Friday, February 26, 2010

The Role of the Media

Should the media be reporting the news? trying to make the news, or even trying to manipulate the news towards their own personal goals and objectives, if the later is true is it really fair? does it not give those who control the media an unfair advantage over the rest of us?

Check out the following comments in an excellent letter to the editor in this weeks paper.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lets keep it classy.

Despite the fact that some people around here like to turn politics into something very personnel. I have previously stated I will not lower myself to that level. Yesterday I received a comment that referred to other peoples disabilities, and said some very nasty things.
If you are going to send me those kind of comments you are wasting your energy and time.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The end of times, Crowsnest Pass style

I almost hate to draw attention to the silliness that has broken out in the Crowsnest Pass. All of the community knows about the Crowsnest Centre, and yes its an issue that as spilt the community some what. Personally I do not have a problem with anybody having a different opinion than me on this issue. (Its called democracy)
Yes we have attempted to have a debate based on silly things like facts, figures, and that kind of nonsense.
Then we have had other people who have the golden opportunity to debate this issue (by use of the local media) based on non factual arguments, fear, stupidity and ????? (I am stuck for the right word use your imagination).
In the last five years I have heard arguments such as the place will make money, its a sound business. Look at our business plan its make sense (the moment you point out errors, "its only a draft"), we don't compete with the local hospitality business, yet under that same business plan its states competition then lists local hospitality businesses. We heard Dec 16, 2008 we don't need municipal dollars the place will pay for itself. By June of 2009 we are debating paying the Nexen bill because our Mayor states that it was sent to the wrong address for months ???.
Then comes the fear approach:
The cadets will be thrown out on the street, the food bank will be thrown out on the street, its the death of education in the Crowsnest Pass. Where will people stay during an emergency?
The cadets are in the Elks Hall, the food bank is now down town Blairmore, and we are in discussions with the education consortium regarding relocation. Where do people stay in other communities during an emergency? Inconvenice yes, but problems that had solutions.
Then comes the stupidity, it was only three weeks ago the local paper had an update on politics in the Crowsnest Pass, followed by "my mother always said if you have nothing good to say about somebody don't" and then the rest of the editorial was blank.
Last week we get an attempt to compare the closing of the centre to Great Britain's darkest hours during WW II, and they went as far as quoting Winston Churchill.
Then this week we get the icing on the cake an obituary for the centre, maybe I'm wrong maybe this really does make sense and I'm the crazy one.

Anyway we are now only months away from the election, and I'm sure somewhere out there in the back rooms of our local businesses, over coffee at the Tim Hortons. The ultimate dream team of seven is being built for the coming election, they will come forth and correct all the mistakes of by gone years.
The centre will be refurbished and reopened and become truly our "Banff Centre"
The old Bellevue arena will be rebuilt and re opened and prime time hours at our arenas will become from 6pm to 6:45pm so that five years from now we can claim that our arenas are being used 97% of the time. (prime time hours of course)
Then the $300,000 to upgrade the Maple View hall will be found, and the old Hillcrest hall will be rebuilt and reopened. Everybody will live happily ever after, and George Cuffs statement about the municipality having too much duplication of services and facilities will be exposed for the huge lie it is.
Maybe this dream team can campaign under the slogan, of lower taxes, no reduction of services, and money in reserves every year.
Some pessimists say it can not be done, but two thousand years ago they said the same thing about parting the Red Sea.

Any way thanks for taking a moment to read my comments and please if you can spare a few more seconds vote on the poll on the left hand side.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The bright side of the Crowsnest Pass

Want to see what the Crowsnest Pass is all about check out the following video, warning it was made by a reputable local developer and has a very short plug at the end for his company. But I think it was very well done and really exposures the viewer to a lot of great things about our community.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How to get a small town excited about development

Much as been said on other Blog sites regarding development in the Crowsnest Pass, and the silence from members of council regarding some of these developments.
First of all if a development does go bad here there is no question that lots of lawyers will find much employment, and make loads of money. Hopefully it does not come to that.
Anybody that as sat on a municipal council in the province of Alberta understands that issues discussed in camera by council that could be extremely sensitive from a legal point of view can not be discussed publicly, in fact during this term of the present council there was even an attempt by some members of council to remove one councilor because an issue that was dealt with in camera was reported by a local paper. This failed but it certainly drove home the seriousness of speaking to in camera issues.

Anyway lets clear up some misconceptions and rumors here, first of all Councilor Dean Ward as not done any of the following:
I have never been an employee of or received any kind of income from any developer,
I have never appeared in any kind of promotional video or literature for any developer,
I have never attended or lent credibility to any kind of shareholders or investors meeting.
I have never attended any kind of golf tournament, tickets to Flames games or any of those types of little perks provided by any party.

What am I guilty of? Attempting to encourage development in the Crowsnest Pass, to widen our tax base, to encourage business and people to move here. To create employment, have we been successful?
Some what on Highway 3 we have a development with 34 units built and another block of 6 units being started these units will bring in $150,000 a year in residential taxes, have created a number of construction jobs and supported some of our local businesses.

Other developers have come in to our sleepy little town and created quite a stir with flashy headlines and big proposals, yes councils, investors and numerous other folks have gotten excited and caught up in it.
Look at the following 23 headlines taken from our local paper dating back to 2005 there was a lot more people than just councilors that got caught up in this project.
Will this project or any other work out? I don't know.
We as a council just need to make sure that the communities best interests are looked after, and that taxpayer dollars are not spent pursuing somebodies dreams.

What is really amazing, over the last five years is the number of people that offered me all kinds of advice about how we needed to do everything possible to support development, and what a great thing some of these developers were.
Some of those same people today are telling me I can not believe you folks got sucked in by this stuff.

