Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Main Street a Snow Route?

At last night's council meeting, we considered a bylaw to have cars parked on Main Street on "Snow Event" mornings towed away at their owners' risk and expense.  The bylaw would give the Village the right to have those vehicles hampering snow removal on Main Street and First Avenue to be towed away, possibly to an impound lot in Airdrie or Crossfield.  Council refused to pass it!

Right now, we have only a policy which states that Main Street be free of vehicles so that Public Works can plow the snow.  All residents and businesses on Main Street and First Avenue have been asked to keep vehicles off the street until the snow has been removed.  Still we have a problem with a couple of vehicles interfering with the snow removal almost every time it snows.

Council has held off on creating  a tow-away bylaw, hoping that we can get the cooperation of everyone without that heavy-handed approach.

We are expecting a pretty sizeable dump of snow later this week.  Let's see if we can keep Main Street and First Avenue 'vehicle free' until the snow has been removed.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Operation Secret Santa Begins in Beiseker

The Beiseker Fire Department is once again doing its Operation Secret Santa this Christmas!   If you wish to donate an unwrapped gift, perhaps a toy, a board game, or other gift item, you'll find the Secret Santa Drop Off Boxes at Mountain View Credit Union; Beiseker Branch, Beiseker Pharmacy, Beiseker Home Hardware, and the Beiseker Village Office.

The hope is that Santa Claus, with help from the Beiseker Fire Department, will be able to make everyone's Christmas in Beiseker just that much more merrier!

Thank you for your donations and Merry Christmas to you all.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Question about Water Price Increases

I noted that Michael Robichaud asked a question about water fees on an Rocky View Weekly article which was posted to the Village of Beiseker Facebook page, yesterday.  His question was;
The last part regarding water consumption is a little confusing.
How do you implement increases because of a lack of consumption on allotted water ?
The Village of Beiseker buys its water from the Aqua7 Regional Water Services Commission (A7RWSC).  The commission is made of seven municipalities; Acme, Beiseker, Irricana, Linden, Carbon, and the Counties of Kneehill and Rocky View.  The Commission buys its water from the Town of Drumheller

The water from the Drumheller treatment plant is sent to the Aqua7 pumping station at Kirkpatrick.  From there it is treated then pumped out of the valley, first to Carbon and Kneehill County, then to Acme.  There's a "T" in the pipe at Acme. Water goes to Linden and water flows to Beiseker and Irricana.

When this system was set up, years ago, A7RWSC said that they would purchase a set amount of water from Drumheller.  But we've never come close to purchasing that much water!  There's a couple of reasons for that;
  • The price of water; although the cost of water from Drumheller is relatively low, the cost of supporting the A7RWSC pumps, treatment systems, and pipes is expensive. 
  • Water conservation programs have been effective in convincing people to use less water.
  • Rocky View County, although they are full member of A7RWSC, has yet to buy or sell any water at all!
Drumheller claims that its system is geared to provide much more water than A7RWSC is buying.  Supporting that system to provide that unsold capacity is costing Drumheller extra, therefore they are passing that extra cost on to those who buy water from them, i.e. A7RWSC. 

We're expecting up to a 20% increase in the price of water from the Drumheller treatment plant.  That works out to about an 18 cents a cubic metre of water increase over the next few years.

The A7RWSC is trying to keep the price of pumping, treating, and transporting water to as low as possible.

How can the price of water go down?  The price of water can go down if the A7RWSC sells more water.  That means the A7RWSC  has to find more customers for its water! They're working on that.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Airdrie Health Survey

Alberta Health Services has initiated an online survey to gauge our health needs in the Airdrie area!  I haven't participated, but I plan to in the near future.  Many of the folks hereabouts are focusing their efforts on the creation of a 24 hour urgent health care facility in Airdrie.  That's a good start!

But while this is an admirable goal, it falls short of what this area around the City of Airdrie really needs - and that is a full fledged hospital!  When I'm talking hospital, I'm not talking about a small hospital such as those we find in Three Hills, Drumheller or Didsbury.  While these are wonderful facilities for the communities they serve, they fall short of what this area needs.  I'm talking about a complete care facility - such as the general hospitals in Red Deer, Medicine Hat or Lethbridge - but one similar to the South Health Campus would be ideal.

