In August 2021 Council officially adopted the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, which will guide planning, initiatives, and operations over the next five years. Council and administration will regularly monitor the plan, track, and report progress annually. This process will ensure the Town can make adjustments to accommodate change, challenges and new opportunities that arise.
A key component to the Strategic Planning process was community engagement. In April 2021 a survey was conducted that enabled residents to share their thoughts about their municipal government, the services provided to them, and the future of our community. Over 150 online survey responses were collected which translates to approximately 76% of households, which is an astounding result. The priorities identified in the Strategic Plan were built from this invaluable feedback. A summary of the survey data is available for review.
Through the strategic plan survey, we noticed some trends and a need for additional information to be shared with our residents. Please see below for details. If you have questions or concerns please feel free to contact the office or a member of Council.
Did You Know
Many residents in town expressed their desire to see our roads paved. In 2014 the Town received an estimate of $2.25 million to pave roughly 3km of roads (there are more than 5km of roads in town). Before committing to paving, we need to ensure that our drainage infrastructure is improved. It would be irresponsible for any municipality to invest in pavement prior to completing storm drainage flows. When run off permeates the soft surface on the shoulder or below the thin membrane on the roads it causes ground shifting which results in wash boarding, potholes, sloughing, etc. These drainage runs need to meet not only our current needs and our future needs, but also the Water Security Agency (WSA) requirements for the 1 in 100 year storm scenario.
While we continue to investigate long term improvements, Town staff have worked hard to improve our dust suppression and road surfaces. Our roads have come a long way since 2014. For a full history read our Road Work Evolution.
It is important to note that the Town does not own all of the roads within our boundaries. The portion of Railway Avenue from Wilfred Street east to Range Road 2212 is owned by the Ministry of Highways and falls under their jurisdiction for maintenance and repairs. This also means that any roads that intersect with that portion of Railway, must meet the Ministry’s approach, line of sight, and safety standards.
We recognize that drainage in town needs improvement. Annually, staff are tasked with focusing on specific local problem areas. Sometimes this work takes just a couple of days and other times it requires working with engineers to ensure proposed improvements fall in line with WSA standards and won’t cause issue further downstream. In 2017\2018 the Town had an engineering drainage study done. All storm water in Town is meant to flow north to Cottonwood Creek. Based on the study, it was determined that the Town only had a few inches of elevation changes from our southern boundary to our northern boundary. The flat land creates unique challenges for managing runoff. With the WSA requirements for a 1 in 100 year storm scenario, the Town would be required to build a drainage channel from Town all the way to Cottonwood Creek. The drainage study estimated it would cost just under $1 million to complete the channel and Town drainage improvements. However, in late 2018, Council decided to stop as the price of the work associated with the drainage was more than anticipated. For now, council continues to focus on problem areas within the town while staff continue with regular drainage maintenance.
Drainage continues to be a priority for Council, and we continue to explore other options and funding opportunities to allow us to complete the project identified in the 2017\2018 study.
Each year, Council approves the municipal budget to determine how much revenue is required to support and provide services. From this amount, grants and other sources of revenue other than property tax are subtracted. The difference determines the amount of revenue the municipality must collect from property tax each year.
The Town currently applies a uniform mill rate and base tax to all properties. The base tax ensures there is an equal tax distribution among all properties for shared services like road maintenance, policing, etc. The mill rate is applied to the taxable assessed value of each property. For more information read our Assessment and Taxation.
Unlike other municipalities that may have paved roads or other services, Grand Coulee has no commercial property tax revenue and no development opportunities to help fund those improvements.
While our annual financial statements show a healthy surplus it is important to understand that this does not equal cash in bank. A municipality’s surplus includes the value of all tangible capital assets (infrastructure, buildings, equipment, etc.).
Each year, Council works hard to operate close to a break even budget and has policies in place to ensure we only plan for a 1% surplus to help fund reserves for future capital investments. All of these decisions are made with property taxes in mind. Council is proud to have lowered our mill rate from 5.65 to 3.0 since 2016.
Water & Sewer Rates
The Town’s current water and sewer rates can be found in our Water Rates bylaw on our Bylaws page.
Let’s start with an explanation of the charges you see on your bill each month:
- Water: This is based on water consumption and is calculated using the variable rate set in our bylaw.
- Water Base Fee: The base fee was brought in to offset the high cost of water charged to the Town for our water supply.
- Sewer: This is based on water consumption and is calculated using the variable rate set in our bylaw.
