County council butts heads over road priorities

Ernie Gendre feels road priorities lagging, majority disagrees

By Stu Salkeld The Stettler Independent

County of Stettler councilors had a rather heated debate about whether road-building projects for the coming year were being presented properly or not.

All councilors were present for the Oct. 11 regular meeting of council.

The meeting agenda had an item on it requested by councilor Ernie Gendre, “Road Building Projects for 2018.” Reeve Wayne Nixon immediately stated he felt this issue should be discussed later this year during budget deliberations.

Ernie said he felt this would be a good time to discuss road-building priorities, with a new council coming in after the Oct. 16 election, and to address a kind of “lagging spirit” about road construction with the current council. Ernie requested to have Public Works bring forward a list of roads, prioritized, in time for the next council meeting.

Councilor James Nibourg said he didn’t agree Public Works should do that and felt it should be looked at by council during budget deliberations. “I think we’re asking administration to double up on work,” said Nibourg.

Councilor Greg Jackson asked Ernie to clarify what he was looking for.

Ernie said he wanted to open up this issue for the next council elected on Oct. 16, sort of a heads-up of what the previous council had done.

Public Works director Rick Green spoke from the gallery, noting councilors already have the five-year plan and had gone through maps and priorities, the results of which are on the Public Works job board. Green noted some projects have been stalled on some pieces of land.

Nibourg reiterated that road building priorities in 2018 shouldn’t be discussed in October. “I see this as a waste of time,” said Nibourg.

He sated roads are included in council orientation which will be conducted after the municipal election.

A motion to ask Public Works to bring forward a list of road priorities for 2018 was defeated in a 3-4 vote.

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