Thursday, June 30, 2011

Economic Task Force-Rum Runner Days/Thunder in the Valley

What I believe is going to be one of the most controversial recommendations in the Task Force Report is #10 regarding the whole Rum Runner/Thunder in the Valley weekend.
Below we have the Task Force recommendation and there suggestions about how to achieve it.
Some of council is already chomping at the bit to get to this issue, a few meetings back, Councilor Gail asked the CAO if they have received all the financial information from the Fire Dept yet, the previous CAO stated they were still waiting. Early in the year Mayor Decoux wanted administration to find out who owns Thunder in the Valley.
This last meeting Mayor Decoux notified a number of local residents that this year will be the last year that this weekend will be ran the way it’s always been, that next year there will be significant change. Councilor Gail this week also asked if it would not be better for the municipality to take back over the camping along the train tracks to realize that revenue for municipal coffers.

Then to top it all off Mayor Decoux stated that the real cost of this weekend for the municipality will be well in excess of $100,000.

Here is the recommendation and suggestions from the task force on how to enhance the weekend I have put a Note with my comments after each point

10. Review and re-develop Rum Runner Days/Thunder in the Valley with a focus on increasing potential for economic benefit to the community and local businesses:”

Establish a community committee to run Rum Runner Days/Thunder in the Valley with the support of the Tourism Coordinator. Note: This would clearly tie the two events together the arguments have always been made by the affected groups that they are two separate events.

Develop a financial model that is transparent regarding sources and uses of funds and results in profit to the Municipality, local businesses and the event. Note: If the two events are being tied together will all parties share all financial information as requested by Councilor Gail.

Consider payment for parking and bussing into a central location as a revenue generator and resolution for egress problems in the past. Note: Wow what a logistic nightmare, 50 people on a bus even if you forced half the crowd lets say 15000 to get on a bus that 300 bus loads where would you find them, park them and control who gets on which bus.

Consider expanding the event to Thursday night, Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Note: great idea in theory lots of work will you find somebody willing to take on this load. There was a public request last year for help to take over the work load that Marion Vanoni as handled for year not a lot of people stepped forward.

Add entertainment by inviting big name acts for Thursday night, Friday night Saturday night before the fireworks, and Sunday afternoon. Many of these entertainers may already be at the South Country Fair, which is the same weekend, and may be able to perform in a sponsored tent located a reasonable distance from residential areas with bussing back and forth from the designated parking. Note: who will put all the money up front to sponsor these events especially the first year, if you want big name acts you will pay big money guaranteed money. Even retro groups like Nazareth, April Wine command $12-15,000 up front money. Do we want to risk taxpayers money on the success of these types of ventures.

Attract sponsorships including approaching Cowboys in Calgary to sponsor and manage the tent, as well as Bacardi Rum for donations of liquor, consistent with the Rum Runner theme. Identify other sponsors in addition to these examples. Note: I was involved with a beer garden once on this weekend if you are going to maintain this weekend as a family event I would like to stay away from this kind of event. In addition, easy to confirm with the RCMP the number of arrests without Beer Gardens as been way down.

Enhance promotion through an integrated campaign building on web site, billboards, radio and social media. Note: Does this event need any more promotion I think anybody within a 300 km radius knows about the event. Also advertising is very expensive who will front those dollars in the first year.

This is going to be a very tough issue to deal with groups that have had control of different aspects are not going to relinquish them freely. There are certain parts of this weekend that are actually owned by groups, will we see a budget item this year to purchase naming rights to Thunder in the Valley. Some people want to grow the event some people want it to go away. Irregardless of what any of us think Mayor and Council seem determined to change this weekend.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

G + P Meeting June 28, 2011

Adoption of Agenda:

Mayor Decoux added # 9 under Topics for Discussion, Strategic Planning.
Councilor Saindon added a personnel issue In Camera.
CAO requested that Item #6 and #8 under Topics for discussion go In Camera, and that Item #7 be deferred to July 12th.
Motion to accept agenda with additions passed unanimously


1. Scott Warris, Treasurer-Crowsnest Pass Boy’s and Girl club. Provided and update on upcoming activities, fund raising and fiscal situation. Informed council that they are selling raffle tickets around town. That they will be doing a duck race at the centre access on July 16, running the concession at the Sinister seven event, and that the Blairmore Lions are giving them the proceeds from their up coming golf tournament. He also stated that they have raised one third of the $40,000 they anticipated but are very hope full they will reach their goals with the previously mentioned fundraisers.

