Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Night of mixed emotions Federal Byelections

Last night must have been a night of mixed emotions for the Federal leaders.

Three seats up for election, people will argue its only a by election nobody cares, it will mean nothing six months from now.

Well I disagree I think it means lots:

Nobody is going to have a majority position in the Candian parliament without either taking a lot of seats in Quebec or Ontario. Well the Bloc for the most part has Quebec sewed up so that leaves Ontario.

Last night the Vaughan riding, right in the middle of vote rich Southern Ontario, safe Liberal seat been held by the Liberals since it was created.
Michael Ignatieff’s took a very visible position in this riding, they even had the ever popular future Liberal leader Justin Trudeau campaign, still lost the seat. Will this lead to a domino effect in the surrounding area? are there really "safe" Liberal seats in southern Ontario.

Is this a reflection of Ignatieff's leadership? What is he now 1-7 on by elections? Didn't Stephen Dion's career end after similar results.

I'll bet Stephen Harper went to bed with a big smile on his face last night. What did he lose in these By election's? nothing gained Vaughan, held on to Dauphin with a 31% lead over the next candidate. Watched the Liberals and NDP fight over Winnipeg North which I'm sure Ignatieff and the Liberals will be latching on to this morning as his step forward.

Where does Jack Layton fit in all of this? head of a party that is becoming a less and less of a player in the Canadian world of politics and at the end of the day an ally for the Conservatives as between them and the Liberals they will continue to spilt the left wing vote.

Maybe the real story will come out in the Crowsnest Pass?

Check out this link:


"Is anyone willing to talk to a reporter doing a major story on Bridgecreek in the Pass? Is there anyone who invested who's willing to go on record or has some inside knowledge of the company? If so, let me know - I'd like to talk."

Hopefully anybody that ever been involved with this will see this as an opportunity to step forward and tell the whole "honest" truth.

Wow I bet there are people sitting in front of their computers right now, saying I hope this reporter speaks about "everything" that happened here!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bridgecreek RiverRun story

For those that have been asking here is the Bridgegate River Run story that appeared in the Lethbridge Herald October 18.

Dream Interrupted.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Should we be anonymous or not in the Crowsnest Pass?

Good question, I have posted comments from people that are more often than not "anonymous" should I, other bloggers, or for that matter any form of media allow the practice?
I have posted comments from people that say I'm the new gal in town if you have something to say, say it to my face. I have received emails from a couple of people that say I should not allow this, I have had it said to me on the street.
Should people be forced to put their name to something before it's posted, or printed? in a perfect world I would say yes.

But the world we live in, is far from perfect, you know what if people could speak there mind freely and not feel intimidated that would be great. If people could speak there mind and not feel they were going to have to face retribution in the public forum, that would be great.
Some people only know how to survive by attacking, threatening, or intimidation.
Does this happen in this community you bet, I hope one of our new leaders stands up to one of these bullies and they will find out very quickly what they are really like.

Back to the issue should we in the blogging business allow anonymous comments? you bet.
Over the years I have always signed my name to anything I have written, but that's me. Some people are just not comfortable doing that, they worry about the crap I have spoke about above. They worry about the impact on their friends, family or in some cases their business so you know what folks if you want to sign your name that's great, if you don't that's great too.

The only anonymous I will not allow is something that attacks a persons medical conditions, or is in my humble opinion libelous. (Yes I have had several of these)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Crowsnest Pass Budget 2011, Tough choices begin.

Before you know it Budget time will be here and believe me the choices will not be easy ones.

One of the toughest issues to deal with his the hiring of additional employees, on one hand you have the public perception that there is more than an ample number of employees.
Then on the other hand you have the workforce and administration that are faced with an ever changing working environment, attempting to cater to the demands of certain sectors of the public that wishes to see the Municipality provide additional services.

Previous council took the position that a hiring freeze was put into place, and instructed administration in the last budget process to get by with what they had.

What most people do not understand is that the Municipality collects approximately $6.5 million in property taxes.
Last year the municipality paid out approximately $4.6 million in wages.
On January 1st 2011 the employees are entitled to a wage increase of 4% on a payroll of the municipalities size that is an increase in cost of $184,000.

Last year the Public works dept requested an additional sewer plant operator, extra Linesman, the HR department had requested an half time assistant position.
Prior to the budget I sat on the FCSS committee where there was much discussion about hiring an additional person to handle the FCSS department.