I believe that Airdrie is the largest city in Alberta (and perhaps all of Canada) without a hospital!  For any kind of serious health treatment, perhaps more than 100,000 people in the area have to scamper into Calgary, to wait in the already crowded health system and facilities, there!  The good folks of Okotoks and Alderside now have a fantastic hospital facility - the South Health Campus - gradually opening up close to them at the southern edge of Calgary.  We on the north side must be second class Albertans?

We need a similar facility, built somewhere immediately north or immediately south of the City of Airdrie. 

I urge you all to participate in the health survey and let all of those who read the results know that we do not like being treated as second class Albertans!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bridging the Gap!

For those of you who were wondering about the South Bridge on the walking path, down near the Public Works Yard, it will be reconstructed in the spring.  The other two bridges are now complete and they look great!  They have been raised up so they should be high and dry when that newly deepened ditch fills up this spring. 

We are hoping that the improvements to that drainage canal will help in moving all that run-off water from Rocky View County lands through the village, and out the East side.

I suspect that part of the delay in the reconstruction of the South Pedestrian bridge was a result of the vandalism done to the second bridge.  Senseless vandalism costs us all. 

By the way, I noticed tracks across the pedestrian bridge behind CHS-DynAgra which appear to be made by some kind of ATV, perhaps a quad.  A reminder to all that the bridge was built as a pedestrian bridge.   Motorcycles, ATVs and snowmobiles should not be using it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Great Town Hall Meeting

We held our usual fall Town Hall Meeting at the Beiseker Community Centre.  It gives a chance for ratepayers to sit through an abbreviated council meeting then participate in a question and answer session with members of Village Council.

The main topics:
  • The Bassano Station issue was the first up.  Although village council has very little control over the Centennial Railway Museum's project, residents were most concerned the building would soon become abandoned.   With part of the roof missing and it not being closed in around the foundation,  residents were wondering of its future.  We on council could give them few answers.
  • One resident was concerned that issues brought to the attention of council were not being followed up.   Was the village office writing a note to the person who brought the issue to council's attention, outlining actions taken?  We were able to indicate that, in most cases, the follow-up was done by either phone call or letter.
  • We were asked why we lengthened the time residents have to clear their sidewalks of snow from 48 hours to 72 hours.  We explained that it gives the residents a bit longer to remove the snow in case they can't get on the shovel right away.
  • Another resident was wondering if there was a bylaw preventing parked vehicles from blocking laneways.  We indicated to them that this was a part of the province's Traffic Safety Act.  I've taken a  couple of quick tours around the area mentioned, but found no vehicles blocking laneways.  Vehicles can be parked between the garage and the lane if there is room.  The laneways should remain clear at all times.
  • Residents wondered why we weren't collecting tie-down fees at the Beiseker Airport.  I was able to tell them it was a clerical error, which would be corrected in the next few days.
  • Also discussed during or right after the meeting were the removal of some of the village's aging poplar trees, water drainage flows, potholes, and recycling fees.
Overall, I was pleased with the meeting.  I like to have residents attend our regular council meetings, but I know that for many that just isn't possible.  Town Hall Meetings make it a little easier. I think it is important that all village residents to stay in touch with their village council throughout the year. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

This Remembrance Day

First, my humble apologies to the students of Beiseker Community School.  I missed their Remembrance Day Poster judging, this morning.  I was asked to help judge the Remembrance Day posters while at Stage East this past weekend - but I didn't have my agenda with me to note it.  I didn't remember it until after the time had passed.  Again, my apologies.

Remembrance Day is important to me. It's a time when we can appreciate what the sacrifices of the many thousands of Canadian soldiers actually accomplished, here at home.  A couple of minutes of silence seems so little compared to what those soldiers gave us.  It is also a chance for us to thank the veterans for their similar gift to us.  Freedom is never free!

I will be attending the Remembrance Day Ceremonies at the Acme Community Centre tomorrow starting at 10:30 a.m.  I am urging you to join me.  The ceremony is organized by the Royal Canadian Legion branch there and it is very moving.

This year after the ceremony, upon my return to Beiseker, I am going to stop at our memorial in front of the Beiseker Community Centre and place my poppy there.  Why don't you do the same?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Town Hall Meeting Reminder

Monday, November 10 is the date of our 2014 Fall Town Hall Meeting of Council.  A Town Hall Meeting provides a chance for residents to ask questions or voice concerns to Village Council without having to attend a regular council meeting as a delegation.