2. June Vastenhout-Neighbourhood Concerns with random camping during the Rum Runner days weekend near Lyons creek. After an explanation of the issue by the residents, Mayor Decoux felt they should be addressing their concerns to the CAO and the bylaw officer.

Note: At this point Mayor Decoux informed the residents that there is not a lot of time to deal with the over all issues caused by the success of the Rum Runner Days/Thunder in the Valley weekend and the masses of people it brings for that event. However, he assured the residents that this is the last year that it will be ran in the fashion it as previously been run.

Topics for Discussion:
1. Property Tax Installment Bylaw-Language cleanup regarding the bylaw allowing residents to pay there taxes in installments.

2. Rum Runner Days/Thunder in the Valley, Administration provided an update on all the services being in place for that weekend. Mayor Decoux made the point that this weekend is costing the municipality well in excess of a $100,000. Councilor Gail also raise a concern about groups using the camping opposite the ISS as a fund raiser felt that money should be coming back to the community, allowing it to recoup its costs.

3. Orpheum Theatre Bylaw-Update on allowing this building to get an historical designation.

4. Alta Link follow up-Council had requested Alta Link’s environmental report on the proposed line upgrades in the Pass, mostly irrelevant at this point due to the line not moving above Blairmore.

5. Advertising Policy-Basically allows each department to advertise anywhere they see fit as long as the dollars are approved in its budget. Strange policy it specifies that one particular form of media will receive advertising in more than one local vendor but then instructs administration to go get the best deal they can.(?)

6. Agenda Format Changes moved to In Camera

7. Review of the Procedural Bylaws and the G+P committee deferred to July 12

8. Community Standards Bylaw enforcement moved to In Camera

9. Strategic Planning-Mayor Decoux made it clear to council that there is a lot of work to be done this summer, many meetings long hard days of preparing council’s strategic plan with a first draft ready for Sept 1. He requested that a couple of members of council get together and co-ordinate everybody’s schedule by next council meeting, Councilor Saje with the assistance of Councilor Saindon agreed to do this.

Note: Two things that took place during the meeting really surprised me, after the Cuff report recommended that we combine our committee of the whole and several other committees’ into the G+P meeting format. The previous council was clearly told by our administrator at that time that we could not pass motions at those meeting, but we could vote on weather to forward recommendations to council. This went on for at least the last year and a half of the previous council, after the election new council and new CAO carried on the same practice. Last night while dealing with Topics for Discussion the Interim CAO informed council that this practice was wrong that council can not conduct any votes at the G+P meeting, really surprising that the last two CAO’s did not know that.

The second issue that absolutely shocked me was just prior to going In Camera; the Mayor decided that he needed to share a few words with administration, with the public and media still sitting there. He started with nobody on council has legislative experience on procedures of council; he also went on about how administration needed to provide council with clear, precise complete information. That anything less than that would not be tolerated, that if council was put in the position of making decisions without all the information being 100% available and accurate that he and Council would be making recommendations to the CAO regarding those administrators.

Do I have a problem with what was said above, or even the tone that it was said in? No. Management in every organization when justified needs a good kick in the ass, the problem with what happened above is it should have been done behind closed doors. No employee should be given shit by their Boss in front of the public let alone the media.

In Camera: Motion to go In Camera passed unanimously.

Special Council meeting of June 28, 2011

The sole purpose of this meeting was to reconsider the Vote on Motion M#6123-11 which was to take all of the operations of the Crowsnest Library centralize them in Blairmore and close the Bellevue Library.

What was one to expect? The silence of June 7th when council was notified in writing by the board, barely a word was spoken. Alternatively, were we to see the numerous concerns raised on June 21st, followed up by some spirited debate?

