Sunday, August 31, 2008

Why? The opposition to the Crowsnest Pass Centre Bylaw as Amended?

I am really struggling with this and keep asking myself why, why, why?

Personally I don't support keeping the centre and have always stated that?

But why are the proponents of the Centre so opposed to this bylaw? If you really want to hold on to the centre and ensure its future how does the admendments not do that?

Lets go through it again
Part 1: Allows for the question from the petition

Part 2a: Will place the centre under the administration and operation of the municipality, I have heard again and again that we place so much burden on our volunteer boards, I agree lets get administrators that are paid to run facilities to run this one. Do you know how many times we as a council have asked for information on the centre? At any council meeting I can ask for information on any other municipal facility, and receive it. Except for this one. That would not be the case if the centre was under municipal administration.

Part 2b: Administration must report back to council by year end, which option from the Hirano Heaton report council should proceed with to upgrade the centre. Does this not make sense if the centre needs upgrading and his will that not enhance its future (Minimum of ten more years?)

Part 2c: Municipal council will place into next years budget funds required for the upgrade determined in 2b. Does that make sense? if we are going to up grade any other municipal facility, wouldn't that show in the budget?

If this bylaw is passed this facility will be around for a minimum of ten more years (barring another pelebiscite) the building will need upgrades. (Does anybody disagree?) We cannot expect volunteers to run the centre for ten more years. The proponents of the centre only fear the admendments to the bylaw, because they know if we run this centre the way it should be ran as a municipal facility. We simply can not afford two community centre's, so they want to take away the admendments and keep running the centre the way it as been. If you think that's a wise choice read the auditor's statement below.

Crowsnest Centre's Auditors Report, Why Now

I was called today by a strong supporter of the Centre very upset with me for placing information on my blog about the Centre's audit last week just days before we vote. (Also called by a number of people looking for more information, which will be forth coming in the next few days). This person that called said to me don't you usually get audits early in the year, so you are only posting this now to influence the vote.
I don't see have a problem with providing information now, the public needs to be informed is that wrong?
Some members of council opposed posting the Hirano-Heaton report on the municipal web site, WHY? they also opposed providing the public that were interested in it, with a copy at the municipal office, WHY? they even wanted the public to pay for a copy. (We did $20,000 last year)
That report was done by a company from Lethbridge that as no political interest in the out come of this debate.
Going back to the original question why did I publish the Auditor's statement now and not back in the early part of the year? Simple, we as a council only received it last week. Don't take my word for it call the municipal office and check with them.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Crowsnest Centre's Auditors Report

Back in April we received a prelimary report that told us the Centre would lose some where in the range of $64,000, last week we were finally presented the official report from the Auditor's, two concerns first of all the approximatly $64,000 as now grown to $91,000 and change. Second concern read the letter from the Auditor please determine for yourself how much comfort you receive from a statement like this below.

Young Parkyn McNab LLP


To: The Board of Directors of
Crowsnest Leaming Centre Society

We have audited the statement of financial position of Crowsnest Leaming Centre Society as at December 31, 2007 and the statements of operations, changes in net assets and cash flows for the year then ended. These financial statements are the responsibility of the Society's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these financial statements based on our audit.
Except as noted in the following paragraph, we conducted our audit in accordance with Canadian generally accepted auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform an audit to obtain reasonable assurance whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement. An audit includes examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. An audit aIso includes assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation.

For a significant portion of the year the accounting records of the Society were not sdequate to support the recorded revenues and expenditures. Also, our examination indicated deficiencies in internal controls over certain revenues and expenditures. As a consequence, we were unable to satisfy ourselves that all revenues and expenditures of the Society had been recorded nor were we able to satisfy ourselves that the recorded transactions were proper. As a result, we were unable to determine whether adjustments were required in respect of recorded or unrecorded assets, revenue, net assets and cash flows.

