Friday, September 30, 2016

Horseshoe Canyon Saved!

Friday afternoon, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the official dedication of Horseshoe Canyon at the canyon's outlook. 

Kneehill County acquired a major portion of the canyon site this past summer and has been working with a number of partners to improve the lookout and the canyon area so that the thousands of visitors stopping there can enjoy it. 

Today I heard the canyon referred to as 'Alberta's Peggy's Cove,' but visitors to the canyon have been literally loving it to death.  Thousands of people stop there every day during the summer months! Folks scrambling up and down the steep, slippery slopes created mini-gulches, down which water rushes, severely eroding the sides of the canyon. 

Also, numerous tourist game trails crisscross the canyon floor, jeopardizing the fragile plants growing there.

Now a set of stairs takes tourists safely up and down the canyon wall to designated walking paths networking across the canyon floor to elevated lookout points.  The improvements are slightly intrusive, but very necessary!  Now the canyon will remain in its present state for generations to enjoy for years to come!

Here's a shout-out to Kneehill County, who spearheaded this project to save Horseshoe Canyon.  Next time you're heading east, why not stop at the Horseshoe Canyon Lookout and see for yourself how the canyon has been saved.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Shocking Death of Mylan Hicks

I have to admit I'm having trouble understanding one of the events of this past weekend in Calgary.  A young man, a Calgary Stampeders football player was shot (yes I said shot) at a nightclub in that city!  Mylan Hicks, a 23-year-old American was killed early Sunday morning while celebrating a recent win by the team.

The part I'm having trouble with is; "Why would anyone bring a loaded gun to a nightclub?"  I'm certainly not a lawyer, but to me that sounds like premeditation!  If you bring a gun to a nightclub your intention is obvious: you plan to harm someone!

According to the paper this morning, the Calgary Police have plenty of witnesses.  I hope they catch those responsible, and soon!

My condolences to Mr. Hicks' family and to his teammates.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fourth Avenue and Main Street!

We're finally seeing some action on our streets and sidewalks program.  Here's what's happening;

Fourth Avenue:  

While repairing a water main break last winter, we found some very old water pipes under Fourth Avenue between Main Street and Fifth Street.  They even found a connection to the CN Station which was demolished nearly forty years ago! 

Council decided to have the road completely dug up, all the old pipes replaced with new material, new fill placed and packed, then paved.  That project is very close to being completed once the paving crews arrive to pave that section. 

When the paving crews are here, they will also pave the areas left by crews repairing other water main breaks around town.

Main Street Sidewalks: 

Our sidewalk replacement program has been ongoing all summer and we have many blocks of shiny new sidewalks to show for it.  We were holding off on the Main Street section of sidewalks in hopes that the provincial government would renew their grant program which paid for the upgrades to Main Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue. 

Such was not the case.  The MSI Grants (Municipal Sustainability Initiatives) continue to be reduced, every year.  We decided that we couldn't wait any longer! 

The worst sections of the Main Street sidewalks are being replaced right now.  Other renovations, including the replacement of the rest of the sidewalks between Second Avenue and Third Avenue on Main Street will have to wait, until Beiseker has enough funds to pay for them!

Overall, I would like to thank all of you for your patience and understanding during these two construction projects.  And I would also like to thank all the drivers for avoiding those areas now prepared to be patch-paved.  Those areas should be paved along with Fourth Avenue in the coming days.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Little Things

It's the little things in life that make me smile...or frown.  Here are a few.

I smiled when I read stories about Syrian refugees learning to be Canadians.  They're going to the Stampede, they're learning about Canadian football, they're learning to skate.  They're taking English classes.  They're working hard to become Canadians, like the rest of us had to do when we (or our ancestors) came to this, the greatest country on Earth!

I smiled when I see folks dressed in green and wearing watermelons on their heads or with red painted faces with a galloping horse on it heading for a Canadian football game.  That's what I call Fan Loyalty.  Fantastic!

I smiled when I see young kids experimenting and playing with scientific apparatus at the annual Beakerhead Festival in Calgary.  The only way you can engage our highly talented group of youngsters with science is to show them it can be a lot of fun!

