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Thursday, 20 September 2012 13:24

Swift Current Council approves additional funds for pedestrian safety study

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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The City of Swift Current has allocated additional funding towards its transportation master plan process to address concerns over pedestrian safety along the Trans-Canada Highway.

Councillors approved an upset fee of $37,888 at a regular council meeting on Sept. 17 for an expanded review of the Highway 1 corridor by project consultants MMM Group.
Council also authorized an amended transportation master plan funding agreement with the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure to address a previous funding shortfall.
Director of Engineering Mac Forster said the expanded study will look at ways to accommodate pedestrians and traffic along the Highway 1 corridor, including the service roads, in a safe and efficient manner.
“Once we receive the master transportation plan, there may be a need to investigate some of these recommendations a bit further but it does provide a very valuable addition to the original plan,” he mentioned.
The consultants have already started with the additional work. As a result, the final draft of the transportation master plan will be delayed with a month or two. Forster expected to receive the report in late October or early November.
The City has been successful in obtaining additional funding from the Ministry of Highways for the shortfall on the study. Under the Urban Highway Connector Program Framework Agreement, the Ministry will fund 75 per cent of the cost of a transportation master plan. Based on estimated costs, the Ministry originally provided $75,000 towards the study.
That resulted in a shortfall, as the selected proposal for the preparation of the plan was $149,200. The province did not have additional funding available in 2011, but the City authorized MMM Group to continue with the study.
The City discussed the previous funding shortfall with the province and the Ministry agreed to fund 75 per cent of the original study and the expanded portion on pedestrian safety. The Ministry will therefore be responsible for $140,384 of the total project cost of $187,178.
Temporary sign bylaw
The City intends to create a separate bylaw to regulate the erection of temporary signs for activities such as garage sales, open houses, community events, election signs and other short-term activities.
The decision is a result of the ongoing review of the City's current zoning bylaw, which indicated the current inclusion of temporary signs under the zoning bylaw is not appropriate.
“There seems to be a confusion between what is permanent and what is temporary and it’s pretty easy to separate the two by removing it from zoning,” Forster said.
The purpose of the zoning bylaw is to control the use and development of land within City boundaries. The short-term nature of temporary signs mean it does not fit naturally under the zoning bylaw.
The proposed temporary sign bylaw will clearly define the different types and usage of such signs as well as permit requirements and fees. Portable permit signs will increase from $25 to $50 and there will be a new $25 fee for inflatable signs. Community event signage will require a permit, but there will be no fee.
During the council’s upcoming process to consider the proposed new bylaw there will be an opportunity for public input during a public hearing.
RCMP report on crime trends
Staff Sgt. Al MacDonell highlighted crime trends in Swift Current during his presentation on the community policing report for the month of August.
There has been a significant increase in the category for other Criminal Code offences, which he said is mainly due to a greater number of disturbance and breach of peace calls. The number of reported incidents under this category were 372 for the year to date until end of August, compared to 280 for the same period last year.
There has been a reduction in sexual offences from 16 for the year to date compared to 25 in the same period of 2011 and 20 in 2010.
Under the category for robberies, extortion and harassment there was a drop in incidents with 81 reported cases so far this year compared to 118 in 2011 and 147 in 2010. MacDonell said most incidents under this category are harassment threats.
There has also been a drop in the number of assault cases, with 108 reported to date in 2012 compared to 136 for the same period in 2011 and 130 in 2010.
The RCMP had no real difficulties during Frontier Days and the August street dance, which are the two major events they deal with every year.
“We had additional resources on for those activities over the last two or three years and it seems to have worked really well for us,” he said. “We had no real major problems that have come out of those two events.”
(Note: for a complete list of those running in any of the civic election races: check for the latest news. We will have full coverage in next week’s paper.)

Read 2411 times Last modified on Friday, 21 September 2012 10:59