Sunday, October 31, 2010

Crowsnest Council up coming issue November 2

Well Tuesday night on the agenda is a visit from Lisa S regarding the Crowsnest Herald.
Later in the month the new council will decide which paper to give the advertising to for 2011.

Or will they abandon the tendering practice that as reduced the cost of advertising considerably????

Be real interesting to see where the new council members sit on this issue, especially the ones that spoke about sound fiscal management.

Last numbers I had available 2008 total advertising was right around $90,000, (last year of advertising in both papers) this year we were on track for less than $30,000 by year end.

Keep in mind each $64,000 is equivalent to 1% of our property taxes.

The smart answer here is to keep saving the taxpayers 1% on there taxes every year, council should take the lowest bid.

Did you know before we tendered the advertising the municipality was paying between $7-800 per page, now we are paying less than $200 per page.

Amazing what a little healthy competition does.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Crowsnest Pass, First Council Meeting Oct 26 2010

It was sure different after six years and probably somewhere between 2-300 meetings in Council Chambers to sit on the other side of the room. But never the less I did and will attempt to attend when I can because this community and what happens to it is very important to me.

The meeting started with the Organizational Meeting, the swearing in and introduction of the new council members, then the various committee appointments were made which the public was not provided a copy of, but I imagine will be available soon.
That meeting was adjourned then the Mayor went on to the regular meeting of council.

Very light agenda (normal for the first meeting).

CAO Lundy spoke about the following:
Highway 3 and the need to meet with Darrel Camplin from Alberta Transportation
Meeting with senior RCMP regarding enhanced policing for events such as Thunder in the Valley
Repairs Off Road Vehicle Trails
Lack of program for Pine Beetle issues on private lands

Each department head then did a short speech to introduce themselves and their departments.

Other Business Included:

Mayor Decoux will be bringing forth a motion to strike up his Task Force.
Council Workshop and Tours week of November 29th
George Cuff will be doing an orientation with council on November 2
Alberta Southwest Information Session on November 3
Chamber of Commerce AGM on November 4
Mayors and Reeves Meeting on November 5
Remembrance Day Services on Nov 11
AAMDC convention Nov 15-17 in Edmonton
AUMA convention Nov 23-25 in Edmonton

Shortly after the meeting was adjourned.

Real meeting start next week.

The Mayor handled himself in what appeared to me to be a very professional manner, due to the lightness of the agenda none of the councilors really had the opportunity to be very involved.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Crowsnest Pass Moving Forward

Well its been a week now since the election, only 1090 days to the next one (but who's counting).

Many lessons to be learnt the first obviously the agony of defeat, but that's OK that's part of what life is all about.

Another lesson is the kindness in the comments made by many good people over the last week those I appreciate.

Next lesson I have learnt is how two faced a "few" people are, they know who they are the one's that say one thing to my face and another behind my back.

After the dismay of losing I have spent the last three or four days asking people where I went wrong, (any constructive comments I would appreciate).
I found real strange the fellow at Tim Hortons that told me that I should have lied to the Quad Squad, I said what do you mean? he said well you told them you would not look at the OHV bylaw but I know of at least three candidates that said they would, but have no intention of doing anything about it. I hope those are not the type of people we elected to our council.

I always prided myself on the ability to understand numbers, and recognize very much the financial situation of the municipality, its massive dependency on the residential tax base.

In a way its almost a relief to know that others are going to have the burden of dealing with that for the next three years, I will watch very curiously to see how well these folks do with that.
Keeping in mind that we raised taxes 3% this year and left the new council with an anticipated surplus of $450,000 for the 2010 financial year.

