Administration

History

As was the case with most Municipalities, The Estevan R.. M. No. 5 was formed in 1911. Prior to this date, records indicate that as far back as 1898, some form of government was functioning.

Early available records indicate that on March 15, 1898, the first attempt was made to form a local government. The original area included Estevan and surrounding districts and was called the Statute Labour District No. 140. The meeting was held in Estevan in a school house. P. C. Duncan was elected Chairman. Some citizens attending were H. King, R. Perry, Mr. Pratt, A. Kelly, H. Yardley and Dr. Scott.

This form of government lasted until August 2, 1904. To reorganize, an organizational meeting of the Council for Local Improvement District I D 2, took place at Kelly's store in Estevan. Those attending were Arthur Kelly for Township 2, Range 8, R. Burlinguette for Township 2, Range 7, F. Andrist for Township 1, Range 8, C. A. Banka for Township 1, Range 7. R. Burlinguette was elected Chairman, W. J. Hobbs was hired as Secretary-Treasurer-Assessor at a salary of $100.00 per year.

The fall of 1904 must have been a good one as the books show that $350.00 was paid for road work done by farmers.

In December of that year a vote of thanks was extended to A. Kelly for furnishing the room for holding council meetings free of charge.

Councillors for the L.I.D. - I.D.2. period include the following: F. Durick, A. Kelly, F. Andrist, R. Burlinguette. J. K. Palmer, Mr. Stensland, L. B. Summers, G. Pawson, W. D. Chase and J. Berdahl.

Meanwhile. the representatives of L.I.D. 2E2, consisting of Township 3, Range 10, Township 4, Range 10, Township 3, Range 9, and Township 4, Range 9 were holding meetings in Macoun. The first meeting took place on April 3, 1905 in the office of the Macoun Security Co. James Vance was the first councillor, also Chairman, for Township 3, Range 9.

L.I.D. No. 1. E. 2 included Townships 1, Range 9 and Townships 2, Range 9 with Sam Heggen and Ole Haukeness as Councillors. These three L. I.D.'s carried on until 1909, when on March 1st, a joint meeting was held to form a Municipality.

On January 3, 1910, all divisions that had formerly been part of the L.I.D's formed a new nine Township Municipality.

Those elected to office were the following:
Division 1 - Henry Schlapkohl
Division 2 - John Palmer
Division 3 - Ole Haukeness
E. Rooney was Chairman - H. N. Scott was Secretary-Treasurer.
Division 4 - E. Rooney
Division 5 - James Murphy
Division 6 - J. Sundahl

The final meeting of the joint L. I. D.'s was held on November 5, 1910. By now taxes were up to $8.00 per quarter section. During the last few years of the L.I.D. Government a few changes began to take place. The road work day was reduced from ten to eight hours. The first grader was bought on March 31, 1906. Further road machinery was purchased, drag scrapers at $7,25 each and wheel scrapers at $51.00 each. Road overseers were also weed inspectors.

In 1908, each Township received $100.00 for road work. Farmers were paid $30.00 an acre for land used for road building. Gophers were a problem. To remedy the situation, the government supplied poison.

In 1910, a 'social option' by-law was passed prohibiting the sale of liquor in L.I.D. No. 5.

The first meeting of the newly formed Rural Municipality of Estevan No. 5 was held in Mr. H. N. Scott's office in Estevan. On Tuesday, January 10, 1911 Mr. Scott was hired as Secretary-Treasurer. He furnished the office and gave full time service for $1,200.00 per year.

During this year the council decided to join the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities and passed a by-law regulating the running at large of livestock, purchased a grader for $250.00 and passed a resolution asking for a Court Centre in Estevan.

In 1912, the secretary's salary was reduced to $1,100.00 a year. Taxes were set at 5 cents an acre. A Medical Health Officer was appointed. Because the Reeve had missed three consecutive meetings his seat was declared vacant and a new Reeve was elected on July 2nd. For two consecutive years grants of $300.00 with a final one of $500.00 were given to the Agricultural Society, providing gambling was discontinued on the fair grounds. A by-law was passed in respect of nuisances on roads with penalties of $100.00 fine or 30 days in jail for failure to remove same on request of council. It was decided that land would be assessed at its cash value exclusive of any additional value resulting from improvements. This system began in 1914. The assessment was $4,536,937.00 subject to appeals.