The previous council also took the position that through better scheduling, the public works department could get by with two less casual positions.

I'm sure that administration will attempt to bring forth at least some of these positions again, if not all of them.
Cost to the budget $250,000 for the Sewer plant operator, Linesman, Assistant, and two Casual positions.
Additional person for the FCSS position $50,000.
Wage Increase approximately $184,000

Total additional cost of employees $484,000.

Keeping in mind that total taxes collected were approximately $6.5 million, which means each additional $65,000 spent results in a 1% increase in taxes.

$484,000 divided by $65,000 equals a 7.45% tax increase.

Now are there ways to avoid this tax increase? absolutely.

You can not do the positions, or you can find equivalent cuts in other areas of the operational budget.
Maybe there are services that can be cut, or inefficiences elimanated or a combination of both.

Lets not forget the $484,000 figure does not include any additional costs for the rest of the budget.

One example:
Lets think about marketing of the community, the municipality used to participate in what was know as the Marketing Consortium we placed $20,000 a year into a fund that marketed the community, well when we looked at the marketing that was being done for that money it was to say the least, very unimpressive.
Previous council stopped providing that $20,000. Now we have new councilors that are advocating better marketing of the community which I agree with, but you are not going to do anything effective for the previous dollars.
I was told by a person in another community that does a fair amount of marketing to allow at least a $100,000 per year, if you want to do a real job.
Add that to the above another 1.54%

What does that mean to the average taxpayer in the Crowsnest Pass? at $2000 a year in taxes a further 9%=$180 a year.

Just something to think about.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Another Wildrose MLA?

Check out this story from today's Globe and Mail


Raj Sherman, Alberta MLA booted from caucus after criticizing healthcare policies.

“What has done has been done,” the premier said

“This is an issue of caucus discipline,” PC whip Robin Campbell

How much longer will steady Eddie last?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Advertising looking at the numbers.

According to NAD, which is a joint venture of the Canadian Newspaper Association and the Canadian Community Newspapers Association, 73% of adults, read weekly newspapers.


In the Crowsnest Pass according to the 2006 Canadian Census, we had 2630 private dwellings that were occupied by usual residents.
Seventy three percent of that number would come to 1920 homes.
Why is that relevant? Well when the Herald made their presentation to Council they stated that the “verified” circulation in the Pass was 2300 for the Pass Herald, and somewhere between 14-1800 for the Promoter. Lets assume for arguments sake that the number for the Promoter is 1600.

We know longer have a problem with the municipality communicating with the taxpayers it happening already, according to numbers presented to council 87.5% of homes have access to the Herald, and 61% have access to the Promoter.
Obviously in one situation we are way above the national average in readership, and in the other we are only 12% below the national average, there does not appear to be any problem getting municipal advertising into homes through either paper.
Let the tendering process continue, its working both from a financial prospective and one of providing the necessary communication with the public.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Your chance to vote on Advertising

Please take a moment, one of the local papers is giving you a chance to vote on the municipal advertising.
One paper or both, your tax dollars, your choice.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crowsnest Council Meeting November 16, the thoughts of a former Councilor

First of all I found it very interesting that Mayor Decoux would bring forth Notices of Motions regarding the Crowsnest Centre, River Run Project, the duplication of Services and Facilities for the April/May time frame.
See http://crowsnestpasshome.blogspot.com/2010/11/crowsnest-pass-council-meeting-november.html
Then announce that this time frame is to coincide with the release of the report from his Economic Task Force.
Whats puzzling his that the task force as not been put in place yet, it was on the agenda the last two weeks, but did not even show up this week, the public was told that it would have seven members and be given 90 days from its commencement of its duties to complete its report.
There as been no release of information on the much anticipated makeup of this committee, and when they will commence.
What raises this concern, well first of all the Mayor did state when he was a candidate for election that this task force would be struck within two weeks of the election. (At least that's the way I heard it) I would assume that struck means more than council agreeing to do it.
The second thing that raises my concern is the time frame, the G+P meeting for next week is cancelled, so even if this issue comes forth at the next council meeting Dec 7.
It only leaves 118 days from there until the first Notice Of Motion April 5th, take out two weeks for Christmas and New Years, a week for Administration and Council to review it leaves 97 days to do the study, works in theory but I suspect very ambitious to say the least.

