Around the council table
Grand Bank council briefs
Grand Bank council met on Monday, Oct. 30.
A permit was approved for S and M Development and Sales to operate a new business selling cars and recreational vehicles.
The business will be located on the same property as Bennett’s Construction at 40 Main St.
Town clerk Cathy Follett said the Municipal Assessment Agency would assess the amount of space the new business is using on the overall property for tax purposes.
Arena ad approved
Council approved a motion to purchase a dasherboard advertisement at Fortune Arena.
The cost of the ad is $400, plus a $100 setup fee, for a total of $500.
Town staff was tasked with deciding details for the design of the advertisement.
Recreation director and facilities manager Tom Burton said renovations are nearing completion on the 50-Plus Club.
The project on the townowned building includes exterior and interior renovations and was aided by a $25,000-grant from the New Horizons for Seniors program.
Burton said there was still some plumbing work being completed as of last week, as well as a few other “odds and ends. Burton said he was told the building should be ready in about another week.
Tax properties auctioned off
The town held a tax auction in late October selling all three properties that were available.
“The properties that were up for sale all sold, with very minimum bids, I would say,” town clerk Cathy Follett said.
Deeds have already been prepared and ownership passed over, she added.
“In our finance committee report, we did write off the taxes, so these properties will be included in (the new owners’) properties for next year,” she said.
The properties that sold were 1 Oceanview St., 17 Bayview Pl. and 3 Rose Pl.
Follett said it was her understanding buildings on all three properties would be removed in “due time.”
Owners paid taxes on four other properties that were initially slated for the tax auction.
Mayor Rex Matthews inquired if another tax auction would be required in 2018.
Follett said there are taxes owed on several properties and they would be passed along to the finance committee for review.
Dam project denied funding
The town’s capital works application to the provincial government to extend the intake pipe at the reservoir was rejected, according to Mayor Rex Matthews.
In an effort to reduce the amount of silt and sediment that can get into the water system, the town is looking to move the pipe 30 feet away from the face of the dam and also install a screening system.
The project will cost approximately $700,000, Matthews noted, adding the town will push for approval next year.
“It’s important for us to get this done,” he said.
Town manager Wayne Bolt said the project would be listed as the top priority in its next capital works application, which is due for submission this month.
Matthews said he wasn’t totally surprised about the rejection, given the town has received significant funding for capital works projects over the last five years.
Grand Bank is connected to Fortune’s water supply. Occasionally, however, the need arises to revert to its own system with one such instance happening in recent weeks.
Social for former councillor
A retirement social is being held for former councillor Bruce Warren on Nov. 8.
Warren decided not to run again in the September municipal election.
Mayor Rex Matthews suggested Warren’s 35 years on the Grand Bank council must be the longest tenure in the town’s history.
Talking health care
Mayor Rex Matthews said he has been asked to speak at an upcoming Eastern Health board meeting about the town’s response to health care issues in the community.
Matthews said he agreed to do so and also plans to expand on his comments.
The mayor said he would discuss the possibility of increasing the use of technology such as video conferencing so residents aren’t required to frequently travel to St. John’s for brief medical appointments.
“It’s just not fair that our people have to spend so much money and time to be back and forth to St. John’s,” Matthews said.
Foreign company expressing interest
Representatives from Norwegian company Steinsvik were in Grand Bank for a meeting on Wednesday morning.
Mayor Rex Matthews said the company is looking at setting up an operation in the town.
Steinvik’s website said it delivers products and solutions for aquaculture, ships and rigs.
It was noted representatives from the Grand Bank Development Corporation and the Grand Bank Harbour Authority would also be present for the meeting.
Frustration over insurance claim
Council plans to write the town’s solicitor to request they press for a resolution to the insurance dispute over damages to the municipal centre caused during a winter storm in 2014.
The discovery process – a legal mechanism that offers a chance for both sides in a disagreement to look over the other’s information and determine how to proceed – began well over a year ago.
“This is dragging on and on and on, and it’s time to bring it to a conclusion one way or another,” Mayor Rex Matthews said.
Pool work starts
Upgrades on the town’s swimming pool were scheduled to start on Friday, according to town manager Wayne Bolt.
The renovations include installation of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system and new lighting.
Bumps in the road
Deputy Mayor Clayton Welsh is renewing his previous call to consider installing speed bumps on Main Street in the area of the community park.
The speed bumps can be removed in the winter, he pointed out.
“I think it would make a difference to the (dangerous) driving on Main Street,” Welsh said.
Gauging water pressure
Town manager Wayne Bolt said the water-pressure level in Grand Bank is nearly maxed out.
Bolt said the pressure was increased an additional two pounds per square inch, or PSI, in late July.
It may be possible to slightly bump up the PSI again next year, he said, explaining it wasn’t advisable to make too high an increase at one time for fear of causing other problems.
“We may be able to (make another increase), but I wouldn’t go much further than one more (PSI) because if you do, we’re going to have issues with hot water boilers and leaks in people’s houses and things like this,” he said.
The discussion was spurred by Coun. Jack Burfitt, who said he had heard concerns while campaigning for the recent municipal election.
Every two feet of water added to the town’s tank results in a gain of one PSI, Bolt explained, with the level now at 50 feet.