Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Trail Net Fiasco

You've probably heard by now that the proposed trail between Beiseker and Irricana was turned down by the County.  Many were shocked and amazed by this decision.  I wasn't.  The rejection goes to actions taken back in history and Trail Net is going to have to do some major damage control before projects like this will proceed.

About a hundred years ago the farmers in this area wanted a rail line to ship their grain to market.  To that end many of them almost gave a piece of their land to the CPR to build their track on.  The deal was that they would provide land for the CPR right-of-way and the railway would provide train service to Calgary basically forever.  Forever wasn't as long as those farm families thought it would be!

The CPR abandoned the rail line and gave the land to the trail people to build a trail across the prairie.  This was done as many municipalities and individuals were in the middle of negotiations to take the land back from the railway and return it to its original use!

Farm families who expected to be able to get back this strip of land which their ancestors had almost donated to the railway instead found a public pathway running through their fields!  This has led to some very hard feelings between the trail folks and their farmer neighbours.  One group of farm families actually buried a car in protest after the car manufacturing company donated cash to help establish the trails.

In some parts of this great country, abandoned railways have indeed been turned into excellent trails and pathways and some day that may happen here.  But before that happens here, the trail folks have to become aware of the past history and make a plan to overcome these hard feelings. Downloading the problem to the locals isn't the answer.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Main Street

Phase One of our Main Street rehabilitation project has begun!  We began on the North side of the street and will have that side pretty well finished before we go onto the south side. If the rain ever lets up the project will go full out.  The barriers will be up for the Beiseker Country Fair but the Parade will go down Main Street as it always has.  We'll be asking those watching the Parade not to park their vehicles in that first block of Main Street.  Folks are most welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets down and set up along that block to watch the parade.  If you really want to watch the parade from your car, you'll have to park further along the parade route.

And here's a big tip of the old hat to all those merchants along Main Street who have to put up with all this construction.  Thank you so much for your patience and know that we will still be visiting your place of business during the construction!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Fire Department!

As most of you know, Beiseker Village Council is negotiating with Rocky View County to take over fire services within the village.

At one time in our past the Village of Beiseker was part of NERVFA, or the North East Rocky View Fire Association.  The association was formed in the very early 1970s to provide fire protection to the village and the surrounding area which had very minimal fire services up to then.  A number of years after that, in a spat over control, Beiseker withdrew from NERVFA and went on its own.

I contended then and still contend that a small village the size of Beiseker cannot support the equipment to maintain an independent fire department!  Supporting the Beiseker Fire Department (BFD) has cost this village hundreds of thousands of dollars since its breakaway from NERVFA more than 20 years ago!  NERVFA has now become part of the County's fire services and I truly believe that Beiseker must rejoin that service!

I have nothing but admiration for the volunteer firefighters of the BFD who attend weekly practices and "make do" with older, used equipment and do a fantastic job!  But much of that equipment needs replacement and the village cannot afford that cost. 

By becoming part of a larger system again, some of those costs will be spread over a larger base, making equipment replacement, training, and other upgrades more feasible.  In this time of regional programs and projects, I think this is a good way to go.  All negotiations have centered around the fact that the Beiseker Fire Station and most of the personnel will remain.

If this change takes place, will there be glitches?  Yes! But I don't anticipate any problem which a cannot be overcome with level heads and dialogue!

Let me know what you think.  Let the Village Office know what you think about this issue.