Wednesday, January 28, 2009

OHV poll results for the Crowsnest Pass

To the question of allowing OHV's in our residential areas, as unscientific as it may be 44 people voted, with 27 opposed (61%) and 17 in favor (39%). Strange as it seems that's what I am hearing around town.

Information on Municipality of Crowsnest Pass

Under Municipal Blogs/Web Sites I have placed the link to the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass.
For financial information go to Finance and Systems. Under there you will fing the 2007 audited statement. On Page 4 under Liabilities you will find Long Term Debt ($2,167,472) this is explained on Page 15 under Note 7. The payment on the debt for 2009 is $385,125 which is made up of Principal $272,741 and Interest of $112,384 for a total of $385,125.

Debt $2,167,472 works out to $380 per person (5700 people)
Payment for 2009 $385,125 works out to $68 per person (5700 people)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Did anybody Notice?

Posted on CBC is a Summary Statement of Transactions

From 2007 to 2014 the federal government will pay (Should I say Taxpayers) $242.8 billion in finance charges ($7141 per Canadian) on the Public Debt which will be standing at $541.8 billion by 2014. That works out to $15,935 (34,000,000 Canadians) for every Man Women and Child in this country.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Questions Re Development in the Crowsnest Pass

I am being asked many questions regarding the state of development in the Crowsnest Pass, if you could send me all your questions, regarding this issue by this weekend to I will do an update this weekend and answer all the questions I can.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The day the coalition died (Dec 4,2008)

Lets talk about the realities of politics, for the few weeks leading up to Dec 4th the left wing voters of the country were like kids with the festive calender counting down the days until Christmas.
Harper took a calculated shot at killing the oppositions funding when the other parties were down and out. Play along with me and recognize that the oppositions real anger was not at the lack of economic stimulus, Harper not having the right plan to bring the country through the crisis it was all about political funding.
Does anybody believe for a second that the Liberals would jump into bed with the NDP and invite the Bloc into the room for a "menage a trois" over the "Economy" yes if Harper had stayed away from the political funding the parties would have done what politicians do they would have sat in parliament whined about the governments economic stimulus plan and waited for the right opportunity to bring the government down.
But never the less you had Dion (bumbling idiot recording his speech to the nation on a cell phone), Layton (the only way I will ever be in government is if I jump to the Liberals like Bob Rae), and Duceppe (what can I squeeze out of these Anglo fools now) sitting in a room saying "my God if Harper gets this through our parties are all done financially". To their credit they came up with this coalition idea, and it may well have worked they would have brought down the government forced an election, and with the economy getting worse and worse blamed it all on the Conservatives, (whose fault could it be).
Then Harper pulled off his best move when the the Governor General agreed to prorogue Parliament it gave him the one thing he needed time.
Back to the realities of politics Dec 4th was the beginning of the end for the coalition at that point it was put on life support and the back room wheeling and dealing began.
To the Liberals credit they replaced the prime architect of the coalition Stephane Dion with Michael Ignatieff (Bob Rae is just to left wing for even the Liberals and yes folks there really is a reason the NDP nevers gets more than 15% of the vote).
At this point Ignatieff had to look at two issues (remember by now the Conservatives had long backed off on the political funding issue) what does the coalition have to offer me and what does Stephen Harper have.
The coalition well that will bring down the government and then I will spend eighteen months listening to Jack talk about his socialist utopia, and Gillies saying I can support this vote if Quebec gets the following. And my goodness this recession stuff his getting worse by the day.
Harper does not want to lose power so the calls are going back and forth " Michael what do you need in this budget to not defeat it? massive spending lets throw money at everybody".
So put yourself in Ignatieff's shoes you pick the coalition you spend eighteen months keeping Jack and Gillies on board, and dealing with a recession that his going to get very ugly.
Or do you step forward and claim victory because you forced Harper to come forward with massive dollars for programs to stimulate the economy, let Harper and the Conservatives deal with the blood bath that our country will be for the next year or two. Then force an election and blame everything that the country has gone through for the last two years on the Conservatives. Makes for good politics doesn't it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Budget Update for the Crowsnest Pass

Well Jan 21st came and went we started the meeting with $251,461 to cut just to get down to a 5% increase. We debated issues such as one cleanup versus two, our local advertising, the dollars we use to market our community, what we give to non profit groups and the levels of service we provide. Then we cancelled our meeting for tonight and rescheduled it for Feb 2th.

