At their regular meeting on Jan. 23, Town of Virden Council reviewed information provided to Fort La Bosse School Division by Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure (MTI) to assist in determining the feasibility and need for crosswalks and/or improved signs at Cemetery Rd. and PR 257, on PR 257 at the Virden Collegiate and at the corner of 9th Ave. and King St. W.
The email referred to a traffic flow and pedestrian study conducted from Sept. 18 to 21, 2023 which yielded, during its highest seven hours, an average of 2.6 pedestrians per hour crossing PR 257 at Cemetery Rd. As a result, MTI had no concerns and recommended no changes because a crosswalk, without sidewalks on both sides of the roadway as required, would increase the danger level. Coun. Travis Penner requested that any motion passed by council clarify that a crosswalk will not be put in at this location until such time as the sidewalks are extended.
During the discussion, Coun. Bruce Dunning took issue with the province’s rationale.
“I’m just not convinced of the logic that says it would be more dangerous to have some sort of control than to have no control,” he said. “I appreciate that (lack of sidewalks) but kids are walking on non-sidewalks now and running to beat the traffic that’s coming in at 90 klicks an hour rather than the 50 it should be at. As a council representative, I have great concern for that intersection as well. I just want council to be aware that we’re not going to resolve it tonight, but I feel it is part of our responsibility to investigate until we’re comfortable that is a safe intersection.”
Meanwhile, at 9th Ave. and King St. W., where sidewalks are in place a moveable pylon-style sign, which would be placed in the centre of the intersection by crossing guards and staff at the Virden Junior High School to attract motorists’ attention, was initially suggested as an option. However, such signs were thought of as an added obstacle in an already busy intersection and putting them out a risky exercise for those responsible.
Council decided to purchase flashing crosswalk signs, to be installed at 9th Ave. and King St. W., from Airmaster Signs of Winnipeg at an estimated cost of $7,500 plus applicable taxes. Fort La Bosse will be requested to share in the costs. The other areas will be investigated further.
“I agree with this 100 per cent but I also have great concerns about (PR) 257 and kids crossing that highway,” said Dunning. “I know the obstacles we run into, but I don’t think we should let it go. I think we should continue to push for a solution there.”
The Town will enter into a three-year agreement with Cummins Canada Sales & Service for the annual inspection and servicing of the emergency backup power systems at the water treatment plant, sewage treatment plant, two sewage lift stations, two water well locations and Tundra Oil & Gas Place (arena and fire pump). The work will cost $15,455.55 per year plus applicable taxes.
SUMMER ICE RATE
The 2024 summer ice rental rate at Tundra Oil & Gas Place has been set at $210 per hour plus GST, an increase of $10 per hour from 2023.
RECREATION MANITOBA CONFERENCE
Approval was given for up to two councillors to attend the Connect 2024 – Recreation Manitoba Conference, which will be held March 13 to 15 at the Hockey For All Centre in Winnipeg.
RURAL MANITOBA WORKFORCE SUMMIT
Any interested members of council were authorized to attend the Rural Manitoba Workforce Summit being hosted by the Rural Manitoba Immigrant Employment Council on Feb. 22 in Virden.
RURAL STRATEGIC INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING
The Town has received a funding allocation of $239,060.65 from the Province of Manitoba Rural Strategic Infrastructure Program. A report had to be filed by Jan. 19 indicating what the money will be used for and if any has been spent to date. Council decided to designate the dollars towards the Wallace District Fire Dept. Stn. 1 expansion and renovation project.
Council approved the distribution of the remaining Prairie West Recreation (PWR) funds between the Town and the RM of Wallace-Woodworth based on their previous contributions. The Town will receive 55.5% and the RM will receive 44.5%. PWR was dissolved as of December 31, 2021.
SKATE VIRDEN SEMINAR
The Town will provide a $250 sponsorship to the Skate Virden seminar with Elvis Stojko and Gladys Orozco being held Feb 24 & 25 at Tundra Oil & Gas Place. Stojko is an Olympic medalist and world champion, while Orozco was an international competitive skater.
MGRA NOMINATIONS & AWARDS
Accommodation and awards banquet tickets will be provided to any current or future winners of the annual Manitoba Good Roads Association Best Home Grounds Competition who are nominated by the Town.
NEW TOGP SCORE CLOCK
Council approved the purchase of an LED score clock for the Tundra Oil & Gas Place arena from Display Development Group at a total cost of $185,540 plus GST. Installation charges and IT services will boost the total amount to an estimated $205,000. The bulk of the funding will be provided by user groups, with the Town’s contribution not exceeding $75,000.
FEB. MEETING DATES
There will be only one regular council meeting during the month, on Feb. 6.
TAX SALE YEAR
Council adopted 2022 as the designated tax sale year, which will apply to properties with municipal taxes in arrears from that year or prior.
EMO LOCAL AUTHORITY WORKSHOPS
All members of council were authorized to attend the Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) Local Authority Workshops, with location and date to be determined.
BRANDON WIS LETTER OF SUPPORT
The Town will provide a Letter of Support to Westman Immigrant Services (WIS) in Brandon to accompany their response to the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada call for proposals for settlement and resettlement assistance programs and Service Delivery Improvement Theme 2 supporting newcomer attraction and retention in small and medium population centres.
Administration was authorized to obtain a second Town of Virden VISA account for ongoing payments and charges where a copy of the card is required.
(From our last Council report, “Council lends support to Aud seating upgrade”).
“During the discussion (Dec. 19 Town of Virden Council Meeting), Coun. Marc Savy cautioned that the municipality may need to budget as much as $250,000 for policing over the next year and that there is little room for reductions” left the incorrect impression that the Town’s budget for policing is only $250,000 per year. Savy clarified that that dollar figure is on top of the regular budgeted amount and the total spent on policing is estimated to be as much as $850,000 for the next year. The Empire-Advance apologizes for the error. (Jan. 5 issue, p. 2)