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M.D. of Taber council examines road bans and overall ban policy

Posted on April 9, 2020 by Vauxhall Advance

By Cole Parkinson
Vauxhall Advance

As warmer temperatures venture into the Municipal District of Taber, administration and council have been looking at implementing road bans.

During council’s regular meeting on March 24, they discussed placing road bans as well as continuing talks around the Road Ban Policy which had been brought forward at their last policy meeting on March 11.

“Maybe we should be circulating (the policy) to some of the users of our exemption policy, if that’s what you want to call it,” stated Coun. John Turcato. “Allow them to have a look at it and see how it functions before we pass it just to ensure we aren’t missing anything because there is lots of time when you get to implementation and you’ve missed something. I don’t think there is a panic for it, we already have a policy in place, so I was wondering if we shouldn’t circulate it.”

He also said they could look at distributing the policy to local ag producers such as feedlots, seed cleaning plants, et cetera.

“There are a multitude who use this and in scenarios we may not have thought of,” continued Turcato.

While no major additions were made to the policy, one change made should make it easier for road users looking for permits.

“We talked about this at the policy meeting. At that time, I wasn’t aware of the exemption permit so some of the feedback from the policy meeting was to make the exemption permit a little more user friendly,” said Stu Weber, director of public works. “I went through it with some of the suggestions that came up at the policy meeting and I feel like we made it more user friendly. The policy itself is in good shape, we really didn’t need to make any changes. My recommendation is we go live with it and take feedback as we’re using it and then we can adjust and change it.”

“Maybe we ask for feedback on how easy it is to use. It may be a good suggestion so people know we aren’t fixed on the process and will amend if we need to,” added Turcato.
Administration was on board with receiving feedback from the users.

“If people want to recommend changes, I’d be open to that. As far as, contacting everybody and getting from out ahead of time, I’d just have them fill out the form per usual,” said Weber.

One concern from council was around users who would need permits on the weekend.

With no one in the office to process permits on Saturdays and Sunday, Weber explained the best process for ag producers would be to fill the permits out during the week and execute them when needed.

“If they put in their notification for their permit, my goal who requires the permit will acquire it up front. When they need the permit they would just email us to notify us their intention. As far as processing permits on the weekend, we won’t have availability to do that,” stated Weber.

“Maybe when we roll this out, maybe we should be encouraging anyone who may be needing a permit to get them ahead of time so that should it be on the weekend when they need to implement it, they can do that,” added Turcato.

Turcato also explained his desire to see it advertised in as many places as possible so everyone knows they would need to acquire permits during regular business hours.

“As long as we give people information and different avenues to receive it, there should be no reason not to be able to get their permits for the weekend.”

As far as road bans, Weber had a date in mind for when he would like to see them placed.

“I sent Arlos (Crofts, CAO) an email yesterday and I am recommending we place road bans (March 30). It will be 90 per cent on all gravels and 75 per cent on hard surface roads. We will watch the forecast and it looks like it is supposed to warm up nicely but I think (March 30) is the day to put them on.”

Weber also stated they had already discussed using measures at their disposal to notify the public of road bans.

“That was my intention to go out on social media and I do have an email list to notify these bans are coming on. Another thing we will be using is SCAR notifications. I would like to use that as one of our main notification tools for road bans.”

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