In view of the possible material effects on the financial statements of the matters described in the preceding paragraph, we are unable to express an opinion whether these financial statements are presented fairly in accordance with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles.

Lethbridge, Alberta

March 26, 2008

Chartered Accountants

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Crowsnest Pass Timberwolves

I know this isn't about politics, but here's a good news story about a kid that played hockey in the Crowsnest Pass with our AJHL team the Timberwolves. He was a good hockey player when he was here and hopefully he will do well in his pro career.

Sheahan moves on upBy Tony ClarkeAug 20, 2008, 05:38

With his first professional training camp about a month away, Brock Sheahan is hoping his skating ability and on-ice intensity will catch the attention of coaches.Earlier this summer, the Lethbridge native signed a one-year deal with the American Hockey League’s Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. The Penguins, based in Ohio, are the minor-league affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins.The signing came on the heels of the physical blueliner completing his four-year run with the Notre Dame University Fighting Irish who, this past spring, came within a single victory of capturing the U.S. college hockey Division One Championship; a game they lost 4-1 to Boston College. Making the Frozen Four, as it is referred to, helped put Sheahan on scout’s radar.With his college playing days now over, he has his sights set on starting his pro hockey career by earning a spot on the Penguins roster.“Nothing is guaranteed, but there are a few spots available on the back end and my goal is to make the team,” said Sheahan, who at just under six feet tall and 188 pounds, describes himself as a solid, stay-at-home defenceman.“The past four years at college I was matched up with the other team’s top line and my job was to shut them down and stop them from scoring. It wasn’t my role to fill the net, but rather take care of my own end.”It’s this type of play the smooth-skating rearguard hopes to impress the coaching staff at Wilkes-Barre Scranton with in September.“I’m a solid skater and I think that will be the key for me. I won’t be a flashy player out there, but I feel being a responsible defenceman in my own end is what they were looking for when they signed me.”Sheahan has been training this entire summer, both on and off the ice, with his brother Brody Sheahan, who is currently skating with The College of Holy Cross in the NCAA Division One ranks.He has also been on the ice or in conversation during the off-season with other locals now playing hockey at the professional level. These players include former Lethbridge Hurricanes Kris Versteeg and Rob Klinkhammer, along with Taber’s Devin Setoguchi, who plays for the San Jose Sharks in the NHL.“Talking to these guys has really helped me know what to expect when I head into training camp. It’s only helped me better prepare myself.”The biggest adjustment he will have to make at the pro level, he adds, will be the simple fact players are more skilled and mature, noting he feels he has the speed and physical ability to compete.One thing Sheahan says he has going for him is the brief experience he gained with Albany of the AHL when college finished last April. It was just days after his Frozen Four run with Notre Dame that he signed an amateur tryout contract with Albany for the remainder of the team’s season.“I didn’t get to play in a game, but I took some pre-game skates and practised hard. This really helped me see what I need to do to play at this level.”Sheahan played all of his minor hockey here in Lethbridge, notably bantam and midget AAA. When he was 18, he moved on to play with the South Surrey Eagles in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League.A year later, he manned the blueline with the Crowsnest Pass Timberwolves of the Alberta Junior Hockey League before heading to school at Notre Dame in 2004, where just a few months ago he earned a finance degree.While Sheahan admits he one day hopes to be an NHL defenceman, for now his focus is getting the first season of pro hockey under his belt.“I’m looking forward to seeing what professional hockey is all about and proving I belong. If an NHL team came calling in the next few years that would be great. But right now I just want to get better and see if I can make a decent living playing this game, whether it’s in the minors, Europe in a few years, or hopefully the NHL.”

Development in the Crowsnest Pass

I have had a number of requests for an update on what's going on with development in the Crowsnest Pass. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so here is my update, you can see for yourself what is happening.

