The District of Barriere held its first audio conference Council Meeting on Apr. 6, 2020, due to the current social distancing requirements regarding COVID-19. A few members of the public also took the opportunity to attend the audio conference.

Barriere Chief Administrative Officer Colleen Hannigan presented the following reports to Council:

Report From Utilities Manager Ian Crosson;

“The past few weeks have been busy for the utilities department, as an essential service, amid the scare of COVID-19.

“The Louis Creek Industrial Park water system had its commissioning program in full swing last week to which we saw the entire facility undergo a drastic push towards completion. The single homeowner, on the well, had been disconnected, issued a boil water advisory, and hooked up to a temporary water feed until we could verify the pump and PLC worked as designed. Once this portion was fully commissioned and online the homeowner was then reconnected. They will remain under boil advisory until further notice. To date the system is functioning as it should with a few outstanding deficiencies, that include the systems ability to hold a chlorine residual, some electrical systems tagging and identification, plumbing repairs including the installation of the shower and eye wash station and building construction completion. Rivermist and associated subtrades are continuing to work towards completion. Renewed quotes are being sought with respect to moving ahead with the sealing and commissioning of the old reservoir that will provide water to the hydrants. Until that is done the Fire Department is aware that they will be using their water tanker as usual for that Industrial Park.

“The deep well, as you know, is having to undergo the installation of a new well pump in the near future. We have had some issues with it running in AUTO, therefore operations were having to run it in HAND for the past couple of weeks. This was due to a faulty I/O card in the PLC. Luckily during the Louis Creek commissioning our programmer, Chris Beharrell (Exceed Electrical) had some extra time at the end of his day last Friday and was able to come to town to swap out the card for us. As well, when he was in Barriere, he was able to make it to septage receiving where we were able to get the honey monster operational in HAND. It was discovered that the overload was burnt and faulting out, only allowing a single phase of power. Once Chris returns to Barriere in the next couple of weeks we will have him change the program to allow the unit to run in AUTO, upon seeing flow through the flow meter.

“The replacement of the deep well #2 well pump will remain on hold until the point in time we can get the Bradford well system operational and this is due to the fact that deep well 2 will be offline for three or four plus days. Also, a hydrant flushing program will have to commence prior to these works. Mr. Beharrell noted that we should replace the Frequency Drive for the pump at the same time as it is nearing the end of its life.

“The Riverwalk WWTP biological process is coming around, to which we are seeing a reduction in time spent doing operations and much cleaner effluent. This process should continue to improve. The transfer switch for the generator at the SAWRC has been replaced and it is now functioning properly once again.

“To improve on overall data management we have instituted new plant bench sheets in paper and electronic forms, alongside a daily plant logbook for information tracking and sharing in all our facilities.

“Finally, Caden Nickel will be joining our Utilities’ team as this year’s summer student upon completion of his first year in the TRU Water and Wastewater Program.

Roads and Parks Manager’s Update:

It was reported that road work is ongoing with grading of all gravel surfaced roads underway at this time. Sweeping will take place mid-April after Easter as the contractor’s schedule permits. As per usual this is a very weather dependent activity. The Barriere River bridge has been hand swept in advance to minimize any negative environmental impact on the river. Also a cleanup of Fadear Park circle and other trail areas has been done. The yield sign at Petro Can was recently knocked down when someone realized a little too late they were supposed to make the 90 degree turn towards the highway stop sign. Fortunately they didn’t hit the fire hydrant.

An improved variety of wave petunia bedding plants, in a variety of colours, have arrived at the SAWRC where they will be cared for until planting mid-May.

Community Garden maintenance will be completed by the official opening date of May 1, at which time gardeners will be allowed to begin working their plots. Additional advertising and information is being circulated and posted on social media this season so that those interested in having a plot can apply and pay at a distance. A notice and plot map is posted on the Community Garden gate and on the District’s website. Councillor Kibble has volunteered to post to Facebook as well. Plots are only $20 for a season with an additional $20 deposit refunded once the plot is left cleaned up at the end of the season.

Seasonal staff will be onboarded over the next month. Joining the regular staff this year is David Gdanski, who brings his experience working for the City of London’s Parks department as well as a background in golf course maintenance.

Despite everything else going on in the world at present, the work plan for these departments is on schedule at this time.

Fire Rescue Department Update:

It was noted that there is an open burning ban in the Barriere Fire Protection Area until further notice and associated signage is up at the Fire Hall. Fire practices have been canceled for now and appropriate protocols are in place with the department members with respect to COVID-19 related calls either fire, road rescue or BCAS assists (only in very rare circumstances). The Fire Chief has been attending the weekly update calls regarding COVID-19 with Simpcw First Nation and TNRD. When the trucks go out every possible measure around protecting the members in close quarters are followed. For any community parade event only family members occupy a vehicle so that physical distancing is not an issue.

Infrastructure Canada Grant Feedback and Opportunity to Resubmit:

Hannigan noted that the District of Barriere has not been successful in obtaining funding for the extension of wastewater along Barriere Town Road that would tie into the line that comes across Station Road and currently services Riva Ridge.

“Due to the fact the current ICIP EQ application intake closed before decisions were made regarding the ICIP RNC applications we have been granted a six-week window to reapply by a new deadline of May 6, 2020,” said Hannigan when she reported to Council at the Apr. 6, meeting. “I had the opportunity to get some feedback on our last two applications from one of the program evaluators and there was some indication that if we hadn’t included as much road and pathway work we would have had a better chance of being approved. In speaking with Dave Underwood, our engineer, he agreed there may be a way to revisit the location of the wastewater pipe to do minimal road work if at least one of the lines was located further into Fadear Park. The resurfacing of the proposed multi-use pathway could be handled as a separate project.”

She reported that this next phase would have added 800 metres of pipe and made the municipal service available to approximately 67 additional households/business (equates to $25-30,000/year in revenue) most importantly including Armour Mountain Mobile Home Park and the adjacent apartment building as well as Yellowhead Pioneer Residence, the Medical Centre, the BCAS station, Library and a number of single family dwellings. The old asbestos cement undersized water line would also have been upgraded.

“The project was priced at approximately $2,400,000 splitting the District’s portion of 27 per cent ($648,000), on a percentage cost basis between water, wastewater and roads, $427,000 roads, $78,000 wastewater (general surplus to be paid back in the future) and $143,000 from water leaving $433,399 in Roads and $283,875 in Water surplus/reserve accounts,” said Hannigan.

She advised Council that District staff would like to investigate the impact of reducing the roads’ portion by a substantial amount and whether a reduction in scope would be accepted by the funding program, and then bring the results back to Council for consideration.

Council, however, have requested that staff hold off on applying for the grant due to the unknowns of what is going to happen over the next few months.

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Be safe and make sure to boil your water or consider buying a water filtration system like the AquaOx Water Filter.

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