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Council hears renewable energy proposal

Economic development coordinator Bob Bezpalko brought a proposal for a project based on the monitoring of renewable energy involving both the town and Lakeland College to last week’s town council meeting.

Economic development coordinator Bob Bezpalko brought a proposal for a project based on the monitoring of renewable energy involving both the town and Lakeland College to last week’s town council meeting.

The project would involve the college’s technicians installing a monitoring system at the Elk Point Visitor Information Centre that would feed data collected from the centre’s solar and wind energy generation units via the internet to an on-line database. Performance information useful to the public could be posted on the college’s research site and the town’s website, as well as being available pm a screen in the information centre. More detailed information could be used for research into combined renewable energy sources.

Late last year, Lakeland College and several partners sought funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s College and Community Innovation Program to undertake research into the combined systems, and was subsequently awarded a $2.3 million grant to undertake applied research in the area. The college has a renewable energy cabin on their Vermilion campus with off-grid energy technology and instrumentation that collects data and transfers it to a website. The college would now like to take what it has learned from the cabin and apply it to a “grid tied” solar and wind installation such as Elk Point’s

The purpose of the partnership would be to provide both Lakeland College and the town with valuable information about the potential of renewable energy systems in the region.

The proposal outlined objectives, responsibilities, financial commitment and timelines, which indicate that the monitoring equipment could be installed at the end of November, with data collected for one year after the installation date. At that time, maintenance of the monitoring system would become the town’s responsibility, although the equipment would remain the property of the college and would be returned to the college if the monitoring site were shut down at a future date.

Council gave approval to a fire services agreement between the town, the County of St. Paul and the firefighters’ association. Council also agreed to a move for their 911dispatch service from Strathcona to the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority. The county is also making the move, with a target date of Jan. 1, 2011.

First readings of a new off-highway vehicles bylaw and an updated noise bylaw were tabled until input can be obtained from the new council members, following the Oct. 18 election.

“Is it fair for new councillors to deal with (a new bylaw on which they have had no input)? Each of us has our own opinion, and they should be able to express theirs, too,” Mayor Parrish Tung said.

The ATCO Electric franchise fee will remain unchanged for the coming year, council agreed.

The town has had some inquiries regarding the land at the former location of the Elk Point Christian Community Church, which was recently traded to the town toward purchase of the former fire hall, and council feels there may be some interest on the building. Council agreed to advertise the building for sale by tender.

Valerie Lazicki now has the drawings for the layout of the water spray park. Council agreed that the equipment suppliers should install the equipment, rather than relying on volunteers who may not have the required skills. The suppliers want to install the equipment next spring, and town manager Myron Goyan will ask the contractor for the 50 Ave. project about installing the service lines.

Council moved approval of locating the water spray park along 51 St., north of the fence around the outdoor rink.

The 50 Ave. upgrade is still not underway, due to problems with the availability of the necessary piping, which the contractor is optimistic may arrive this week. “They can’t open it up until the pipe is here, “ Goyan said. Only the water lines will be done this fall, with some additional work in the bridge area, then “it will all be covered up” to prevent freezing, with the project completed next spring.

The Regional Water Commission is still optimistic that funding will be available for their project in 2011. An orientation meeting is slated for Nov. 4 for all new and returning councillors in the municipalities that are part of the commission.

Coun. Bernice Capjack will represent council at the Child and Family Services business plan meeting in Cold Lake on Oct. 6.

Mayor Tung reported that an organizational meeting for Elk Point Victim Services is slated for Oct. 21.

Council discussed attendance at the AUMA Conference in Edmonton, which, because it occurs in Grey Cup week, would be made very difficult by the absence of available hotel rooms. Even if accommodation was available, the cost of the conference was found to be prohibitively high and Coun. Dick Millar noted, “it’s interesting, but not worth it.”

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