Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Libraries and Logo's in the Crowsnest Pass

My observations on two issues I have heard a lot about over the last week:

Libraries - The Crowsnest Pass is one of 33 member of CARLS  the Chinook Arch Regional Library system. At our last council meeting we were presented next years budget for CARLS which we as a member, as do all the other municipalities get to vote on. There is a formula that so many members representing so much of the population have to vote for the budget for it to pass. I think anybody that uses our library understands that they do a great job, belonging to CARLS as worked well for us. We as a council did not vote for the budget and the "only" reason I heard around the table was due to the request for a 3% increase in the municipal contribution. It was stated by a number of councilors that 3% in the economic times we are in and the relative low cost of living rate, is just too much.
What will this change at our present library? nothing. Over the last week I have heard silliness from we will be losing access to the internet, the library will be closing, on and on. None of that is true. 

Logo's/Branding - The Crowsnest Pass logo and branding, certainly an issue that was brought up by many people prior to and during the election. Lot's of people are still not happy with it, some are. That's ok and everybody can have any opinion they want, it's no secret this issue came up at our last G+P meeting and will be coming back to our October meeting. It's no different than any other issue that's been placed on our agenda we will look at it debate it and maybe or maybe not do something about it. 
Did I hear any desire around the table to start this whole exercise "over" again? not one iota, did I hear anybody suggest that we should even spend a tiny fraction of what was spent previously? not one iota. This council is listening to the public if the taxpayers bring an issue up with us, yes we will research it, debate it, hear the arguments from anybody that's interested for or against and go from there. 
This last few days I have been reading people's comments on various media sites on this issue, good for you, speak up voice your opinions. That's democracy at work everybody should have a voice. No surprise here that's one of the great things about living in the Crowsnest Pass, people do speak up and are engaged politically. 
I guess the only surprise for me is a lot of those voices that are now being very critical of us for having the audacity to talk about the logo/branding for 15 minutes at a G+P meeting, were voices that were so silent when the process took place and $330,000 of taxpayers money was spent on something that didn't deserve to have anywhere near that kind of money spent on it.   

But that's ok, maybe those strong voices regret not speaking up before and want to ensure that the same mistakes are not repeated.        

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

G+P meeting Sept 9, 2014

Number of issues dealt with Tuesday night.

  1. Draft Bylaw 897 Animal Control-Council and administration provided their input, will be coming to council for first reading on Sept 16 if passed at that point will come back for subsequent reading on Oct 7,  I believe the bylaw is a great improvement from the previous bylaw, the bylaw will be open for public comment and input. 
  2. Dr Todd Shipman, Alberta Geological Survey made a presentation on the Turtle Mountain Early Warning Systems. Historically; council of the day in 2008 placed a restricted development area at the foot of the Turtle Mountain, based on the scientific information and legal opinion at the time. With the benefit of six more years of monitoring since then Dr Shipman informed us that the mountain is moving between 1mm and 2.3mm a year with anything less than 16mm being considered low risk. The government will be releasing a further report on the whole mountain by the spring. 
  3. Corporal McKenna, Crowsnest Pass RCMP presented a statistical report on crime rates in the Crowsnest Pass, he expressed to council that by RCMP standards we are a very safe, low crime community. 
  4. Municipal branding/logo, council received a report last night showing the costs for the whole branding/logo process. Remember not that long ago when I tossed around the numbers of $3-400,000, how some people labelled those numbers as ridiculous. For your information.
Brand Development $48,983
Website Development $20,370
Entrance Signs $193,520.21
Banners $23,732.83
Stationery, Business Cards $6,333.08
Flags $4,366.49
Parade Float $5,925.64
Merchandise $15,259.09
Decals for Trucks $1,577.84
Decals on glass st the municipal office $820.20

Total $320,888.38

Still left to complete landscaping at the entrance signs $? part of 2015 budget.

Council will be looking for public input in the coming months, on where we go from here on the brand/logo, certainly no desire from council to spend any where close to the amount of money spent previously.  

5. Other issues discussed Municipal Health and Safety Policy, Municipal Hiring Policy both of which council made a number of comments on. They will be revised and brought back to council shortly. In addition we discussed Thunder In the Valley/Rum Runner Days which should be coming up soon to allow interested groups and individuals to get involved. The flooding issues and poor condition of the Union Cemetery in Bellevue. Plus council raised a number of issues with the snow removal policy. 