The commitments that were made during the election, I am very excited to see how the new council follows through with these:
  • The 90 day Task force made up of prominent citizens with some outside expertise.
  • The make up of that committee, and more importantly the recommendations they bring forth and the implementation of such recommendations.
  • The marketing of the community, the rejuvenated economic growth that will be brought forth.
  • Bringing in of new Business and how that will be achieved (Tax Incentives, etc).
  • The ongoing commitment to reduce inefficiencies at the municipality, whether it be the issue of duplication of services and facilities, or anywhere else that tax dollars are not spent effectively.
  • The drive to keep tax increases at or around 0% or even reducing them, budget will be in there laps in November and hopefully keeping with last councils precedent of having it completed prior to year end we will have a clear picture of this council's financial direction in 2010.
  • The issue of affordable housing, where will the homes go, how many will be built, the types of affordable housing, what financial commitment will the municipality make.
  • The Recreation Facility/Indoor Pool, this issue created a lot of conversation and excitement during the election, where will it go, when will it be built, what will it cost the taxpayers.

Now I recognize that all of these commitments will not be achieved over night, but I wish the new council well there are some fairly lofty expectations out there. But when they achieve the things listed above that will be a good sign that this community is doing well.

At the end of the day that is what is most important that the community is successful.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thank You

The Pass as spoken, I understand that and accept it. Hopefully the people that have been chosen will live up to the promises and committments that they have made.

But on to the more important issue at this time, I want to take a moment to thank all of those people that helped me and supported me, not just this election but the two previous one's.

I want to thank all the people the municipal employees, various boards, committees and volunter groups that I have had the pleasure of working with over the last six years.

Most of all I want to take a moment to thank my wife and family, and my close friends who have stood besides me now, in the past and the future.

Dean Ward

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dean's Crowsnest Election Poll the results are in.

I know its not scientific, and will not mean a dam thing 31 hours from now, but it will be interesting to say how my readers opinions compare to the actual results.

Here we go:
Ward 84 votes
Saje 69 votes
Gallant 63 votes
Cole 58 votes
Londsbury 55 votes
Macleod 55 votes
Saindon 49 votes
Mitchell 27 votes
Hoff 22 votes
Sygutek 21 votes
Irwin 20 votes
Bottrell 17 votes
Sandau 17 votes
Raines 16 votes
JaegerBaird 14 votes
Thomson 14 votes
Gail 11 votes
Glavin 11 votes
Vaters 6 votes

Irregardless of what's here I wish all candidates good luck. Where ever we all end up on the list I know most of us are running for the best interest of the community.

Crowsnest Centre they just won't let it go!

Received this comment on the 12th.

"Good choice on letting the assets of the Crowsnest Centre go down the road for cents on e dollar. Very community minded. I am sure folks in places like Coaldale, etc are appreciating it! Too bad we don't have something like decent chairs in the Elks hall! Well done!"

This was my response.

The assets of the Crowsnest Centre.

The taxpayers of the Crowsnest Pass and the province of Alberta put over $4 million of their money into the centre over the years.
In 2006 council despite my objections gave the Centre a $35,000 line of credit that we were assured by the supporters of the centre on council that they would pay back, two years later the taxpayers took the hit on that.
Then the board approaches council after all the money that the community as put in to the place and offers us the assets at what the majority of council felt was a very inflated price.
The supporters of the centre again said we were wrong.The assets sold at auction for one third of what the taxpayers were asked to pay.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Crowsnest Pass Voters

The message is getting out there, people are voting apparently the number that turned out for the advance poll was more than double what we had in 2007.

Some clear choices here, you get vote for experience, there are six incumbents running.
You know what positions they took over the last three years if you want to maintain some of those directions then you should seriously consider some of the incumbents.

New Candidates, take a hard look at them please keep in mind that there words today are only promises the voter does not have the benefit of these candidates performance to determine if they are promises that will be followed through.
Interesting the other day I read the candidates promises from 2004, and then compared them to there actual performance. It would be equally interesting to do the same in three years.

The approach that I am hearing more and more of over the last week is that there will be a blend of possibly fifty percent incumbents and fifty percent new candidates.
If that's the will of the voters it makes a lot of sense a mixture of experience with new blood, new ideas.

Just please take a hard look at all of the candidates, and try to see them all for what they really are and make sure that they represent the direction you want to see the community go in.

