Mayor Marcel Roy was questioned on issues ranging from traffic concerns to the city’s proposed fieldhouse facility to be built alongside the new elementary school, as he spoke to the Weyburn Rotary Club on Thursday at the Legion Hall.
He began by informing the club that he was chosen as the provincial chair of the police governance board, and noted that Canada is unique in the world as one of the few countries that have civilian oversight boards for their police forces.
“We don’t run the daily operation, but we govern how we’d like the police force to move out,” said Mayor Roy.
He noted a coming change that should help out is that criminal record checks will soon be possible on the police force’s website rather than having people come in person to the police station to do it.
Speaking on the plans for the community fieldhouse facility, the mayor noted the city has gone to tender for their part of the project, and expects the tender bids will be back by January for council to look at.
“The community centre is very exciting,” said the mayor, noting it will have a half-size FIFA indoor soccer field, batting cages, a large climbing wall, and an upstairs walking track along with other features such as an art gallery.
“It will be a wonderful complex. Hopefully it will all go through. We’ll see what the bids say when they come back,” said Mayor Roy, noting a facility like this will draw in people from a wide radius around Weyburn.
He felt that combining this facility with the new elementary school, both to be built on the former site of the Weyburn Junior High school, will save the city a lot of money as Cornerstone and the City will share the services of the architects and the contractors. If everything goes through for the project, construction should start by February or March.
The mayor noted the City was able to get Government Road reopened to traffic after having a seal put on it for the winter, and it will be paved properly next spring.
“There are a lot of other projects we’re looking at,” said Mayor Roy. “We really do feel grateful for your support behind the city council. We hope you like the new lights down here (in the downtown area). We’re looking at maybe upgrading some of the Christmas lights for next year.”
He added council is looking forward to next year, although admitted the budget for 2019 will be a tight one, given the finances from the province.
In opening up the session to questions, he was asked by club member Pat May about the school zones being in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the suggestion that it would be sufficient for them to be in place during the school year, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekday.
Mayor Roy said council will take another look at the bylaw after the budget is done for 2019, and suggested in the meantime, anyone who has comments on the speed zone restrictions should send an email to the city engineer at City Hall.
He said he agreed with the opinion that school zones don’t need to be in place 24 hours a day.
Club member Mal Barber noted that the school zones have changed traffic patterns, as motorists make sure they avoid having to drive through the zones by cutting through residential side streets.
Club president Deana Mainil commented that she’s been enjoying being able to turn left at the downtown intersection, at Third Street and Souris Avenue.
Mayor Roy commented that they want to try it out to see how well it works, as the ban on left turns was brought in when it was busier downtown, such as before the current location of Canadian Tire was built.
In respect to traffic problems, the mayor said the one area where the City has no control are the train crossings, and this may get worse as there may be more trains passing through on the CP line.
“I’d really like to see an overpass,” said Mayor Roy. “Transport Canada says there are grants available for that.”
He pointed out that the South Hill area is cut off from crucial services like fire and ambulance when there are trains going through.
Noting that user groups have had difficulties in using the Cugnet Centre, after all the community groups and individuals put funding into it, Brenda King asked if the new community centre will be run differently.
Mayor Roy said a major difference is that the City will be owner of the fieldhouse complex, where the Cugnet Centre is owned by Cornerstone as a part of the Comp School.