Estevan city council discussed a couple of bylaws related to the upcoming civic election during the July 13 meeting.
The first bylaw to come forward was to give first of three readings for mail-in ballots. City clerk Judy Pilloud said currently the legislation for the province and municipalities is different. It isn’t easy to get a mail-in ballot, as currently a voter needs to appear before her to get a ballot issued.
“We’re trying to make it so that you can send in your ID via mail or via someone else witnessing, those kinds of things,” Pilloud said. “So we’re just trying to streamline it a little bit.”
Those who receive a mail-in ballot would have to meet conditions, such as their ability to attend a polling station on election day or for the advanced polls.
The other bylaw called for a criminal records check, which received three readings. Councillor Shelly Veroba wanted to know why they gave it three readings at the meeting, instead of waiting for the Aug. 10 meeting to give second and third readings.
Mayor Roy Ludwig answered that council has a lot to deal with before the election, and they have just two meetings remaining in the term.
Pilloud added the background check document needed to be passed 90 days before the election, and the next meeting isn’t until mid-August.
Council also gave first reading to a bylaw to establish a new coal transition committee, which not only has representatives of the city, but individuals from the RMs of Estevan and Coalfields, and the Town of Bienfait.
Mayor Roy Ludwig said the board was established for the $8 million the provincial government will provide to the city for the transition away from coal-fired power. The board will be tasked with the distribution of the funds.
“We have all of our surrounding district covered, because we find any economic advantages that we have in our community spread beyond the borders of our city,” said Ludwig. “If one of our closer neighbouring RMs has economic activity, it also benefits the city of Estevan.”
Second and third readings were given to a bylaw on community engagement for land development projects.
Council approved amendments for its purchasing policy, to include different procurement thresholds for municipalities, as set out by the New West Partnership Trade Agreement.
The document governs how the city handles expenditures, competitive bidding, tenders, proposal acceptance criteria, awarding of contracts, exceptions, disclosure of information and more.
Council approved a couple of reports from land development services. The first will relocate an existing taxi business from the east industrial area to the building that used to be the Estevan Housing Authority’s location on Sixth Street.
The other will be to use one of the vacant areas in the former Estevan medical centre building, located on Nicholson Road to the south of St. Joseph’s Hospital, for a nail salon business that is currently downtown.
Six building permits worth $118,110 were issued in June, bringing the total for the year to 27 permits worth $2.4 million.
All six permits were classified under miscellaneous. So far this year, 26 of the permits have been miscellaneous; the other has been for a garage.
The total value of the building activity this year has exceeded the value for all of 2019.
Council members say they continue to receive rave reviews about the Dennis Moore Centennial Park. A fence has been installed and washrooms are being installed. Parks manager Rod March hopes the washrooms can be constructed within a couple of weeks, but he would like to see greater acknowledgement for Tim Hortons for their support of the park.