Second issue from last night, Municipal advertising review which came up under other Business I like most people after the last meeting assumed that there was going to be a Motion made to accept the recommendation to advertise in both papers.
The Mayor raised the issue of finding out just a mere few hours prior to the meeting that the Municipality had a exclusive deal with the Promoter until the end of the year and requested that it be tabled to allow administration to look at the legalities of this issue.
At that time I said to myself no big deal they will just pass it in two weeks.

What made me take a second look at this was later in the meeting the Public Input session a resident by the name of Siegfried Sajitz stood up raised his concerns making a number of points about the advertising.
One of which really caught my attention, how does Council give a clear indication that it is going to advertise in both papers and direct administration to go negotiate the best deal with both papers.
In my humble brain the light went on, imagine going in to a car dealer telling him that you are definitely going to buy a car at this dealership now give me the best deal you can.

The point in my opinion, the Mayor is buying time, why would you waste taxpayers dollars on getting a legal opinion on a contract that ends in 44 days.
Simple the Municipality is paying $180 a week for a one page ad in the Promoter, that price came as the result of a bidding process. Eliminate the bidding process that drove that price, indicate to the previous bidders that you are going to pay for there services anyway. Then tell administration to go negotiate the best deal with them.
What would I do if I was in the papers shoes, I would say thanks for this opportunity, now here is my price ?$.
How would I come to a price? well I would look back at what we used to charge $7-800 a page and think well we don't want to appear to be greedy and more importantly make the previous council right, so we will go in say around $600 a page, with the intent that if the Municipality cries enough we will come back at say the $450-500 per page.
Why is all of this relevant, well put the pieces together the Mayor is buying time for a reason that is really not relevant and right now administration is going through the crying process, is it really called bargaining?

Crowsnest Pass Council Meeting November 16, 2010.

Councilors Gallant and Saindon were not present both away at the AADMC Convention in Edmonton

Mayor Decoux started the meeting by welcoming new CAO Tully Clifford to the Crowsnest Pass.
In addition he commended Myron Thompson and his Public Works crew for the job they did preparing for the Christmas Parade on November 12th

Adoption of Agenda
Motion to accept as presented passed Unanimously

Adoption of previous minutes
Motion to accept as presented passed Unanimously

Delegations None

Administration Report
At this point Mayor Decoux had new CAO Tully Clifford present himself to Council.
He then handed over the Admin presentation to Myron Thompson to talk about the Health and Safety External audit which is done every three years, good news unlike three years ago we passed the audit by 82%
Motion to accept the report passed Unanimously

Business Arising None

Committee Reports
Minutes from FCSS for Sept 22 meeting
Minutes from Protective Services Sept 20 meeting
Motion to accept passed Unanimously

Bylaws None

Notice Of Motion
1/Mayor Decoux proposes to bring forth a Motion regarding the Land and Building containing the Crowsnest Centre (April 5,2011)

2/Mayor Decoux proposes to bring forth a Motion regarding the property known as "River Run"(April 19,2011)

3/Mayor Decoux proposes to bring forth a Motion regarding the area of the Cuff Report that talks about the duplication of services and facilities in the Crowsnest Pass (May 3,2011)

Mayor Decoux also informed the crowd gathered that this Motion were timed to correspond with the release of the report being put together by his Economic Task Force.

Other Business
1/ Waiving of ice fees for Pee Wee Tournament
Note: This now sends the request for waiver back to the Culture and Rec Board, to suggest that there is any likely hood that the board would vote against council's wish chances are slim.
Motion to accept passed Unanimously

2/ Municipal Advertising Council did not realize that the deal with the Promoter was exclusive until 3:30pm November 16. The Mayor moved to table this until the next meeting to give Administration time to look at the legal side of this issue.
Motion to table passed Unanimously

3/Dates for Orientation with Administration
Nov 30 and Dec 1 Motion to accept passed Unanimously

4/Travel Alberta Open House
Motion to send Councilor Gallant to on Nov 22 passed Unanimously

5/Date for tour with Spray Lakes Saw Mills
Motion to accept Dec 17 passed Unanimously