In 1915 the Reeve was paid $4.00 and Councillors $3.00 per day for attending meetings. The total not to exceed $15.00 a year. Constables were appointed in each Division. A star and hand cuffs were supplied to each.

Each Division was allowed $1,850.00 for road construction in 1916. The new Secretary's salary was again reduced to $900.00 a year and a tax rate of 3 mills was set.

In 1917 a ten week agriculture course was given at the Collegiate. A patriotic tax to help with the war effort of 1½ mills was added to the mill rate.

In 1918, the Council borrowed $50,000.00 to purchase seed grain. A reception committee was appointed to welcome the returning soldiers.

Farmers were advised to grow rye to control soil drifting and wild oats.

1919 brought the fourth consecutive crop failure. Grasshopper poison was being handed out as the infestation was serious.

In 1920, property was purchased in Block 44, opposite the Post Office, for Municipal Office. The assessment for the year was $4,020,057.00 with the tax rate of 6½ mills.

In 1921 R.M. delegates attending conventions were allowed $25.00 in expense money.

In 1922, the Secretary's salary was once again raised to $1,800.00 a year and the following year the Council sent a resolution to the S.A.R.M. Convention favoring the formation of a proposed Wheat Board. Each Division was allowed $1,250.00 for road work and a maintainer was purchased for $190.00. By-law 48 stated that dance halls and places of amusement could not be open to the public after 11:00 P.M. Two months later that motion was amended to midnight.

The tax rate was 4 mills with an assessment for 1923 of $3,565,635.00

The South Eastern Saskatchewan Rural Municipal Association held its first meeting on February 19, 1925 in Estevan. The same year Woodlawn Park was operated jointly by the R. M. and Town.

Bounties paid up to July of this year totalled:
9 wolves and 270 cubs - $697.50
13,360 gopher tails - $400.80

In 1926, $500.00 was given to the War Memorial Fund.

The tax rate was set at 4½ mills. The annual meeting that year lasted over a week-end, from Saturday to Monday.

Road appropriations for 1927 were $2,500.00 for each Division with a tax rate of 6 mills, and the hail rate of 14 cents an acre. A Purebred sire area and an Anti T.B.. restricted area was established.

In 1928, the R. M. purchased a Holt 60 Caterpillar tractor and a 12 foot grader for $9,200.00. Road building now cost $103.00 a mile. The next year an elevating grader was purchased for $2,425.00.

In 1930, the policy of loaning seed grain to farmers was discontinued. Construction began on Highway 39. Contract was let for a new office at $4,650.00. This was a year of crop failure with wheat averaging 4½ bushels per acre, barley 6 bushels and oats a complete failure.

A District Agriculture Representative was appointed by the Province. A relief work camp was set up south of Estevan and the District was designated as a drought area to qualify for free freight on feed grains.

The final cost of the completed office, lots and vault was $5,419.70.

1931 was a disaster year, with many applications for relief feed and seed. Tax rate was reduced to 4 mills and a special meeting was held with school districts to discuss financing of schools. Seed oats sold at the elevator for 20 cents a bushel.

In 1932, the Secretary's salary was $75.00 a month. Fodder and feed were shipped in. There was no road construction during the year and tax rates went down to 3½ mills. No ratepayers attended the annual meeting and all councillors were returned by acclamation.

Maximum salary for any teacher within the Municipality was not to exceed $500.00 per year.

Grasshoppers added to the drought and poison was given out by governments.

The Secretary's pay in 1934 was $100.00 a month and he was to pay his own help. Food and fodder were given out for relief. The estimated expenditure for 1934 was $75,793.00 with the revenue $22,627.00. The Auditor was paid $75.00.

In 1935, a new Secretary was hired for $1,000.00 a year.

During these bad years, almost every resident in the, R. M. was on relief. Council administered everything under the direction of a Relief Officer appointed by the Federal Government.

In 1936, seed and supplies required an expenditure of 36,499.00.

In 1937, the government shipped out surplus cattle due to lack of feed. Hay was brought in from Manitoba, without any freight charges.

In 1938, the Council borrowed $85,000.00 to meet relief needs.

On September 3, 1939, Canada declared war on Germany and the list of relief recipients was reduced rapidly.

The largest direct relief expenditure was made in 1939, when $75,144.71 was paid out. The greatest outlay was for seed grain in 1938 which amounted to $81,014.53.

