Friday, October 28, 2011

Great Expectations in the Crowsnest Pass-Reality or Smoke and Mirrors

On November 9th at the Elks hall the Mayor will be presenting the strategic plan that will hopefully deal with and resolve the issues that were raised by the Mayor's Taskforce back in May.

I feel from reading the Mayor's report numerous times and based on the comments that I receive from people around town the highest profile issues are the following: The Economy, Tourism, Highway 3, Crowsnest Centre Site, Bridgegate River Run property and Residential Attraction and Retention.
To refresh every body's memories I will include what the Mayor's report had to say on each of these issues. Including the Action, Comments, Timeline, Cost and Source of Funds, and finally the measurement. What you will see below are direct quotes from the Task Force Report.

The Economy:

Adopt a community economic development model:
Disband the current Crowsnest Advisory Committee.
Establish a Community Economic Development Advisory Committee. This committee, established by Council, will advise Council and the EDO and will participate actively in oversight, planning and delivery of results. Council should select members for the Committee through a request for expressions of interest and submission of qualifications. One member of the Committee should be a member of Council. All other members should be chosen based on merit and diversity, resulting in a committee that is representative of the community, including youth and seniors representation.
Hire an Economic Development Officer (EDO) on contract until such time as this position can be added to the Municipal budget.
Establish a budget for administrative support within the budget for the EDO’s office.

The Community Economic Development Advisory Committee is an essential advisory body to work with Council and the EDO to maintain a strategic and effective focus on economic development and bring the voice of the community to these important initiatives.
Hiring an EDO is seen as a top priority in order to implement this Plan and change the direction of the economic future for the community

June-Sept 2011

Cost and Source of Funds
S80,000 per year for EDO salary from Municipal budget

Both in place by the end of Q3 2011


Establish a full-time Tourism Coordinator Position and implement the approved Visitor Friendly Tourism Development Plan.

Community Futures will establish a full-time Tourism Coordinator position. This individual will be responsible for supporting tourism initiatives and will work with the Travel Alberta, the DMO, tourism organizations and operators to achieve tourism growth objectives.

Sept – Nov 2011 and ongoing

Cost and source of Funds
Community Futures budget for Tourism Coordinator

Tourism Coordinator place by Q4 2011

Highway 3

Achieve agreement with the Government of Alberta on the location and timing of the realignment of Highway 3.

The uncertainty around this is a significant barrier to economic development in Crowsnest Pass and clarity will enable commitments from developers on major initiatives. The recent Alberta Competitiveness Council Report, “Moving Alberta Forward”,16 stated the need to increase the province’s ability to supply the Port of Vancouver and improvements to Highway 3 would be a significant contributor to this strategy.

June-November 2011

Cost and Source of Funds

Formal statement on plans for Highway 3

Crowsnest Centre Site

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

This site represents a significant opportunity for economic development in the community which must be capitalized on without further delay.

June – Nov 2011

Cost and Source of Funds

New vision for development by Q4 2011

Bridgegate River Run Property

Investigate opportunities to re-appropriate the former Bridgegate River Run property and actively pursue proposals for redevelopment.

This site also represents a significant opportunity for economic development which must be capitalized on without further delay.

Sept 2011 – Dec 2011

Cost and Source of Funds

New vision for development by end of Q4 2011

Residential Attraction and Retention

Develop relationship with Human Resources at Teck and Devon to understand how Crowsnest Pass could assist them in their recruitment and retention processes and attract new residents to Crowsnest Pass:
Work with Teck to identify ways to support their current expansion process.
Identify long-term opportunities for ongoing attraction of employees to the organizations and to Crowsnest Pass, including affordable housing.

Teck and Devon are important partners in the Crowsnest Pass economic future and the relationship with these organizations must be mutually beneficial.

May – June 2011

Cost and Source of Funds
No Cost

Successful attraction of expanded workforce to Teck and Crowsnest Pass

Do you agree with these being the issues, should there be others. What do you feel should be done, and what are your expectations, wishes or hopes for resolution of these issues.
Do you think will are going to see timely achievable resolutions to the problems listed or will it be smoke and mirrors?


Anonymous said...

