tournament and donated the proceeds. The Carberry and Area Community Foundation funded a stair chair for $3800 and a base unit radio for $1100. They have an application in to the CACF for further equipment.
Radio upgrades are likely to cost as much as $25,000 when finally specified and app­roved.
With funds received from Autopac they have purchased a newer bush truck, and fitted it out with funds from selling the old one and donated labour and material from Gary Witherspoon.
The Mutual Aid District has approved and paid for a washer for the turnout gear at about $9000; it is almost all hooked up already.
An agreement to protect Swan Lake First Nation generates $25,000 a year which goes into the equipment reserve. Trans­­Canada Cor­pora­tion has been approached, and will be giving a donation of $25,000 towards the new Fire Hall.
They have also purchased two new sets of turnout gear, and other lighting and cutting equipment. In all, more than $21,000 has been spent from the equipment account, and another $8000 from the general account for things like donations to charities such as Cancer­Care and the Firefighters’ Memorial Fund; fireworks for the fair; firehall supplies and the kids’ fire suits used at the very successful obstacle course set up at the fair with further donations from Home Hardware and South End Lumber. This year the breakfast earned $4652 for the fund, and the dance $6746.
Invoices are being sent to CN for work done on derailments and fires along the track. The bills will be for the four years from 2015 – 2018. Of these, 2015 was for $15,000 and 2018 for $33,000. If these are accepted (which is not certain) the Department would like to spend $5000 on a pump and tank trailer, and put the rest towards the new Fire Hall. Loney was particularly thankful to Linda and the staff at CN who have taken care to clean up the ties along the main line, and repair the Highway 5 crossing at McCain’s. Linda also has said that the crossings of the Trans Canada will be repaired early next year as weather permits.
The Fire Department will be joining Service for Seniors, the Rec­re­a­tion Board, and the CDC in promoting a 50/50 draw for capital projects.
The Grand Valley Mutual Aid District will be hosting the 2019 Fire Chiefs’ Convention in Brandon. Local members will be involved in many of the practical details. Councils will be asked to send representatives to the Saturday award banquet.
The membership of the Department have gone together to create a $500 scholarship for any student pursuing a career in firefighting or EMS.
The Department is consulting with the Office of the Fire Com­missioner about putting a compressor into the new Fire Hall. On that subject, the new fire hall has turned out to be more expensive than was anticipated, but the Department hopes that Councils will undertake to back the purchase soon, so that an RFP for the agreed design can be sent out as soon as January, to enable work to begin by April, and avoid spending the winter of 2019/20 with the present unacceptable system. Councils will be asked to tentatively commit between $325,000 to $350,000 each for the project.
Long term equipment needs suggest replacing the old pumper as it gets to an age of 30 or 32 years, and then replacing the tanker in 2031 by which time it will be 28 years old. A routine from then on of purchasing a new pumper or tanker every seven years would retire each machine at an age of 21 years.
Loney closed by saying that it has been a pleasure for the Department to work so closely with Councils. He thanked all outgoing councillors, and looks forward to the same great relationship with the new incoming Council.
The Firemen’s Ball will take place on December 1. Cocktails at 6:00, Dinner at 7:00, and the dance starts at 9:00.
Unfinished Business
Councils will have to consider how Adminis­trative Expenses are apportioned. To date, there is an agreement in place for the majority of costs to be split 50/50 with the Municipality adding an extra $25,000 for administrative expenses, but it is apparent that more of the office time is spent on NCL business than on the Town. The new Councils will have to reach an agreement.
The proposal of   sending a Carberry News-Express subscription to all ratepayers for a much reduced price and a deal on advertising rates is something that will also have to be discussed by the incoming councils. The government austerity measure at the expense of newspapers is a departure from the transparency of advertisement towards mere access to information without the duty to actively inform those affected by government decisions.
The CAO asked for guidance about the impending annual staff Christmas party. Should she tender out the catering and bartending? The point was made that at a function to celebrate the efforts of the staff, the staff themselves should not have to do any of the work. The CAO will go ahead and tender for the meal. The event is scheduled for the evening of Friday, December 7.
The Financial Officer will be away from the office due to an injury for the forseeable future. CAO Jones warns that this will increase the workload on the remaining members of the administrative staff. Com­­pletion of the 2017 audit, and initial preparation of the 2019 budget will have to be handled without the FO.  She asked the councils old and new to be supportive and understanding while the office is short staffed.
Councils passed a resolution to hire Nelli Sippel as a full time office administrative assis­tant effective immediately. The costs will be shared 50/50 between Carberry and NCL. This upgrades Nelli from a term position.
The new fire hall project is something that will have to be early on the agenda of the new councils. Timing is important, as many of the grants for which the department may apply have fairly close timelines. The hope is to get all the work done during the building season of 2019. To do this, the Requests for Proposal have to go out in January, so that the work can be tendered and construction start by April. Several grants of support are already in place, such as the $25,000 from Trans Canada Pipeline, and the invoices to CN, and there are more that can be applied for. The anticipated cost is between $650-$700,000, so to provide a safe margin, each council should commit up to $350 thousand. Letters of intent should be drafted at the next council meetings on November 12 and 13. Experienced councillors noted the difficulty of budgeting when there is an outstanding debenture. The discussion will continue in the separate councils.