6/Council Retreat Dec 8
Motion to accept passed Unanimously

7/Ball Soccer Complex-Outstanding bill owned to Drain Brothers
Motion to pay $10,000 out of 2010 operational budget and $15,871 out of 2011 operational budget passed Unanimously

8/Waving of Off site Levy for Food Bank
Motion to accept passed Unanimously

9/Request to lease Road Allowance-Crowsnest Mountain Resort
Administration made a recommendation to not do this, Motion made to accept that recommendation passed Unanimously

10/Brighter Futures Multi Year Lease
Three year lease last tenant at the MDM to go through this process, now all tenants are on a three year lease with one fixed rate for all groups and a 3% increase each year of the lease.
Motion to accept passed Unanimously

11/Signing Authority-CAO, Director of Finance and all members of council given signing authority for the Municipality. Motion to accept passed Unanimously

12/Councilor Absence-Saindon will miss the Dec 14 meeting
Motion to accept passed Unanimously

13/Council appointments to the Culture and Rec Board
Motion to accept Sarah Gallant to the Board passed Unanimously
Motion to accept Janis Entem to the Board passed Unanimously

14/Council appointments to the Municipal Heritage Board
Motion to accept Barbara McClary to the Board passed Unanimously

15/Cancellation of the November 23 G + P meeting-Five Councilors away at AUMA convention, Motion to accept cancellation passed Unanimously

Council Member Reports
Councilor Sage spoke about a meeting he attended with the South west Rockies group, suggested that they need to be more aware of the Crowsnest in their promoting of area tourism and also suggested that Crowsnest Businesses can advertise on their web site.
Councilor Londsbury recommended that the Mayor should write a letter to all the legions commending them for the great job they do on Remembrance Services
Mayor Decoux spoke about the excellent job all the legions do, and suggested that the Municipality attempt to put together the paperwork to allow a fly by, by the Canadian Snowbirds this summer

Public Input
Siegfried Sajitz (excuse spelling if I got it wrong)
Took the floor to raise his concerns about the Municipalities direction on advertising, he asked council if this was an effective spending of the taxpayers dollars, he asked if the numbers presented by the Herald had been confirmed by administration. He also asked if there had ever been any complaints from the public about not being able to access Municipal Advertising. He also questioned the wisdom of telling both papers that you will advertise in both, then telling your administration to go bargain with them for the best possible deal.
He asked council to stick with the present policy and give it to the lowest bidder.

In Camera-None

Motion to adjourn passed Unanimously

Friday, November 12, 2010

Halloween, where did all the kids go?

Interesting I read an editorial the other day about the lack of kids looking for candy on Halloween and how the numbers are way down over the last ten years.
I agree I had sixteen kids this time ten years ago I would have had fifty or more.
The suggestion was made that maybe kids get too much money now days, they don't have to go out for free candy.
Other people have suggested that you can't get kids out from in front of their computers, or off there psp's.
I'm going to throw out a crazy suggestion, maybe just maybe we don' t have as many kids as we used to.
Now I know some people will argue with me, that's fine I'm a numbers kind of guy.

So lets take a look at the enrollment numbers for the last 15 years.

1995-1996------- 221-------- 163------ 399------- 389-------- 1172
1996-1997------- 225-------- 142------ 379------- 407---------1153
1997-1998------- 227-------- 141-------353------- 382-------- 1103
1998-1999------- 218-------- 149------ 338------- 385-------- 1090
1999-2000------ 205-------- 146------ 309------- 376-------- 1036
2000-2001------ 193-------- 155------ 299------- 357-------- 1004
2001-2002------ 180-------- 145------ 292------- 350--------- 967
2002-2003------------------ 246------ 436------- 257--------- 939
2003-2004------------------ 241-------190------- 442--------- 873
2004-2005------------------ 238------ 165-------- 427--------- 830
2005-2006------------------ 210------ 164-------- 381--------- 755
2006-2007------------------ 205------ 150-------- 357--------- 712
2007-2008------------------ 168------ 170---------325--------- 663
2008-2009------------------ 154------ 171-------- 319---------- 644
2009-2010------------------ 156------ 167-------- 317---------- 640

Just looking at 2000 to 2010 we have dropped 364 kids, now some would argue that's not a big number but take a 36% drop and apply it to Lethbridge, Calgary etc.
On the bright side the numbers have levelled off the last two years thank goodness the mines have been hiring like crazy.
Anyway there will be a Census taken next year with the results in the spring of 2012, hopefully we will not maintain our status as the oldest community in Alberta.

