Esterhazy Town Council RCMP Sgt. Stringfellow, council discuss priorities

September 16, 2021, 10:22 am
Kara Kinna


Esterhazy RCMP Sgt. Geoff Stringfellow sat down with Esterhazy town council at their regular meeting on Wednesday to go over some of the RCMP’s goals and priorities for the upcoming year.

“Traffic is the number one priority that most communities want to see some enforcement on,” he told council. “Not just writing tickets on Highway 16 and things like that, but more visibility while conducting traffic.

“Secondly the schools, there is a lot of concern around school zones, and so those are what we focused on with our traffic priorities.”

He said each community has specific concerns in regards to traffic and he wanted to know what Esterhazy’s concerns and priorities are.

“Second would be our crime reduction,” he continued. “We’re focusing on our high risk offenders. Those are the offenders that we have in our whole detachment area that are repeat offenders and are on court conditions.” He said the RCMP are working on ensuring that those conditions are enforced.

He added that the RCMP are still actively working to get people signed up for their Everbridge crime notification system, which sends crime alerts via text or email.

“I send those messages out any time there is a serious crime that we’re just looking for the public’s assistance. A good example was when we had our prisoner escape here in town back in July. I’d sent a message out at 4 am, and we had several sightings.”

He said people can also be signed up for the rural crime watch group in that area. “It’s more location specific. So if we have a theft of cattle in the Churchbridge area, we’d send out something to the rural residents in that area saying if you’ve had cattle stolen or you own rural properties now would be a good time to check your rural properties for stolen vehicles, that kind of thing.

“So we are trying to get more proactive and engaged with our communities as opposed to simply just responding when we get calls.

“A third priority is mental health. As you know, it’s in the news a lot, the mental health of police officers. We need our members to be healthy at work and be at work so that we can be full staffed. Because if three of them are off duty because of stress or sick leave, then they are not much use to the community.” He says the RCMP detachments spends some of its time now addressing mental health among its detachment members.

He said those three things summed up some of what the detachment is focusing on now, and he wanted to know if Esterhazy town council had any concerns he should know about so that he can take them back to his office and put them on the detachment’s radar.

Councillor Randy Bot pointed out that the town is working on reducing the speed limit in certain areas around town.

Planning and Economic Development Director Tammy MacDonald told Stringfellow about some security cameras that the town is planning to put up in key areas around town such as the hall and historical park. Stringfellow said it was good to know about the cameras.

Stringfellow added that he was also very happy with the amount of community support the RCMP received for their Windy Classic golf tournament this year. “It was probably our best year,” he says. He says there were tons of prizes donated this year. “You sometimes don’t know how much support you have from your community until you have events like that,” he said.

Proceeds from the tournament go toward post-secondary scholarships for students in the area.

CAO Mike Thorley added that he’d like Stringfellow to come to a few meetings with the town’s Community Development Committee. The Community Development Committee is working on traffic safety initiatives within the town, and identifying areas and things that can be done to enhance traffic safety in Esterhazy such as more crosswalks, four way stops, reduced speed limits, and so on. Stringfellow agreed it would be a good idea to have some involvement with that committee.

Playground at Historical Park slated to go in Oct. 12
Rec Director Garth Forster reported that the playground that’s going in at the historical park is on schedule for installation on October 12.

The playground is slated to go behind the museum close to the skate park.

The playground is being jointly funded by the Esterhazy Lions Club and town of Esterhazy. The Lions were approved for a grant for the project in the amount of $111,000, with the town adding another $70,000 to the project with funding they received through the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program (MEEP) to bring the total project funding to $181,000.

Forster says the Lions are excited about the project and are looking forward to having a groundbreaking at some point soon with as many members of the Lions Club and town there for the event as possible.

Lots of commercial building permits
Planning and Economic Development Director Tammy MacDonald told council that there have been a lot of commercial building permits lately. She said there were three or four commercial permits on the go at the moment.

“Even in Covid times our businesses are still moving forward,” she said. “We just did an analysis of our business licenses. Last year we had 177 business licenses. This year we’re at 170, we are right on course with a few more to pay up. We never lost any businesses due to Covid at all.

MacDonald working on filling spots at sign corridor
Planning and Economic Development Director Tammy MacDonald told council that as there are now 32 spots for signs available in the town’s sign corridor on the west side of Esterhazy, she has started to contact the 50 businesses on the waiting list for signs to see if they’d like to claim those spots.