No point in voting for somebody that saying they are going to look at building new facilities when he really means I'm going to re open the centre.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Crowsnest Pass Food Bank

Yesterday we had a emergency sub division board meeting, to deal with the zoning for the Food Bank, the Food Bank would be placed right across from the Forestry Office building.
Historically this land was sold three years ago to the same developer (Southmore) that developed lots to the west of the Ski Hill.
This developer purchased the land from the municipality with the condition that it be built on within two years, (council position is that this forces developers to build and results in a greater tax base for us).
For reasons that have impacted every developer (recession, lack of builders and or buyers) the developer did not meet his time commitment, so we gave him an extension for the reasons above. During this extension time frame the developer began talking to a non profit group that was looking for an home. The Food Bank, understanding that it takes a while to get a mortgage in this day and age especially for a non profit group the time dragged by past the last extension.
Side note the municipality had promised the Food Bank a piece of land next to the old Blairmore seniors building on the same green belt, as this proposed site. That was subject to the Food Bank getting a mortgage for a building and the town getting the land back if the Food Bank closed, there comes the problem the banks would not have first claim against the land so very difficult to get a mortgage.
So the Food bank worked out a deal with the developer to locate on the land across from the SRD building.
Council then as to make a decision to extend the time frame for another year which we did, today we have an empty piece of land doing nothing for the community, if we took the land back we would have an empty piece of land doing nothing for the community.
Council agrees we extend the time frame, now the Food Bank just as to go in front of sub division board and get zoning. The applicant asks for a special meeting which they have to pay a large sum for to get that approval, they are up against the wall for timing because they want to start the building before freeze up so its completed for a spring opening.
So back to the start we have our sub division board meeting yesterday all the neighbours that are legally required to be informed were mailed notifications.
So we get to the public input part of the meeting and one of the neighbours steps forward to speak, its our Mayor, Mr Irwin he comes forth to speak against the Food Bank location.
Several reasons he believes the building will sit on top of the water line which municipal maps does not show but we agree it should be checked, he argues that the developer did not meet time lines which council understood, accepted and was willing to work with the developer on.
(interesting to hear the sudden interest in making developers accountable)
He also spoke about the loss of green space and area for recreation, even though he had no problem with the piece of green space at the other end of the road being used by the food bank.
In a attempt to stall this until freeze up, with the intent that knowing if the building did not start soon it would push it well back, he requested that it be tabled.
The board agreed based on the water concern but we also recognized the urgency for the food bank and after being told that it could be determined today we tabled the meeting until Monday.

I just found it very interesting to hear our Mayor stand up and try to stop a Food Bank, a building that looks very nice and will fit in with the surrounding area, will never have more than half a dozen cars parked in front of it (That something new for that area). And would only be open for seven hours a week.
Anyway the meeting will held on Monday at 4pm in Council Chambers and anybody that wishes to speak for or against this issue is welcome.

Note: This was passed Monday the 18th by the Sub division board with conditions of course, anybody that's interested can get them from the municipal office.
For the person that asked me by email yes the Mayor (Irwin) did speak against the Food Bank again.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Poll Results to 9:30am October 14 (Three days to vote)

I know its not scientific, and I know blogs only appeal to a certain element of the population.

But some interesting results so far on my Blog and Mr Prince's, the first six choices on my poll are:


The first six on Mr Prince's Blog are:


Same six names, different order but never the less the same six.
Then where it gets really interesting is names through positions seven to ten.

On both they are identical:

Once again I realize, this is not Angus Reid and election day may be totally different, but it is interesting how the names are lining up.
But now the readers of both Blogs if your not happy you still have time to vote.

You can link over to Mr Prince's blog my clicking on "the Pass" under Interesting blogs to the right of my page.

So Vote

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mayor's Poll Crowsnest Pass

Anybody know what happened to the Mayor's Poll on the Herald site no results posted, last I checked Salus was in the lead.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My responses to the Crowsnest Pass Herald

These should be appearing in the Herald today or tomorrow.

