Weyburn council rejects petition against COVID measures

A petition asking the City of Weyburn to prohibit all COVID-19 restrictions or lockdowns was rejected by city council at their meeting on Monday evening, as the petition did not meet the legal requirements to be considered by council.

The petition had 145 names on it, far short of the requirement for 10 per cent of the city’s electorate (around 900 names), and it also didn’t include the required information to make a petition valid, said city clerk Donette Richter.

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It was submitted by Corie Ryan, and requested that city council pass a bylaw that would prohibit any restrictive laws made by the provincial health authorities.

The petition asked “for Weyburn city council to pass a public safety bylaw that prohibits COVID restrictions and mandatory distancing, mandatory masking, mandatory quarantines, mandatory vaccines and forced closing of businesses.”

As Richter explained, the provincial Cities Act provides authority for eligible electors to petition council on any matter within the jurisdiction of city council.

Besides not having enough names, this petition also did not include the residential address of the petitioners, to prove they are residents of the city; there were no witness signatures, and the date the first signature was collected was not included.

The city clerk also pointed out that city council cannot pass a bylaw that contravenes a provincial public health order under the Public Health Act.

• In other council business, council was provided with the building and demolition permit report for October.

The report showed the City of Weyburn issued five building permits in the month, worth a total value of $108,000, to bring the year-to-date to 47 building permits with a total construction value of $8,588,000.

Year-to-date, the City has also processed six applications for the Weyburn Builds program for exterior renovations and additions, and issued a total of $5,085 in grants for these projects.

• The Weyburn Fire Department’s monthly report showed the fire fighters had 22 calls for service in October, including 15 calls for service in the city and seven rural calls.

The city calls included five automatic fire alarm activations, one animal rescue, three structure fires, a motor vehicle collision, two illegal burns, one industrial accident and one barbecue fire.

The rural calls included two automatic fire alarm activations, three grass or field fires, one hazardous material release, and one controlled burn check-out.

The paid on-call fire fighters had six training sessions with a total of 228 hours, and career staff had a total of 62 training hours.

• The City’s tender for the landfill gate attendant contract for the next three years was awarded to the Commissionaires South Saskatchewan Division.

The contract is good for 2021, 2022 and 2023, and the Commissionaires have only put in small increases each year. In 2021, their hourly rate for this service is $20.50, increasing to $20.71 in 2022, and to $20.92 in 2023. Their bid was the lowest of three tender bids.

• The City is moving to the next step of tax enforcement on five properties. These property owners have received their six-month notice and have not paid their outstanding taxes, so the next step is to send a letter to the Provincial Mediation Board asking for consent of title on the properties.

The Provincial Mediation Board will then make contact with the property owners to make payment arrangement, and if the property owner fails to make payments, the board will then grant permission for consent of title to the City.

The properties have the following respective amounts owing: $3,907.99; $5,391.69; $2,294.94; $5,957.72; and $210,323.77, for a total amount owing of $227,876.11.