Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The loss of Rick Butler

I was greatly saddened by the news of Rocky View County Deputy Reeve Rick Butler's death, this past Monday.  He was killed in a skiing accident in the mountains.  Rick represented the Bragg Creek area so our contact was minimal, however I was most aware of his passion to preserve farmland while allowing controlled residential development in rural areas.  His wisdom and passions will be missed.

My deepest simpathy and condolences go to his friends, family and his fellow Rocky View County councillors.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

New Water Meters

Very early in the new year, Public Works will begin our water meter replacement program.  This program is part of our operation to account for all the Aqua 7 Regional Water Commission water we're using.  Currently, Beiseker is buying about 40% more water than we're selling to our users!  The difference has to be picked up by Village taxpayers!  The two main reasons for this discrepancy are: leaks in the delivery system under the streets of the village, and faulty water metering.  Some of the meters in use here are more than fifty years old.  It's time we upgrade those meters.  The new meters will have auto remotes so a computer mounted in the cab of the garbage truck will be able to read them from the laneway as Public Works collects garbage each Friday!

Public Works has located and repaired numerous leaks so far, but there are more!  Once this issue has been solved, Beiseker will be able to focus on other matters needing attention in the village.

Merry Christmas

Here we are at Christmas Eve 2011!  The world has certainly seen its troubles in the past year!  Hopefully we can put most of those troubles aside for a few hours and enjoy Christmas as it's supposed to be! If you donated to our local food bank, be advised that your help is greatly appreciated by those who need a little hand up at this time!  It's not too late to donate, either!

Driving around Beiseker, I see a number of homes and businesses dressed up for the Christmas season.  The Village display looks especially good this year.  Well done everyone!  It looks like Beiseker is ready for Christmas!

I'm wishing you all a very Safe & Merry Christmas.  Take care!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Toooooot-toot! Toooooot-toot!

I am getting requests from some Beisekerites to try to stop the CNR trains from blowing their whistles multiple times when they pass through the village.  This is a safety issue!  By law, the train must blow its whistle as it approaches a level crossing and as it passes through that crossing.  The only way we could stop the train whistles is to install crossing warning lights and/or "arm-gates" which flash, a bell sounds and the gate comes down across the roadway.  A sign could then be erected warning motorists that trains no longer whistle.

The expense of buying and installing all this equipment would fall on the village!   It costs many, many tens of thousands of dollars!  Short answer: we can't afford it.  North Road is part of Highway 72 so that crossing was paid for by the province.  I don't see this expense to be a Village Council priority in the near future.

Fire Department Insurance and Candy Canes

After some careful research Jo, our Chief Administrative Officer for the Village of Beiseker, found that we do have a very good insurance policy covering our volunteer firefighters!  It has been in place for many, many years. The reason why we weren't certain of its existance was that no firefighter has needed it!  We have made this information available to the BFD members.  The coverage is arranged through the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and will continue into 2012 and beyond.  In the future,  Beiseker Village Council will ensure that all volunteer firefighters are aware of their insurance coverage through the Village.

I do hope this clears up any misunderstanding brought forward at the last council meeting

I see that the Beiseker Fire Department is doing the Candy Cane Run on Christmas Eve.  I had the honour of riding with the firefighters for many years of Candy Cane Runs.  It made me very proud when I saw a firefighter in full turnout gear give a candy cane to a child on Christmas Eve.  Have a wonderful, warm and safe Candy Cane Run this year and a very Merry Christmas to all of the Beiseker Volunteer Firefighters!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Council Debate

Last Monday night we had a very interesting Beiseker Village Council meeting!  A delegation had asked to address council regarding issues with the Beiseker Fire Department (BFD).  Their presentation was almost derailed when one of the "back-bench" delegates began yelling and name-calling. 

His points, no matter how valid they may have been, were negated by his behaviour!  Order was re-established and the original presenter made her points and comments on the issues.  I was most impressed by her demeanor and that of the rest of her supporters.

One point which interested me considerably was the perception that the volunteer members of the BFD had no insurance coverage if they were injured on a call out.  I am in the process of checking this out.  It seems to me only natural that those who give up their time and energy and risk their safety to be a part of our fire department be suitably covered by some kind of insurance. Stay tuned on this one.  (Dec. 20th follow-up:  Fire Department Insurance and Candy Canes)

Another point was that it was their perception that the Village Council was dragging their feet in drawing up an agreement with the County of Rocky View to share the responsibility of fire protection in this northeast corner of the county, including Beiseker.  I think Mayor Rowe made it very clear that negotiations have been actively going on for many months and will continue until a suitable compromise has been reached. 

Our situation is not the same as Irricana's.  The Irricana Fire Department was always a part of the North East Rocky View Fire Association (NERFA) and simply moved over into Rocky View's new fire protection program.  Beiseker, on the other hand, left NERFA with much bad feelings and anguish more than 20 years ago.  Beiseker is now starting back at square one!  

A negotiated agreement will be arrived at, but it must be in the best interest of the village and the county.  But it will happen!