I will be chairing tomorrow night's meeting at the Beiseker Community Centre.  We will first hold an abbreviated council meeting following our standard agenda, after which we will take questions from those assembled.

We ask that questions be addressed to the councilors and that they address concerns within the village.  These Town Hall meetings are NOT to be used as a witch-hunt!  Derogatory or inflammatory comments directed toward village staff members or councilors will not be acknowledged.

We'll have the coffee on, I hope to see you there!

2014 Another Successful Year for Stage East!

Leroy & Ray
Photo by Bernice Iremonger,
via Facebook
I'm tired, but very happy today!  We had another successful run of Stage East on Friday and Saturday night.  This is one incredible cast and crew, who are able to put on a great show year after year.  It's not easy for them, either!

Many of them are strong, creative, independent individuals with busy lives of their own.  Directing them each year is like herding a hundred cats!  Yet they are able to come together each spring, develop a program, write scripts, and rehearse most of the summer so they can put on an awesome show for the community each year.  I am very proud to be a part of this incredibly talented group.

After a great meal, the audiences were entertained with a series of performances which culminated in a very sophisticated finale simply called "Pots".  You had to be there!

Most of the proceeds from this year's show will go to a fund we've created to replace and augment the stage curtains at the Hall.  Again, my huge thanks to the entire Stage East 2014 cast and crew.  You rock!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Airdrie Needs a Hospital!

The City of Airdrie is among the fastest growing communities in Alberta.  But I understand that, with a population approaching sixty thousand, Airdrie is still without plans to have a hospital there!

I think that is ridiculous and disgusting!  Calgary has the new South Health Campus, which is a beautiful facility, but it certainly was never designed to help the folks from up north here - it's just too far away!  We need a similar facility built somewhere right around Airdrie!  NOW!

I've been told that over 1200 babies are born in Calgary hospitals each year to Airdrie parents!   New moms are transported down one of the busiest highways in Canada, to a hospital many kilometers away from their home communities.  New dads have little choice but to either get a hotel room in Calgary, sleep on the hospitals' floors, or commute from Airdrie to visit their new families!

What kind of a system is that?

Those in the Provincial government say that Airdrie's huge and rapid growth was hard to predict.  Well, predict it or not, it's here!  So what is going to be done about it?

I say let's shelve the "Big City Charters," for now and concentrate all resources on addressing this health care crisis in Airdrie.  I'm sure the mayors of Calgary and Edmonton would both agree that this is a much more pressing problem!   Our new Premier, Jim Prentice, must be made aware of this situation.  He's been too quiet on this crisis so far. 

What are we going to do about it?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Christmas, Already!

I noticed that some city stores took down the Jack-O-Lanterns and whipped up the Christmas decorations over the weekend.   Christmas music is playing in some malls.  I even saw some of the TV Christmas classics listed on the November schedules!

Isn't this a bit early?  I know that many retailers depend on Christmas to show a decent profit but I think they're rushing it just a mite. 

What makes it even stranger to me, is that all that Christmas hype disappears on December 26th - which is actually only the second day of the traditional, centuries old twelve-day Christmas festival.  No Christmas Carols are played after December 25th, not even the one about the partridge, the pear tree and the leaping lords!  Very strange.

I can understand a few stores setting out their Christmas decorations now, because folks want to decorate the outside of their homes.  The weather is only going to get colder so an early start here is prudent, but all the rest of it can wait a little longer.

I think the middle of November is quite soon enough!  That's what I think! What about you?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Another Quiet Halloween!

Halloween in Beiseker was (once again) a very quiet affair.  We had about 35 kids at our door:  we used to get well over 100!  I was expecting more since the weather fully cooperated this year. 

I toured around town around 1:00 a.m. and things were very quiet.  I haven't seen any vandalism around town, either.  Our sign about the bridge closure was knocked down, again, but that's very minor. 

I hope the kids and the older ones too, had lots of fun.  Our first annual Halloween Decoration "Door Prize," was a great success.  Visit the Village's Facebook page for the prize winners in the next few days. 

Overall, it was a super safe Halloween here in the Friendly Village!  Well done all!