The 1940's saw a C.C.F. government elected which brought about some administrative changes. The Hospitalization Act came into effect. Health Regions were formed and larger School Units were introduced.

Doctor F. M. Gray was appointed "Purebred sire" area enforcement officer and a grant was designated to the Legion Memorial Hall Building Fund.

During the 1950's, Farm Electrification became general in the R.M. and the Hamlet of Hitchcock.

There was an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the Province, which halted all livestock shipments. The Estevan R.M. was not in the quarantine area but those ratepayers along the United States border will remember the American Armed Patrols who had orders to shoot any animal unlucky enough to stray across the border from Canada.

Leafy Spurge, a noxious weed made its appearance in the R.M. and joint measures were being taken by the Agriculture Representative, Councillors and farmers to control it.

A coyote and fox control program was being carried out jointly by the Department of Natural Resources and Council. Alfred Schlapkohl was hired to handle the placing of baits.

The year 1954 saw further improvements in the R.M. A new Secretary was hired; the mill rate increased to 15 mills.

Two acres of land was purchased on the S.E. 28-2-8 for a machine shed site. The Estevan Regional Nursing Home occupies that spot now.

During 1955 work was started on the machine shed. On May 2nd the first T.B. survey was conducted for the R. M. and Town. On December 7th the first meeting was held to set up Creighton Lodge. (Senior Citizen's Home.)

In 1960 the Municipality bought a new Caterpillor tractor, the herd law was being revised and grid road policy became effective. Wayland Vaughn was named supervisor for Weed Unit No. 1. The Cornmunity planning became law. Local Vet. Doctor George Taffe was to organize a Bangs testing program. Prosperity was evident as an oil well was being drilled on Sec. 23-1-7-W2. A petition was being circulated to find out if farmers were in favor of crop insurance. A plebiscite was to be held to see who was in favor of the larger county system.

In 1961, Norman Abood was appointed Welfare Officer and Constable to enforce by-laws. Grid road tenders were let for Sec. 27-28-29-30-3-8-W2. A bylaw to control dogs in park areas was being prepared. Grasshoppers were again making an appearance and poison was being stocked. Ag. Rep. Carmen Cooke was warning the R. M. of danger in Dieldrin poison in pastures. A meeting of neighbouring Municipalities and City took place to establish a Regional Park in Estevan. .

Ag. Rep. C. Cooke asked that a survey be made of feed requirements in the R.M. There was a local shortage of all grains. Estimated yields were set at nil for P.EA.A. for all Townships.

A planning district by-law was passed and the R.M. was looking into the possibility of providing Community wells.

Big Butte Separate School District was established on November 22, 1961.

In 1962, a meeting was called to discuss proposed County Boundaries. A Regional Library was being discussed. R. M. sponsored a coyote control program with Alfred Schlapkohl again acting as control officer. In December, a new Adams Model 666 grader was purchased at a cost of $24,729.60.

In March, 1964, the R.M. purchased a new D..7.E. caterpillar for $34,300.00. and a scraper for $6,550.00. Budget for that year was set at $144,431.00. The sale of Dieldrin was discontinued and plans were being made to build an Animal Hospital. In October of that year the R.M. decided to place a walking bridge across the Souris River in the Regional Park as a Centennial project.

In December the R. M. applied for a bridge to be built on Short Creek N. 11-1-7-W2.

In 1965 the golf course was included in the Regional Park. Council decided to participate in the Regional Nursing Home project. The first attempt was made to salt stabilize S.P.C. road to the Power Plant. End of year saw Nat Davidson's tender to build grid road in Townships I and 2 accepted. The Fish and Game League were proposing a resort area on Boundary Lake.

In 1966, the Provincial Government took over the administration of Social Welfare. The R. M. decided to sponsor a picnic for R.M. residents to celebrate Centennial in 1967.

In 1967 Ron Galloway and Manford Drader were selected by Council for "Master Farm Family" nominations.

Because of the sudden death of Councillor R. J. Dukart, an election had to be held in Division 4. In September of that year, the R. M. patrol was involved in an accident with a train on a railway crossing. The patrol suffered extensive damage but operator, Jim Marsh, escaped injury.

