Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Year in Review

This past year has been a good one overall for the Village of Beiseker.  We’ve had our share of problems - mostly with the weather - but we’ve managed to overcome those difficulties and move forward!   

Most fortunately, we did not experience the massive June flooding that inundated other towns and cities in southern Alberta.  Our flooding problems came after a few torrential downpours dosed the village in July.  It was quite alarming to see more than 6 inches of water on Main Street, in front of the medical center!

Our fire department came to the rescue, and did their best to encourage the water to leave town. Council is now actively looking for solutions to this flooding problem. 

The other major weather incident was the blizzard of December 2, 2013!  And again, during these adverse conditions our fire department and public works performed admirably to keep Beiseker moving and keep our residents safe.

But I think the good things that happened in the village far outweighed the difficulties we had! Here are some of the good things; 
  • The creation of a Medical First Response Team: this group was formed to respond to medical emergencies within the village. They’ve already saved a number of lives! I think this is a great addition to our emergency services.
  • The purchase of a Fire Truck:  I couldn’t have been more proud of our village when we put out a call for a fundraiser to buy a newer fire engine to replace our old one.  When the money from the sale of the old truck was put into the pot, we managed to raise more than half the cost of the new truck.  For a village of less than 900 people that was astounding! Well done Beiseker!
  • Grasslands subdivision:  the stalled subdivision on the west side of town was restarted!  Events elsewhere in Alberta prevented builders from starting this year, but we are looking forward to seeing homes built there in 2014! One of our slogans is, “If you lived in Beiseker, your kids could walk to school!” 
  • The Municipal Election: I thought the electors here in the village had a very good selection of candidates to vote for. The four incumbents were re-elected, and we welcomed Dave McKenzie onto Council. We said goodbye to Fred Walters who retired. We miss Fred on Council but we welcome a new viewpoint from Dave.  I was very proud and honored to be re-elected as mayor!
  • The Bassano Station: Although Beiseker Village Council has nothing to do with this project, we were pleased to see it progress to a point where it’s almost ready to be slid onto its foundation. We look forward to its completion in 2014!
  • The Beiseker Country Fair, organized by the Beiseker Lions Club was a huge success once again as was our first annual Santa Claus Parade held just a couple of weeks ago.  I hope both events continue to grow and prosper.
  • A new commercial building on Main Street:  A new building opened up on Main Street just before Christmas, housing Beiseker Registries!  This new structure is a great addition to our business district!
Overall a very good year for Beiseker, and we’re looking forward to an even better 2014!  I’ll take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year and all the best in 2014.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

On The Second Day of Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all on this Second Day of Christmas. 

I hope you had time to share with your family and loved ones yesterday.  If you were one of those who had to work yesterday, I hope you will get time with your family in the next few days -- and thank you for keeping the world running smoothly while the rest of us celebrated!

The Village of Beiseker Office is on reduced hours until the New Year.  If you are desperate to talk to someone at the Village office, phone their main number (403-947-3774) during regular office hours and we'll get you connected.  For emergencies, it's 911 as usual.

May I suggest you take some time to drive around the village this next few days.  The Christmas decorations on the homes and shops are absolutely spectacular this year!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

To everyone in Beiseker and those who read my blog;

My wife and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas for 2013.  May you all be able to spend some time with those most precious to you; your family.

Sincerely; Ray

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Snow Removal article in the Rocky View Weekly

I was disappointed - and a little hurt - on reading an article by Sara Wilson in the Rocky View Weekly this week, Beiseker residents upset over "slow snow removal".  It told a tale of Beiseker's residents desparately trying to get help digging themselves out from last week's blizzard, while the village government apparently did little or nothing to assist them.

The article was full of misinformation and inaccurate reporting, which left me disappointed for the reporter and hurt that some folks thought that way about the village, and the Public Works people who have worked very hard to keep Beiseker moving this past week.