Next Council Meeting September 16.

Note: I have been asked about a couple of legal issues which have not been finalized yet. There will be information coming as soon as they are complete.  

Devon Gas Plant

Devon stack coming down, September 9.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Crowsnest Nest Pass-Revival of the coal industry continues

Very early stages on this project, but certainly good news for the Crowsnest Pass.

Altitude Resources Signs Joint Venture Arrangement with Kuro to Develop Elan Coal Project


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Lots of rain and garbage, now some celebration.

I know its been a while:

Couple of things, first of all a big pat on the back for Municipal Administration, all of our CUPE members, Fire/Rescue departments, other various volunteer groups, contractors, outside agencies and any one else that helped out during the events of the last few days. Everybody was well prepared, very proactive instead of reactive, things could have been a lot worse. (And lastly kudo's to my fellow members of council)

Lets not forget the bins are parked at the Coleman Sportsplex waiting to be filled, I was told by the landfill that it was going very well until the rain started. I have heard some complaints but please keep in mind this is the first time we will take your input and make the program better.

This weekend we also have the Hillcrest mine disaster 100th memorial and Bellcrest days.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Crowsnest Pass Council Update

Council Update

May 13, 2014- A lot of positive things are happening that will bode well for the community in the years ahead. We would like to update the taxpayers on our progress in the areas of concern we previously identified. 
Our CAO is rebuilding our Administrative team, a new Director of Finance & Corporate Services is now on board and we will have a new Director of Planning, Engineering & Operations in place May 20, 2014.
During the last few months, the municipal budget and mill rate were set for 2014 thanks to the hard work of Administration and the commitment of Council, the monies collected by the municipality did not increase.
Due to the way Municipalities are governed by the Provincial Assessment process, the Municipality realized 4.1% reduction in total assessment and a shifting of assessment from the older properties to the newer properties. Some properties may have had an assessment increase but a number of properties would have a reduction as well.
For example, if you had an assessment of $300,000 last year, you would have had to pay $1828.00 in taxes. Taking that same property in 2014, assuming the value dropped the average of 4.1%, your property would be assessed at $287,700, which at today mill rate would equates to $1828.00 in taxes.
Unfortunately, if your decrease in assessment was less than 4.1% or you had an assessment increase from last year your taxes may have gone up, on the other hand if your decrease in assessment was more than 4% then you would see a tax reduction. We would advise residents that if they have a question about their property assessment to contact the municipal office at 403-562-8833 and set up an appointment with our Assessor Glen Snelgrove.
Land Issues
We are working with the creditors of Crowsnest Mountain Resort to resolve the outstanding issues with the Wolfstone Development.
The Crowsnest Centre site has been cleaned up according to the agreement reached between the contractor and the previous administration. Administration is working on a solution to dispose of or recycle the piles of broken concrete and bricks on the site.
Legal Issues
Mayor, Council and/or Administration have had meetings with both Chinook Pipelines and the Smoke Eaters. All sides have indicated a willingness to resolve their outstanding issues without tremendous amounts of dollars being wasted on the legal process.
Council and Administration have made rebuilding the relationship with our employees a priority. There are still issues, but thanks to a lot of hard work between our administration, CUPE leaders and membership, we feel we are making progress.
Flood repairs are well underway with the initial contractor work being done on Lyons Creek, Byron Creek and Drum Creek.
Development appears to be on the rebound and so far this year we have approved permits for 30% more than we did in the same timeframe last year. Soon we will be seeking public input to help us improve the Municipal Development Plan and the Land Use Bylaw.
Other Issues
We are reviewing the terms of reference of all our committees. We will be looking strategically at ways to better market our community. Once our entire Administrative team is in place and the outstanding workload is caught up, we will begin the strategic planning and the budget process for next year with a goal of how we can maximize the services we provide to our taxpayers with as little impact as possible on your pocket books.
To conclude, we have a Council that is working well together, and we are building a strong, experienced administrative team. Development is on the upswing, taxes are being kept in line and contentious issues are being dealt with.
Thank you for your support and patience.
Mayor and Council