Local briefs – March 6

Red Deer motorists could have a least a year of reprieve before the city looks at creating an anti-idling bylaw.

Anti-idling bylaw studied

Red Deer motorists could have a least a year of reprieve before the city looks at creating an anti-idling bylaw.

Last year, the city adopted an anti-idling policy for its own vehicles, saving 76,628 litres in fuel consumption for a cost savings of $72,338 over the year, says a report by Environmental Services Department staff.

With the policy for city vehicles now in place, council is also exploring creation of a bylaw that would restrict the length of time motorists could let their vehicles idle.

In the meantime, a public education program has been underway to help show drivers the merits of cutting back on idling time.

The Environmental Advisory Committee has reviewed the proposal for a new bylaw, including a look at research showing that many drivers have misconceptions about the need to idle their vehicles, says the staff report.

Following its review, the committee has recommended that the city continue with its public education program for another year and then look at creating a bylaw in 2011.

City council will review the recommendation during its regular meeting on Monday.

Ticket red tape could end

Time and money could be saved if the City of Red Deer were to issue tickets rather than summon offenders to court for violating its Land Use Bylaw, says a report to be reviewed by city council on Monday.

City planning and bylaws staff have found that the Land Use Bylaw includes a number of areas in which there are no specific penalties prescribed for violations. Examples include building fences that exceed the allowed height, failure to meet landscaping requirements and outdoor storage in commercial districts.

In those instances, a bylaw officer must deliver a summons to the offender. Legal documents must be drawn up and the city lawyer and bylaw officer must appear in court to state the city’s case, all at a significant cost to taxpayers.

Staff reviewing the bylaw have recommended that the city create a voluntary ticket regime in which the offender has the option of paying the fine rather than going through with court proceedings.

A bylaw amendment has been suggested, with a fine regime of $250 for a first offence, $500 for a second offence and $750 for third and subsequent offences.

Council will consider first reading of the bylaw amendment during its regular meeting.

Murder hearing set

A Hobbema man charged with murder will have a preliminary hearing on Oct. 18 in Wetaskiwin provincial court.

In April 2009, RCMP were called to a residence on the Samson townsite to investigate a report about an injured man.

Jeffrey Abram Dennehy, 21, of Hobbema, was transported to hospital, where he was declared dead.

Treston Eurice Buffalo, 22, is charged with second degree murder.

A preliminary hearing determines if there is enough evidence to warrant the accused stand trial in Queen’s Bench.

Power outage investigated

A power outage n Thursday morning affected both residents and businesses in the Bower area between Bower Place Shopping Centre and 19th Street.

Power was out between 10:50 a.m. to about noon after two underground cable fuses failed behind Earl’s Restaurant.

“It couldn’t have happened at a worse time, just before noon and the rush to the restaurants and the mall,” said Brent McCabe, general foreman with the city’s Electric Light and Power Department.

Many of the businesses at Bower mall lost power and some traffic signals along Gaetz Avenue were also out.

Some businesses along the west side of Gaetz Avenue also lost power for about 15 minutes while electricity was being restored.

On Friday, McCabe said an investigation is still underway into exactly what went wrong. But a few small issues probably combined to cause the outage.

“Those fuses were installed for overload purpose. According to all the calculations we’ve made, there wasn’t enough current running through those fuses at that time to have them fail.”

The city is always working on upgrading its system to look at ways to prevent power problems. But outages can still happen, he said.

Fraud sentencing awaits man

A sentencing date is expected to be set in early April for a man facing fraud charges in relation to more than $200,000.

Rodney Crabtree, 38, will return to court on April 1 to set a sentencing date on at least three fraud charges and other fraud-related charges from Edmonton and Ottawa.

Court heard at least two charges from Ottawa have yet to be waived in for expected guilty pleas.

Crabtree has been in custody since his arrest in late November in Red Deer.

The Red Deer charges were laid following a seven-month investigation by Red Deer RCMP.

The RCMP fraud unit began their investigation after alleged fraudulent dealings by an employee of a business. The business involved is meat distribution. Police allege that a man falsified invoices, contracts and other business documentation.

Terroco fined $78,750

A Red Deer company has pleaded guilty to not complying with transportation safety in Medicine Hat provincial court.

On Feb. 19, Terroco Industries Ltd. of Red Deer was fined a total of $78,750.

Charges included inappropriate transportation of methanol, flammable and corrosive liquids, and unclassified liquid or gas in highway tankers on the road near Medicine Hat.

The goods were transported between Dec. 4, 2007, and Feb. 27, 2008.

Charges were laid under Alberta’s Dangerous Goods Transportation and Handling Act.