|Municipal population||Project duration||Grant amount|
|1,494||November 2017–October 2018||$34,800|
A desire to exercise greater control over its future inspired the Rural Municipality of Frenchman Butte No. 501 to move ahead with asset management. Nestled along the Alberta border and covering nearly 2,000 square kilometres of Saskatchewan, Frenchman Butte is home to approximately 1,500 people. Although agriculture is a mainstay of the economy, the oil-and-gas industry is increasingly important and several companies operate facilities in Frenchman Butte.
“The industry has been great for the community,” says Rita Rogers, Frenchman Butte’s chief administrative officer. “More and more young people choose to stay and take advantage of employment opportunities, for instance, and property taxes from the industry account for more than 90 percent of municipal revenues. One of the downsides, though, is that many heavy trucks drive on our roads, increasing our maintenance costs.”
We need to designate heavy-haul roads and design maintenance policies based on current information about road conditions and traffic patterns.”
– Rita Rogers, Frenchman Butte’s chief administrative officer
Rita Rogers is well versed in the planning challenges faced by rural municipalities. She worked for several of them — including Frenchman Butte — as a contractor before starting her current job in 2017, and also served on the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) sub-committee on asset management.
“To plan effectively, a municipality needs a sound understanding of the infrastructure they own, the condition it’s in and how it’s likely to be affected by future development,” she says. In 2017, Frenchman Butte launched a multi-stage initiative focused on asset management. A grant from the Municipal Asset Management Program, administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, enabled Frenchman Butte to start training its Reeve, six Councillors and a staff of eight people.
“Training helps everyone come to a shared understanding of our goals and how to achieve them,” says Rita Rogers. “It will also help us to develop and update plans for asset management and capital expenditures.” MAMP funding also enabled Frenchman Butte to draft an initial strategic plan, which is now before council. In the meantime, the rural municipality continues to meet regularly with representatives of adjacent jurisdictions to ensure that transportation networks remain effective. A working group meets quarterly to provide updates on new and anticipated developments.