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SARM in brief

Grain bag disposal, wild boar elimination and the health of first responders were all issues brought to the forefront at last week’s Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities annual convention.

Eric Gray from the RM of Indian Head raised the grain bag issue, saying too few farmers practise diligence and proper disposal.

“It seems to me, as a custom sprayer applicator, it works really well what they do with the chemical totes,” he said, pointing out that a similar system could work for grain bags.

Chemical retailers charge deposits, sometimes as much as $500, on the totes, Gray said.

He moved a resolution asking SARM to lobby the province to require retailers to charge a deposit at the point of sale, which would be refunded when the used bag is returned for disposal.

The resolution passed, but not without opposition. One delegate said taking grain bags that aren’t completely empty into towns and villages for disposal could cause problems.

“We’ll have rats galore,” he warned.

Delegates also repeated support for a resolution from the 2015 mid-term convention that the environment ministry allow municipalities to operate incinerators.

John Wagner from the RM of Piapot said he tried to work with provincial officials.

“It’s an incinerator, not a nuclear reactor for crying out loud,” he said to laughter from the crowd. “Frankly, I think we could do a reactor more easily.”

Morgan Powell from the RM of Miry Creek agreed, saying the regulations are onerous and expensive.

If delegates have their way, it will be open season on wild boar. They agreed to a resolution from the RM of Pleasantdale that wild boars be declared a nuisance and that the environment ministry allow an open hunting season.

But one RM representative said wild boar are clever and eradicating them in winter, with aircraft combined with people on the ground, is the only way to control them.

The RM of Eldon wants help for volunteers who respond to accidents and then suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. The spokesperson said fire departments and first responders invest money in new equipment and training.

“But you can’t train for memories, the sights and sounds and smells,” he said, adding the dismembered bodies, screams and smell of blood don’t go away easily.

Delegates voted 92 percent in favour of lobbying the province for a program that ensures treatment for volunteer personnel suffering from PTSD.

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