ELK POINT – Heather Bjornstad, Darlene Kozicky and Bernie Kozicky of the Elk Point Helping Hands visited Elk Point town councils May 24 meeting to seek support for their efforts in assisting people who are finding it difficult to make ends meet in these challenging times.
The nonprofit volunteer group now has a dedicated phone number, a bank account and an email account, and is ready and willing to assist those who need a food hamper to make it through the month. They have researched the contents of typical food hampers, and are hoping to put together the basic kits so they could quickly be given out when the need is there. However, “we need money to jump start the setup costs,” and were hoping for a donation from the town to do just that. They would also like help in getting the word out to those who need a hamper.
The Helping Hands intend to remain local, with local donations, local shopping and local area help. “That’s what we want to emphasize at this time,” Bjornstad said. The trio likes to buy food on sale, and does get a discount from the local Cornerstone Co-op, and they now have a storage location for donations and for the basic kits they hope to assemble..
“We depend on donations to make this work,” Bernie Kozicky added.
“We expect people in need to call us directly, to tell us their needs and their dietary needs, so we can accommodate individualized requirements. But we know it can be difficult to make that call.”
Although they have only given out a few hampers to date, the Helping Hands know the need is there, especially given the number of hampers given out by the Community Lions this past Christmas. They feel people may not know that help is available and are spreading the word through posters and through a letter sent to both schools.
Policies and procedures for distribution of hampers are being written, they assured council, and confidentiality agreements have been signed.
While it wasn’t the $900 donation they had asked council to consider making, a $200 donation was approved later in the meeting, with the possibility of more in the future when the need is shown.
Welcome barbecue postponed
The date for the barbecue to welcome Elk Point’s new doctors “ran into a snag,” Mayor Parrish Tung told council. “The doctors wished it could have been on the weekend so their families could have been here,” rather than the Monday, June 20 date council had approved previously and invitations had already been sent out before he learned of the doctors’ wishes Although during the meeting the decision was made to leave the date unchanged, council later had a change of heart and agreed to cancel the June 20 event and postpone the event until later in the summer, possibly after school starts.
Bylaw can wait
Discussion of the Economic Development Bylaw, deferred to this meeting by a motion on April 11, has been put on hold again, with CAO Ken Gwozdz recommending that council take more time with their deliberations. It will return to council’s agenda in August.
The possibility of installing a game camera to determine the number and size of aircraft coming in to Elk Point Airport was discussed and agreed to by both the County of St. Paul and town council, with the town’s share of both the purchase and the monthly subscription to come from the Economic Development budget.
The installation of a fire pit, picnic table and windbreak wall to allow fly-in ‘under-wing’ camping at the airport could have been deferred to next year’s budget, but council learned that the county was willing to supply both the fire pit and the picnic table. The CAO was asked to contact the county regarding the decision.
Training, turnaround at transfer station
Two projects are also planned for the transfer station area. One is the site preparation for the Elk Point Fire Department’s future training site, which will be located south of the transfer station, while the second is a turnaround at the transfer station’s pit. Both the transfer station and fire department are cost shared between the county and the town, and approval was given to both. Funds for the town’s share of the turnaround will come from unrestricted reserves, while the training area preparation costs will come from funds originally slated for a sea can and from the rescue van reserves.
Coun. Wanda Cochrane was given the go-ahead to attend the Northern Lights Library System conference later in the week on the town’s behalf.
Twelve lots of vacant industrial land will be leased to the former owner of that land to be used as crop land for this growing season, which will reduce the town’s cost of maintenance and mowing of the area. It was noted that this had been part of the agreement at the time the town purchased the property. The lessee would be required to remove the crop from any portion of the land sold by the town, and to fence the land if it is used for grazing.
Both the town and county will support hiring motivational speaker Ian Hill for a regional team building event planned for the staff of towns of Elk Point and St. Paul, the Summer Village of Horseshoe Bay and the County of St. Paul.