ST. PAUL - Issues at the town’s sani-dump station along with coordinating efforts with the local Co-op may see residents being charged for water being used at the station.
The Town of St. Paul is exploring charging people for water used at its sani-dump. There is a concern that if the sani-dump station is closed during the current pandemic that people will simply dump tanks in ditches, said CAO Kim Heyman.
"Also, people are filling their tanks with water and they are currently not being charged. The Co-op doesn't charge either, but we had said we would revisit that this year. Administration is recommending that whatever we do, we co-ordinate with the Co-op so that one of us doesn't end up supplying all the water,” said Heyman, during the May 11 council meeting.
Water is required at the site so that staff can clean and maintain the area.
“Last year, staff witnessed a couple of sani-dump users just opening the valves on their units and letting the contents dump all over the site,” said Heyman. “Staff is recommending that if this practice continues, we put up signs notifying of a penalty and change our bylaw appropriately. Security cameras would be required.”
Administration recommended the sani-dump station start charging for water this year and that cameras are set up to record license plate numbers of users who dump their sewage on the site instead of connecting a hose to the pipe. Installation of a sign to inform people that they are being recorded and notifying them that offenders will be ticketed was also recommended.
Coun. Tyson deMoissac made a motion to proceed with administration’s recommendation.
Questions around the cost of installing a system that would allow for people to pay for water came up. Heyman said she felt the system would cost about $12,000 and it would likely take a couple years to recoup those costs.
Mayor Maureen Miller noted that since upgrades are also required at the bulk water fill station, it could be an opportunity to share costs between the two projects.
Coun. Nathan Taylor recommended sending the item back to administration to get a better idea on the cost of installing and operating a system.
Town council brought back the issue of opening up its municipal campsites to frontline workers and the public during its last regular meeting, held on May 11.
Administration recommended council agree to allow first responders and frontline health workers, as well as the general public use of the campground, with social distancing and all other rules in place.
"If it turns out that campers are not following the rules, we close the park to the general public and only allow the frontline, first responders to use the campsite,” read Heyman in her recommendation.
The CAO also recommended a 50 per cent discount for frontline workers who are staying at the campground as a means of self-isolating. Council approved the recommended action, with the nightly rate set at $16 for frontline workers.
The washrooms and the laundry facilities will not be opened at the Iron Horse campground. An area would be sectioned off for frontline workers who are self-isolating.
“As we have only had a small number of confirmed cases to date, I'm not sure how much uptake there will be for this offer,” said Heyman.
The issue arose following discussions around residents parking RVs on town streets for longer periods of time, where a family member may be self-isolating close to home.
“Parking in on public streets opens a whole plethora of issues,” said Heyman. Most RVs now have slides that could impede on to sidewalks or the streets. “This is too much of a liability and would be against the advice of our insurers.” Residents could park RVs in their driveways or their yards, as long as fifth wheel extensions didn't overhang any public walkways or sidewalks.
Heyman acknowledged that for the general public, camping will not be what they are used to, and since the town’s campsites are usually only booked during special events, she doesn’t anticipate much use by the public.
“Social distancing would have to be mandated and a practice that two strikes you’re out. . . There can't be outside visitors nor mixing of people from one unit with another, unless occupants of both units can prove they all live under the same roof.”