1. What specific issues or projects do you feel it is the most important for the Municipality to focus on in the next three years?

a) Economic Development-We need to hire an economic development officer, we will not attract business here without this position, it needs to be an individual hired on a contract basis that as a strong incentive to perform.
b) Tax Base-We must work to increase our tax base by encouraging responsible development working with credible developers.
c) Recreation centre Indoor swimming pool, we need it to attract young families but we must determine how much burden it will place on the taxpayers and bring it back in a plebiscite.

2. How would you rate the current state of the Municipality, both economically and politically?

a) Politically the situation as been greatly exaggerated, the 4-3 vote was created as a smoke screen to detract people away from the real issue “change”. We had a 4-3 vote from 2004-07 and 1998-2001, nobody said a word. Four councilors have voted the same way on a minority of issues it escapes me as to why the other three members of council have not been asked, why they always vote the same way.
b) Economically the municipalities primary employer (mines) are now all working well and thriving. What we lack here other than government is a secondary industry which gets back to the issue of economic development officer.

3. What specific strategies do you feel should be employed to increase the local tax base?

a) Economic Development Officer to attract new business.
b) Development in partnership with credible developers.
c) Making attractive commercial property available to bring in businesses we can not attract those businesses like Pincher has, unless we have highway property available.

4. Short of increasing the tax base, what would you do to promote the continuation of municipal services without dramatic tax increases? Are there any areas where you feel the Municipality should spend less or more than it currently does?

a) We has a community must examine every dollar we spend and determine if we could receive better value at a lower cost. For example it as been many years since we last tendered out our engineering this is an area that we have spent millions of dollars on. How do we know we are receiving a fair deal without tendering it?
b) Where we need to spend more money is on promoting the community, whether it is marketing or economic development, there are literally thousands of communities hoping to attract business, we have to stand out to attract them.

My responses to the Crowsnest Pass Promoter

These appeared in the paper on Friday Oct 8th

1. What do you think council’s three top priorities should be for the next term?

Increased tax base by attracting new Business and development.
Keep Tax Increases to a minimum by being more efficient
Rebuild our financial reserves so that the municipality as the options to look at new initiatives in the future

2. What specific actions need to be taken to expand our tax base?

We need to look at the option of hiring a person to market our community, attracting business is not that simply ever community in rural Alberta is looking to attract business, if we don't have professional help we will not suceed.
Second if a business looked at our community that required a large piece of land, along the highway, that's serviced and flat. What do we have to offer? we need to clear the land that the old hospital stands on if we want to attract commercial business.
Tax Breaks for new businesses do not work, past experience shows they leave when the tax breaks run out.
How do you think our thirty tax paying local restaurants would feel if we gave a big name restaurant a tax break to compete with them?

3. Describe your ideal land use plan for both residential and commercial development?

The province is planning to have the South Saskatchewan regional land use plan in place next year, which our Municipal Development plan must conform with. In 2011 we should review our Municipal development plan with the input of the public the present plan is ten years old. Future growth will happen, the municipality and its residents must decide where and what type of growth. We need to create a balance between increasing our tax base, preserving the environment, and increasing the density of development where services such as water and sewer are accessible.

4. The municipality has an $18 million budget. What experience do you have to manage this?

Six years on Council, where I have always attempted to be aggressive in encouraging both Council and Administration to come up with ways of been more efficient with the taxpayers dollars. More can be done, I am hopeful that the next Council will take the opportunity to put out for tender our engineering something that as not been done in eight years, an area where substantial dollars are spent every year.

5. How will you define success for the governance of Crowsnest Pass?

A council that works as a team, one that starts with the Mayor being a leader not a dictator. One where people come to a council meeting looking to make decisions based on facts, information, numbers, debate etc. A Council that three years from now can say the Crowsnest Pass as achieved tremendous positive change.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Editorial in the Pass Promoter Oct 8

Very good editorial today, check it out.

