Change coming, mayor says

After a rough end to the year, Hay River’s Town Council is planning on making the most of the upcoming year.
Various issues arose towards the end of December, all of which Mayor Kelly Schofield is planning to have resolved before 2012 arrives.
This month, mayor and council are planning to meet with residents of Paradise Valley in order to discuss the annexation issue they raised before Christmas.

The Town will also hold discussions with the Corridor Ratepayer’s Association in hopes of rectifying the situation.
“It has been 21 years as of this year, so we want to resolve things,” said Schofield. “We didn’t start this, but we want to resolve it.”
There will also be several reworked bylaws, including the new outdoor wood boiler bylaw which was in the works before the Christmas break, the fire prevention bylaw and the animal control bylaw.
Bylaw officer Dave Ryan has been tasked by the Town to find areas that are deemed appropriate for dogs to run off leash, as the bylaw currently states that all dogs must be on leashes at all times within the Town.
“He is going to find a few sites and come to the next council meeting with a few ideas,” said Schofield.
Further consultations and planning will be made for the proposed recreation centre, including a new idea that the Town is looking at – artificial ice.
“We are toying with the idea of synthetic ice,” said Schofield.
The concept is a mock ice surface created from a plexiglass-like substance covered in a liquid surface enhancement that could be used as a year-round ice surface. Schofield said that the maintenance is decreased in comparison to a real ice surface, and has a life span of 20 years; 10 on each side. He also added the estimated cost for the surface would be at around half a million dollars.
Discussions around the new fire hall and town hall buildings will continue with a potential groundbreaking towards the end of the year.
Discussions over Northland Utilities will be wrapping up this year as well.
The Town will be conducting an operational review this year, which Schofield said is only to make sure the administration is running smoothly.
“We aren’t looking to axe anyone,” he said.
“We just want to make sure that people are properly trained, and in the right jobs.”
But one of the biggest tasks facing Council after their rocky end to the new year is the communication factor, which several residents accused the Council of lacking.
“We are going to focus on communication issues,” said Schofield. “We are already looking at putting in a computer kiosk and information booth at the recreation centre.”
He said that the recreation centre is a more accessed location to have the information, making it more public to the town.
“Hopefully that will help clear up any communication shortfalls that we may have.”