I sat and listened to first the discussion over how a motion had to be made to reconsider the previous motion, which could only be made by one of the councilors that previously voted against it, Councilor Gail accommodated that process. Then a short debate took place Councilor Gallant raised the issue of accessibility for wheelchairs, Councilor Saindon stated the obvious (one ride down to the Library any observer could see) there is a ramp and it is presently used. Councilor Mitchell must have had his concern about the Pass being long and narrow and clients of the Bellevue Library being able to access Blairmore addressed in the last week.

Mayor Decoux called for a Motion which was made by Councilor Londsbury, with the uniform raising of seven hands the Bellevue Library days are done, in eight minutes from start to finish it was over.

Monday, June 27, 2011

When at first you do not succeed try again-Bellevue Library

I am sure by now everybody as heard that the Bellevue Library is closing July 1st.

Well not quite so fast, on June 7th at the G+P meeting there was correspondence from Pat Korble regarding closure of the Bellevue Library, council filed the letter as information. No huge concerns raised by anybody on council, in a matter of moments the issue is done with council moved on to the rest of the agenda. Advertisements notifying the public go in the paper end of the tale right.

To my surprise last Tuesday June 21st there is a delegation in front of council the CNP library board represented by Scott Howard is making a presentation to council. Apparently, the board had contacted the previous CAO who told them due to being an independent body that they had the authority to close the library. Up on further review of the boards bylaws by the board they determined this was not the case so they requested the opportunity to come in front of council. So Scott goes through his presentation, points out that they had a consultant review the libraries operations who recommended the closure of the library, he also stated that the board unanimously supported this position.

So began the debate did not expect much, given the opportunity just two weeks prior there was no issues raised. Suddenly out of nowhere comes concerns about the size of the Crowsnest Pass, how would people get to Blairmore that currently go to Bellevue, more time was required to look at this issue maybe it was being made in haste?. The issue of accessibility to the Blairmore Library for folks with disabilities concerns that could have all been raised on June 7th.

The Mayor called for a motion which Councilor Londsbury provided with his comments about this being a council that was elected to be more efficient, that the Crowsnest Pass can not justify two libraries. Fortunately or not (No nasty 4-3 vote to worry about) Councilor Saindon was not present. The vote was called by the chair with a result of 3-3 the motion was defeated, Mayor Decoux, Councilors Saje and Londsbury in favor, Councilors Gallant, Gail, and Mitchell opposed.

Subsequently  I was told that the next day three members of the Library board resigned. Today I notice there as been a special meeting of council called for June 28 at 6:30pm. One issue to reconsider the Library motion of last week, I’m curious to see the debate, will the issue of the size of the Pass and getting people to Blairmore be rectified. Will the accessibility issues of the Blairmore location be resolved, will the issues that made a councilor feel last week that this decision was being made in haste, have been dealt with to his satisfaction?

Amazing June 7th no issues, June 21st lots of issues and June 28th I suspect this motion will just sail through.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Economic Task Force Report-Hotel Tax

One of the recommendations coming out of the task force report to finance some of its suggestions is a tourism levy on hotel rooms.

Most people including myself, because we do not pay attention to the list of charges that are added on to your hotel room bills one after another. Do not realize that we already pay a Tourism levy of 4%, which is collected by the Alberta Government and then distributed, to Travel Alberta to market tourism in the province.

There are many towns, such as Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Banff and Canmore that have put in place a “Marketing Destination Fund”. This is an additional surcharge added to your room bill that that is used to market and promote that area.

In theory, it is a good idea and could be very effective as a revenue raiser under the right circumstances.

The other side:

• It’s another tax, anywhere from 1-3% is being charged

• Who collects and administrates the funds at what cost

• It’s voluntary so will all hotels collect it (Canmore Hotel and Lodging Association, states on its web site despite being in place for at least four years only 19% of the hotels in Canmore/Kananaskis charge the fee)

• What about the 4% we already pay that his intended to promote tourism, maybe our local and provincial politicians need to chase that source of funding.

• Most hotels charge it prior to the present tourism levy and GST, so the client now pays an additional 9% on the marketing destination charge.