The net result of three hours of debate and going around and around, with some members of council taking the position that you can do two cleanups cheaper than one. (I am not joking)

Was we were left with $251,461 to cut, to once again get down to a 5% tax increase (which is high)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Budget Process in the Crowsnest Pass Continues

Update for January 21st

Council is scheduled to meet tonight and tomorrow regarding the 2009 municipal budget.
Administration as presented us with a package tonight that allows for a 5% tax increase but needs council to make cuts to a total of $251,461 to reach that level. Some difficult choices must be made.
Each one percent increase in taxes brings the municipality in roughly $61,000.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Interesting Article in this weeks Crowsnest Pass Promoter

RE: Development in the Crowsnest Pass

Atlas Road Logging Crowsnest Pass

Just received word that Spray Lakes will start logging Monday on the Atlas Road. I sincerely hope they do a better job than they did on the Kananaskis Road, and I hope SRD does a better job of staying on top of them.

I guess the Crowsnest Pass will be saved from the Pine Beetle!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Crowsnest Pass OHV Byalw #722

Tuesday night the Crowsnest Staging Area Committee approach council, requesting that council repeal Bylaw #722 the bylaw that banned Off Highway Vehicles from the residential area's of the Crowsnest Pass.
To be clear this did not ban them from the Municipality it only banned them from residential area's, basically we took the residential area's of our community and drew a line around them. This still leaves 95% of our municipality open to OHV's, I think we all recognize the importance of OHV's to this area and the amount of dollars that they bring in. We need to promote any kind of economic activity we can here, our business community needs all the help it can get. The only difference between myself and the users of OHV's is that I and a lot of my fellow taxpayers don't want to see them running down our streets.
When this bylaw was passed I was told that it would not change anything (impossible to enforce) and it would have a negative impact, users would see the Crowsnest Pass as a less desirable destination.
In response to those concerns, the RCMP have previously stated that the number of complaints have dropped significantly. And on a personal basis before this bylaw was passed I used to receive 1-2 complaints a week from taxpayers regarding OHV's I have received 2 complaints since the bylaw passed.
Enforcement we were told that Bylaw #722 would be impossible to enforce but within the presentation that was made last night it was suggested that we charge $25 for a plate with the revenue being used to hire an seasonal employee to help enforce a new bylaw, which will again allow riders to go from there home (directly) to the nearest route.
As far as Bylaw #722 making the Crowsnest Pass less of an destination for OHV's in 2007 we received numerous awards for our area, in 2008 after the Bylaw was passed surprisingly we again received numerous awards.

I will add a direct quote from the presentation "There are clear indicators that the Crowsnest Pass is the best ATV and Snowmobile riding area in Western Canada"

Does being unable to ride down our residential street really make that much of a difference?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Crowsnest Pass Municipal Inspection

Did this a little while back on the experience of Pincher Creek have a read of Page 13-14 regarding the running of Municipal Facilities by groups other than council.

Did not realize that the link was not working so here we go again.

and click on Municipal Inspection Report

Big Thanks to Mr Prince for pointing this out to me.

Logging on the Atlas Road (Crowsnest Pass)

Well here is an update on the logging situation on the Atlas Road. We were told at our Tuesday Jan 6 2009 council meeting that Spray Lakes is meeting with SRD the week of Jan 12. At this point we are led to believe that they do not have approval to log on the Atlas Road.
We also had presented to us the road use agreement which would allow Spray Lakes to use the portion of the Atlas road that is controlled by the municipality. This road use agreement was passed by a vote of 4-3, with councilors Cole, Salus and Ward opposed.

Personally I had a whole different opinion about logging in our area when there was a mill here employing a large group of Crowsnest Pass residents. Now these folks from Cochrane are going to impact the natural beauty of our area for what? I sincerely hope that SRD if they allow this logging, they force them to do a far better job than they did up the Kananaskis road

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The news nobody in the Crowsnest Pass wanted to hear!

Nobody wanted to hear this I have gone through this several times at the mines (1984 and 1992) its not a lot of fun very tough on young families especially. When I spoke about this possibility a few council meetings back I was accused of fear mongering!
No fear mongering, just a combination of being around the coal industry all my life, going through mine closures and layoffs myself, watching the downturn in the steel industry and just plain common sense.

