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Port aux Basques Council notes

By Jaymie White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter – with files from René J. Roy

PORT AUX BASQUES — The most recent town council meeting took place on Tuesday evening, Nov. 29. Councillors Todd Strickland and Terry Ingram were not in attendance. Matters discussed included the tender for the salt shed, the possibility of a bike pump track, Come Home Year financials, and a new texting alert system for residents.

Salt shed Town Manager Leon MacIsaac said the town will be working in cooperation with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to get access to their salt and sand mix due to the fact that the town’s new salt shed is not ready for the winter season.

“They have agreed to work in cooperation with the town staff to ensure our salt and sand needs will be met throughout the season. In the event that it doesn’t, if there is a hiccup along the way, they’ve agreed they’ll get into discussions to resolve any issues along the way as well. Hopefully, once the season breaks, we’ll have the salt shed rectified and start construction in early spring.”

Bike pump track Town Clerk Nadine Osmond shared a letter by a resident inquiring about a possible installation of a bike pump track in the community. These tracks have been previously installed in other communities across the province and specifically use an up and down motion to propel the rider forward instead of pedaling.

“These pump tracks are a great form of exercise and fun for both experienced cyclists and beginners, or people looking to learn how to bike,” read Osmond.

Button said he had a conversation with the resident previously and encouraged him to write the letter so it can be discussed in council, but because of everything that happened with Hurricane Fiona, they were only able to look at it now.

“I did some inquiries with other communities, and I know Pasadena was looking at putting in the proper set up because they had a man-made one that they did on their own, but they were getting the funding to put in their own tracks,” said Button. “It went over really well. Talk to officials in Pasadena, so this is something to take a look at and explore and see what can be done and if we have areas to do it. As we go forward we are certainly going to have to look at different activities like that.”

Come Home Year financials Coun. Jim Lane read a report on behalf of the Come Home Year Committee and stated there is an account balance of $2,360.98.

“Our recyclables came in at $515.95, the program ad is expected in at $150, that’s just money that has got to come back, and the total funds on that would be $3,026.93. Outstanding payables would be the town visa at $12,507.06, so in actual fact we are probably over budget by $9,480.13 and most of that is due to the fact that we didn’t have the participation. There were people that came home, but they never participated so much. The participation was down, the expenses were way higher. It was a difficult time to have a Come Home Year but it was a necessary time,” said Lane.

Button said sometimes that is just the way it goes, that the country was just coming out of a pandemic, expenses were high, but there were a lot of people home in the community and it was a successful Come Home Year in that regard.

“It’s still a small expense, I guess, overall. At the time we probably didn’t understand the importance of what it all meant, and looking back now at what has happened now since September, for families that did get the chance to get home before families and lives were shattered, it was time they were all in homes that have now become a part of history. It’s a price we pay for putting off some of these events, but overall it’s not as bad as what I thought it might be.”

Communication Mayor Button said the town is currently in talks with a group called Tech Squad, a tech-based company out of St. John’s who have done work with school programs and others to develop text-based communication between those who register for the service.

Button said the plan is to develop a plan for future communication between the town and residents. The idea is to enable the town to send out text messages.

“We did a demonstration on it and it’s so simple,” said Button. “If we had a weather event coming and we had an emergency alert we wanted to send out, we could send that out on a text and it would go to anybody and everybody’s phones. Not everybody has text messaging, so not everybody will be able to get that message, but if we had 2,000 people, maybe 1,500 getting that message, it will spread so much quicker.”

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