• Will it apply to bed and breakfast accommodation?

• If the communities around you are not doing a similar process does it not become a deterrent, a significant number of our present hotel stays are crews working in the area that will spend tens of thousands of dollars at a time. An extra 2% on a $20,000 tab is $400 why not stay in Pincher and save those dollars some company’s will.

Any way I am sure, when council looks at this there will be some very spirited debate, it will also be interesting to see the reaction of our local hotels/motels.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

More Change at the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass

Effective July 13 Director of HR and Legislative Services Lynne Cox will be leaving the Municipality.

Bearsmart Program in the Crowsnest Pass

I was asked to post the following link.

Please check it out there is an opportunity for the Crowsnest Pass to pick up $25,000 from Shell

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Torch is passed to the "Dream Team"

Mayor’s Final Task Force Report June 20 2011.

Well last night I attended the presentation of the Mayor’s Final Task Report, the task force and council was all there with by my estimation 150-200 local residents.

The Mayor gleefully informed us at the beginning that his council was now known as the “Dream Team”. I love dreams the only down side is when you are just really getting to enjoy one, you wake up and realize it was just a dream and now you have to deal with reality.

The Mayor put a lot of emphasis on the Task Forces member’s great wealth of expertise (no argument) and their many connections to the Crowsnest Pass. I think some how trying to distant the initial public reaction to the fact that there was no “locals” named to the team, but any way the report is here now and needs to be addressed.

Did I hear anything really new? No. I have always taken the position that there are many good ideas here in the Crowsnest Pass, the issue then, now and in to the future. Is embracing the ideas, implementing them and eventually the most important part of the equation paying for them.

Therefore, what did I hear from the report:

1. One unified community,

2. One Crowsnest Pass Fire and Rescue Department with one chief and multiple substations, one library system with multiple branches.

3. Hiring an Economic Development Officer

4. Clarity on the timing and route for the Highway 3 realignment

5. Establish a Community Economic Development Advisory Committee

6. “Crowsnest: Mountain Freedom” branding and put in place gateway signage

7. Establish a grant and funding process to support specific economic development projects

8. Full time Tourism Coordinator Position

9. Implementation of a Tourism levy as part of the hotel rate structure as well as a 1 cent/litre gas tax to fund tourism/community marketing.

10. Review and re-develop Rum Runner Days/Thunder in the Valley, establish a community committee to run this weekend, and develop a financial model that is transparent regarding sources and uses of funds and results in profits to the Municipality, local businesses and the event.

11. Seek investment or partner to add chair lift to the Pass Powderkeg Ski hill.

12. Work with historical partners to expand the Crowsnest Museum

13. Demolish and remediate the former Crowsnest Centre site and issue an RFP to developers for proposals to redevelop the site.

14. Investigate opportunities to re-appropriate the Bridgegate River Run property.

15. Work on a Centre for excellence in Field Studies

16. Develop strategy to attract new development.

17. Develop and maintain relationships with major employers.

18. Build community pride to increase support for local business

19. Explore feasibility of a regional Truck stop/Bulk Fuel/Tire Sales along Highway 3

20. Enhanced services and activities for retirees and seniors

21. Enhance amenities for families, community recreation centre

I have not listed all the recommendations, a lot of them are similar these are the ones that jumped out at me. The tricky part as I stated previously is going to be the implementation and paying for these great ideas. To that end the Mayor informed us that Council will be coming back to the public in early fall with a strategic plan.

How do we the public measure the success of this report? A couple of ways, 29 recommendations, 15 of them have a timeline of this year attached to them. Budget 2012 will be here before you know it.

Note: Just received a call mentioning to me that at this time we all need to keep in mind that these are the recommendations of the Task Force, Council does not have to accept them all, or any for that matter. Right now this is one of those famous political trial balloons so for my readers if you wish to influence where this report or any of its suggestions go. You need to speak to your members of council.

Randy thanks for the call, your right. 

Mayors Task Force Report Crowsnest Pass

Available on the Municipal Web site

Just click on the Final report of the Mayor's Task Force, June 20 2011

Note: I will share my comments soon.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Update on donation to Slave Lake.

