As we approach fall, I hope everyone has had the opportunity to relish the outdoors this past summer before the bitter return of winter hits.
The conclusion of the anticipated Cornfest weekend was a highly successful and well-attended event. It is truly heartening to witness the community coming together to celebrate our region and its exceptional qualities as a place to reside, work, and raise families. Following the conclusion of Cornfest, a noticeable autumn chill fills the air, a familiar marker of the changing seasons. This year is no exception, as everyone is engaged in the initiation of the harvest and the gathering of crops into storage bins.
In the irrigated zones of our municipality, the crops are flourishing, surpassing even the average yield. Conversely, for those in the dryland regions, the crop yields have been disappointingly low—some as meagre as 25% of the usual output. The prevailing weather patterns echo the nature of our locale, characterized as a desert. The irrigation reservoirs stand nearly empty, rivers flow at minimal levels, the grasslands have turned brown, and the dire need for moisture is evident. Throughout my tenure, I have observed cycles of arid years and periods of abundant rainfall, yet I must honestly admit that this is the driest spell I have ever witnessed within our area.
A warm congratulations is extended to Mr. Bryce Surina, assuming the position of Director of Community Services. With 22 years of experience in the MD, where he previously served as the Director of Information Technology and GIS, Bryce brings extensive knowledge of our municipality to his new role. This expanded responsibility for Bryce encompasses oversight of Regional Enforcement Services, Regional Fire Services, Lands, Planning and Development, and our Economic Development initiatives.
Over the past year, both Council and administration have convened numerous workshops to deliberate on the Land Use Bylaw and strategise changes that would advance development within the MD. Guided by our planning advisor, Bonnie Brunner, and in partnership with the Oldman River Regional Services Commission, the rewriting of the Bylaw has been entrusted. Following this process, Council and the administration will present the revised document for public consultations, which are anticipated to transpire across the municipality in 2024.
The construction of the Horsefly Emergency Spillway has progressed steadfastly throughout the summer months. Commuters on Highway 36 north of Taber may have encountered minor delays as DeGraaf Excavating executed the installation of cement culverts along the highway segment. The comprehensive endeavour took approximately six weeks to complete, with any associated delays on either side of the project being relatively negligible. The construction will persist, and Range Road 16-5 to the north of Taber will be temporarily closed during the installation of the cement culverts at that crossing. We sincerely appreciate everyone's cooperation and understanding during the course of this project.
On June 20th, Council convened with the residents of Grassy Lake for an engaging Coffee with Council session. This well-attended event provided an invaluable opportunity to connect with the community and gather insights into their concerns. We eagerly anticipate similar interactions in our other Hamlets throughout the upcoming year. Please visit our website at mdtaber.ab.ca/p/coffee-council for information regarding upcoming Coffee with Council gatherings. Join us for coffee, doughnuts, and the chance to share your perspectives, both positive and areas needing improvement.
Highlighting another noteworthy event, the first-ever Taber's Table showcased locally grown food products, local producers, and the talented chefs who masterfully transformed these ingredients into delectable dishes. We extend our gratitude to the Joint Economic Development Committee for their sponsorship of this event.
Council has conducted the initial review of the 2024 Capital Budget, outlining the proposed projects and allocations. The Enchant Residential Subdivision, comprising 36 new lots, is now completed, awaiting final billing to determine the lot prices. Furthermore, our budget accommodates the progression of the new Grassy Lake Residential Subdivision, introducing 46 additional lots. Our commitment to improving road conditions continues through activities such as gravel recovery and shoulder maintenance. Addressing the road edges and enhancing drainage mechanisms will yield long-term benefits, saving time and resources in future road rehabilitation endeavours. Within the Capital Budget proposal, provisions have been made for essential equipment acquisitions to support the maintenance, grading, and upkeep of roads. In the upcoming weeks, we will undertake the initial assessment of the proposed operating budget, engaging in deliberations and adjustments as necessary.
As we navigate through the fall season, I extend my wishes for a safe return to school, a successful harvest, and a continued emphasis on safety for all.