In 1968, the fact that a closed herd law was to be in effect the year round was causing a lot of controversy between grain farmers and cattlemen. Plans were being made to set up Boundary Resort Area but the R.M. refused to take over operation of same. A new Hospital tax was to come into effect. Prior to that time, the R.M. had made yearly grants to St. Joseph's Hospital. Nick Mikroulis was the Vet in Estevan.

In 1969 Councillors were allowed $100.00 expense money to attend S. A. R. M. Convention. Taxes were increased to 26 mills which included 2 mill Hospital Tax. Doctor Rennie and Walter Panteluk were asking for an airplane landing strip near Bienfait. The previous year the Flying Farmers had requested one at Noonan Port of Entry, south of Estevan.

The 1970 budget was set at $138,000.00 Floods in river area were causing much damage. The R.M. was looking at a possibility of clearing river channel of trees and debris. A new bridge was to be constructedS.W.11-2-8 and a grantof $600.00was made to Regional Park. A location for a new Cattle Auction Ring was being discussed.

In 1971, Leo Seipp, member at large for R.M. was named chairman of Creighton Lodge Board. Work was proceeding on the clearing of Souris River Channel. Grants of $1,000.00 by Prairie Nurseries Ltd. and from the city were helping to defray costs. The R. M. assigned all their grant money for "Home Coming Saskatchewan" towards a Kinsmen project which was to be a recreation centre. The amount was $2,442.00. Aerial surveys were ordered because of damage done by beavers plugging up culverts in Roche Percee area and causing roads to wash out. Clarence Jahn was hired to blow up beaver dams with dynamite. Engineering service rates were up to $600.00 per mile and Pat Gerwing was the new Ag. Rep. for the district. Clearing of river channel was continuing. Blacktopping was to start on grid roads. Work was starting on a bridge N.E. 25-1-7 (Langen's) at a cost of $16,500. 00. R. M. granted Nursing Home $700.00 to furnish a room.

Federal Vet. Doctor Morris was warning residents of Weyburn and Estevan districts of danger due to rabies. Major predator control measures were being taken.

Efforts were made by the Government Agency to collect junked vehicles and a fire protection agreement was reached with the City. Hitchcock was to have a large cistern built for water reserves. N. J. Cossette was weed control man for R.M.

Floods were again a serious problem. Plans were made for a joint Canada Week Celebration with the city.

Starving deer were causing problems on Prairie Nursery and Estevan Greenhouse property. R.M. joined South-East Regional Library.

After serving continuously as Reeve for 26 years, Everett Murphy resigned. It is worth noting that while he held office as Reeve, he also served on the executive of the S.A.R.M., first as a Director, then Vice-President and President. It is also to his credit that during all that time, he only missed one full meeting with his R.M. Council.

In 1975 there was again the threat of a flood. A grant of $1,500.00 was made to the Lions Club for a building for the 60 and Over Club.

The R.M. joined the South-East Road Ambulance Association.

Serious floods again occurred all through the Municipality. In 1976, $11,727.00 was paid in dislocation grants by government. Farmers had much of their land flooded. Arthur Muma resigned as full time Secretary and his wife Thelma resigned as Assistant. Both had served the R. M. since 1954. Secretary Dave Jenkins assumed the position with A. Muma as assistant.

In 1977, Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation received a grant of $4,073.50 for the construction of a Public Shooting Range.

The next year the N. D. P. Government introduced a revenue sharing policy. The Estevan planning commission was revising its by-law regarding the size of small properties. Municipal mill rate was set at 36 mills for the year. Long time employees of the R. M., Jim Marsh, retired after working for some thirty years. A new grader was purchased from a Caterpillor Company for $100,000.00. The 1979 budget was set at $207,550.00 with a mill rate of 37 mills. Flooding of river area was again causing problems for the R.M. Due to changes in provincial policies ratepayers were left to foot a bill of $26,000.00 for work done in flood area. Snow removal costs for the hard winter of 1978-79 were $14,550.00. The Council passed a by-law for the control of rats in the municipality.

A special meeting was held to discuss further closing of roads by Saskatchewan Power Corporation. This brings up to date a resume of the most significant events that happened over the past 75 years. It can certainly be classed as a period of progress covering the change from cow trails to airplane landing strips and from dirt roads to a system of grids and paved super grids.

 

The above excerpt was taken from A Tale That is Told History Book (1890 - 1980) which are available at the R.M. of Estevan office located at #1,322-4th Street