Here are the facts as I understand them;
  • All the priority areas were tackled as early as Monday afternoon.  These included the Fire Hall, the Community Centre which operates as an emergency centre during storms, essential service personnel (we want Public Works, RCMP, etc. to be able to get out to their duties as quickly as possible), the water and wastewater pumphouses, and main routes into the village.  Public works continued to work on these areas even as the wind drifted them in over and over.
  • Public Works Foreman Bill tried to open every single street in Beiseker with our skid steer (bobcat).  Every street had a trail opened through it.  These weren't very wide and often blew in again but they helped many folks walk to their homes.
  • Beiseker recorded one of the highest windspeeds and snow dumps in the province during the storm!
  • All telephone inquiries to the Village Office regarding snow removal were answered or responded to.  There were no multiple calls or messages registered on our answering equipment.  
  • The Village of Beiseker has never spent any municipal funds moving or funding the Bassano Station!  None!  That whole project is a private venture by a railway museum society based in Calgary.  They did receive a federal grant, but at no cost or resposibility to the Village of Beiseker.
  • It is likely that we will go over budget on our 2013 snow removal amount.  We had to hire contractors to help move more than 1000 metric tonnes of snow from the village.  We do try to keep a small contingency for this kind of thing but an event of this size is very hard to plan or budget for!
  • All of our Public Works and Village Office staff worked very long hours under some very grueling conditions to get Beiseker back to normal as soon as possible.
I felt badly for our Public Works and Village Office staff having to read Ms. Wilson's article in the paper!  I have complete admiration for all those who helped Beiseker dig out.  My compliments to you all!

It should be noted that only one concerned citizen came to Monday night's council meeting.  I was impressed by her demeanor and logic.  She asked some excellent questions about snow removal, and I hope she received the answers she needed!  I thanked her for attending, and invited her back any time.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Thank you so much, Beiseker!

My friends and neighbours in the village of Beiseker saved my wife this week.

I am not joking.  My wife Madeline got her car stuck on Beacon Heights Road last Monday afternoon.  She was only a couple of blocks from our house, and it was still daylight, so she decided to walk home. 

She couldn't plow through the mounting drifts and fell a number of times;  she only made it a few hundred feet and finally managed to crawl (yes, crawl) to a neighbour's house.  There, she warmed up a bit while another neighbour brought her a pair of snow boots and escorted her home.

The next day, she realised she required medical attention for her frostbitten hands.  Our village's First Response Team sprang into action.  After looking at my wife's frostbite they decided she may require transportation to a hospital.  An ambulance was called, but it couldn't get into our subdivision because of the drifts. 

Many, many volunteers started shovelling and the ambulance got through!  They dug a path to our front door.  However, it was decided that the risks of transporting her in such weather were too high and my wife remained at home. 

In the days since then, friends and neighbours have been phoning and visiting her to make sure she's OK. 
Madeline is doing much better now.  Her hands are still sore, but getting better each day.

Without the help of all those Beiseker friends and neighbours Madeline could have been much more seriously hurt.  "Thank you" seems to be so lacking in expressing our apreciation for all you did this week for us, but I'll say it again; Thank you and God bless!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Battling Old Man Winter

photo via Global TV
While Beiseker was fighting through the horrible blizzard, I was attending an air show convention in Las Vegas.

I was getting hourly reports by voice or text on the fight this village was having with Old Man Winter.  From the reports I was getting,  I came to realise that I had left the village in strong and capable hands. 

I came home Friday afternoon.  I was shocked at the amount of snow we had piled up all over town.  I saw the Public Works employees working in sub-zero weather to move all that snow off the streets.  That task will take at least another week, maybe longer!
I have huge respect for all those in Public Works who have been working long hours in frigid temperatures to get the village moving and back to normal.  Well done, guys! 

And a huge thank you you to all those volunteers who grabbed shovels and got out there to help move snow. You folks have been awesome, too!  Great community spirit!

I'm hoping we can give a bit of time-off this weekend to those in Public Works, but come Monday we've got a heck of a pile of snow to get out of town!  We're running out of places to put all this snow, too!
I have heard, though, that some folks have been critical of the priorities for snow removal.  I hope those people will write down their concerns and present them to our emergency measures team.  We need your input to make the process better!  I'll let you know when they meet next.