I know there is a temptation to throw out all the present council and start fresh but I agree with the above editorial, council and most of their committees will be much less effective certainly for the first year with a totally green council.

Note: Do not get me wrong I think there should be new blood on every council, but having said that keep in mind most of our committee's are made up of volunteers who do not see the whole picture that councilors would those volunteers look for the input of councilors.
Picture for a moment our sub division board with two totally green councilors on it and a smooth talking, flashy pie in the sky developer coming in front of them.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Crowsnest Pass misconceptions, and the picture the authors paint

Today my fellow blogger and candidate for Mayor talks about one of the local papers in the Crowsnest Pass and the picture they paint.

Well this raises a great opportunity to talk once more about the great bogeyman of the last three years the 4-3 vote.
If I was a complete stranger coming in to this town I would assume based on what I have read that every decision made by council over the last three years was by a vote of 4-3.

I will try to clear the picture for those that have been brain washed, we had four councilors that stood for "change" in the Crowsnest Pass, three that stood for Status Quo. And that's fine everybody gets to stand for whatever they like (its called democracy).
But yes those four councilors voted the same way on issues that involved "change", (Crowsnest Centre, Arena's, Cleanup's, Eliminating new positions at the town, building our reserves back up, stopping members of council from promoting private business) the other three members that didn't want change for the most part voted against "change".

Does that come as a big surprise that people that wanted change voted for it? of course not, no more than people that opposed change voted against it.

But the local paper with the support of those that did not want change, knowing that neither of them could come up with sound facts or arguments to oppose change did the only thing they could, they created a smoke screen the 4-3, the issues were no longer the issue the vote was.

For the information of the taxpayers, councils here and most other places have been spilt for one reason or another forever. The issue here, was and is "change". It will be the same on the next council, , look at the list of candidates, we all know some will fight for "change" and some will oppose it, I do not expect seven to be elected all in favour of change or against.

I challenge anybody to look at the local newspaper from 2004-2007 and find one mention of the 4-3 as a big issue, guess what we had a 4-3 council three councilors believed in change four believed in Status Quo, and believe or not when the issue of change came up it got voted down 3-4.

A while back I reviewed all motions of council, well in excess of 90% were decided by something other than 4-3. Why because they dealt with something other than change.

Its no different than the corporate reviews on council, all three of them gave council a less than impressive reviews, three different councils, which all had only one thing in common the leader Mayor Irwin, as that ever been spoke about in the local paper?

Yes in my six years on council I have seen the Mayor as the Chair of council allow certain people the opportunity to rant and rave in the council chambers, with not a word said by him or the local paper.
I approached several members of the media when I first got on council about reporting these types of performances, they told me that they did not want to take sides, I told them I didn't want them to, I only asked them if somebody ranted and raved like a lunatic report it.

Anyway lets decide this election on real issues, do we want change or not?

I wish the idiots would go away (Election Signs in the Crowsnest Pass)

I have heard and seen other candidates with the same problem I have, now I'm speaking out because its affected myself and its just plain wrong.
This morning I received a call from a friend in Blairmore who told me I had a sign missing, I went down to have a look, obviously somebody that does not like me went on a rampage last night they knocked down a dozen signs of mine in Blairmore.
I have no respect for you if you are reading this blog, and I would invite you to call me and discuss the issues you have with me, if you can find the backbone to sit up right and dial the phone.
If you do not like me, or for that matter any of the other candidates that's fine, why don't you voice your opinion like true believers in democracy on October 18th, not by running around town in the middle of the night, when a true coward can hide and sneak about, tearing down people's signs who are just trying to get elected to represent the 99% of the people that are decent, and the 1% that are "idiots" like you.

Anyway I know I'm probably wasting my time but I feel better now I've got it of my chest.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Crowsnest Centre closes but my taxes didn't go down!

I received a comment today, somebody attacking me become the Centre closed but their Taxes did not go down.
Also they accused me of being hell bent on shutting everything down.

