Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Small Turnout at Town Hall Meeting

Our annual spring Town Hall Meeting was held at the Community Centre, last Monday evening.  The turnout was quite small, but the concerns raised by those present were much appreciated.

Here are a few points I noted:
  • The Bassano Station is still a big part of any discussion around town.  We had to remind everyone that the Village government has very little control or power over that stalled project.  Still we continue to work to see if we can't get this eyesore cleaned up!
  • The mud bog at the corner of Second Avenue and Seventh Street is the result of an experiment gone wrong.  Public Works will be addressing the problem over the next few days.  Getting water to move from that corner has proven to be a major challenge.  Everyone has a different opinion as to what should be done there.  We'll keep working on it until we have a solution.
  • Water flow and flooding was not such a big issue as I had expected this spring, however a few homes were severely affected.  Suggestions were made and remediation of these few spots will take place this summer.  The problem of the Village having to deal with runoff water from a huge portion of the County north of Beiseker was mentioned several times.
  • It was brought to the attention of council that there is a sign in the Beiseker Campground noting "NO PITBULLS ALLOWED" even though we have no such bylaw to support that ban.  This sign will be removed.
  • Concerns were raised over ambulance services into Beiseker.  These concerns will be investigated by village office staff.
Overall, a great meeting.  If you were unable to attend and you have an issue, please contact the village office at 403-947-3774 to voice your concerns.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Bassano Station Gong Show!

photo courtesy of the Rocky View Weekly
I've just finished reading the article in last week's Rocky View Weekly about the Beiseker railway museum

First, I will compliment former Village councillor Fred Walters who seems to be holding this project together single handedly, through all the troubles it has faced.  Thank you Fred, your effort and dedication are appreciated!

It looks to me that the well-intentioned railway museum was the victim of con-artists, and fraud!   By my math, the museum group is out around $155,000 or more because some folks took their money under false pretences!  They'd be in a worse situation if Mammoet Canada hadn't helped them out.  Everyone involved should thank Mammoet from the bottom of their hearts!

And what's this about the walls of the new foundation falling in?  What kind of a builder doesn't do soil testing to make sure he's working on firm ground?  This project appears to be lurching for one catastrophe to the next.  Village council has attempted to contact the full executive of the museum to no avail.  Village council needs to talk to them, very soon!

In my opinion the project has progressed too far to stop now, but how do we progress?   Railway museums are a great tourist attraction, but how do we get this project from where it is to a functioning museum?   I do not want this building (the world's largest pigeon roost) to sit up on those beams through another year! 

The rest of the railway museum folks need to step up and help Fred through this mess, and soon!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Plane Silly!

I received an email from Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson the other day, asking me to support a Wildrose petition demanding the Alberta government sell off their fleet of four small business planes to save money. 

I refused to support this short-sighted move.

It is true that the current government, specifically former Premier Alison Redford, have been perceived as grossly misusing the planes.  But selling them off would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. 

Alberta is a big and vibrant province with things happening all over, and the provincial government needs the mobility to get around.  I don't think chartering and renting aircraft is the answer. 

It is true that some other provinces (namely, New Brunswick) have eliminated their government aircraft fleets.  But there are differences between those provinces and Alberta.  I think the Wildrosers would be better off asking for changes in the policies governing the use of these aircraft.  Suggestions;
  • Tighten up use of the aircraft to make sure they are used for Alberta Government business only.
  • Make them available to ALL those sitting in the House, including the Wildrose caucus - after all, they are Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition!  They should also be available to top level government officials.
  • Have the pilots complete an extended log entry for every flight.
  • Have an annual report available to all MLAs showing who flew where and for what reason.  That could be extracted from the log book entries.
  • Retire the older aircraft and possibly reduce the fleet to two or three planes from the now four.
The cost of supporting this fleet of four aircraft is the price of doing business!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bermuda Shorts Day Tragedy

photo by Global News Calgary
As a graduate of the University of Calgary, I remember Bermuda Shorts Day.  It is officially the last day of scheduled classes.  Students dress in shorts and  tropical attire (even if the weather is brutal) and have a little fun, letting off some steam before hitting the books to prepare for final exams.  It is a time of excitement and anticipation.

I fear those fond memories of Bermuda Shorts Day have been altered forever with the tragic stabbings in the Brentwood neighbourhood this past Tuesday.  I am having trouble understanding why a young student would attack five of his colleagues, for no reason clear at this time.  Five lives have ended so tragically and a sixth life has been changed so completely!  Why?  We may never know completely. 

My thoughts and prayers go to those six families who are dealing with this surreal and tragic incident the best they can.  May you take some measure of comfort from the many who have expressed their grief and sadness over the past days.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Flooding Issues

photo courtesy of the Rocky View Weekly
At our council meeting Monday night, we had the first of what I hope will be many residents coming to council as a delegation to discuss the water drainage problems in the village.

This resident's problem stemmed from the fact that all of the run-off water from County land north of Beiseker flows into the village!  We have had to deal with this problem for a few years now, but this year it was worse than before.

I think we made a good plan to keep this water off this resident's property, but we need an overall solution to the problem. 

I'm hoping that our council and the Rocky View County council will be able to get together and get a plan to help solve this problem permanently.

I said at the beginning of this post this was the first of what I hope will be many delegations to council about this issue.  If you had (or are having) issues with run-off water on your property, please call the Village Office (403-947-3774) and attend the next council meeting as a delegation.  We need your input and suggestions.

Most of this year's run-off water left town in an orderly fashion but some didn't!  We need to address all those incidents!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Aggie Days 2014

I have returned.  For this past week or more, I have been a part of the Calgary Stampede's Aggie Days!

I have served on the Stampede Agriculture Education Committee, which organizes Aggie Days, for almost twenty years - and I look forward to the event every spring!  Our purpose at Aggie Days is to show urban elementary students where their food comes from, and how important Alberta's agriculture is to us all.

This year we ran from Wednesday, April 9th until yesterday, April 13th.  During the week, we run our Educational Component.  This year, we welcomed over 11,000 elementary students, about 500 teachers and a couple of thousand parents, helpers and supervisors.

This past weekend was Family Fun Days.  More than 30,000 visitors came to see our Aggie Days "Barn", set up in the BMO (Round-Up) centre at Stampede Park.

During Aggie Days we milk cows, shear sheep, mill wheat, raise chicks, herd ducks, milk goats, thresh grain, make canola oil, raise beef cattle, look after horses, make ropes, visit with llamas, learn about bee-keeping, see alpacas,  watch stock dogs working, learn about raising pigs, hear and read agriculture related stories, learn a bit about our native heritage, learn about rodeo and chuckwagon racing, and a host of other things!

For each day of the event, I spend about ten hours a day at Aggie Days then I come home and prepare next day's newsletter: The Ag Rag, so it leaves me little time for anything else!  I'm tired but happy we had a very successful Aggie Days 2014.  In a couple of weeks we'll start planning for Aggie Days 2015!