Waiving of Fees for groups in the Crowsnest Pass

I have now received a comment on my blog and a couple of emails, regarding the potential waiving of ice fees for the proposed Pee Wee provincial tournament in late March.
The question being asked is how do other groups go about this?
There is a policy in place regarding this issue, for the Rec and Culture board to recommend waiving of fees.
This group went straight to council, with the reason given to council that they were working with tight time frames.
So what should other groups do?
Two choices apply to the culture and rec board go in front of them explain your reasons for your request, whether it be financial hardship, special event, etc.
Or send a letter to the CAO requesting that you go straight in front of council and let them address it, put together a bit of a presentation, always wise to suggest during your presentation that you will be bringing people into town, putting the community on the map, and giving something back.
For example Minor Hockey is going to make a contribution to the netting at the Complex.
Don't be afraid to lobby a couple of councilors prior to your presentation it helps, call the municipal office they will give you the councilors phone numbers.

The likely hood of success? I do not know it worked for this group give it a try, there are a lot of groups in our community that are struggling financially I'm sure would be glad for the assistance

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembrance Day

Very good link to Sasha's blog talking about Remembrance Day, I wanted to post something while I was thinking about it I read this and it really does say it all.


Thanks Sasha for posting this.

Any way this is a day that we should recognize the sacrifices that people have made so we have the ability and the freedom to do what we do.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Advertising versus Food Banks only in the Crowsnest Pass

Time for a comment that hopefully spurs some debate.
Tuesday night I sat witness to listening to a council provide a number of reasons why they should advertise in both papers, better communications, the cost of doing business, not beating up vendors, fulfilling their civic duty etc, etc, one councilor even suggested with proper placement we could do it even cheaper. Wow good stuff
This year we had a contract with the promoter to provide advertising at $180 per page x 50 weeks $9000. Administration was directed to go negotiate with the papers to provide advertising in both. When we did both in 2008 we were paying $700 a page lets assume that they do it for even half that amount the cost will become $350 x 2 x 50 = $35,000 a year in theory council just agreed to an additional cost of $78,000 over the next three years assuming only one page a week. (Good Luck)
Anyway this is not the main issue with this post, what amazed me, was what happened a hour later the Food Bank had a request in front of council to waive the Off site Levy on their new building.
(Theory of Off site Levies, are that municipalities charge a set amount to developers or owners of a bare piece of property when they build on it. Dollars that are placed in a reserve to be used down the road to help off set the cost of additional Infrastructure needed due to increase development)
Well the Food Bank being a non profit group ran mostly by volunteers, working on a very tight budget looking to develop a building to house their new home in. Came to council requesting that they waive the off site levy to assist them (approx $7800).
I figured this is a no brainer, especially after council had agreed to support a couple of local for profit businesses to the tune of $70,000-$100,000 over the next three years.
What took place then was one councilor raised the concern about waiving monies that would be set aside for future infrastructure (Gallant), this councilor and a couple of others then suggested that they nickel and dime the Food Bank and look at the possibility of waiving half the Levy.
At that point the Mayor called for a vote to waive 100% it was passed with Councilors Saindon and Londsbury opposed, Gallant put aside his concerns and voted for.

Really amazing there was more concern and opposition to waiving $7800 for a Food Bank than there was to spending $70-100,000 over the next three years in additional advertising costs.

Crowsnest Council Meeting Nov 9th, 2010 (G+P)

Tuesday November 9, 2010 Governance and Priorities Committee Meeting

Please keep in mind this is the G+P meeting so even though much debate takes place the issues dealt with at these meeting here will be moved forward as recommendations to the Council meeting

Adoption of Agenda
Motion to accept carried unanimously.