I will answer both of these issues:

First of all the Centre as only been closed for a short time, so obviously most of the costs to run the place would still be there until the consortium moved.
Then there were additional costs to relocate various groups.

Next you have never heard Dean Ward state that taxes will go down.
The costs of operating the municipality goes up every year, wages, utilities, fuel, maintenance etc, etc.
We have several options we can just raise taxes to generate enough income, we can shut down facilities and or services, or we can do a combination of both by becoming more efficient.
That is why the Cuff report states again and again that we have too much duplication of services and facilities.
Now I do not advocate for a second that we should go on a rampage and shut every thing down, but what we need to do his look at all of our facilities and services (kind of in line with Cuff's assessment) and determine if we can do things smarter.
Look at the example of the arena's we used to have two arena's with ice in them both, with 70 kids in minor hockey and 30 in figure skating each arena was running less than 30% of the time.
Now we have one arena with ice, running 60% of the time, and a second arena being utilized to develop other forms of recreation (Lacrosse, Indoor Soccer etc) and costs us a $100,000 a year less to run.
That's $100,000 less a year that the municipality as to come up with or the equivalent of a 1.7% tax increase.
Garbage cleanups we used to do two a year during my first term the cost got as high as $370,000 a year, we went to one cleanup and had our administration put more focus on the process and now we were down to a little over a $100,000 last year or the equivalent of a 4% increase in our taxes.
Nobody is talking about us shutting every thing down we talking about being smarter and even though taxes do not go down they should go up a lot less if we become more efficient.

Councilors Poll Crowsnest Pass

Check it out here is your first chance to vote your opinions for councilors

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Check out the Mayors Poll

The herald is running a poll to determine the best candidate for the Mayor's position, if your interested take a moment to voice your opinion.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Politicians endorsing private ventures.

At council we are debating the merits of putting in place a policy that Mayor or councillors should have council approval before they endorse a private venture.
Where this began is the Mayor participation in the Bridgecreek video below.
Some people will argue that just appearing in the video as the Mayor of the Crowsnest Pass is an endorsement unto its self.
Take a look at the video, if you do not want to watch it all the Mayor appears just over five minutes in.

Then take a moment on the right and vote, on whether you feel this is something a politician should or should not be doing.

BridgecreekPromoVideo2007 copy

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Crowsnest Pass Forum Questions and Answers!

Question. Security Deposits on Developments?

The lack of security on the River Run project was a huge mistake on the part of council. This can never be allowed to happen again, we put in place a policy now that development can not start without having sufficient security in place (All of council was in favour of this except the Mayor). Hopefully in the future when a real developer comes in to develop this particular site the council at the time will make sure there is an adequate development agreement in place to clean it up.

Question. How do we attract people to the community?

We continue to build on the initiatives we have put in place, ie walking trails, mountain bike trails, cleaning up the community to make it more appealing. This is one of the most beautiful places in the world there is no logical reason that with some hard work and creative solutions we can't bring more people here.

Question. Marketing of the Community?

Similar question to above, this must become a priority and an area where council must work together with Community Futures, Chamber of Commerce and spend some money. Our marketing budget since I have been on council is $20,000 per year that's a joke. To spend that amount of money is a waste, if we provide a decent budget, and work with those other groups to attain grants we can do a far better job.
The mountain bike project is a good example of that in partnership with the Community Futures the municipality put in $10,000 that eventually gained us in excess of $200,000 to develop Mountain Bike Trails.

Question. Unsightly Premises Bylaw?

This is an effort by the present council to clean up the municipality, (supported by all of council except Councillor Taje). The only goal is to make the community look better more attractive for both the people living here and coming into our area. Nobody as the expectation that every lawn is going to be manicured, that every yard will be a pristine piece of the rocky mountains.
Can we do better than we are? of course.
The bylaw is not perfect and should be reviewed by the next council with the benefit of some experience. For information so far our Bylaw Officer as written two (2) tickets related to this bylaw, he as done a very good job of working with people to give them the opportunity to work within the bylaw.