Gee I wonder what they mean by "re-appropriate" in the River Run / BRIDGEGATE section..

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure they are going to present a feasability study for a rec centre.
The 2 that require hirng new employees will be brought in if we use this councils track record.
All of the rest of the task force report I look forward to what they have to say on every item.Should be interesting to say the least, as they do everything behind closed doors so we really do not know what is happening or who was for or against anything.

Anonymous said...

Dean didn't they combine the Blairmore and Coleman shop in July?
I still see the employees using the Coleman shop.

When did the CAO leave? when is the new one coming?

Anonymous said...

The most important question for all of us on a fixed income will be what is this going to cost me in extra Taxes. Keeping in mind that we already know our utility bills are going up.


Anonymous said...

could somebody supply me with an email address to contact the municipality of Crowsnest Pass. Thank you

Anonymous said...

try the link to the right of this column titled municipal blogs websites

Anonymous said...
"If you provide us with your contact information, we will be able to reach you in case we have any questions. Please allow ten (10) working days to confirm your inquiry. For urgent matters, contact the office at 403-562-8833."

Don't expect any reply or acknowledgement.

Anonymous said...

I tried that email address and it bounced back to me as "undelivered"..??????
Noone can even contact the local government if they want to?

Anonymous said...

Well nobody wants to comment on the expectations for the public meeting so I will give it my best shot. By putting together what I have seen on this blog Saindons and Gallants plus the papers and talking to people around town.

First of all the year in review.
1. We have either done or started a tremendous amounts of studies with the assistance of Transitional Solutions. $$

2. We took all the highlights from every other study put them together and called it a Mayors Task Force report. $$$$

3. We closed the Bellevue Library. $$$ savings.

4. We brought in Transitional solutions to provide us a CAO, plus an additional person to do the Community Services and Protection position. $$$$

5. We hired a whack of new people plus many more to come Community Peace Officer, Economic Development Officer etc etc. $$$$$

6. We consolidated the Coleman/Blairmore shop. $$$ savings.

7. We came up with a Equipment Upgrade and Reserve Policy. Both marvellous plans if only we had put some money into them.

8. We parted ways with 3 senior administrators. $$$$$

9. We increased taxes even though some of us said we wouldn't. $$$$$$

10. We reorganized fire and rescue departments with the guidance of Transitional solutions. $$$$$$$

11. What's next? $$$$$$

Strategic Plan

I agree with Deans list of key issues with one key addition.

1. The Economy
If you hire a decent EDO for $80,000 I will be shocked. $$$$$

2. Tourism
Tourism Co-ordinator position $$$$$

3. Highway 3, the government is facing an election within 12 months will any committment from them really mean anything.

4. Crowsnest Center Site, its going to cost how much to remove that building. $$$$$
If you sell it to a developer without moving the building they will pay you nothing for it.
If you remove the building a developer will pay you nothing because he knows you have either spent all your reserves or financed the demolition. Plus they will know that you have to achieve something on that site prior to the next election.

5. Bridgegate Riverrun.
Its private property there is not a dam thing you can do until they are in default of taxes for 3 years. Which developer is going to touch that site without legal protection from past investors and unknown enviromental concerns?

6. Residential attraction and retention. Thank god the coal market is so strong, and real estate pricing is getting cheap enough to attract the weekenders again.

7. The one thing I would add to Deans list.
Indoor Recreation Facility.
We all know with 75% of the population on fixed Income this is unrealistic. But to keep the voters happy that want this in the worse way. They will annouce the formation of a group to research fundrasing plus the availabilty of government grants to finance this project. $$$$$

Organizational Restructing

1. New CAO

2. Take the previous departments Finance, Public Works, Community Services, HR. Combine them and expand them, into three Finance/HR, Public Works, Community Services/Protection. Hire more staff to run these areas probably a net increase in employees $$$$$

3. Add a Community Peace Officer, EDO, Tourism Co-ordinator, some more clerical staff. $$$$$

Whats next?????

Three year budget$$$$$
Taxes $$$$$$ (lets not forget franchise fees, user fees, and Water meters)

People of the Crowsnest Pass are you starting to see a common theme?


Anonymous said...

