August 26 RID board meeting highlights

Highlights of the meeting of the Board of Directors of the Raymond Irrigation District held Monday, August 26, 2019 commencing at 11:30 AM in the RID Board Room.

Attending: John McKee Chairman, Craig Palmer Vice Chair, Rod Wendorff director, Gordon ZoBell, General Manager and recording clerk, Mark Jensen Operations Manager and Kelvin Kado as needed. Cody Heggie was on holiday.

IRP Project Update – Mark reported that some leveling and grass seeding has taken place on the IRP 2341 project this past month. He noted that a new additional culvert will be installed under the town of Raymond water line in the coulee channel soon. The manager noted that all easements have been procured for the R8-1, 2019 project. The fittings and pipe have also been ordered. Turnouts will be fabricated in the RID welding shop beginning soon.

Monthly Maintenance report – Mark gave a verbal report of the operations and maintenance performed over the past month.

Irrican Power – Solar Arrays (power generation), going forward with 40 mile, (SMRID) Bow Island 12 and Yellow lake. Projects to be financed and completed by ENMAX. ICPC board meeting August 20, attended by Rod, Gordon and Kelvin, report by Gordon and Rod. Financial information: 2019 income to July 31 is slightly lower than July 2018 due to lower generation numbers, but is still considered to be good. Hedging contracts are proving to be a good decision with a projected income benefit of $500,000.00. REC sales should also generate and additional $500,000.00 over last year.

RID Financial – by Kelvin Kado – RID Assessment was mailed out August 15, thanks to the maintenance staff, it was completed and ready for mail in 1.5 hours. RID newsletter, the response to provide contact info has been slow, but the insert with the assessment is bringing the update personal information. From our last meeting, our committee has met with the Seely brothers (Solar Seeker) about solar generation for R7-1, R8-2 and the building. I have met with another company Western Solar out of Coaldale as well. They have provided quotes for similar size systems. The Western Solar quote is less and includes a service contract for 3 years. I will contact both companies letting them know of our decision to start moving forward with Western Solar. Due to the lightning strike in July we were starting to have issues with our telephone system. Connect Communications from Lethbridge advised we replace the system, since it is about 20 years old. They gave a quote for a refurbished and a new system. $1649 and $2699 we decided to go with the refurbished system. On motion by John McKee the board agreed to proceed forward with more detailed information using Western Solar, carried.

RID Employment – The manager noted that Lee Robson began employment with the RID August 1, 2019. He is being trained by Phil Wilde who will retire Dec 31, 2019. Mark Jensen made formal notice that he intends to officially retire on July 8, 2020. Brian Rarick’s position will end December 31, 2020 under a working notice. Gordon ZoBell will retire in December 2020. A new manager will be hired in the fall of 2020. The board determined that they will consider what to do with the Welling area ditch rider position after the Provincial budget is made available for 2019.

Directors Items – John McKee noted that the water right value seems to be strengthening each year and that in some parts of the USA water is equal to or even exceeding the price of land.

August 20, 2019 – Irrican and main Canal meetings – Due to harvest John McKee assigned Rod Wendorff to attend these meetings along with the manager. It was noted that there is a considerable cost needed to upgrade the soft ware and computer programming at all the hydro plants. It could cost in the order of 3 million dollars. Management is working toward this upgrade and will keep the directors in the loop for approvals. The Main canal costs are just below 4 dollars per acre due mostly to required maintenance of drops and turnouts between Ridge and Horsefly. Drop 3 located at the Welling area main canal turnout will receive major reconstruction this coming winter. Volker Stefan will complete the work. Rod also reported that the RID manager made a strong rebuttal at the meeting with regard to consideration of all 3 districts sharing in main canal costs beyond Horsefly. The RID board is not in favor of this and Rod noted in the meeting that RID wishes to see favorable numbers and benefits to RID that would sell this concept to us. To date we cannot see a benefit.

CPR Right of Way – Gordon noted that a group of landowners along the R/W between Stirling and Raymond want very badly to purchase the abandoned rail line in that location. They have requested that the RID be the local authority that the R/W could be transferred to. The RID could then transfer the R/W to the adjacent landowners. The group met in the evening at the RID office on August 6, 2019. The RID board is in agreement with this process and on motion by Craig Palmer gave approval to proceed. Carried.

Aug 15 water measurement meeting – Gordon noted that he had attended a meeting that discussed a new computer model being developed that is hoped will be far more accurate and useful that existing models. It is hoped that the group developing the model will look at the southern tributaries as well as the current Bow system. Gordon noted that the model looks promising.

Stirling proposed wind site – Gordon noted that a large wind site is being developed east of the Village of Stirling. The site does not encroach on irrigated lands or district works. The turbines are very large and will develop over 4 MW per unit.

County of Lethbridge – The county is looking to develop and intermunicipal plan with adjoining counties. An RID representative was at the Stirling meeting and noted this should not be a concern for the RID.

Stirling Lake Michelson Marsh – The manager noted that there has not been a new agreement to convey water through the works of the RID completed since the old 30-year agreement ended in 2017. The marsh has now dried up. Ducks Unlimited personnel have been in contact with the RID but no progress to date. There was discussion on the amount that should be charged to convey water to the marsh but no final decision was made by the RID board.

Next meeting date – Proposed September 25, 2019, to be held at the RID board room.

Motion to adjourn and time meeting ended – Having no further business the board ended the meeting at 3:10 PM on motion by John McKee