Despite some on Council not wishing to send the $2600 raised from the auction of Municipal Junk to Slave Lake.
Our neighbours at the Town of Pincher Creek followed up at their last council meeting by agreeing to send the same amount, to help those folks out. It was the right decision for the Pass to make, and it should have been unanimous, the money was raised by selling Junk that was no longer of any value to the community. No program had to lose funding, and no tax increase had to be put in place to show this small gesture of support for a community that suffered a lot.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Interim CAO for the Crowsnest Pass

Tuesday night there was a new person sitting at the administration table, Mayor Decoux at one point during the discussion on the South Sasatchewan Regional Advisory Council referred to him as the Interim CAO. Surprisingly he did not introduce him, maybe he is saving it for the council meeting next week.
His name is Kevin Robins he worked for 24 years with the city of Leduc the last 12 as the CAO. He is presently the CEO of Transitional Solutions Inc. You can find more out about him at the following link.

Any way a big welcome to our new (Interim) CAO.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

G+P meeting June 14, 2011

G + P Meeting June 14, 2011

Adoption of Agenda:

Councilor Mitchell added a land issue In Camera.
Motion to accept agenda with additions passed unanimously


1. Crowsnest Community Support Society-Allison Johnson Day Program Team Leader. Interesting presentation about what the group does the number of people it looks after, and the facilities it operates. (Mountain view and Bagatelle). They also mentioned that they were visited by a couple of Councilors during the election campaign, who promised to look at their concerns and try to address them. (Expanded transportation for their clients nights and weekend, and accessibility into local businesses)

2. Alta Link-Crowsnest Pass Transmission Line Relocation Project-Kevin Strangeway. They gave a presentation about what Alta link does in the province its business scope. They had approached previous council about relocating the power line that presently runs from Frank to above the Blairmore cemetery down to the valley floor between the river and highway 3. Previously council had taken a strong position against this and unanimously taken the position that the municipality would take intervener status when they sought approval for this from the government regulatory body that approves these types of relocations. That position by the previous council paid off last night they informed council that they will be maintaining the line in its present location.

Topics for Discussion:

1. Request for a response to the advice given to the Government of Alberta for the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan.-Guest Speaker Mr John Squarek-Member of the South Saskatchewan Regional Advisory Council.

This document is available on the Government of Alberta web site, the council was a group of individuals placed together to look at the future land use directions of the province of Alberta. Crowsnest Pass is in the South Saskatchewan Regional which basically goes from Airdrie south to the US border and from the BC to Saskatchewan border. The council makes a recommendation that is then approved or not by the Alberta cabinet. All local plans (ie Municipal development plan etc) must conform with the regional plan. The plan and all the various steps and time lines to the process are available at the following address:

On page 17 of the Council’s recommendation to the province there is a very relevant statement regarding our area: Identify and develop new areas capable of becoming iconic tourism
destinations. Areas that should be considered include the Castle,
Crowsnest Pass, Kananaskis and the portion of the Canadian Badlands in
the region.

• Develop and manage the Castle and Crowsnest Pass as iconic
nature-based tourism destinations. Effectively manage the Castle without
necessarily designating it as a provincial park.

If you wish to have your say you need to go to the address above and provide your feedback to the province. There is no doubt this will have an impact on our area in the future.

In Camera: Motion to go In Camera passed unanimously.

Coming out of the Closet

Coming out of the closet, this as nothing to do with politics. But for those that don't know me well, I am taking the opportunity after the better part of fourty years of hiding in the closet with all those other fans that have not had the opportunity to win a Stanley Cup in a longggggg time. I am proud of the Canucks and what they have accomplished this year, obviously my preference is for them to win the cup tonight but even if they don't  I will still be very, very proud.
Another big plus in all of this, it sure makes that closet a little less crowded for all those Leaf fans in there.

So Go Canucks Go  

Check this out very well done.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rum Runner Days weekend

First of all I got hammered last year because I referred to the costs for "Thunder in the Valley".