- Sewer Debt Fee: This represents the monthly cost to repay the long-term debt that was used to upgrade our sewer in 2011\2012. This fee will be removed after 2022 when the debt is paid off, reducing everyone’s bill by $25 per month.
- W\S Inf. Fee: The infrastructure fee is in place to fund reserves in order to plan for future replacement costs for our water and sewer infrastructure.
As per legislation and the Saskatchewan Municipal Board, the water and sewer budget is required to be self-sustaining. All water and sewer user charges are used to cover the expenses needed to maintain our water and sewer systems. These expenses include the cost of water, materials and labour needed to maintain our systems, repairs, etc. Our 2021 water rate was $30 per 1000 imperial gallons (or roughly $6.599 per m3) and our sewer rate was $7.50 per 1000 imperial gallons (or $1.6497 per m3).
The Town has an agreement through SaskWater to purchase water from the Buffalo Pound water supply. SaskWater in turn has an agreement with Regina for bulk water. As a result we are charged:
- SaskWater Quality Control and Transmission Rate of $1.7158 per m3 (2021 rates)
- City of Regina Bulk Water Charge of $3.7210 per m3 (2021 rates)
As you can see the Regina surcharge makes up the majority of our water costs.
We are always looking for ways to reduce costs to our residents while maintaining our water supply quality and capacity.
Council is open to and encourages responsible growth. Our Official Community Plan (OCP), originally adopted circa 2012, is designed to assist decision makers in securing the future and current goals of Grand Coulee while ensuring that development takes place in an orderly manner, balancing the environmental, social, physical and economic needs of the community while maintaining the small town atmosphere that is a cornerstone of living here.
As part of the OCP, the Town has a created a Future Land Use map that shows potential future residential, commercial\business, and industrial spaces.
The primary roadblock the Town faces with growth is a lack of developer interest. Nearly all of the vacant land within our boundaries, including farm land, is owned by developers, CP Rail, etc. Unless Council is presented with a development proposal, no new growth will occur. We continue to build and maintain positive relationships and open lines of communication with developers in order to encourage growth.
Grand Coulee falls under the jurisdiction of the White Butte RCMP Detachment. If you witness any suspicious activity or are the victim of a crime, even if you are unable to identify the perpetrators, it is important to call the White Butte Detachment to report the incident. The RCMP review these reports frequently and schedule their patrols based on evolving trends. For non-emergencies call 306-781-5050.A member of Council also represents the Town at the monthly RCMP stakeholder meetings. These meetings allow the members to speak directly to the RCMP regarding their communities’ concerns, as well as hear updates directly from the officers responsible for our region. If you have any questions or concerns for the RCMP, let us know and we can take them to these meetings.
- Provincial Protection and Response Team (PRT)
In addition to being under RCMP jurisdiction, Grand Coulee also benefits from the PRT. The PRTs goal is to reduce rural crime by improving police response to emergency calls, enhancing uniform visibility and presence, increasing the enforcement of drug trafficking, and enhancing the safety of roads by reducing the number of serious collisions and fatalities. The PRT is made up of the Saskatchewan Highway Patrol, Conservation Officers, RCMP, and a number of municipal police services including Regina and Moose Jaw.
There are a number bylaws in place regarding junked vehicles, yard appearance, animal control, etc. Bylaws can be found on our Bylaws page. Bylaws are enforced both on a complaint basis and by Bylaw Enforcement Officers when touring town. Through the Municipalities Act, Bylaw Enforcement Officers may, after making reasonable efforts to notify the owner or occupant of the land or building to be entered to carry out an inspection:
– Enter that land or building at any reasonable time, and carry out the inspection authorized or required by bylaw;
– Request that anything be produced to assist in the inspection; and
– Make copies of anything related to the inspection.If you have a specific concern with a property in Town, it is recommended that residents attempt to resolve issues amicably between neighbours before contacting the Town to register a complaint. If a resolution cannot be reached and you wish to register a formal complaint, the written complaint must be submitted to the Town Office at firstname.lastname@example.org; or Town of Grand Coulee, Box 72, Site 200, Grand Coulee, SK S4P 2Z2.All complaints are kept anonymous.It is important to note that not all matters are regulated by bylaws, some may be regulated by Provincial or Federal acts and enforced by other authorities. An example is any moving traffic violation (including automobiles, ATVs, snowmobiles, etc.), those are enforced by the RCMP.