General Business
Because of a conflict with the AMM convention, the November 26 meeting of Joint Coun­cils will have to be rescheduled. It will now take place on Monday Decem­ber 3, and will be the only Joint Councils meeting for November and December.
The Fire Statistics were received, and it was noted that with the new False Alarm By-Law in place, the false alarms reported will receive the warning as prescribed.
Councils declared the week from November 4 to 10 to be MRT Week. This is in recognition of the work of Medical Radiation Technologists, whose organization has an 89-year history in Manitoba, and raises the level of care in the fields of Medical X-Ray Tech­nology, Nuclear Medicine Technology, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Tech­nology, and Radiation Therapy.
All councillors have been sent a copy of the proposed Drug and Alcohol Policy as revised to reflect the new legislation.
It will be presented to the first meetings of the new councils for comment and if possible ratification.
There will be a Parade of Lights held on Novem­ber 24 in Neepawa and at the risk of ‘volunteering’ an ab­sentee, it was thought that Councillor Drayson would likely drive the float there, as he did the year before.
The Community Foun­dation would like to estab­lish a permanent Tree of Lights, rather than continue the practise of cutting one each year and securing it on the lot at Third and Main. They would like to plant a tree, and if need be replace it every five years. They would like to be assured that the Parks and Rec­reation workers would care for the tree through the year. It was noted that the evergreen tree in the 125 Park was put there for this purpose, but is perhaps too far from the intersection to be noticed. It could possibly be moved over to the corner to be the first permanent tree. The CACF’s representative (Fokko Buur­ma) will be asked toarrange with Grady Step­henson to do the planting come spring. A location of the underground amenities will have to be done in preparation.
On Election Night, the SEO will be tabulating the results in the Municipal Office. The results will be sent to the MB Votes website, and posted on the town website and Facebook page. Any questions about the vote can be addressed to the SEO, Ernie Epp.
Committee Reports
The CAO reports that the end September was unusually busy with the final deadline for taxes. There have been a number of complaints about the imposition of penalties on late taxes. Her staff remained after the closing on Friday the 30th to balance all the entries, and anything after that is subject to penalty, no matter whether the late-arriving cheque is dated in Sep­tember (or August for that matter). Send post-dated cheques in advance rather than pre-dated cheques late.
She has participated in a webinar on the use of MERX, the Canadian public tendering website, and has learned many ways the municipalities can benefit from using it. She has also taken an asset management presentation, and is keeping up to date on that subject.
The election has added to the workload, answering many questions that it was hoped the SEO would have fielded. She has been working on packages for the new councillors to be handed out on October 29 orientation session and hopes that all councillors new and old will attend the orientation session; a refresher on the duties and obligations of councillors will be important to keep everyone ‘on the same page.’
Personnel and time allocation studies will settle some job description problems, and determine the amount of time taken up by the two municipalities. A smoother working environment should develop.
Finally a thanks to departing councillors, and best wishes to those standing for election. Congratulations to the acclaimed.
The ACAO reports a busy month doing prep for the audit, and taking courses on the Neptune meters and their software, and a refresher on the Munisoft programs. Her accounting course is giving her valuable insights into her job, and the consultant hired to prepare the PUB rate application has given her a lengthy list of his requirements from her files.
The Financial Officer has been busy going back over 2015 and 2016 Accounts Payable and Receivable to reflect the audited entries. The search for duplications in a field of that size is painstaking. On the payroll side, she advises departing and arriving councillors to speak to her before November 1 about their Blue Cross plans.
She thanks departing councillors for their service, and looks forward to working with the new councils.
The Manager of Parks, Facilities and Sanitation reports that parks are ready for winter, the last camper has left, and bases for stones have been poured at the cemetery. An ad reminded families to remove all items from the graves for the season. The supply of flowers for next year will be tendered soon. The Art Sear Park will be completed and officially opened in the Spring/Summer of 2019.
Ice has been ready on the hockey side of the Community Centre since late September, and is going in now on the curling side. Bookings are at about 90% capacity already in peak periods. Girl Guides, bowling, curling, hockey, and figure skating keep the facility busy.
Repairs to the Gin­gerbread House, foundation work on 122 Main, and other detail repairs are in hand.
A grant of $25,000 towards the new Fire Hall has been received from TransCanada Cor­poration.
The transfer station is receiving upgrades, and MARRC has commended us for the state of our used oil site.
The Recreation Prog­ram­mer sends details of the many projects she has on hand. You can check out “Carberry Rocks” on Facebook; there will be tons of the little things hidden around town. The Programmer will be attending a Tri-Regional Rec Meeting in Russell, and Prairie Mountain Health’s “Share and Learn” at Elkhorn Resort.
