Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2014 AUMA Convention News

Last week, members of Beiseker village council attended the annual convention of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association in Edmonton.  The convention venue alternates between Edmonton and Calgary, and this year was Edmonton's turn.

There's a trade show, workshops, meetings with the Ministries, and get-togethers throughout the three day convention. 

Beiseker's meetings with the ministries were all on Wednesday.  First, we met with Environment and Sustainable Resource Development to discuss our flooding issues.  Our biggest difficulty with flood water is dealing with the huge volume of water we receive into the village from Rocky View County!  We asked Alberta Environment to help us deal with this huge volume of water, simply because we can't afford to do it alone.  We will be developing a plan to help alleviate the problem, working with the province and the County.

Next we were off to see Municipal Affairs.  To our surprise, the newly appointed Minister of Municipal Affairs, Diana McQueen was there to greet us.  We once again talked about our flooding issues and asked for their help, too.  We also discussed the difficulty small municipalities have with the new policy of depreciating Tangible Capital Assets (TCAs).

About three years ago, the provincial government decided that all municipalities should record ALL their assets.  That included all village owned buildings, vehicles, property, fire hydrants, water pipes and sewer pipes!  Then we have to depreciate all those things and include that amount in our yearly financial statements!  When we have an expensive year like 2013 (huge snow removal bills, water main leaks, etc.), and we include the TCA depreciation, it shows us operating very close to the wire!  This policy is not fair to small municipalities.  I think we made that quite clear.

Our last visit was to Alberta Transportation to talk about slowing down the traffic on North Road (aka Highway 72).  Vehicles are still exceeding the 50 km/h and the 30 km/h speed limits, some by a considerable amount.  A number of strategies were discussed. Stay tuned.

Councillor Karen, Assistant CAO Gail, MLA Bruce Rowe and I at the AUMA convention reception,
at Edmonton City Hall!
Councillor Dave is behind the camera!
(photo via Facebook)

Overall, I believe that our attendance at the AUMA Convention was a great success.  In the months following we'll see if our suggestions and requests took root in the provincial  ministries.

Next year's AUMA Convention will happen in Calgary in the fall of 2015.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Silly, stupid or sly?

An acquaintance of mine needed two new tires for her little car.  It's a front wheel drive car and the front tires were badly worn.  The rear tires still had plenty of tread on them. 

She went to a large box store in Calgary to buy two tires.  She found two tires at a good price.  While purchasing them, she indicated that she wanted them to replace the two worn front tires on her car. 

She was told that was impossible - company policy.  The new tires would be put on the back and those two rear tires would be recycled! 

She explained to the young man that hers was a front wheel drive car and the new tires with better traction should go on the front. The rear tires were still good. The fellow insisted that these two new tires would be put on the rear - company policy.

She left the store without any new tires.  I suggested she go to a tire dealer or a small garage operation.  They could provide her with two tires and put them on any wheels she wanted.

Either the box store tire folks didn't understand the physics of tires and the difference between front and rear wheel drive, or they just wanted to sell her four tires instead of just two. 

I don't know.  It's a very strange story, but true!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Hooray for Scotland!

I was pleased to hear that the Scottish voters decided to stay within the United Kingdom.  The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has promised to give them some more control over their own affairs.

I understand that will have to go through their Parliament in London so may not be as easy as all that.  We'll have to wait and see.

The United Kingdom without Scotland would be like having a car with one wheel missing.  It would look OK from one side but would be difficult to do anything.  A few hundred years ago Scotland, England, and Wales quit fighting among themselves, joined together a became the most powerful nation in the world. 

They may have lost that status to nations like China, but I think they are much stronger and more successful together.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Beiseker Fire Department Gets a Boost!

photo via Rocky View Weekly
Friday morning, I got a call from Beiseker Fire Chief Bob Ursu.  He asked me if I had time to come over to the CHS DynAgra facility next to the Village Office to help receive a cheque on behalf of the Fire Department.

Imagine my surprise when I found out the cheque was for $25,000!  Each year, CHS Inc. - of which DynAgra is a part - provides funds to communities for worthy projects.  The Beiseker Fire Department applied for funds to continue their upgrading of equipment and vehicles.

CHS Canadian Region Director, Mark Biedenfeld, was part of the presentation of the cheque to Chief Bob and myself.  He was most pleased to be in Beiseker and to help our volunteer firefighters.  This donation will provide a tremendous boost for the Beiseker Fire Department and their efforts to upgrade their firefighting and rescue equipment along with their vehicles.

Thank you CHS, good on ya! 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Restarting the Bassano Station Project

I am pleased to report that work on the Bassano Station has resumed.  Work is now under way to prepare the foundation to accept the building.  Damage to the foundation caused by it sitting open for so long are being repaired.

The building should be able to be moved onto the foundation soon.  I'm not making any predictions or deadlines because too many have done so before only to have them pass by.  My prediction is to expect it when you see it moving over there!

Here's a huge "Beiseker Pat-On-The-Back" and a "Thank You" to all those who have helped us restart this project.