At a previous meeting, council passed a motion to adopt a new sign corridor policy for the signs on the west side of town along Highway 22. The town made changes to its old sign corridor policy, which only allowed six signs along the highway. Under the new policy the town expanded its sign corridor to include 36 signs. All of the signs will be four feet by eight feet in size.

Town decides to hire manager, staff for rink concession
Rec Director Garth Forster told council that a decision was needed on manning the concession at the rink this year as they are having a tough time finding someone interested in the tender.

“Other places are having trouble getting their concessions tendered out as well,” he said. “Maybe it’s time that we start looking at going to a manager with some part-time people running the concession.”

“I think some of the problem is that we don’t know what’s going to happen with Covid,” noted councillor Maggie Rowland. “We could get shut down again.”

Council decided to pass a motion for the 2021-22 rink season to hire a manager and employees on a contract basis to run the rink concession.

Sask Lotteries grant allotments
Rec Director Garth Forster presented the 2021-22 Sask Lotteries Grant allotments to council. The Sask Lotteries Community Grant Program assists non-profit, volunteer-led community organizations around the province.

Organizations that are eligible to receive funding include municipal governments, First Nation communities and northern settlements. These authorities distribute funds to local non-profit groups to provide programs. Community Grants are determined by population.

Esterhazy is receiving $26,034 to distribute to the following organizations this year:
Cross Country Ski Club for preparation of trails: $1,400
Golden Jets for monthly bills: $500
Esterhazy Museum for a new pump for the fountain and barbecue: $2,000
Junior Golf program for golf balls and equipment: $2,000
PPEP for supplies: $1,500
Kaposvar Historic Site for wages: $500
Bohemka gymnastics for equipment: $1,500
Growing Tree for supplies and rent: $1,500
Skate Esterhazy for rental: $2,000
PJ Gillen School Council for arena rent: $1,500
Curling Club for supplies: $2,000
PJ Gillen School Council for desk pedal units: $1,800
Big Brothers/Sisters for salaries and promotion: $1,500
EQC Cycling Club for equipment and signage: $2,000
Town of Esterhazy for the July 1 Pool Day and Santa Day: $1,934
Esterhazy Minor Ball for equipment: $1,400
Esterhazy Energizers for equipment: $1,000

Town planning outdoor rink, skating path again this winter
Councillor Vern Petracek asked Rec Director Garth Forster if the rec department was planning to do outdoor rinks again this winter, as lots of people have been asking about it. Forster said yes, and that they plan to do the skating path through the regional park again this year. “They were definitely well-used through the winter and people really enjoyed them” said Forster.

Council discussed adding more lights along the skating path this year as well.

Work on tennis court underway
Director of Operations Joel Friesen gave a report on the progress of the town’s new tennis court. He said work on the tennis court is underway now, with gravel going in last week, and the pavement to go on this fall, however the final surfacing material, which is on order, may have to wait until the spring and warmer weather to be applied if it doesn’t arrive before cooler temperatures become the norm. The town is also planning to construct a pickleball court, but the pickleball court is an additional expense that does not fall under the town’s MEEP funding, so work on that is on hold until the next budgeting year.

Issue with hall roof, pool void to be looked at
Director of Operations Joel Friesen told council that they are going to have someone look at the pool basin and a void underneath of it that has been causing the town some issues for some time. He said they are also going to have someone come look at the roof at the hall to address some water issues. He says the roof has been dripping, even on days when it has not been raining, so they want to check the air handling units to see if it’s a condensation issue or another issue. “We may be requesting to have an engineer’s report on the air handling unties and the roof in general, just to have a rough idea what it would take to fix it,” he said.

Motion to sell old grader
The town passed a motion to sell their 140H grader. After listing the grader for $145,000 they received an offer of $130,000 and passed a motion at the council meeting Wednesday to accept that offer. The town has two graders and is selling one so that they can purchase other machinery instead.

Town will put $5,000 toward sidewalk repair at Main and Park Avenue
Council passed a motion to put $5,000 toward sidewalk repair at the corner of Main Street and Park Avenue in front of Esterhazy Agencies. Esterhazy Agencies is requesting the sidewalk there be repaired and will be covering part of the cost of the repair along with the town.