Dogs to get their own park

Dogs are to get their own space at Four Seasons Park, council has decided.

It’s three acres in size and is already fenced off and is no longer needed for municipal purposes.

The area has already been graded and seeded and is now ready for use, council was told in a briefing note prepared by engineering and operations manager Paul Gordon.

The decision to convert this area to a dog park follows attempts to find a location and to provide monies needed.

“The fenced compound area was cleared in an effort to tidy up the appearance of Four Seasons Park and during this process it became clear that the site had potential for further development,” the note from Gordon said.

“This development of the area was accomplished by Public Works Staff, with all costs absorbed into the general operating budget.”

Gordon added that two picnic tables would be added to the dog park and if the space proves well utilized and successful, future improvements could be proposed.

New storage building approved

SpanMaster Structures Ltd. was chosen as the successful bidder to provide a salted sand storage building at a cost of $137,384.92.

There were four bidders for the project and SpanMaster was the only one of the four to come under the $140,000 budgeted figure.

A storage building will eliminate wastage and environmental impacts, council was told in a briefing note from engineering and operations manager Paul Gordon.

The District of Houston policy is that at least three quotes must be received from qualified vendors for construction projects valued between $25,000 and $200,000.

Sealcoating contract let

Northwest Sealcoating Ltd. has been given the contract for sealcoating of District rural roads this year.

Its price of $185,280 was half that of a competitor and its agreed to extend its 2018 price to this year regardless of the increased cost of bitumen, engineering and operations manager Paul Gordon told council in a briefing note.

“In previous years this program was abandoned and has resulted in our rural roads being in great disrepair. The program was reinitiatied in 2018 and can be completed in 2019,” said Gordon in adding that maintenance costs will be much lower in the years ahead.

Aggregate for the project is coming from the District’s Walcott Pit and will be crushed by Vihar Construction, the only company to bid on this work.

Vihar will produce 2,000 cubic metres and with 750 cubic metres to be used this year, there’ll be plenty of material for future use.

Gordon said the total project cost will be $246,000, less than the budgeted amount of $288,000.

The roads to be sealcoated are Estates Drive, Pioneer Road, Gushwa Road, Gushwa Crescent, Pineridge Road North and south of Lund Road and Grenada Road/Bennett Road.

Municipal office hours change

The District of Houston is reducing its open office hours by 30 minutes, from nine hours to eight and a half.

The new time of 8 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. instead of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. will “ensure that shifts for front end staff are consistent in their start and end times, as well as to ensure that the front end is fully staffed with at least two persons at the beginning and end of the day,” a briefing note from corporate services manager Jessical Bagnall explained.

A survey of regional local governments determined Houston was the only office to be open for nine hours. Most of the other offices are open eight hours with some open seven and a half hours.

“Reducing office hours by one half hour would however still ensure that the District of Houston office hours are still open longer than any other municipality in our region,” Bagnall said.

Scholarships increased

The District of Houston is increasing its annual scholarship program to two Houston Secondary School graduates and one Houston Christian School graduate to $500 each.

Its also to provide, beginning next year, one scholarship in the amount of $1,000 for a University of Northern British Columbia student.

It’s to be given to a student who is a grad of a Houston secondary school studying post secondary natural resource management, physical sciences, health sciences, business administration or public administration.

Engineering firm hired

Urban Systems is going to be the District’s sole provider of civil engineering services for the next five years.

Having one firm is beneficial “so we can have some continuity between their staff and ours [and] the selected firm will get to learn all aspects of Houston’s infrastructure, not just a single project,” said engineering and operations manager Paul Gordon.

Assessment programs planned

The District is moving ahead on two planning fronts — one to assess the state of its water and sanitary systems in relation to future improvements and upgrades and the other regarding housing.

It’s forecasting an expenditure of $40,000 for its water and sewer system program, $30,000 of which will come from federal gas tax rebates with applications to outside agencies for the remainder.

The District is also joining with the Village of Telkwa in a combined program to study current and future housing needs in each location.

They’re making a joint application to the Northern Development Initiative Trust for a grant to finance $40,000 of the anticipated $50,000 cost.

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