Municipality of Rhineland officials have penciled in several priority discussion points to bring up at the 2021 budget and planning session at the end of the year.
Up first is the implementation of a framework for sustainable energy consumption created by Eco-West at the end of 2019. The report includes five recommendations for waste reduction strategies and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the municipality.
The goals include managing waste per household and sustainable water supply, as well as creating environmental awareness. Reeve Don Wiebe noted Council also needs to conduct a bigger analysis on reducing energy use in municipal buildings like community centres and recreation facilities.
"One of the things Federation of Canadian Municipalities is solar panels, but we're not quite sure what impact that would make...we certainly have to do more homework as to what makes sense here," explained Wiebe. For example, he says more information is needed as to how this technology would work with geothermal techniques already in place at arenas in order to save energy during ice-making.
Also up for further discussion is reducing the municipality's dependence on fossil fuels.
Meantime, Council will also decide how to move forward on sewer installation for the ag park north of Altona.
Officials have accepted a final report outlining a series of options that include building a common septic field, installing low-pressure sewer that would pump into the Altona lagoon or a combination of the two. Another suggestion would be a full gravity sewer complete with a lift station and a force main.
"What we will want to get our heads around is what can go in, because it's never going to suitable for a high water use industry there, but we do want to get a feel from our economic development officials and some of the businesses that are already there, what do they see could happen going forward?"
Also being decided at the annual planning session will be the future of the fire hall in Plum Coulee.
Not only is the current facility too small for present and future needs, but it sits on the same lot as a water pump house which is considered a 'non-conforming use'. However, with a replacement pump station being built at a different spot and due for completion this fall, Wiebe says Council will weigh whether to update the existing station or relocate it to a renovated property elsewhere in the community. Both options are estimated to cost around $700,000. Council will need to decide whether to increase contributions to the reserve fund in order to cover the cost.