Mayor’s Yearend Message
As 2022 draws to a close, and on behalf of the Council of the Town of Birch Hills and all of our staff, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and all the best for 2023.
2022 has been a very busy year for your Town Council, the year began with an agreement with the Rural Municipality to resolve the differences between the two Municipalities over the Civic Center. The Town agreed to buy out the RM 25% share of the Civic Center for a sum of $100,000. which the RM then graciously donated towards the purchase of the new Fire Engine for the Fire Department.
In February, we continued discussions with Canadian Fibre Optic for the provision of FibreOptic Internet service to the Town of Birch Hills, this discussion remained one of unfulfilled promises, which led the Council to begin discussions with RedBird for Internet service to be provided to the Town by the summer of 2023. They are currently offering (Dec. 22)an incentive package to the residents of the Town to encourage an early indication of interest for the service. In early 2023 Redbird (306-979-6733or email at firstname.lastname@example.org) will make a decision on the provision of service to Birch Hills. At this time they still are in need of a stronger commitment from the residents of Birch Hills, so if you have been hesitant or don’t see the value of their current offer, consider that FibreOptic internet is significantly faster than our current service and that internet will continue to be more important in our lives in the years ahead. So take another look at their offer and call or go to their website to indicate your interest and help us to get faster internet service in our community. If enough homes show an indication of interest in the FibreOptic service, it will be provided at no additional cost other than the monthly service agreement fee.
In March, we received notice from Councillors, Dean Braaten and Heather Knutsen, that they were resigning from Council as they were leaving our community, as a result an election to replace them was called for July 6/22, at which time Keith Matheson and John Herd were elected to replace them for the balance of their terms.
Additionally, the Council was approached by an Industrial company, VDQ-NRG, with a proposal to build a plant to turn plastics into repurposed HydroCarbon products. As a result of their proposal, the Town is looking at rezoning some property north of Town and adjacent to the Highway to accommodate their need and to make some commercial lots available for other potential users. A Public meeting will be held Jan. 25/23 to share information with the public with regards to our future development plans. Additionally we have appointed a committee of Council to continue discussions with VDQ-NRG to develop a property development plan for their company.
In June, we had a public meeting and brought together representatives of our Engineers, Sask Water and PA Rural Pipeline and discussed the options available to us for water supply to the Town. Our Water Plant Foreman did an excellent presentation of our Water Plant, and the upgrades that have been completed up to this time, our engineer from Catterall and Wright discussed the upgrade options available to us and Sask Water was present to answer any questions that the public had. Following this meeting your Council committed to an upgrade to our Water Plant that would include more storage capacity and a Reverse Osmosis unit that would provide our Community with safe drinking water into the future. Tenders were received in December and a General Contractor was awarded the contract. Project to be completed by late June of 2023.
Also in June, we had the Grand Opening of the Duane Lowe Community Centre, which was well attended and recognized the work that went into the completion of this project which saw the Library moved into the new building as well as providing a new home for the Seniors Club and also a venue for small group meetings into the future.
Additionally, the Garage Sale Day was revived from its Pandemic hiatus, and in August we saw a revival of the Threshing Day at our local Museum.
In July, the Skating Rink and the Curling Club committed to an upgrade to their ice plant that should see more efficiencies to our day to day operations and more consistent quality of ice into the future.
August saw the Community come together to celebrate the Richardson Pioneer Grey Cup win by the local Golf Club and the group of volunteers who spearheaded that project. A big thank you to all those involved in that fundraising project.
As we come to the end of 2022, I want to recognize that we now have three qualified Water Treatment Operators on Staff, who continue to work diligently to provide our Community with a safe supply of drinking water, and ensure that we all have a safe environment to raise our families. Thank you to our CAO for leading all of our staff and ensuring that we have a functioning, efficient and safe work environment for all of our employees. I would also like to recognize the work that the volunteers on the various boards do to help to carry the load of the day to day operations of all our community facilities. Whether you serve on the Fire Department, the Library Board, the Day Care, the Museum, the Curling, Skating or Golf Boards, you are an essential part of our Community and I encourage everyone to show your appreciation to those Board members when you see them in your travels. Finally, I want to express my personal thanks to each member of Council for the work that you do every day to make sure that our community continues to thrive, grow and provide all the necessary day to day needs that each of us require to live in a harsh, but safe environment.
Finally, my personal thanks to each of you who reached out to me with your concerns and input on what you see as a need, a suggestion or a critique of what happens in our community each day, each month and each year as we go forward together. -Stewart Adams, Mayor