TransCanada declines water, accepts sewer

The Baker City Council convened Sept. 19 for their regular bi-monthly meeting.

Posted September 28, 2012

By Lisa Kilsdonk

The Baker City Council convened Sept. 19 for their regular bi-monthly meeting. Far from business as usual, the meeting included a disappointing surprise, a difficult decision, and an announcement of a new hire for the city.

In a letter that arrived the day of the meeting, TransCanada withdrew from its previously stated intentions to help fund the drilling of an additional water well, building of a storage tank and installation of a water line to the man camp slated to begin operation in the spring of 2013.

Mayor Hornung admitted the letter came as a surprise and stated his calls prior to the evening’s meeting had not been returned. The letter indicated the cost of the proposed infrastructure projects were prohibitive and indicated they would be using another alternative for supplying the camp with water, but they wanted to go forward with the city handling their sewer.

The City and TransCanada representatives are still communicating and may come up with a different alternative. Further communication after the meeting did establish the company’s intention to haul water to the man camp. A conference call was scheduled for the following week.

The first item on the agenda under old business was a zoning permit application by Kelly Gillan/Jackson Village to place ten modular cabins on a single lot between the liquor store and the coffee/gift shop. The topic garnered public comment as well as much discussion among the council members.

Concerns mentioned include residences being discouraged in the commercial zone, according to the  Baker Municipal Code 17.12.040(2), worsening the already poor parking availability in the downtown business district, alley access, snow removal and disposal, maintenance and repair issues for the adjacent buildings where trapped debris and moisture damage the older buildings, but leave the outer walls inaccessible for masonry repair.

Gillan did not attend the meeting, but informed Mayor Hornung he had already made his views clear at the previous City Council meeting. The Council voted unanimously to deny the permit.

Working their way through the agenda, Mayor Hornung announced that Michael Reddick of Belgrade will take the helm October 8, 2012, as Baker’s new chief of police.