NIPAWIN – The Town of Nipawin councillors and Mayor Rennie Harper met once again for their bi-monthly council to discuss town business.
New bylaw officer
The agenda for the May 11 meeting included an update on Nipawin’s new bylaw enforcement officer, who will be moving to Nipawin from out of province and will start work on June 1. Self-isolation guidelines will be upheld before David Pruden starts work, said Barry Elliott, the town’s administrator.
Lobbying for business
During the round table discussion following the conclusion of the agenda items, Harper also mentioned the work she has been doing with local businesses to ensure they are receiving government relief funding.
Credit Unions were also not included in federal legislation that allowed businesses to take loans up to $40,000 from banks so Harper has been working with the provincial government to ensure they will be included.
“Those are the kinds of things that I’ve spent a lot of time on just trying to help people understand how they can try again at the government level.”
Food bank drive
Harper reminded councillors of the May 13 food drive for the Nipawin Food Bank and challenged all councillors to match or exceed her own donation of perishable food and a $50 donation. Harper also challenged Bunge North America to donate to the drive with them donating $5,000 and 120 litres of cooking oil.
Water treatment plant
Following the town council meeting on April 27, Elliott also mentioned the Water Treatment Plant is reaching its final stages of completion with everything on track for the project to be completed in October 2020.
Crews will be completing the final filtration system this summer.
“Water quality has been second to none,” Elliott said, “and it's going to continue that way so that's good. It's definitely positive that the town does not have any need to be focusing on the water quality.”
The total cost of the project was $20.6 million with the town taking a third of the cost and the provincial and federal governments splitting the other two-thirds of the cost.
Meeting in person
Nipawin council is seeing a new normal as counsellors and the mayor held their first in-person council meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Elliott said the council chambers have been rearranged to accommodate social distancing for the councillors and the mayor, however all other visitors will have to “attend” the meeting by phone for the time being.
Staff have also been back on site at the town office with plans to open to the public being postponed until they have safety shields installed.
“Once those are in place, then we should be well-positioned to open the doors to the public in a controlled manner,” Elliott said.
Elliott said staff are getting used to the new way of working in an office environment.
“We're maintaining our distance, we've got to establish direction routes for travels so that we're minimizing contact between the staff. If we do have any meetings we maintain appropriate physical distance.”
COVID-19 has left everyone to constantly adapt to the new normal, Elliott said, including the mayor, councillors and staff.
“We're committed to continuing to provide the best services we can and I know council is committed to making sure that they're recovering well and leading this community forward.”