Topics for Discussions
  1. Waiver of Arena Ice Fees-This was minor hockey’s request to waive ice fees for the provincial pee wee tournament in late March, if successfully awarded to the Pass the fees will be waived for that weekend (approx $2800) and Minor Hockey in return will donate to the cost of netting for the Complex ($ amount not presented). Passed Unanimously Recommend to Council
  2. Advertising Review-Debate took place on better communicating with the public, the cost of doing business, etc etc. Decision was made to go back to advertising in both papers, and for administration to come back with a policy that covers all communications with various types of media. Passed Unanimously Recommend to Council
  3. Dates for Orientation with Administration November 30, and Facility Tour Dec 1st.
  4. Travel Alberta Open House-Council decided to have Councilor Gallant attend. Passed Unanimously Recommend to Council
  5. Ball Soccer Complex Request-Administration brought forth a bill due for the ball soccer Complex in Frank, owned to Drain Brothers since 2007/08. (Why it was not brought up with council previously I do not know, maybe I missed that meeting.) Administration recommended that it be paid with $10,000 from the Ball Complex budget and $15,000 from reserves. Councilor Mitchell suggested that the $15,000 come out of next years budget. Passed by a vote of 6-1 (Saje opposed)
  6. Tour Date with Spray Lakes. Determined it would take place Dec 17. Passed Unanimously Recommend to Council
  7. Economic Task Force Initiative-withdrew by the Mayor not ready at this point still working on putting together
  8. Waiving of Off site Levy for the Food Bank-Food Bank requested Council waive the off site levy ($7800) for their new building on 19th avenue. Council debated the merits of waiving 50% versus 100%, additionally there was concern raised about the standard of the building. The position was taken that 100% of the Off site Levy would be waived this passed by 5-2 (Saindon and Londsbury opposed)
  9. Note-This item was added with direction from administration that this should have been added at the start of the meeting. Cancellation of the November 23, 2010 G + P meeting. Passed by a vote of 6-1 (Saje opposed)

    At this point Council adjourned to go into Camera.

Municipal Advertising in the Crowsnest Pass

During the debate on the municipal advertising in the local papers, a couple of councilors could not grasp the large difference between the cost of advertising in 2007/08 and 2010.
Numbers are available at below: http://crowsnestpasshome.blogspot.com/2010/11/presentation-to-crowsnest-pass-council.html

In 2007 the municipality spent approximatly $57,300.
In 2008 the municipality spent approximatly $66,100.
In 2010 the municipality as spent to the end of September $8,400.

The difference that nobody really wanted to explain, was this in 2007 the municipality was paying roughly $700 a page in two papers, so if you had 1 page per week in two papers for 50 weeks that was $700 x 2 x 50 = $70,000
Now in 2010 the municipality is paying $180 a page in one paper for 50 weeks. That is $180 x 1 x 50 = $9000
That is a fairly large difference isn't it, certainly makes 2008 versus 2010 much clearer.

A lesson as been learnt!

After my crushing defeat at the hands of the voters on October 18. I decided that I was going to take some time, to figure out why, analyze the positions I had taken over the last six years. Take the three year break handed to me, watch what the new council does, learn from the mistakes that I made and hopefully in 2013 take another run at council offering the public a wiser and more experienced candidate.
Therefore, I toiled from Oct 19 to Nov 2, thinking a lot about the last six years. I thought to myself obviously I upset some people with the Crowsnest Centre, some people with the elimination of ice in the Albert Stella, some were upset about the Community Standards Bylaw, the River Run project, the changes in management, even last weeks paper somebody was upset about us not hiring “more” municipal employees.
Then I went to a Council meeting the night of November 2, Ms Lisa Sygutek made a presentation to Council regarding the issue of advertising in both local papers. To my surprise near the end of her presentation she went on a little rant about how the voters in the Crowsnest Pass had sent a clear message to the new council that they were not happy with the previous council, and this was due to the fact that they had chosen not to “communicate” with the public by refusing to place municipal advertising in both papers.
My first reaction was this is nuts, I lost the election because I refused to spend taxpayers money advertising in both papers.
Then I said to myself I should think about this, maybe it’s not nuts. Maybe the last three years of all those articles written with a slight negative slant, all those editorials attacking every thing the majority of the previous council supported, maybe that little ad on the key page of the paper with the 45 weeks to the next election did have an impact, so I decide I need to think about this a little more, maybe just maybe there is a lesson to be learnt here.
In the meantime, I go back to Council for their Committee meeting on November 9, on the agenda is the issue of advertising I am looking forward to the debate.
About three minutes in I realize these new councilors are obviously much smarter than the previous council, (despite the comments presented, which I will address later), they have already learnt the lesson above. They want the positive headlines, the glowing editorials; they do not want to see the countdown to the next election under the Bricks and Bouquets.
An old politician once said the moment an election is over the campaign for the next one begins.
I tip my hat to the quick learners.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jim Prentice leaving politics for CIBC

Jim Prentice leaves politics for CIBC

This should be of interest to my readers.