- Street Lights
The installation\construction and monthly power costs are the responsibility of the Town. Sask Power is responsible for all maintenance to the streetlights including broken or burned out bulbs. To report an issue with a street light visit www.saskpower.com/Services/Report-Trouble/Report-Streetlight-Troubles.
Over the years, our Councils have worked hard to ensure residents enjoy a strong, healthy and active lifestyle and a high quality of living. One of our goals is to provide a broad spectrum of sports, recreation and cultural opportunities. We pride ourselves on working cooperatively with neighbouring municipalities, community based organizations, and the private sector to deliver a complimentary range of recreational services and amenities.
The Town boasts three parks:
- Community Park Greenspace located next to the school on Assiniboia Ave. near Blair St. The park includes an outdoor rink which is designed to be used as an ice rink in winter and a concrete sports pad in summer; skate shack complete with restrooms, warming station, and canteen; multi-purpose sports field; picnic tables; and bleachers.
- Meadow Park located at the west end of Railway Ave. near Samantha St. The park includes a newer play structure, benches, and a covered gazebo space with picnic tables.
- Memorial\Centennial Park located at the intersection of Railway Ave. and Wilfred St. The park includes a monument to honor military personnel from our community who bravely served our nation, benches, picnic tables, and swing set.
The Town is always exploring new ways to incorporate more recreational and cultural opportunities for our residents. Council is proud that recent recreational additions have been funded entirely through grants and donations. The Town has a concept plan to complete the Community Park Greenspace that includes landscaping\xeriscaping, possible sun shelter and walking paths. While nothing it set in stone, these projects will happen in phases and only when funding is available for them.
- Walking Paths
From the strategic plan survey comments, a number of residents felt strongly about the Town adding walking paths throughout the community. While we agree this is an appealing idea, the Town is restricted on location due to lack of available land. Most vacant land within our boundaries is owned by CP Rail, Developers, etc.
As mentioned above, there is a possibility of including a walking path\track in the future at the Community Park Greenspace near the school.
- Recreation Board
Many current and future recreation opportunities are provided by the Grand Coulee and District Recreation Board (GCRB). The GCRB is responsible for the co-ordination, supervision and development of the recreational and cultural programs of the Town of Grand Coulee and the surrounding area. Made up entirely of passionate volunteers, the Board provides and supports a variety of activities and events for the entire community to enjoy including the annual Harvest Hoe Down, Babysitting courses, movie nights, and much more!The Rec. Board is always open to new ideas, suggestions, and initiatives and is often busy exploring ways to incorporate new programs into our existing spaces and amenities. You don’t need to be a member of the board to coordinate a new activity or to volunteer to help. You can submit your ideas, add your name to the list of volunteers, or ask questions by contacting the Board at email@example.com or 306-533-5587.In an effort to help keep the public informed, the Town has also published the Rec. Boards Facebook feed to our website. You do not need to be a social media\Facebook user to be able to see this information. Events provided or sponsored by the Recreation Board will be listed there.
Many residents expressed a desire for town beautification like additional trees or flowers on street lights. While Council appreciates having more greenery throughout town, we are limited due to a number of factors, including:
- Limited space: We are unable to plant trees along road sides due to narrow easements, proximity to underground utilities, and a lack of town owned property. For example, the land south of Railway Avenue is either owned by CP Rail or not in the Town boundaries and we are unable to authorize tree planting in that area.
- Limited human resources: To install hanging baskets on street lamps in town would be beautiful but would also require staff operated equipment to mount them, water them, remove them, etc.
There is also a local resident driven committee working towards creating a Community Garden space. Contact Wade Sali at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Recently, staff were able to secure 50 free poplar seedlings. The trees were planted north of the recreational field and around Meadow Park to hopefully grow into a mature shelter belt. The trees are watered frequently when the stale fire truck water is changed out.
Council and staff continue to explore opportunities for beautification. In early 2021, Council created the Beautification Committee which is made up of 2 councillors and 3 members of the community. The committee’s mission is to pursue beautification initiatives that enhance quality of life, foster civic pride and promote the Town of Grand Coulee. If you are interested in being considered a volunteer, or have an idea you would like to share, feel free to speak to any member of Council or email the office to have your idea passed on to the committee.
Grand Coulee is part of the Prairie Valley School Division #208 (PVSD). The Stewart Nicks School services students from K – 8. While the Town is responsible for collecting and remitting the Education Property Taxes, we have no control over PVSD decisions.
Please contact PVSD for a list of high schools that students may choose from for grades 9 – 12 or to submit any questions about the school system at 306-949-3366 or email@example.com.