Evergreen Environ­mental is working on personnel policies and drawing up a new contract for all employees. They are in a surplus position relative to their budget. Their Zero Waste project is under construction, and once built will have the mac­hine in place within the required funding schedule. Engineers have been selected for the next cell. The last one has lasted seven years, and cost $280,000 to build. The next will probably be more, but there are reserves in place. As mentioned on the web site, treated seed cannot be accepted.
The Handivans are both up to date with their maintenance. The large one had to go to Winnipeg for a recall of its lift system. There is a shortage of daytime drivers.
Service for Seniors is into the fall meal program and flu clinics are coming up. Renovations are just about complete at the Drop-In, and the Health Region has increased the funding for the coordinator’s wages. The resource coordinators’ conference was informative and valuable. 
Thanks to the councils for their support.
The Arts Council held its AGM on October 15, during which they discussed constitutional matters, to be presented to the Municipal Coun­cils for ratification. Sarah Gra­ham was elected chair, Marie McKean vice-chair, and Kirsten Boyce secretary to the board.
Their partnership with the Manitoba Arts Net­work has drawn praise for their Youth Mentorship Program. Coordinator Amy Urquhart has been invited to speak to the larger group about it.
They take pride in their connection to national projects like the Canada 150 Mural and the free performance by Machine de Cirque.
Carberry hosted the tri-regional arts meeting that saw arts organizations from across West­man gather to share experience, successes and challenges. Carberry impres­sed their fellow members with their ability to climb quickly out of a debt position to where they could offer free after-school programming, a dance camp, and the performance of Truck Stop by Machine de Cirque.
The Community Develop­­ment Coor­dinator has been diverted from some of her work by details of the election, but has managed to get the Hall stove replaced, and get quotes on a new refrigerator. The “What’s the Big Idea” promotion has been put forward to spring; it will need some more publicity and up­take. The CDC will attend the Minnedosa/ Neepawa version of the event to get some ideas.
Cypress Planning has passed the second reading of their Planning Docu­ment, and it is now in the hands of the Province.
Communications
Multi-Material Ste­ward­ship Manitoba has received approval for their Program for the recycling of Packaging and Printed Paper from the Minister of Sus­tainable Develop­ment. The minister wants a fully industry funded plan developed, and is looking for a program to address plastic waste, and particularly single-use plastic bags.
Added to the Agenda
A memo from front line staff outlined the difficulty staff members have been facing to collect the late-payment penalties added to taxes not received by the September 30 deadline as well as unruly customers. Delinquent ratepayers have been taking out their frustrations on the staff — even in their private time away from work which can cause a stressful situation to develop. Council­lors were cautioned that on no account should they offer to try and exempt any ratepayer from the penalty; the only fair way to proceed is to apply penalties just as warned, without discrimination. Ratepayers need reminding that on no account should they take their problems out on the staff; it is not their fault or theirs to change.
Around the Table
Reeve Adriaansen offered his thanks and praise to departing councillors Barry Anderson and Jaime MacGregor.
B. Anderson, in reply bid the councils a fond farewell, and said he had enjoyed most of his sixteen years in the job. His parting wish and advice was to “stay healthy and watch the dollar signs.”
J. Anderson asked if mileage rates could be paid to council-appointed citizen representatives who must travel to serve their boards, as is the case when Library Board members must attend monthly meetings in Brandon. He finished by offering thanks to the departing members of council, and a welcome to the newly arrived.
Councillor Campbell announced that the long-awaited gasifier is now at last being built; its engineering problems appear to have been solved, and it should be in place on site by spring. This is still well within the timelines for its enabling grant.
CAO Jones offered her thanks to the departing members and wished all good luck with the elections. She went on to confirm the staff concerns expressed in the letter read to councils earlier. Staff need supported in their work efforts by all of council and there may be a need to look in to de-stressing programs. There is a cost to this, but there is a greater cost to losing effective workers and having to train up new staff. She reminded all councillors to attend the October 29 orientation session to refresh themselves on the rights, duties and obligations of their position, particularly in relation to the office staff.
Manager Stephenson added that much of the resistance the office staff faces arises from the perceived ineffectiveness of response to complaints. It will be vital to develop means of enforcing by-laws and policies, be­cause ratepayers aren’t content with knowing the administration agrees with them; they want the objec­ted problem fixed.
In the ensuing discussion, the need for by-law enforcement was universally agreed, but the roadblocks put up by higher levels of government to local policing are very hard to put aside. The topic will be high on the list of requirements from the AMM convention. There will be considerable attention to the proposals from the Corps of Commissionaires.
Nelli Sippel has been reviewing the whole range of by-laws to keep them up-to-date and consistent. There shouldn’t be any needless problems for whomever gets to enforce them. Policing will surely be expensive, but it is not something present staff should have added to their work.
In passing, it was noted that there is a growing problem with people who will post complaints on social media, yet will not come to the office and make the complaint official — which is the only way the administration can start to take action once it is formally documented.
In closing, Mayor Olmstead also expressed his thanks for the service of those retiring, and to all for their work together this past term. He looked forward to working with those who formed the upcoming term’s councils.
Adjournment was at 8:36.

by John McNeily
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