Council hears Sentinel ?resort village? Proposal Oct 3, 2005

Subdivision approval next step for Bridgegate December 6, 2005

Two milestones for Bridgegate development January 24, 2006

Bridgegate budget now over a billion March 2, 2006

Plans presented for River Run July 19, 2006

River Run plans given go-ahead August 17, 2006

Bridgegate rezoning approved Dec 7, 2006

Bridgegate pressing forward Dec 22, 2006

River Run gets go-ahead Jan 24, 2007

Chamber hears Bridgecreek plans Feb 16, 2007

Bridgecreek commits to millions April 19, 2007

Local development hits minor road block May 17, 2007

Town receives funding for Bridgegate project June 28, 2007

River Run Rolling July 19, 2007

Things flow well at River Run Jan 17, 2008

Hotel/pool coming to Pass Jan 17, 2008

Developing developments in the Pass April 17, 2008

Crowsnest Lake construction this year April 17, 2008

River Run project still on course June 26, 2008
A new year: a new development? Jan 16, 2009

A new year: a new development? Jan 16, 2009

Coal dust threatens river Feb 6, 2009

Bridgecreek consolidating offices July 31, 2009

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Community Standards Bylaws Crowsnest Pass

Last night at our council meeting Councilor Cole requested that the Community Standards bylaw be brought forth on Feb 23th.
He also requested that any member of Council, or administration bring forth comments, suggested changes etc to the bylaw. I would love to hear from any member of the public that has suggestions regarding this bylaw. Personally I would like to have whatever changes are required made prior to Summer.

You can read the present bylaw at the following address:

Its the third from the bottom labeled Community Standards Bylaw 534

Where does my tax dollars go in the Crowsnest Pass

A while back a number of local residents wanted to know what some of the costs were for different services that we provide in the Crowsnest Pass. All of these numbers were for 2009 unless otherwise stated.

1/Spring Clean up-$105,241.43
Which is made up of the following
Wages and Benefits $69,133.05
Postage and Copying $643.26
Tipping Fees $28,985.12
Fuel 216 trips @ $30 per trip $6,480

2/Toxic Roundup-$6,435.41
Advertising $499.60
Contract costs $5,935.81

3/Snow Removal-$202,584
Wages $179,518
Benefits $23,066
We do not track equipment costs and fuel

4/Fire Departments-$327,000
This was the average amount for the last three years

5/Rum Runner Days-$46,072
Police $10,000
Traffic $6,572
Events $22,500
Garbage $7,000

The total of the above comes to $748,436.84
If anybody has any comments about the above please either post them or send me an email, any other questions about costs of various programs or services let me know I would be glad to get the answers for you.

This does not include any municipal wage cost.

6/Summer Games-$61,104

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Results of latest polls, Recycling and Garbage limits in the Crowsnest Pass

Very Interesting results on my latest polls.

Firstly I asked:

Should the Crowsnest Pass change its 5 bag limit on garbage?

With the options of:
No its fine 10 votes
No limit at all 2 votes
Yes to 4 bags 0 votes
Yes to 3 bags 7 votes
Yes to 2 bags 13 votes

Clearly the message I received from this poll was that a strong majority almost two thirds feel that there should be a significant reduction (notice nobody voted for 4 bags) to either 3 or 2 bags from the present five bag limit.

Second I asked:

Crowsnest Pass presently spends $90,000 per year on recycling is that adequate?

The options were:
Yes 10 votes
No we should spend less 4 votes
No we should spend more 6 votes
Get rid of it all together 2 votes

The strong majority on this poll clearly tells me that the voters have no interest in spending more money on recycling.
When you combine the results from the two polls it says in my opinion if we can be smarter with our garbage and increase the amount of recycling we do by throwing less away, residents would be interested as long has it does not increase the cost.

Cost of utilities in the Crowsnest Pass

Cost of living in the Crowsnest Pass, really to compare taxes to other communities is comparing “apples to oranges” which I have been so wisely told by a number of my readers, what we can compare though and have a fairly accurate comparison is our cost of utilities, those being: water, sewer, storm water, garbage and recycling. Anyway I have comparisons from eight other rural communities in Southern Alberta.

Crowsnest Pass
Water $23.00
Sewer $16.05
Storm Water $0
Garbage $17.82
Recycling $2.50

Total of $59.37 per month

Pincher Creek
Water $61.32 (No meter)
Sewer $16.06
Storm Water $0
Garbage $18.35
Recycling $3.58

Total of $99.31 per month

Ft Macleod
Water $37.87 (plus meter)
Sewer $23.40
Storm Water $0
Garbage $13.35
Recycling $0

Total of $74.62 per month (plus water meter charges)

Water $19.32 (plus meter)
Sewer $12.98
Storm Water $4.95
Garbage $19.44
Recycling $2.49

Total of $59.18 per month (plus water meter charges)

Water $15.00 (plus meter)
Sewer $12.50
Storm Water $0
Garbage $20.00
Recycling $0

Total of $47.50 per month (plus water meter charges)

Water $30.00 (plus meter)
Sewer $10.90
Storm Water $0
Garbage $9.80
Recycling $0

Total of $50.70 per month (plus water meter charges)

Water $12.65 (plus meter)
Sewer $18.90
Storm Water $0
Garbage $7.35
Recycling $0

Total of $38.90 per month (plus water meter charges)

Water $24.81 (plus meter)
Sewer $26.56
Storm Water $6.33
Garbage $16.65
Recycling $2.04

Total of $76.39 per month (plus water meter charges)

Water $34.60 (plus meter)
Sewer $19.92
Storm Water $0
Garbage $13.34
Recycling $0

Total of $67.86 per month (plus water meter charges)

What struck me has a little surprising was almost every community I looked at has water meters in place.