I clarified that it should have been the costs for the Rum Runner weekend, with Thunder in the Valley being just one of the events held that weekend. This is often a very contentious issue, but there is no question this is probably the largest single weekend for revenue for most Crowsnest Pass Businesses, certainly in the tourism industry. Anyway after a number of requests this is what the previous council budgeted for the 2010 “Rum runner days weekend”.

If you wish to check the numbers for 2011 you will have to contact either one of the present members of council or the municipal office.

Donation for Fireworks $4500
Traffic Control $6200
Policing $10000
Garbage + Toilets $11500
Activties + Entertainers $18000

Total $50200

This number does not allow for any municipal wages that go into preparation for the weekend. Which in my humble opinion would probably add another $20-30,000 to the weekend.

Why am I raising this now? two reasons, one I have been requested to by a number of my readers and two if you read Fridays Promoter there was an article about this weekend and the discussion that took place at last council meeting. Councilor Saje clearly indicated in his comments that in future years the weekend should be ran more has a business, and Councilor Gail requested of administration has to when the revenue numbers for the weekend would be made available by the fire department.

Any way due to my readers and the two fore mentioned councilors raising this issue the debate is open again regarding the “Rum Runner Weekend”.

Note: I have already refused one comment due to the fact that it made a derogatory comment regarding a fire department, keep your comments to the debate if you wish to have them published.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dean's Rules

The primary purpose of this blog is to discuss politics in the Crowsnest Pass, other issues are welcome also. You have the option of providing your name, you can remain anonymous if you wish. This blog is not about the individuals it is about the issues and the debate that follows. I welcome different opinions to mine if you disagree with my opinion then join the debate explain why. I am fine with that if you never choice to agree with me again in your life that is called Democracy.

What I will not welcome is personnel attacks, so if you choose to come on here and attack Joe Blow because he is not working, or he is different to you I will not publish that comment. Therefore,  when you are writing your comments and I know some people spend a lot of time, if you take three seconds at the end to call somebody an idiot your time will be wasted and your opinion on that issue will not be heard.

Thank you Dean

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Council Meeting of June 7, 2011

Council Meeting of June 7, 2011

Mayor Decoux prior to the meeting commencing said some kind words about former Mayor Irwin’s years of service to the municipality and requested everybody present to take a moments silence.

Public Hearing: None

Agenda: Mayor Decoux added Emergent Land Issue in Camera. He also changed Item #5 under Bylaws to come after delegations. He deleted the following items correspondence #2 letter from Hon. Luke Ouellette regarding Federal Gas Tax Fund. He also deleted under other business, Drum Creek Flooding, Draft Budget Policy, and Municipal Office. He added Gifts for members of the task force under other business. Motion to accept the Agenda as amended was passed unanimously

Adoption of previous minutes:

1. Minutes of the Council Meeting of May 17, 2011, with minor corrections. Motion to accept was passed unanimously
2. Minutes of the Special Council Meeting of May 11, 2011, with minor corrections. Motion to accept was passed unanimously


1. Mark Murphy Emergency Management Field Officer for Southern Alberta reviewed the Emergency Management planning process with council and administration.

2. Larry Simpson, Director Strategic Philanthropy and Conservation for the Nature Conservancy gave an over view of what they do and stated that they own 1600 acres in the Pass and have conservation easements on 400 more acres.

Bylaws: 826 Land Use Bylaw third reading (Green Mountain Company in West Coleman)
Mayor Decoux gave the public the option to present anything new on this issue, no response either for or against.
Comments from council: Councilor Saindon needs to be convinced that the developer will address the public’s concerns.
Councilor Gallant felt that those issues would be covered off in the development agreement.
Councilor Gail had concerns about old mines workings, underground creeks, and the highway and really could not see this area being used for development. Motion for third reading passed 5-2 (Saindon/Saje opposed)

Administrative and Agency Reports: None

Business arising from the Minutes: None

1. Municipality of Crowsnest Pass Library Board-Pat Korble-Closure of the Bellevue Library. Mayor Decoux asked for comments or questions none provided.