Jack very well said.

You forgot Rum Runner Days, I'll bet the volunteers are knocking down the doors to get on that committee.


Anonymous said...

I really hope that we are going to move forward in this community.

Every one of my friends that comes here thinks we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Except for the mess next to the highway in Sentinel, to the North of the highway when you first come into Coleman, and lastly on the south side of the highway coming into Blairmore.
Now I do not want to be critical of anybody, I think the last council did a great job on bringing the Community Standards bylaw forth and getting it going on cleaning up the residential areas.
What I want to see next Tuesday is this council grab the ball and clean up the industrial/commercial eye sores.

Lets make this community be all that it can be.


Crowsnest Pass Home said...

Contact Information

Following email addresses are also available on the Municipal Web site. Just go to the page that says Contacts.

Public Works

Anonymous said...

Dean I don't see on there the contact information for members of council.

Anonymous said...

Dean I tried each of those email addresses..they bounced back undelivered??

Anonymous said...


P: (403) 562-8833

this might be quicker

Anonymous said...

Just reading the Municipal newsletter who is this Donna Tona the "Interim Manager for Enforcement"

Crowsnest Pass Home said...


Looking at the Newsletter Donna Tona is the Interim Manager for Enforcement Services I assume the taxpayers will be informed of that on November 9th.

If you wish to find out more information she is also part of the Transitional Solutions team @

Anonymous said...

Jack #7 reserves what are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

Regarding Jack's # 3 - I do not believe there was any cost savings in closing the Bellevue Library. The library budget remains the same.

Anonymous said...

If I understand, the CAO is from transitionalsolutions, they recieved a direct award for a $7k contract and now another member of the same company is on senior staff.. what's next finance officer, development officer... I'm sure that transitional Solutions has staff for those positions.

What I don't understand is why doesn't council get off their assess and recruit the nessassary staff. They can place ads on Municipal world, or CIVIC BC, and I'm sure there are other web pages which specialize in recruitment. Turn over is not uncommon in municipal governments' and yet other Municipalities fill positions when there are vacancies.

Seems to me that George Kuff(sp?) needs to visit the Municipality again.. maybe with a big stick!
If this keeps up you folks are in for a world of hurt!!

Anonymous said...

Remember last year Larry wanted to leave recruiting a CAO until after the election. He felt there was ample time to find a CAO before the budget. What is it now 9 months and counting.

Will we ever know what the interim is costing us?

Anonymous said...

Several things that are floating around the Crowsnest Gossip center (Timmie's) so yes I understand they may not be 100% true. But just maybe they will get some conversation going.

There is a company moving into the Pass something related to the mines (60-70 jobs)no new tax base because they won't be paying any for at least 5 years.
Somebody is looking at developing the River Run site in conjunction with the Crowsnest Center property but the Municipality/Province must gurantee that the new developer will not have any environmental burden placed on them.
Finally there will be no tax increases for at least 5-10 years thanks to all the improved efficiencies.

If anybody else is hearing anything share it with us.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like pure fiction to me.I will be shocked if any of the 3 rumors are true.No tax increase for 10 years, lol.River run property is no where near being settled with the investors, so I doubt that one.New jobs I also doubt as why would the municapality lower the price on their land for sale if they knew that we could have potentially 70 new jobs?

Anonymous said...

I know the river run rumour is true...except the Crowsnest Center part..

Anonymous said...

There will be a question and answer period.

Supposing "Council" hands out a Strategic Plan document, some brave soul should hold it up and ask:

"Will the Councilors who voted for this please raise their hands?"

Anonymous said...

Just a little something to lighten the mood a bit.

Twas the Night before the Town Hall Meeting
Twas the night before the town hall meeting, when all through the Pass
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Bruce soon would be there.

The voters were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of development danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out in Blairmore there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the Elks Hall I flew like a flash,
Tore open the doors and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to strategic plans below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and six tinny councillors.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Bruce.
More rapid than eagles his councillors they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Larry! now, Brian! now, Emile and Sigbert!
On, Andrew! On, Jerry! on,
To the top of the meeting! to the top of the hype!
Now tax away! Tax away! Tax away all!"