Trout Landing on Crowsnest lake

Sunny View Estates in Coleman

Kananaskis Wilds

Southmore Development

River Run


Valley Ridge Country Estates


Timber Ridge


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Municipal Finances in the Crowsnest Pass and Fiscal Responsibilty

We have a problem the state of our finances, some people think I speak too much about the Crowsnest Centre but to me the Crowsnest Centre is just a small reflection of the much larger problem we have in the Crowsnest Pass. That is understanding that government cannot do everything for everybody (whether that is individuals or groups) without there being a cost. Yes, crazy concept here we are talking about fiscal responsibility and making tough choices.

I will talk about where we came from and where we were at the end of 2007 and where we are going.

As recent as 2001 we has a Municipality had zero long-term debt at the end of 2007 we had $2,167,472 in debt and by the time we pay, it off with interest the real cost will be $2,739,249.

At the end of 2001, we had $2,963,317 in reserves broken down into the following categories:
......................................2001........................ 2007...
Administration .................$336,706................ $25,985
Emergency Services ............$200,079............... $31,376
Road ..............................$183,073................ $512,620
Sanitary ..........................$280,000 ...............$ 531
FCSS ..............................$4,911.....................$ 5,640
Land/Housing ...................$958,071 ................$493,165
Recreational Facilities ..........$310,519................ $142,582
Electrical Distribution ...........$172,000................ $2,210
Millrate Stabilization ............$517,958................ $327,392


At the end of 2007, we had reserves of $1,541,501 a drop of $1,421,816, that is significant but
it gets worse our 2008 budget allowed for expenditures of roughly $1.2 million that were funded from reserves, which is going to leave us in a position of having less than $400,000 in reserves. Believe it or not it could get even worse we agreed to purchase a new rescue truck for the sum of $213,000 to be paid for with the monies received from a GST refund, the Federal Government appealed that refund if we lose that appeal the rescue truck will be paid for out of reserves now will be down to less than $200,000.

Now comes the really tough part besides the fact that we will have nothing left in our reserves, to maintain the same level of expenditures in 2009 where do we get the $1.2 million from. Taxes this year increased on average 12% are our taxpayers willing to do that again? Alternatively, are they going to demand that we become fiscally responsible and make tough decisions? We did not get to where we are today by accident!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Crowsnest Centre Facility Assessment Report

Is now available at the Municipality web site just go to:

Excellant letter to the editor on the report:

Please remember that the proponents of keeping the Centre will attempt to discredit this report, dispite the fact that they have had this report for the last nine months and found no fault with it previously.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Crowsnest Centre where it began!

In June 1989 Nokomis Consultants presented a report on the development of the Crowsnest Centre. The following are quotes from that report. You the reader decide if these predications proved to be true or not.

“The old Blairmore Hospital and Nursing Home buildings would be renovated to standards consistent with the markets for learning facilities that the Centre will pursue”

“To develop the centre to an optimal condition $4 million in capital costs are required. These investments would be staged $2 million initially, $1 million at year 2, and $1 million by year 4”

Executive Summary Page 6

“At or around the 5th year of operations, there should be: 25 new full-time equivalent jobs, $490,000 annually in local expenditures, $45,000 in net revenue at the Centre”

Community Benefits Page 7

“The Municipality should invest in the project to help carry the start up years. Approximately $230000 would be required over 3 years”

Organization and Partnerships Page 8

“The Banff Centre would be the major Competition, although indications are that clients would welcome an alternative, comparable facility to consider”

Markets and Marketing Page 10

“The final years of Community Initiatives and Municipality support would occur in Years 2 and 3”

Key Points Overview of the Business Plan Page 68

Check out the Banff Centre Facilities @
I’m sure the market place will choose our old hospital over this aging facility.

Check out Randall's headlines and some interesting follow up comments

I found this very interesting

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Very good editorial from this week's local paper

Check the following out, its does not take a political position either way on the issue, just fair and reasonable comment.

Reinforces once again that it is not unreasonable to provide the public with all the information before they vote.