Committee Reports:
1. Minutes of May 24, 2011 G+P committee meeting, no discussion. Motion to accept passed unanimously.
2. Minutes of May 10, 2011 G+P committee meeting, no discussion. Motion to accept passed unanimously

1. Bylaw 805,2011- Road Closure Frank Industrial Park (2nd & 3rd reading) No discussion. Motion passed 2nd reading 6-1 (Saje) 3rd reading passed 6-1 (Saje)
2. Bylaw 816, 2011 – Walking Trail Bylaw given (2nd & 3rd Reading). No discussion 2nd reading passed Unanimously, 3rd reading passed unanimously
3. Bylaw 821, 2011 – Property Tax Penalties Bylaw given (1st Reading) No discussion 1st reading passed unanimously
4. Bylaw 825, 2011 – Agricultural Services Board Bylaw given (2nd & 3rd Reading). No discussion 2nd reading passed unanimously 3rd reading passed unanimously.
5. Bylaw 826, 2011 – Land Use Bylaw Amendment given (3rd Reading) - (Green Mtn. Company) Dealt with previously after delegations.
6. Bylaw 828, 2011 – Traffic Bylaw Amendment given (1st Reading) No discussion passed 1st reading unanimously.
7. Bylaw 829, 1011 – Noise Bylaw Amendment given (1st Reading) No discussion passed 1st reading unanimously.
8. Bylaw 830, 2011 – Long Grass Bylaw Amendment given (1st Reading) No discussion passed 1st reading unanimously.
9. Bylaw 831, 2011 – Community Standards Bylaw Amendment given (1st Reading) No discussion passed 1st reading unanimously.
10. Bylaw 832, 2011 – Land Use Bylaw Amendment – Sign Standards given (1st Reading) – now has a Public Hearing No discussion passed 1st reading unanimously.
11. Bylaw 833, 2011 – Land Use Bylaw Amendment - Rezoning - given (1st Reading Tartal in Frank) – now has a Public Hearing No discussion passed 1st reading unanimously.

Notices of Motion: None

Other Business:
1. Rescind Endorsement Policy: Councilor Mitchell as been opposed to this policy from its concept, the intent of the policy was to have any council member inform council and seek its approval before appearing in any promotional material for business, developers etc. Motion to rescind passed 5-2 (Saindon/Gallant opposed)

2. Code of conduct for Council and Council committees: Motion to send this to the Policy committee passed 6-1 (Saindon opposed)

3. Council summer schedule: Motion to cancel July 26 G+P, August 2 Council and August 9 G+P, with an additional council to be added August 30. Motion passed 6-1 (Gallant opposed)

4. Draft reserve policy: Motion to accept passed unanimously.

5. Purchase gifts for task force: Mayor Decoux explained that the task force gave their time for free for five meeting since February, felt it reasonable to present the committee members with gifts up to a value of $2250. Motion passed unanimously

6. Draft Budget Policy: Motion to defer to the June 21st meeting passed unanimously.

7. Request for enhanced policing for Rum Runner Days: The municipality to pay $10,000 for 178 of policing, question of administration is this sufficient CAO stated that the RCMP felt not. Councilor Saje felt that moving forward this whole weekend needs to be dealt with more as a business plan, to get away from the huge costs the municipality incurs. Councilor Gail asked if administration had received a revenue report from the fire department yet for the weekend, administration stated they were still working on this. Motion to incur the $10,000 cost passed unanimously.

8. Independent Trucking Enterprise Parking Request: Request to park the coal haul trucks at the old Crowsnest Centre parking lot. Numerous concerns raised by council motion to defer to the next meeting passed 6-1 (Saindon opposed)

9. Municipal Auction Fund Disbursement: Administration recommended that the proceeds from the auction held on the weekend ($2700 approximately) be donated to the Town of Slave Lake. Councilor Mitchell strongly disagreed felt the money should be placed into reserves. Motion passed 5-2 (Saindon/Mitchell opposed)

10. Notice of Motion Transportation: Motion to have a needs assessment conducted and bring back to council on September 6th passed unanimously.

Council Member reports: Comments about various groups sending condolences regarding former Mayor Irwin.

