By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
The Town of Picture Butte will be stepping up their weed maintenance for some parking areas in town.
During their regular July 12 meeting, Picture Butte town council reviewed a request regarding weeds and road maintenance.
On some streets in town, such as on Crescent Avenue, there are parking areas off the road next to the sidewalk and usually a concrete drainage swale. Some of these areas have become weedridden.
While historically, the town has contracted a company to spray the parade route prior to Jamboree Days, administration is seeking further policy direction over the maintenance of the parking areas.
Two choices were presented to council. One was the town could treat the parking areas the same as sidewalks and require property owners to maintain the area in front of their properties, similar to them being required to remove snow from sidewalks. While the town would not incur costs maintaining these areas, this decision may not be ‘politically popular,’ according to the report, and there will need to be more bylaw enforcement of these areas.
The alternative is the town could budget to maintain these parking areas, with an estimated cost to have all of these parking areas sprayed in town being roughly $600. Administration recommended council gives direction to create a policy stating these areas will be sprayed for weeds twice a year, given the low cost associated with it.
Mayor Cathy Moore said she had received multiple phone calls on this issue, and she believed it was the town’s responsibility to get rid of the weeds, as it was the town’s property. Coun. Henry de Kok felt the ‘opposite.’
“Just as everybody has their boulevard in front of their sidewalk, if you’re responsible to take care of it, (then) you’re responsible to take care of your sidewalk. When I have weeds growing in the crack between the seams of my sidewalk, by my sidewalk, then I take care of it,” said de Kok.
CAO Keith Davis said the notion is in regards to weeds that grow between the sidewalk and the drainage swale, and this area was like other parking areas in town.
De Kok noted the cost wasn’t ‘astronomical,’ but if he lived at those properties the weeds wouldn’t be there. Moore said while the people living there weren’t maintaining it, she reiterated those areas are the town’s property. Coun. Cynthia Papworth said she had also heard from people about it.
“My concerns are I’ve got phone calls from property owners that do maintain their property, and have nice looking (areas). And then you’ve got people who don’t maintain their property, and you have this that is growing on the town’s property that goes to seed, and the winds that we have, the seed blows and it blows into the property owners that do maintain it, and they’re having problems trying to keep the weeds out of their yards,” said Moore. “We hire somebody to spray weeds, we sign the cheque every month, why not hire him to go spray those weeds?”
“I think we need to take care of our roads. We’re trying to do ‘Picture Butte, Picture Perfect’ — you drive down the street and see that? That is not picture perfect.”
Coun. Joe Watson said he was ‘inclined’ to say the town should spray the weeds.
Davis said the quote of $600 was just for the current problem areas between the sidewalk and swale around town.
De Kok said while he could see spraying the pad and swale, he was against spraying the crack along the sidewalks. He added it would “open a can of worms for the whole entire town,” as the town would need to be prepared to do the entire town, and not just those problem areas. When other members of council argued it would then not get done, he countered with “that’s what bylaw is for.”
When questioned, Davis said the contractor bills per hour for weed spraying, which Chad Parsons, director of Operations for the town, confirmed. Parsons also noted while spraying for the weeds in the problem areas would take a day, doing enforcement would likely be non-consistent and take a lot longer than a day to accomplish.
Council passed a motion to direct administration to create a policy for the maintenance of parking areas within the town that outlines the town’s responsibilities and service levels, and to spray the areas for weeds twice a year, once before Jamboree Days and once prior when required, and presently, to also take care of these problem areas in town.