Plans shelved for dock at Irrigation Lake

Irrigation Lake. (Angelique Houlihan photo/Houston Today)

The District of Houston has shelved, for now, plans for an all-ages and abilities pathway and dock at Irrigation Lake after determining costs would far outweigh a grant it wanted to help finance the project.

That grant possibility from a provincial program to finance age-friendly projects was for $15,000 of which just $6,000 could be spent on actual construction for ways and means for people of all abilities to enjoy the lake and surrounding amenities.

But in preliminary costing, staffers concluded a dock and kayak launch, without including the pathway, could cost more than $100,000.

“As we delved deeper into the Irrigation Lake project, it became apparent that the overall cost will surpass the grant’s limit, making it necessary to evaluate the project more thoroughly before construction begins,” indicated a memo to council.

“Proper permitting and consultations with the appropriate stakeholders must take place to ensure the success of this initiative. This approach will also enable our staff to accurately identify more realistic costs associated with the project.”

During discussion of the situation during the Aug. 1 council meeting, District of Houston chief administrative officer Michael Dewar reminded council members of an existing resolution to add the possibility of dock when the District crafts its 2024 budget.

“We’ll continue to identify funding opportunities for that and there is a resolution on the books to bring the funding or the cost of that project back for next year’s budget process,” he said.

Councillor Tom Euverman, who began advocating for a dock at Irrigation Lake earlier this year, hoped aspects of the project, such as having to get permits from the provincial government, could be kept as simple as possible.

“That’s going to take a lot of money and I’m just trying to keep it simple and small level rather than getting out of hand where it becomes undoable,” he said.

Instead, council has approved of applying for the $15,000 grant to continue supporting Houston Link to Learning’s Seniors Gathering Project.

That program has enough money to keep going until Sept. 2024 so an additional infusion would allow it to continue after that date.

The program offers weekly recreational and other activities to between 15 and 20 seniors.

Animal complaints remain steady

Animal complaints have remained steady from the first half of 2022 when compared to January to June this year, show the latest activity statistics released by the District of Houston.

There were 16 animal control complaints for January to June last year and 17 for the first six months of this year.

With a half time bylaw officer now in place, the council has asked that responding to animal complaints be a priority this year.

Although the bylaw officer will emphasize education and communications regarding problem animals, he also has the ability to enforce compliance through fines as approved by a District bylaw.

Citizens also talk about roads

Comments about the state of the District’s roads also featured in information presented to council for the first six months of the year.

There were 21 calls or communications made to the District office about roads alone in January with May and June coming close to that number at 17 and 19 contacts respectively.

Winter calls would have been mostly related to snow-clearing and spring/early summer ones about dust and potholes.