Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring Brings out the ATVs!

Along with garage sales and yards sales, the arrival of spring in Beiseker is also heralded by the dirt bikes and ATVs!

Those enthusiasts have brought their machines out of winter hibernation, and tuned them up for another summer of riding.  Over the cold months of winter, though, some of those same folks seem to have forgotten Beiseker's generous bylaws regarding the operation of their machines within village limits.  The bylaw dealing with ATVs and dirt bikes is very much the same as those governing the operation of snowmobiles in the winter months.

These machines must be driven through town along back lanes, ditches and streets only where nessesary, taking the shortest possible route out of town.  Their speed must be less than 20 km/h.

Of course, if the machine is insured and licenced for road travel, its operation is then covered by the provincial Traffic Act.

Communities experiencing difficulty with ATVs and dirt bikes often tighten their bylaws to restrict their use within the municipality.  That would mean having to have these vehicles trailered in and out of town, and not permitted on any public road, laneway or ditch in the village at all!

I and the rest of council do not want to do that, but we may have to if the situation continues to worsen.  Please remind any ATV or dirt bike operators you know of the current bylaws.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Spring Has Sprung!

Some of the first signs of spring are the garage sales and yard sales popping up in our community.

This weekend (April 27 & 28) at Richter's farm, they are starting the season with a huge garage and yard sale! This event is sponsored and operated each year by the St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, and features a whole bunch of good stuff!

If you're patrolling Beiseker looking for a yard sale or a garage sale, why not stop there first? It's on North Road, right across from the school playground. You can't miss it.  And empty your car's trunk before you come!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Beiseker C.O.P. Going Strong!

The Beiseker Citizens On Patrol have started an active program to patrol our village and the surrounding area.  Here's some of what they've been up to;
  • They've been patrolling our village every week since February 18, 2013.
  • They drove an intoxicated person home!
  • They found a garage door ajar at night and informed the resident.
  • They patrolled the lanes, streets and avenues in the village, along with parking lots, industrial parks, the school and the arena.
  • Reported suspicious or abandoned vehicles to the RCMP.
  • Provided two Drive Home Programs for the Beiseker Lions Club!
These folks are doing a fantastic job for our village and they're looking for more volunteers!  If you are interested in joining the Beiseker COP program, leave your name with me or at the village office and I will put you in contact with those in the know, or you could attend their next meeting.

The next meeting of the Beiseker Citizens On Patrol will be on Wednesday May 8 at 7;30 p.m. at the Beiseker Community Centre.  This could be one of your 3!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Big Three

photo by Naheed Nenshi, via Twitter
I'm borrowing this idea from Calgary's Mayor Naheed Nenshi (with his blessing). 

Some time ago, he made a challenge to all citizens in Calgary to do three things for their community, each year.  They could be small things, like picking up trash in a public area, or they could be larger contributions -- like joining a committee, or volunteer board in the community. Whatever they chose to do didn't really matter, as long as they did three.

I am challenging all of the folks in Beiseker to do the same: to do three things for their community during this year. 

It's April, and I know many of you have already done three things, and then many more.  For the others, my challenge stands! 

I think it's great now, but let's make Beiseker an even better place to live and work!

Mayors' Showcase

This afternoon, I had the pleasure of attending the Mayors' Showcase and Celebration of Citizenship held at Stampede Park in Calgary.  The Mayors' showcase was started a few years ago to celebrate projects done by students in and around Calgary.

Previous celebrations were held at the Palliser Hotel, but this year,the Boyce Theater at Stampede Park was the venue! AMP Radio morning DJs Ryan & Katie were our emcees. 

Host mayor Naheed Nenshi of Calgary, along with the mayors of Olds, Longview, Beiseker (that's me!), and Strathmore were there to cheer on students from various schools in and around Calgary.  Here's some of the featured projects of these students;
Each and all schools were recognized for their contribution and their students hailed as leaders of the future! 

All in all it was a very uplifting afternoon.  I enjoyed watching the young people celebrate their success, and start planning for future projects.    After the speeches and presentations, the students were treated to popcorn,  fruit punch, and other "kid-friendly" goodies. 

Overall, the celebration was far less formal than it would be in the Palliser - and I think it was much more enjoyed by those we were celebrating; the kids!

The Showcase is a part of the program operated by the Calgary Educational Partnership Foundation with its major sponsor the Building Trades of Alberta.   Well done - Great job!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Funding a new Fire Truck

At last week's village council meeting, we agreed to actively search for a replacement fire truck.

Finding a truck in good condition at a price we can afford to pay may take a while. That time we can use, to find ways of funding this purchase.

I don't believe Council wants to saddle the village with another huge debt. We've got to find other ways of funding this purchase, other than applying the whole amount to property taxes!  I'll keep you informed.

Village Financial Audit

I noted an article in the most recent Rocky View Weekly reporting on our village's financial audit for 2012.  I want to commend Beiseker's village council and the village's staff for managing our village so well this last year. 

