Elnora village council will examine more closely a volunteer offer to maintain an events sign, but will ask for a liability waiver to be signed first. 

The topic of volunteer care of the community events sign was discussed at the March 12 regular meeting of council.

Councillors heard an update regarding local volunteer April Irwin’s offer to look after the community events sign located at 425 8th Avenue, at the edge of town and the spot where many people enter the community. 

Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Sharon Wesgate updated councillors with information on Irwin’s offer and the condition of the sign.

Wesgate began by noting the sign, which is a mechanical display with metal letters that must be arranged on slides, is about 20 years old and was maintained in the past by Neighbourhood Place, which no longer exists, and the local FCSS.

The CAO noted last October staff stopped updating the sign. 

“The rails are warped, the letters are brittle, cracked and a number of them have been demolished,” stated the CAO’s memo. “The letters constantly shift on the tracks requiring repositioning, the lid is hinged at the top and must be opened from the bottom and propped up. On frosty days the cover frosts up obscuring the lettering.”

Wesgate added the Public Works department examined the sign and deemed it unrepairable. 

“Given the current condition of the sign, there is a higher risk of injury to persons changing the event postings,” added the CAO’s report. 

The CAO noted a proposal to replace the sign with a new electronic one didn’t go over well with taxpayers.

She added that if councillors were to consider Irwin’s offer everyone involved in maintaining the community events sign would be asked to sign a liability waiver absolving the village.

During discussion, councillors agreed they didn’t have a problem with volunteers handling the sign as long as they signed the waiver. It was also noted it was a bit sad to drive into town and see the sign empty.

Councillors ultimately decided to have a contractor examine the sign and report on whether it can be repaired or not; if it can be repaired, Irwin’s volunteer proposal may be approved.

Police update

Councillors hosted Three Hills RCMP detachment commander S/Sgt. Jamie Day, who provided an update on policing priorities in the Elnora area. 

Day noted the priorities appeared to remain the same as in the past: crime prevention, traffic safety and community engagement.

He stated that crime in general appears to be trending down in the Elnora area, with the village generally having a low instance of crime to begin with. He noted the only area of crime that seems to be remaining steady is mental health.

Day stated that RCMP are working with other healthcare stakeholders to look at ways to get mental health services to the people who need them; he pointed out that if the mental health services are provided then police tend to see fewer mental health calls.

Drought in 2024

Councillors discussed an email from the provincial government regarding drought preparations. 

The CAO stated it’s a good idea to let the public know communities will likely face water restrictions this summer.

Mayor Jul Bissell opined it shouldn’t come as a surprise to residents that drought is likely and that water use may be restricted. Bissell noted there is already talk about evacuation preparations being made in some parts of the province due to likelihood of wildfires.

During discussion councillors noted residents should watch for water restriction announcements and also for Red Deer County fire bans.

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 20, 2024 at 13:19