Earlier this year, Town Council invited both Town, and Rural Residents to participate in a Community Needs Assessment Survey. Karyn Mossing (Community Capacity Coach) of the Saskatchewan Economic Development association assisted Council with the creation of the survey. The primary purpose for conducting the survey was to find out where the community is doing a good job and where it needs to improve. With this information, Council can identify problem areas and develop action plans and solutions.
Residents were asked what issues, they felt Mayor, and Council needed to address in the next months. The Top 5 concerns were:
This year Town Council spent close to $450,000 in paving and street repairs. Street repairs and maintenance is a major cost and challenge for all urban communities in Canada. Even in a small town like Gull Lake we have 100 paved streets each with a life expectancy of about 50 years. Each year we collect just over $100,000 in taxes for paving, and that is enough to recap 1 block. More certainly can and needs to be done to address the issues surrounding the repair and maintenance of our streets. Crack filling will help extend the life of the streets but not indefinitely, and it is difficult to find companies to crack fill. Town Council will need to evaluate current paving program on an ongoing basis and will need to take advantage of Federal or Provincial infrastructure funding when some become available.
Install and Repair Sidewalks
Residents are also concerned with the condition of some of our older sidewalks. In response to that concern Council will be evaluating the condition of all of our sidewalks and looking for potential solutions on what can be done to address these concerns. The evaluation of our sidewalks will take place over the next few weeks and after that, Council will be able to look for possible repair or replacement solutions. Council will have to prioritize sidewalks needing repair and look for affordable solutions to repairing them.
Establishment of a Dangerous Goods/ Heavy Truck Route
Green Terminal Road will soon be paved allowing for the creation of a Dangerous Goods/Heavy Truck Bypass. Gull Lake residents have been asking for the bypass for a number of years as the amount of heavy truck/ dangerous goods traffic has significantly increased over the past several years. Thanks to the many residents for the letters of support they have written to the Department of Highways and the efforts of both past and present Council members of the Town and the R.M. of Gull Lake.
This was a real example of what can be accomplished when municipalities work together on projects that benefit everyone.
The Town has agreed to a financial contribution of $200,000 payable in annual instalments of $10,000 to help towards the paving costs.
Improved Street Lighting
We do have a number of streets that need to have improved street lighting. In many cases, the growth of trees obstructs the light from the street lights from reaching down the sidewalks. Council will need to look more closely at trimming trees back in affected areas.
Pursue Development of Commercial/Industrial Subdivision
Over the past few years, a number of local businesses have been looking for additional Commercial/Industrial lots to help grow their business. In addition, there have also been a few businesses that have stopped in town enquiring about Commercial/Industrial lots. For some time now, the Town has had no Commercial/Industrial for sale, and Council needs to take a closer look at the current and future needs of the town for Commercial/Light Industrial Lots.
To that end, the Council will be having an open house on Tuesday September 8th, 2015 to meet with local businesses to evaluate the need for Commercial/Light Industrial lots and discuss available opportunities. More details of the open house will be announced soon.
Town Council will be looking closely at the information gathered from the survey and would like to thank everyone who participated in the survey. To download a copy of the report (click here)