ST. PAUL - Town of St. Paul CAO Steven Jeffery recently took the opportunity to brief council publicly about a property that the municipality has recently decided to purchase. The property is located on the west side of St. Paul.
Jeffery acknowledged that these types of things "by nature are attractive" to the public, and people often want to know why the property is being purchased by the municipality, and how it's being paid for.
"This is our opportunity and I welcome it," said Jeffery, during the April 25 regular council meeting briefing.
Near the end of the April 11 council meeting, a motion was made directing Town of St. Paul administration to purchase the property located at 6005-50 Avenue, for the assessed value of $544,160. The motion was made following a closed session.
"As administration has proceeded through the Intermunicipal Storm Water Management Plan with an engineering firm, various recommendations have been made... around upgrades that should be considered in future planning in order to better handle the collection and discharging of storm water. One of the highest ranked items in priority level and effectiveness has turned out be a storm water retention feature on the west side of town," said Jeffery.
"Further analysis has proven that a feature like this would increase the volume of water that can be accepted and reduce the flow rate of water leaving this facility into the Town's storm water network. Achieving both of these initiatives would allow for more efficient collection of surface water from the County (of St. Paul), along with mitigating risk of downstream flooding," added Jeffery.
Administration proposed to council that the property be paid for using allocated capital funds from the province.
"Doing so would prevent the Town of St. Paul taxpayers from having to fund this purchase. More specifically, this project would be funded through the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) which is meant to help support local infrastructure priorities and build strong, safe and resilient communities," explained the CAO.
Jeffery added that the design and construction of a storm water retention feature or wetland naturalization concept could potentially be done with grant funding through the province, and "It's actually quite an attractive stream."
"Administration looks forward to finding the best possible solution for balancing the need of having control of the west end storm water, as well as developable property for future use should it be available," said Jeffery.
Speaking after Jeffery's briefing, Mayor Maureen Mill said, "to be clear, we as council have not seen a plan yet, so I know that I was asked as to why we would need to purchase the whole property. Could there be developmental property? Yes there could be. We don't know yet because we have not received a plan."
However, the Town did receive information that says the area is included in the "red zone" and this is the "very first priority in order for us to manage that water."
The Town of St. Paul is responsible for water moving through the town.
Miller added, "It seems like a long process, but we will get there, and do it a step at a time," and hopefully the provincial government will "be on our side."
As discussions wrapped up, Coun. Nathan Taylor noted that "Steven, your predecessor and you and this council did some very good work over the last four years, getting that water to the lake. And the previous council, previous administrations have done fantastic work on managing water through the golf course... this is now the entrance in and part of that whole pathway that multiple generations of councils have been working towards, that needs to be done for the protection of homes."