Question. Highway 3?

Everybody that runs for council says they are going to lobby the province on this issue, going back to the early seventies. We have done that for the last three years, like it or not it will not happen for some time. Over the next few years you will see some minor widening of roads in Frank, and west Coleman, and traffic lights at the Kananaskis and the West end of Blairmore.
If anybody from the Crowsnest Pass tells you that they are going to push the Province in to doing anything more than that, they are dreaming. Keep in mind the road to Ft McMurray will not be completely four landed until 2014.
One good point that a speaker raised is as far as getting people into our town do we really want to push them through the Pass at a 100KM a hour?

Question. Affordable Housing?

The study that was done on affordable housing clearly shows that long term we need it. We have to follow the leadership of other communities in this area and find "credible" developers that will partner with us to access Federal/Provincial Grants and move in this direction.
The municipality does have land available for this.

Question. How does the Municipality support small business?

The municipality needs to talk to the business community (Chamber etc) and find areas where we can assist them, if its a problem with regulations, paperwork, bylaws that are impeding them then we need to address those issues. The municipality purchasing its goods locally as far as I am concerned as long as a local supplier is competitive and can supply a quality product then that's automatic.

Question. What happens with the Crowsnest Centre?

Last council meeting we directed administration to come back with a cost on taking the building down. It will be expensive, but if we want commercial business to come here we have no other place to put it. To attract anybody especially larger companies you have to have property that does not require a lot of work to make it flat, it must be serviced and it must be accessible to the highway. There are 12000 vehicles a day going by this site imagine if we could pull just 5% of them off the highway.

Question. What will we use as a disaster centre during emergencies?

Many communities experience emergency type situations, not many have an old hospital to put people up in. What we do have available, is the following: the present hospital, three existing schools, two arenas, the MDM facility, Elks Hall, Polish Hall, Seniors halls, hundreds of hotel beds and what a lot of people did in years past, is take people in to their homes.

Question. Looking for Bridge Builders on Council?

This is where it is so important to have a strong Mayor on council, one who does not believe that the only agenda to be promoted is his, one who can work with a diverse group of individuals, people that want to move the community forward, and govern it in an effective manner.
You can read the Cuff report and the other corporate review yourself on the municipal web site.
This Mayor did not do a very good job of team building and leading, this Mayor did not provide a willingness to look at change, the spilt in council was created by the steadfast refusal to consider change and in fact put up every road block available to maintain the status Quo.
Being a bridge builder means that you have to be a leader, willing to look at different ideas even when you don't agree and willing to work with other people that don't just show up at meeting and vote your way because they fell they should.

Question. Helping Seniors

This council as committed to support the renovation and expansion of the York Creek Lodge, with 40% of our population being seniors this is so important. We have our seniors living in 280 square foot rooms. We must do a better job for them and I will support whatever we have to do to improve the lodge.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Throw the bums out!

On Mr Prince's Blog this morning is a post regarding the rising discontent over incumbent politicians and how local incumbent politicians should be very afraid.
I would like to speak to some of the comments he refers to.

I know this is a case on the International and provincial side of things but the article he refers to does not talk at any point about municipal politics, but lets assume it will flow to that level.

Anyway let's talk about the rest of the post I will take some quotes and address them with my comments :

"According to the above story people in general are angry. Very Angry! They feel their politicians are elitist, arrogant and oblivious to their pain and suffering, and as such doing little to nothing to address their issues and concerns. As a result, it's a very, very bad time to be an incumbent."

Most of us on the present council are simple folks six of us have lived here for ten years or more.
Do we have some members of our council that are elitist, arrogant and oblivious to the residents pain and suffering, yes I think we have some of that do you really think taht applies to the whole of council? should they all be painted with that same brush?

Then we go to:

"With this in mind, I wonder how our own incumbents are feeling about their chances of getting back in, considering the mood of our residents towards the on-going, never ending, three year long battle between the two waring camps on our council?"