Presentation to Crowsnest Pass Council Regarding Advertising

After a number of requests and to further the opportunity for debate I am posting the presentation given to Council on November 2 by the Pass Herald regarding the issue of advertising in the local papers.

Pass Herald Presentation

Pg 1 History
1930 first issue
Celebrated 80th anniversary
3rd oldest business in the Crowsnest Pass
100% locally owned and operated
Designed and constructed entirely local
Printing alone is outside community
7 full time and 4 part time employees

Pg 2 Historic Costing

Date CJPR----Promot-- Herald----- Ext-- Ski Hill--- Billbo-Hospit-- Total
2007 $9719---$31,278-- $25,973--$0------ $2,328-- $0-----$205-- $69,503
2008 $13,158-$35,278-- $30,833- $6,630-- $973----$0-----$205-- $87,057
2009 $7,552-- $7,817--- $15,683--$7,808-- $930----$0-----$205-- $39,994
2010 $5,294-- $7,772--- $672-----$222---- $6,736--$3,439-$205-- $24,339

Pg 3 2008 Cost Detail

2008 advertising to Pass Herald $30,833
Notice of Public Hearing are paid by Development Fees
Then there is a pie chart that breaks that number down to:
True Advertising Cost $19,006, Notice of Public Hearings, $11,827

Pg 4 Development Permits
· Municipalities should strive to be revenue neutral
· Development Permit Fee $750 each
· Paid to municipality by developers
· Presently only advertising “Notices of public Hearings” in single paper
· ½ page advertising cost $80
· Must run in two issues $160
· Net Profit $590

Pg 5 Comparison with Alberta
7 communties
Similar Infrastructure and population
3 previous employers of current CAO

Communities listed with 2009 actuals and 2010 Budget
BarHead 2010 $17,700 Pincher Creek 2009 $32,800 2010 $52,050Community A 2010 $45,000 Okotoks 2010 $70,000 High Level 2010 $37,698 Peace River 2010 $61,679
Fort Macleod 2009 $39,545 2010 $40,800
Pg 6 Two Paper Comparison

Canmore Outlook/Leader
2009 $64,347
2010 $95,937

Majority goes to Outlook because:
“Majority of advertising goes to Outlook as they are considered the more reputable newspaper, with higher circulation and produced in community. Notice of Public Hearings specifically go to each newspaper… as is paid by developer”

Pg 7 Two Paper Comparison

· Banff Craig + Canyon/Outlook
· 2009 $51,000
· Craig + Canyon $42,000
· Outlook $9,000

· Vermilion Standard/Voice
· 2009 $39,000
· Majority in standard because local
· Both papers get Notices of Public Hearings

Pg 8 Two Paper Comparison

Is just a graph that reflects the numbers above and shows a 2009 average of $51,500 spent in each of the three communities

Pg 9 Value to Community

Annual Budget $18,000,000
Total advertising $40,000
Based on 2008 both papers equal
Public Hearings removed
Total % of budget 0.2%
Cost per voter $6.95

Pg 10 Government

Evan Burger MLA “when there are two newspapers serving a community such as Crowsnest Pass we try to give equal value to each… government musy be fiscally responsible while recognizing the impact on small business”
Ted Menzies MP “I choose to advertise in as many of the local papers in my riding as possible to ensure that the entire riding receives a copy of my adds”

Pg 11 Equality

Has administration required external advertising to bid?
Calgary Herald, Winnipeg Post, Lethbridge Herald
Has administration evaluated the circulation of the written vs verbal?
Radio is exclusive
More money spent on highway billboard and ski hill web page than local information

Pg 12 Present Proposal

2011 RFP is due Nov 26, 2010
Resolution is to be bid annually
“The opportunity to provide this service will be offered to any business that provides newsprint coverage in the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, with the intent to tender from now to the end of the year. In the following year the service will be tendered on a calendar year basis.” M#3901-09
Administration asked for 3 year proposal
Why contradiction to resolution?

