(File photo)

Village of Halkirk has significant work ahead in establishing viability

The Village of Halkirk council has met for the first time since the residents of the community stated their desire to remain a village.

Held March 10, the meeting took place the day after the vote deciding the fate of the municipality by the residents.

With the vote done, council needs to set to work on the list of 14 items that need to be addressed found in the viability study.

While not in place yet, council will be bound by a ministerial order to address the issues and will have five years within which to meet the requirements.

If council is unable to meet the requirements at the end of that time, the minister could then declare the village un-viable and dissolve it into the county anyways.

“It’s a big list, it’s a lot of work,” said chief administrative officer Marcy Renschler.

“Some big decisions are going to have to be made. There will have to be big changes.”

One of the first recommendations presented to council by administration to start addressing the issues at hand is the creation of a comprehensive plan which will include service level reviews, staffing needs, capital plans, and “realistic operational and capital financial projections” to make the plan succeed.

Because a review of this nature would need to be sourced out to a consulting firm, the cost for a plan development of this nature could cost the municipality in the neighbourhood of $100,000 to $150,000.

However, the development of the plan would allow the village to begin working on several different items on the viability list at once.

A second recommendation presented to council by administration to begin addressing the viability list is the undertaking of a complete bylaw review to ensure that the village’s bylaws “address the needs and interests of the community.”

As this review would also need to go out to a consulting firm, the cost for the review could be anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000.

With the work that the village is going to have to do to ensure the viability of the community, theses expenses could represent just the tip of the iceberg as to what overall costs are going to be in the long term.

According to the recommendations document attached to the meeting package, tax increases —significant ones — could be on the way to the small community to pay for everything that needs to be done.

Local NewsNews