John you really do not buy into the 4-3 Irwin propaganda do you? we all know that council spilt over the Crowsnest Centre issue and a some budgetary related issues. We also all recognize that 95% of Council Motions pass by something other than 4-3.
Would this be the first council accused of being 4-3?
But as you have said many times yourself this council did a lot of things well and did not receive enough credit for the good things they did.

"The never ending battle between the waring camps" isn't that exactly how the media, Irwin and his cronies portrayed the council from 1998-2001? Was that all accurate?.

"All the while, apparently, oblivious to the fact there is a good chance none of them will be getting back in because of their past actions".

If none of us are to get back in due to our "past" actions then I suspect the voters will go back further than just this last council, because very few of us that have sat on council previously have not had our names tarnished by one part of the media or the other and Irwin's cronies.

"and understand from this that what is needed and wanted is democracy in action where councillors actually work together as a team for the greater common good and get things done, by applying some good old-fashioned basic common-sense while leaving the grandstanding and 'gotcha' politics behind"

Democracy isn't that about taking a position, debating it and voting? 4-3, 5-2, 6-1, 7-0 which one of them is not democracy.

"Can one blame them? After all, this council treated us like we were mushrooms i.e. kept us in the dark and fed us BS. We never had public forums to discuss any of the important issues, such as Bridgecreek/River Run and the lack of security deposits and long-term taxpayer liabilities, CLC (legal costs), the 4-3 voter split, etc., etc. and still know little to nothing on who, what, when and why with respect to these matters? They acted like they were above us and need not bother or trouble themselves with such matters as accountability and due diligence. Transparency went out the door as did fiscal responsibility. Thoughtful people believe one side was as bad as the other with respect to these matters, and therefore neither side is deserving of getting back in."

Couple of comments:
The Bridgecreek/River Run this is a private deal no different than any other development, we as a council can approve development agreements, zoning etc. No different than if I owned a piece of private land the municipality can not force me a built on it. There are people here that have owned land for 50 years and never done anything with it. That is a right allowed to us in a democratic country.
The mistakes the council made here was when the first council sold this property back in the mid 90's with no conditions attached to it.
Then this council made a large error, when we did not force them to put up security, I also feel that the Mayor made a big mistake when he appeared in their promotional video.

CLC legal costs those were not caused by council if you go back to the report in the spring that we were given by our financial officer after a request by Councillor Mitchell if memory serves me right those costs were about $80,000. Approximately $30,000 of that was due to the plebiscite that was forced on the municipality, which the public eventually sent a clear message on. The rest was as a result of the legal action taken due to the leases signed by the CLC Society.

The 4-3 I give Irwin credit here, he created an issue to blind as many people as possible to the real issues.
What amazes me is that some really smart people have brought into this issue, unless of course they are just using it for political advantage!
Another point if we are going to label this council as the 4-3 council what would we label previous councils, I hope I get this right:

1998-2001 4-3
2001-2004 5-2
2004-2007 4-3
2007-2010 4-3

Help me out folks let me know if I'm wrong.

"Fiscal Responsibility out the door".

Really over the last ten years can anybody point to a council that as done more to become more efficient, to reduce costs, than this one? sometime in the next two weeks I will list them all.

Anyway back to the question on the post, should incumbents be afraid? I guess depending on which side of the issues the voters side with, obviously some incumbents should be afraid.
But I believe that some of the councillors on this last council stood for what they truly believed in despite the fact that they were lambasted in parts of the media week after week.
They could have had it easy, they could have sat back and agreed with Irwin and his cronies, caused no controversy, had wonderful things said about them by those same hacks.

And today those same people would be blasting them for being a 7-0 council, a bunch of mindless sheep, Irwinites, that stood for nothing.

Anyway I believe that the people of the Crowsnest Pass are smart enough to cut through the crap that parts of the local media and Irwin and his cronies, have put out about members of this council and previous ones.

Finally yes I agree some what in that a few of the incumbents do not deserve to come back.
Change will happen in the Crowsnest Pass.