January 8, 2009
Teck Announces Global Workforce Reduction of 13% and 2009 Coal Production Plan
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 8, 2009) - Teck Cominco Limited (TSX: TCK.A and TCK.B, NYSE: TCK) today announced that it will reduce its global workforce by about 1,400 positions, or 13%, as part of its broader strategy to reduce costs and bolster competitiveness in the face of persistently weak commodity prices. The workforce reduction is expected to generate annual savings of approximately $85 million. Teck also said it plans to reduce coal production in 2009 to 20 million tonnes due to declining global steel demand.Each strategic business unit is adjusting personnel levels to protect operating margins given difficult commodity markets. The company is also significantly reducing staff and contractors associated with exploration activities and research and development. Finally, the workforce reductions will eliminate redundancies at the corporate level created by Teck's recent acquisition of Fording Canadian Coal Trust's assets."Given continued economic uncertainty, a significant reduction in our workforce is needed to further reduce costs and position Teck for both short and long-term competitiveness," said Don Lindsay, President and CEO. "Notwithstanding the substantial decline in commodity prices, this was a difficult decision and I want to thank the affected employees for their contributions to the company."In total, about 1,000 employee and 400 contractor positions will be eliminated by the end of 2009, with the majority of the reductions to be completed in the first quarter. Teck expects to take a charge of approximately $35 million in the first quarter for severance and other related costs associated with this reduction.

Monday, January 5, 2009

2009 looks scary for Crowsnest Pass number one employer

Article reprinted from an Australian Newspaper dated Dec 22, 2008.

THE outlook for Australia's coal exporters has continued to weaken, with reports of further falls in contract thermal coal prices.
Japanese newsletter The Tex Report said first coal contracts for Japan's next financial year had been signed, with utilities getting coal at the export port at between $US70 and $US80 a tonne -- up to a 45 per cent discount from this year's price.
The report comes days after Xstrata Coal locked in $US80 a tonne prices for Australian coal for the 2009 calendar year, a nearly 50 per cent drop on recent contracts it signed at $US155 a tonne for the year starting October 2008.
Analysts said the outlook for thermal coal, which is used in electricity production, looked weak and Xstrata, the world's biggest thermal coal exporter, had moved to lock in prices to restrict further risk. NSW miner Gloucester Coal has also started to sign thermal coal contracts at well below this year's price. On Friday, Gloucester said it had locked in about 500,000 tonnes of sales for 2009-10 at an average above $US80 a tonne.
While better than the reported deals, it is well below last year's benchmark of $US125 a tonne.
Thermal coal prices are weakening as global energy prices slump and could drop further if oil prices continue to hold under $US40 a barrel. Credit Suisse analysts last week said oil at $US50 should correlate to a coal price of about $US80 a tonne.
A sudden drop in demand for coking coal, a better quality product used to make steel, is expected to have a flow-on effect as producers sell into thermal markets. "As a countermeasure to any softening in coking coal demand, the company will deliver into additional thermal coal contracts," Gloucester said.

Lets hope the upward movement in Teck's shares over the last week means a better outcome for our number one employer.

Jan 6 2009

This appeared in today's Globe and Mail

VANCOUVER — — — Western Canadian Coal Corp. [WTN-T] says it plans to reduce operations at its Brule and Wolverine mines in British Columbia, affecting hundreds of jobs, because of reduced demand from steel makers.
The company said Tuesday it will cut output at the Brule mine, which produces lower quality coal, to about 750,000 tonnes a year from its current rate of 1.3 million tonnes. The reduction is effective at the end of January.
Meanwhile, the Wolverine operation, which produces hard-coking coal, has informed employees it may cut operations effective May 18, subject to market conditions for the next coal year, the company said.
Western Canadian said 35 of its contractor's employees will be affected at Brule mine near Chetwynd, B.C.
Western Canadian Coal

It said the number of jobs affected at Wolverine, located just outside of Tumbler Ridge, B.C., is unclear at this stage, but that 300 of its contractor's employees and 100 of the company's own employees were given notice Tuesday.
The coal producer employed 530 people at the end of 2007.
Western Canadian also said it has given notice to the contractor at Wolverine to end the mining operation contract. The Wolverine operation has a current annual capacity of 1.6 million tonnes of coal.
The Vancouver-based company said the reduced operating rates reflect rising inventories as some customers defer shipments through the next few months. Western Canadian said it expects to operate at the lower rates until the current economic uncertainty improves and the demand for coal becomes clearer.
"I emphasize these plans are contingent on what the demand of metallurgical coal will be for the next coal year," said John Hogg, president and chief executive officer of Western Canadian.
"Whether we reduce operations and to what levels, will depend on the demand for our coal. We hope this will become clearer in the coming months. Until then, we continue to focus on working safely, increasing productivity and lowering costs to remain competitive through these difficult times."
Western Canadian produces metallurgical coal from mines in northeastern British Columbia. The company also has interests in various coal properties in northern and southern British Columbia and a 50-per-cent interest to explore and develop the Belcourt and Saxon group of properties in the north of the province.
The world's steel makers have been reducing demand for coal to fuel their blast furnaces because the slumping world economy has cut the prospects for growth in steel sales, especially in Asia.