Pg 13 Conclusion
What is the value of an open and honest government?
Then there is a graph presented that review the dollars spent by all the communities listed above for 2009 and 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Alberta Tory MLAs defend taking freebies

Interesting article in the Edmonton Journal today check it out.


I am expecting some of my Liberal and NDP friends to come back and tell me how terrible the Conservatives are, and how their party members would never do this.

Crowsnest Pass Council Meeting Nov 2, 2010

Tuesday Nov 2 Meeting of Council

Another light agenda:

No public Hearings

Agenda was adopted with an addition personnel in Camera added by Councilor Mitchell, and the Xmas parade route requested by the Chamber of Commerce under other business
Motion to accept was passed Unanimously

Previous Minutes Both Meeting of Oct 26, (Organizational and Regular Council) were accepted Unanimously

Delegations: Just one as previously reported Lisa Sygutek made a presentation to Council explaining the advantages of advertising in both local papers.
(I will provide more information about the presentation later)

Administration Report:
CAO Lundy gave a presentation, speaking regarding this being his last meeting of Council thanked everybody he had been involved with during his time here.
Spoke to the amount of development permits in town this year, noticed that there are two major projects on the books (Fas Gas renovation and the Devon Wind Turbine)
Notified that the Hillcrest Lagoon would be commissioned by the end of November
All stimulus projects will be completed by the end of March, also suggested that's letters of thanks be sent to the provincial and federal governments
Also corrected a misquote by Ms Sygutek she had stated that the advertising RFP's were for three years, he stated that they were for one year and that both papers were also asked to look at the option of a three year agreements.
A question was asked regarding the relationship between the Municipality and Stantec, how it was determined that Stantec would do all of the municipal engineering. The CAO stated that RFP had gone to a number of engineering firms in 2005/06.

Note: I racked my brains on this one I did not remember that RFP coming back to council in that time frame and I checked the minutes from that time frame, I could not find a motion of council accepting a RFP in those years for engineering (Maybe I missed it)
There was no other administrative reports.
Motion was made to send a letters of thanks to the various Government level passed Unanimously
Motion was made to accept Administrative Reports passed Unanimously

Business arising from the minutes:
Subdivision and Development Appeal Board had two members appointed at the previous meeting only one was required
Motion was made to accept Councilor Gallant on the board passed Unanimously
Motion was made to accept Councilor Londsbury as the alternate also passed Unanimously

Letter from Luke Ouellette regarding the AltaLink Transmission Lines Motion was made to send a letter to Alberta Enviroment which was passed Unaimously

Letter from Spray Lakes Regarding an open house at the Heritage Inn in Pincher Creek Nov 18th 3pm to 8pm, Motion to accept as Information passed Unanimously

Committee Reports
None presented

Bylaw 810, 2010 was presented for first reading Motion passed Unanimously it will now be advertised.

Notices of Motion
Mayor Decoux moved this to later in the meeting after the In camera section

Other Business
Task Force Creation
Mayor Decoux informed council that he is working on this it will consist of no more than seven people, will be completed within 90 days from its conception. He will be bringing it back for council to review at next weeks G +P meeting
Motion was made to accept passed Unanimously

Purchase of chairs for Mayor and Council
Motion was passed Unanimously to spent up to $200 per chair to replace present chairs.
Mayor Decoux also requested that a policy be drawn up for replacing furniture.

Stake out of Construction Site Policy
This was tabled by council due to concerns regarding the language and intent of the policy motion passed Unanimously

Crowsnest Minor Hockey Alberta Pee Wee Championship Tournament
Late March Minor Hockey is attempting to bring the Pee Wee Championship tournament to the Crowsnest Pass (seven teams), they requested Council to give a letter of support which they did by Unanimous vote and requested that fees be waived for that weekend 45 hours of ice time at $57.40 per hour, in return Minor Hockey would make a donation to assist the Municipality in purchasing netting for the Complex.

Xmas parade route
The Chamber requested approval for a road closure for a Xmas parade Motion was passed Unanimously to accept

Council Member Reports
Councilor Mitchell spoke to a Protective Services Meeting he had attended and a Council Orientation put on by George Cuff, Mayor Decoux also spoke about the Cuff orientation and thanked the previous council for providing an excellent report that will provide great guidance for the new Council.

Public Input

At that point Council voted Unanimously to take a short break and go into Camera.