The village of  Beiseker has a cash flow problem caused by two things;
  •  We still have a huge amount of back taxes owing!   Unpaid taxes have a huge impact on a small village like ours!  The tens of thousands of dollars owing could improve many things in the village, if it were available to us. It is very frustrating to have unpaved streets, broken sidewalks, and other issues within the village - and not having the funds available to address them!
  •  The second problem actually comes from the provincial government.  As I've mentioned before, we collect the education portion of the property tax on their behalf.   They in turn withdraw this money from our bank account.  And therein lies the problem.   The province  withdraws the total amount, regardless of how much is still owing to the village by rate payers or has not been collected, yet.  We have no imput - They just take it!
Overall I was very pleased with the results of our 2012 audit.  If we can stay on this road of fiscal responsibility, our village will continue to do well - in spite of two problems I've mentioned.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Aggie Days 2013 a Banner Year!

Some of you were probably wondering where I was this last week. Every year, I volunteer my time to help out at Aggie Days at the BMO Centre in Stampede Park, in Calgary.

This year we had over 10,000 schoolkids, their teachers, supervisors, and parents come down for our educational program then last weekend more than 35,000 visited us for family fun days! I and about 200 other volunteers, mostly from rural Alberta, take time out to teach city kids a little more about Alberta's agriculture.  We try to show them exactly where their food comes from!

Aggie days 2013 was a banner year!  We milked cows, sheared sheep, thrashed and milled grain, harnessed horses, milk goats, and gave wagon rides. We taught them about draft horses, cutting horses, miniature horses, horse anatomy, horse shoes, and saddles.

It was a fun filled week but come Sunday, I was pooped!  I've recovered now!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Margaret Thatcher's Passing

I was saddened to hear of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's passing, yesterday.

But I was shocked and disgusted by the scenes on television and in this morning's paper, of Britons cheering, holding up horrible signs and toasting her death with Champagne!

I was reminded of last week's tribute to Ralph Klein when some of his most adamant and vocal opponents attended his memorial, and spoke of him kindly as a great Albertan and Canadian. 

I truly believe that we must always strive to object without being objectionable. 

I hope that the Thatcher family can focus on the tributes coming in from leaders all over the world, and are able to tune out the callous actions of those few thugs!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Wanted: New Pumper Truck

A couple of posts back, I mentioned that negotiations between our village and Rocky View County over the amalgamation of our two fire departments had ceased.

Village Council determined that it would not be in Beiseker's best interest to continue those discussions at this time.  I am confident that an agreement will be reached in the future, and there will again be a Regional Fire Department created in this area.

But, right now, Beiseker must upgrade its equipment to meet provincial standards.  Our fire fighters have completed all the provincial courses to be certified as well-trained firefighters.  Now, we need a new fire truck for them to operate.

Our current pumper truck was purchased about ten years ago, to replace an even older truck purchased when Beiseker split off from the North East Rocky View Fire Association.

A new truck would accomplish a number of things;
  • A large enclosed cab would  permit more than just two  firefighters to ride in the truck.  Regulations now prohibit firefighters from riding in or on open areas on vehicles.
  •  A certified unit would be able to attend emergencies outside the village
  • Our current truck operates well, but a crack in the pumping mechanism makes it unable to be certified.  The cost of repairing it would be prohibitive.
  • With a new pumper truck, we will be able to approach Rocky View County to hammer out a mutual aid agreement.  This will enable us to respond to emergencies outside the village, especially to the North East of Beiseker.
  • I think a new truck would encourage more folks to join our volunteer fire department. 
  •  Our pumper truck was built in the late 1970s and desperately needs to be replaced 
Over the next couple of weeks, the village and the fire department will be canvassing everyone to contribute to the purchase of a newer used fire truck!  We will be approaching everyone, including our corporate citizens, our service clubs, other groups and individuals.

The Royal Canadian Legion's Acme Branch has already stepped up, and made a donation. 

Watch for more news on our plans to raise money for this very crucial project.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Meltdown Has Begun!

photo courtesy Covy Moore, Rocky View Publishing
The warm weather of the last few days have started the meltdown we've all been waiting for. There's a lot of snow out there, which means they'll be a lot of meltwater to deal with.

The older part of our village is almost completely flat. Water has trouble exiting the village, especially between the CN tracks and the old CP line.

By my count, we have about eight problem areas throughout the village. Public Works will spend as much time as needed getting the water out of town!

Through the years the village has improved its drainage and storm water pumping systems. Once all the channels, culverts, ditches, and canals are thawed out and free-flowing our spring melt should continue with little inconvenience.

If you are one of those with a small lake in front of your house or in your lane, be patient, Public Works will get to it as soon as they can.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Fire Department Impasse

Negotiations between the Village of Beiseker and Rocky View County to amalgamate their two fire departments have reached an impasse.  At our village council's last regular meeting, I made a motion to cease fire department amalgamation negotiations with the county.  My motion was passed unanimously.

Both council and I hope that negotiations can resume in the future.

Right now, the village would have benefitted very little from the proposed agreement - but its cost would have really hurt the village coffers!  As the proposed agreement read, Beiseker would still have to provide a fire hall, vehicles and equipment at its own expense; plus, pay the County a hefty fee to operate the facility and train new volunteers.

We agreed that this was just too expensive for our little village!

Where do we go from here?  We (the village and our Fire Department) are putting together a plan to upgrade our old pumper truck with a newer one.  We will also discuss the possibility of a mutual aid agreement with Rocky View.

At present, any emergency situation which occurs to the northeast of Beiseker would be attended by Rocky View firefighters from Irricana and/or Balzac.  We believe that time delay could pose a serious problem.

I'll keep you updated in this space, as things progress.