Public Input: None

Motion to go In Camera: Passed Unanimously

****Additional information from last nights meeting****

The package from last nights meeting was just posted on the municipal web site. As noted previously Mayor Decoux deleted several issues from the agenda one of which was the Municipal Office.
Now reading the package I was expecting administration to come back with a reconfiguration as directed by Council a number of weeks ago.
Instead it again raises the issue of moving to the MDM which I have expressed my opinion on previouly. One of my concerns was the cost, especially when council has made it clear that they will improve inefficiencies by reducing the number of staff over time which would make the space issue in the office a non issue.
In the package it shows that $15,000 will be used to facilitate that move, with that money to come from savings by the delayed hiring of staff. 
That raises a number of concerns with me first of all how necessary were those positions here we are almost half way through the year and they are still not filled.
Second of all its an old fiscal management trick to make one look good down the road by building additional costs in the budget and then showing savings at the end of the year.
Third it becomes a slush fund for ideas like these that should have been dealt with in the budget process and given a yes or no at that time, or did we not know that the proposed positions would require a place to be?
Fourth does this mean that administration does not believe Councils position that the work force will be reduced in time by the means that council has previously discussed.
Fifth these delays in hiring should provide the opportunity to save a few dollars that could be used to lessen the burden on the taxpayer next year.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Crowsnest Pass Economic Task Force Report

According to municipal advertising the report will be released to the public on June 20, you will have your option of going to the MDM (7pm) for a presentation where  the public will be given a copy of the report at the end of the meeting,  in addition it will also be posted on the Municipal web site that same night.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Creating a picture by twisting the truth.

Today I was reading an editorial in the Elk Valley Newspaper.

The following statements were written about Sparwood and Elkford.

"Sparwood has a vibrant seniors community and retirement home, a low residential tax base, fantastic
walking trails linking the Heights to central Sparwood, new businesses breaking ground, an indoor
recreation facility with a rock climbing wall, courts for volleyball and squash, an indoor pool, youth programs
and a community centre. The community will also soon have a state-of-the-art water park.
Elkford is also on the move. Like Sparwood, Elkford has a fantastic recreation complex with an indoor
pool. There will soon be a $6 million community facility that can host events and visitors from all over
the province. According to Mayor McKerracher, plans are also in the works to build a state-of-the-art
Fire Training Centre. The biggest benefit to living in Elkford is that their tax base is also incredibly low."

I know Sparwood and Elkford well, these statements so far are very accurate.
Then the article goes on to state the following:

"All these amenities which both Sparwood and Elkford possess are the result of diligent and thoughtful Councils, both past and present"

That's all it takes is diligent and thoughtful Councils to have all of the above. Silly me I though all of these things might have had something to do with a little thing called the "Elk Valley Property Tax Sharing Agreement" that's the agreement that specifies how the taxes that are levied on the mines each year are spilt amongst the communities.
Each year Elkford receives $3 million, Sparwood $2.8 million and Fernie $2.6 million.
Keeping in mind that to have all of those amenities listed above in 2009  the Districe of Sparwood  collected $10,689,638 in taxes. In the same year the Crowsnest Pass collected $6,359,661 in taxes a difference of $4,329,977 with 70% of that difference being made up by the mines and most of the other 30% coming from businesses servicing the mines.

Lets face it, some people think we have a diligent and thoughtful council presently, the realities of the Crowsnest Pass having nothing to do with "diligent and thoughtful" it's all to do with cold hard cash. The community can't even keep the Bellevue Library open, let alone build an Indoor facility to match our neighbours. Then again maybe the residents of the Pass are willing to pay an extra $4 million a year in taxes to have everything our neighbours have got, because the Elk Valley is not going to share with us.

Note: Link to Elk Valley Tax Sharing Agreement

Bellevue Library

I was saddened to hear on the weekend that the Bellevue Library is closing July 1st. Have not heard all the details yet but I was under the impression that the usage numbers were up?
I suspect there will be lots of comments when the paper comes out this week.
Will this result in a decreased costs to the municipality for their share of maintaining and operating one library?