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Message from Norfolk Treherne Municipal Council

 

Message from Norfolk Treherne Municipal Council

Office Accessibility   The MNT office remains closed to the public as a precautionary measure. Increased access to the municipal office building for members of the public will be evaluated when “Code Red” is removed.  With Covid-19 variants being detected in Manitoba and the risk of office shutdown should an infection occur, your municipal staff are being very cautious. As vaccination proceeds, the risk to our staff diminishes, and the possibility of reopening improves.

Meeting Room Upgrades   The Council meeting room received upgrades to improve our capability to hold online meetings, to conduct training sessions, and to accommodate delegations making digital presentations. Two smart televisions and a “Meeting Owl” were purchased to replace the projector and screen.  These items will increase conference call capability as well as allow the public to attend meetings virtually.  The cost of these upgrades was $3,500, covered by a withdrawal from the General Reserve.

Budget 2021   The 2021 budget development process is virtually complete. Council met March 23 for a final discussion of the 2021 budget. Cuts were made to bring the proposed budget into line with the goal of maintaining tax rate changes at or below any increase in the cost of living.  Once again, the annual funding amount from the Province of Manitoba remains unchanged.

Treherne Water Quality   Work continues on the Treherne Water Quality Improvement project. Process changes to the water treatment plant appear to have resolved the “brown water” issue. The brown water was being caused by a carryover of manganese from the plant. The presence of manganese has been turning the water brown. Acting on the consultant’s recommendation, the feed rate of the treatment chemical required to capture manganese was increased, stopping the formation of brown water. The brown build-up in the reservoir, removed during the upgrades, was a result of carryover from the plant. Routine compliance testing of the distribution system manganese residual had consistently indicated that the residual was within permissible limits. It was nevertheless the root cause of the brown water.

In addition, detailed water quality testing of the water softener output showed that the softener media is worn out and needs to be replaced. New media has been ordered and delivered, and installation is expected to be complete early in April, at which time the hard water issue should be resolved.

The engineering consulting firm J.R Cousins has reviewed the procedure for seasonal flushing of the distribution system and has suggested a few changes in order to achieve best practices. Flow measurement equipment will be used to ensure water velocity is adequate for thorough cleaning of the pipes. Water clarity will be measured during the flush to ensure a pipe run is clean before moving on to the next run.

Your Council is optimistic that, due to improving manganese removal, changing the softener media and following best flushing practices, the Treherne water distribution system will reliably produce high quality, clean, soft water for the residents of Treherne.  Council has also initiated improved reporting systems to better indicate when plant performance is deteriorating.

Rathwell Sewer   The environmental review process remains the next step for the Rathwell low pressure sewer. The required topographic and geotechnical surveys are complete, and the preliminary design of the lagoon system is in progress. Due to soil conditions at the site, there is opportunity for a passive wetland treatment cell to remove phosphorus, an option to be evaluated as the project progresses.  When the preliminary design has been finalized, the Environmental Act license application will be submitted. Once the license is received, generally 6-12 months following submission, the project will be tendered, with construction to begin in 2022.

Fibre Optics Internet   The Westman Communications system in Rathwell and Treherne is expected to be complete by mid-April. Some new design connection boxes have been problematic, so all are being changed to a more reliable option. The Westman system is being extended to Glenboro in 2021 which will add reliability and resiliency to the system as our municipality can then be supplied from either source. Lavenham is still in progress. HBNI sign-up documents were sent out with the quarterly water bills. Twelve sign-ups are needed to guarantee installation of the fibre optics internet system to Lavenham. 

Rural Wireless   The lobbying of Xplornet by MNT Council for improved rural internet has been successful. Northeast of Notre Dame, a new Xplornet communications tower is under construction on the site of the existing tower. Preliminary information is that the 250-foot tower will have Ericsson equipment and the capability for 100 Mbsec down and 20 Mbsec up. Early conversations have taken place for the Westman fibre network to supply this tower. Xplornet has stated that the new tower will be in service by the end of June.  A direct feed of high speed data  to this tower will reduce restrictions caused by insufficient data in our municipality. Xplornet is also working on replacing the Treherne tower, but no timeline has been released. 

Bosc Bridge   All site geotechnical work has been completed, revealing subsoil conditions to be challenging for the bridge foundation. The foundation and structural engineers are working developing a durable design that meets all requirements. It is anticipated that financing for the bridge will be put in place during the second quarter of this year. 

South Central Gas   A communication was received in late March from the Province of Manitoba stating that the province will not submit the ISIP project funding application to the Federal Government. A request has been submitted by the GPSG to meet with selected Provincial MLAs in order to determine if there is a path forward for this project. 

H Line Drainage Project   A revised tender document was sent out in mid March and the project has been awarded with construction commencing as soon as possible. Council has gained experience regarding the tendering process as this project has progressed. 

Boyne River Flow Improvement Initiative   A permit for the removal of blockages from the Boyne River was received in late March. Priorities have been set for removal, focusing on blockages affecting adjacent agricultural land.  Planning is in progress to remove these blockages as soon as possible. 

All-Net Connect   The All-Net Connect system is being used to quickly inform residents of items such as water outages, burning bans, changes in transfer station hours and emergency messages. About 925 out of our 1750 residents have signed up for this service. Residents are encouraged to register on our website for All-Net Connect.  You can choose to receive your messages by text, email, phone call or any combination of these.  If you need assistance in registering, please contact the Municipal Office at (204) 723-2044, and we will be happy to help you.

Council hopes that during 2021 that the changes to our society Covid-19 has brought will be reduced and that our community can get back to what was normal prior to the pandemic. We encourage those who choose to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Community wide vaccinations will create a “herd Immunity effect” to slow the transmission rate. It only makes sense to remain cautious until such time as widespread vaccination has been achieved. Please continue to meet or exceed the intent of all provincial Covid-19 guidelines. 

Stay safe.

Reeve Will Eert
Deputy Reeve Robert Davy
Councilors Ryan Gaultier, Gilles Guertin, Albert Lesage, Larry Marlatt and Steve Nicholson

April 2021