Residents of Muenster gathered for a “town hall meeting” on the future of its development. A robust crowd listened and asked questions about key topics like roads, infrastructure maintenance, water drainage and other key matters. The meeting, hosted by Muenster Village Council and staff, was held at the Community Hall on Monday, May 8.
Mayor Scott Davis provided an overview of the discussion’s scope. Village residents were presented with a well-planned and documented package of possibilities that sought to address some of the community’s current and future challenges.
On the top of everyone’s minds was the condition of roads and dust suppression. Over the years, a variety of products have been used to keep dust at bay on village streets, with varying degrees of success and longevity. Petroleum based products like DL-10 have a longer lifespan and have held up well on key thoroughfares like Railway Avenue. The expense and availability of crews to apply it have had the Council looking for alternatives. The latest foray into topping materials was the use of a product composed of recycled shingles. Unfortunately, a year down the road, the application has not met with success.
The chance to do some strategic planning put the wheels in motion to explore more permanent, albeit costly, solutions. Part of the motivation for the planning has to do with the potential for community development attached to the BHP Jansen Project.
“They want to get up and running,” said Mayor Scott Davis. “They want to make sure for housing what’s available in communities like Humboldt and Muenster, so there is lots of potential for us to build here.”
Before the roads can be addressed, it’s a matter of ensuring that the water and sewer infrastructure is sound. Many of the inground lines are at a fifty year usage mark in a life-span that could range as much as a hundred years. The other factor is the size of the water conduits in relation to the new demand. Consulting engineer from Catterall and Wright, Carolyn Wright, was on hand to explain.
“The water mains in the street are 50 millimeters through almost the entire town,” Wright outlined. “Typical residential size now would be 150 millimetres, so they are slightly undersized. Replacing them would be an opportunity to increase the size and the level of service and pressure.”
Consensus was that following inspection, the lines would be in sufficiently good shape to look at rolling the dice on street improvements, particularly along the two main access roads.
Current council gave their predecessors credit in providing for future projects by salting away a percentage value of infrastructure expenses for future projects. In spite of that, major road rebuilds and surfacing is a costly venture. Even with grants and reserves, taxpayers would be on the hook to an extent.
“For a project that costs $300,000, when you do the math on that, if that cost was spread back into the town that would add about $1500 to everybody’s taxes,” explained Councillor Jim Wassermann. “That’s the reason you see us experimenting with things like asphalt shingles which are a fraction of the cost.”
With any potential residential expansion and road improvements come considerations around water drainage. The Village remains committed to finding solutions for its surface drainage routes including improving channeling, diverting out of town water and changing culvert heights with road improvements.
Residents got an overview of what the village could look like down the road with a dedicated six-year road project that would see College Avenue, the Rangeline Road and other key streets in Muenster improved. Community members also talked about the potential annexation of RM land for a future residential development.
With a clear plan and outline of possibilities, Muenster and its Council is undoubtedly prepared for growth and to meet any challenges for its current and future residents.