City Council heard quite a few presentations from various members of the community at the council meeting on July 16, 2018
Souris Moose Mountain MP Dr Robert Kitchen was in attendance and explained the plans he has to keep Estevan and area on the map in federal politics. He spoke about the lack of transparency he has witnessed from the Liberal government concerning the upcoming carbon tax. He also reiterated his support of the power industry in the southeast and even though SaskPower may not be going forward with plans to outfit BD4 and BD5 with carbon capture technology, CCS is not out of the question for Shand or even BD6. Dr Kitchen is hoping to be back in August to hold a town hall meeting.
"We appreciated Dr Kitchen taking time out of his busy schedule to come and see us and give an update on everything he's been doing this summer," shared Mayor Roy Ludwig. "We had a few questions ourselves of Dr Kitchen. We'll continue to keep in touch and get the information as he passes it on."
Ludwig also brought up the topic of a task force that would be created to delve into the topic of shutting down BD4 and BD5. He is requesting that the task force is made up of representatives from SaskPower, the provincial government, the federal government, mining, the power plant, and representatives for the workers at both the plant and mine.
"We would like to get all the stakeholders together along with the Chamber of Commerce which represents businesses and now that we have a four or five-year window, we would like to get together and do some work and hopefully we can attract more businesses to Estevan to help fill the potential gap if things don't go the way we hope."
City Council also heard from members of MNP who presented the City's Financial Statement. It showed an increase in assets totalling $12.5 million up from the last year's $10. 4 million. the City also saw a decrease in liabilities down from last year's $36.3 million to $35.5 million. As well, The city's debt has gone down almost three million dollars.
"We're very proud of that. Through the direction of Council, the City Manager, and Trudy Firth (Coty Controller), we've been paying debt down every year and hopefully, we can continue with that discipline and eventually have no debt."
"It's a balancing act, we have to continue to do needed infrastructure along with paying that portion of the principal net debt down. We see some of the cities that are getting into a debt situation whereby it will handcuff them down the road if they neglect to take care of that debt."
These positive numbers promoted Councillor Greg Hoffart to make a motion to amend the borrowing bylaw this year from paying $2 million per year for 15 years to $1.7 million for 10 years thus getting rid of the debt in a shorter amount of time.
"Councillor Hoffart wanted to cut that back because we do have a fairly good cash flow right now. Now that could change but right now it looks good so Council thought it was fair to cut that back $300,000 and the term from 15 to 10 years to pay it down quicker."
During Council, there was also a presentation from The Tower who are looking at putting in a temporary patio along the sidewalk on 4th Street for summer. The proposal was passed but it is unlikely we will see the patio in use until the spring of 2019.
A permit was also passed to allow a softball tournament August 17-18 as well as provincial ball tournament August 10-12, and a permit for the Estevan Eels swimming provincial meet on July 28.
Richard Neufeld, Land Development Manager, was also present for two matters for discretionary use applications. One for a new wellness centre that will be located at 1009 6th Street and the other for the site of the cannabis retail outlet at Unit 4 - 421 Kensington Ave.