I smiled when I heard that Airdrie's Urgent Care facility will operate 24 hours a day hopefully after the end of September.  In my opinion, having that clinic close each night at 10:00 p.m. was pretty ludicrous, considering Airdrie now has a population of more than 60,000!  I'm hoping this will be the first step in Airdrie getting its much needed hospital!

I frowned when I read that two students enrolled in an openly non-denominational school demanded to have a place and be able to pray during school hours.  The school advertises that it is openly non-denominational and discourages any outward display of any religion because it wants its students to concentrate on their studies during school hours.  The students won the right to pray in that school.

I frowned when I heard that the old Rafter Six Lodge was demolished a few days ago.  Parts of the lodge were probably less than 50 years old but it was a beautiful structure reminiscent of the old log structures built here over a hundred years ago.  I assume the new owners had no idea of its historical and cultural value.

I frowned when I heard that the province was no longer sending out vehicle and drivers' licence renewal notices.  Instead they have allowed the authorities to levy hefty fines for those who didn't renew on time and they have employed an American company to send out telephone robo-calls to remind us!

I frown every time I look out my back window on the huge mess that used to be the Bassano Station.  I frown even deeper when I realize again that there is nothing the village can do to  force the mystic railway museum or Alberta TrailNet to clean up that mess!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Trees are Part of the Solution

I have two words for Premier Notley and her carbon reduction plans; Plant trees!  

Maybe our premier and her colleagues don't realize that during its lifetime, a tree will absorb more than 40 tonnes of carbon dioxide and pollutants from the air, and replace that with life giving oxygen!  In the summer, deciduous trees provide shade on hot summer days and lower the temperature beneath them by up to ten degrees celsius!  The roots and trunk of a tree can hold thousands of litres of water to be released through transpiration at drier times!

I hope that Premier Notley and her government will twig in soon about trees (pun intended) and divert some of that carbon tax money toward raising and planting more trees!  Trees are not the magic solution to the problem of lowering our "carbon footprint," but they are certainly part of the solution!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

A New Name for YYC?

It has been suggested a few times lately that the Calgary International Airport be renamed after former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  I totally disagree!  I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Harper, but I don't think naming the airport after him is quite appropriate. 

Besides, the airport already has a name; McCall Field.  It was named after Freddy McCall, a Calgarian and a fighter ace of the First World War.  He did much to promote and expand aviation in Southern Alberta and Calgary.  I knew his son, the late Fred Jr. who was also heavily involved in aviation in Calgary and worked tirelessly to make the Aero Space Museum of Calgary the success it is today.

I think the airport's name should be returned to McCall International Airport.  Just because the Liberals like to name airports after former Liberal Prime Ministers doesn't mean Calgary has to follow along.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Facing Reality on Health Care

There was a piece on last night's TV news about a woman who was appalled that her elderly father, who had recently suffered a heart attack was placed in the hall of the Rockyview Hospital because there were no rooms available at that moment.  The officials she talked to were very sympathetic, but told her that was the norm in Alberta's health care system. 

This problem has existed for a considerable length of time.  While hospitals like Calgary's Rockyview General Hospital haven't been at full capacity for a while now, certain areas do back up.  Those back-ups in some wards require patients to be placed in the hallways until space in a room opens up.

My recent stint (albeit short) in that same Rockyview hospital showed me that the hospital staff are working as hard as they can with the resources they have to give excellent care to all patients.  Unfortunately, their facility frequently lets them down!

I can hear it now:  "Let's all blame Rachel Notley and her NDP government for this major screw-up!"  

Hey, not so fast!

It wasn't the NDP government who closed numerous hospitals around the province.
It wasn't the NDP government who blew up one of the biggest hospital complexes in Alberta!
It wasn't the NDP government who played membership roulette with the Alberta Health Services board,  (Remember the famous "cookie monster," Stephen Duckett?)

The NDP inherited this screw-up from the previous government that was in power for more than 40 years.  What disturbs me is that the present government appears oblivious to the problem!  They talk platitudes and promises, but nothing else happens.

If you've read my blog for any length of time you'll know that I have been vocal about the creation of a full hospital in the city of Airdrie.  Yes, it will be expensive, and,
Yes, the province is in a financial crunch right now; but the health system in Airdrie is only going to get worse!

Let's not blame Premier Notley and her NDP government for this current health mess.  Let's make her government start focussing on solutions to these problems before it's too late!