Thursday, November 10, 2011

Great Expectations in the Crowsnest Pass! Realized or still just Smoke and Mirrors (Part 1)

Went to the town hall meeting last night with much anticipation of all the wonderful things that were going to happen, lots of chatter on the streets people were excited. I thought back to last November when Mayor Decoux spoke about bringing forth three Notices of Motion regarding the Crowsnest Centre, the River Run property plus duplications of services by May of 2011. I thought back more recently to Councilor Saindon’s blog post of Nov 3, “Good news to be announced on Nov 9!

So yes I expected lots, I even considered for a while that maybe my positions on some of these issues were out to lunch. But that’s ok prove me wrong. Any way it started out with the Mayor telling everybody a story about a past experience he had with another community, before you knew it 45 minutes had just flown by.

Then he talked about this council endeavours over the last year to create policies and procedures. I have heard this so many times now that even I am actually starting to believe that previous councils had no policies or procedures in place. Well I have news for you surprisingly we did, were some of them in need of improvement? Absolutely, were there issues that lacked policy? of course. I thank this council for filling those needs and creating policy where there was none. Do I think future councils will think that some of their policies need improving and feel that there are areas lacking of course I do.

Then you felt the aura of excitement in the room when the Mayor stated that he was going to address the big three. Crowsnest Centre site, River Run and Highway 3.

Crowsnest Centre site: the building is in terrible shape, its not feasible for the municipality to do anything there. Council realizes the best opportunity for that site is to pursue commercial possibilities, a hotel. In fact they spent $5000 on a consultant to tell them this and to do all the research to show why this site makes sense. Wow I was blown away to hear the Mayor say everything about the Crowsnest Centre site that the majority of council was preaching over the last three years.

Then the River Run site, to my amazement he stated that this site is involved in a legal process between the various affected parties that could take years to resolve until those parties are finished with the courts. It’s private property there is nothing you can do. More shocking news.

Then we still had Highway 3, drum roll please, couple of deep breaths before the big news. The province is going ahead with the route that they have had gazetted since 1972 crossing over to the south of the valley by the west end of Blairmore heading east and south of bush town and coming out back on the west side of Coleman around the Devon plant. Timing somewhere in the next 20-25 years wow I was shocked the same story we got on the last two councils I sat on. Somebody asked the question about controlling the flow of traffic through the Pass to which the Mayor stated they have had discussions with the department of transport and they were looking at some locations for traffic lights and passing lanes, which made it through the planning stage but got shut down at budget. Strangely the same thing transport told the previous council for at least two years prior to this.

To be continued.......


Dave said...

In the great and beautifull "sandbox" that I/we call home, I somehow feel that we have been dumped on again. Some how, I recognise the sands.. not too happy here.

Anonymous said...

Anybody remember Larry driving around with his "Save the centre"
sign obviously he did not get his way on this one.

Anonymous said...

The length of the meeting was ridiculous. I went to hear the facts. Not a long winded speech about how well I have done in the last twelve months.


Anonymous said...

I was at the meeting yesterday and I feel very disappointed. Council has recognised 3 obvious problems we face as we try to get some development going but they have no solutions for any of them.

CROWSNEST CENTRE SITE: paying for a study to comment on feasibility for a hotel ... expect report by year-end ... then what?

RIVER RUN: waiting on court proceedings ... timing is out of our control ... meanwhile our community exposure to the highway is a #$%ing eyesore ... not a pleasant hello to new ventures

HIGHWAY 3 ROUTE: preferred route published but no implementation expected for decades (by which time the route may need to be reviewed)... talk about an huge impediment to locating a business!

Can't wait read your comments on the Four Pillars of our new strategic plan. Who wants to be on a committee?

Anonymous said...

One issue: how do we pay for all of this. I can support 90% of what was said last night, just do not increase my taxes.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Policy Guy (MPG) lectured us that businesses looking to locate want to see that Policies are in place so everyone is treated equally according to rules. I'm 100% for that - Council's role should be to appoint CAOs and pass bylaws giving them powers and responsibilities. The CAO should then do his job without political interference.

But I think anyone attending this presentation would notice MPG and councilors saying "we" (politicians) consolidated the Works yards and the Fire Departments. Also MPG opined that the Centre site was too good for a mere strip mall and should be used for a higher purpose, such as a hotel or fine arts centre.

Whether or not you agree with these decisions, it's clear they are political influence on the Administration without Policy created by motions of council.

Anonymous said...

Unless they have been "micromanaging" all the administration crap that was presented, what have they done?

The Mayor interrupted questions addressed to councilors and answered them himself. They all sat there and allowed it. What good little puppets they are.

Anonymous said...

What a waste of four hours I did not hear one new idea. All of these issues have been tossed around before but usually died a natural death when it came to finding the money. Unless there is an intent by this council to jack up taxes to finance their dreams.

What surprised me was how people buy in to this crap. The Mayor spoke about putting an hotel on the Crowsnest Centre site. (So did the last council) He infromed us that they are doing a feasibilty study on the site. Which means a consultant will take a few dollars put on paper that 10,000 cars a day drive by there, that the site is zoned commercial and is serviced with water and sewer.

From that 20 minutes later you have a lady standing up and saying I am so happy there is an hotel with a swimming pool and convention centre coming to the Pass.

News for you folks the distance between a $5000 study and building a $20 million facility is immense. Especially in these kind of economic times.

Anonymous said...

At one point the Mayor went on (I can't remember his exact words) about how big companies were looking for communities that looked well planned, not like any development could go just any old place.

The Strategic Plan says: "Establish architectural controls for various forms of development to ensure historical or mountain themes are used on main streets and along Highway 3."

Next morning, I read in the paper that an auto and motorcycle repair shop has been approved east of the "historic" Greenhill Hotel, across the street from the Provincial building.

I see a disconnect between the grand strategic visions and what is happening in the real world.

Anonymous said...

I sat through a lot of "Let me tell you a story" nonsense but I did not hear any talk of timelines or sources of funding. Citizen committees are just a politician's way of postponing action until (hopefully) it is forgotten ... or at least until after the next election.

We elected these guys to MAKE DECISIONS and, while it is important to be informed as you make them, all the issues brought forward on Wednesday have a long history in our community. I wish they would do something more decisive than commission studies and promise to form committees ... oh, and discuss policy.

Anonymous said...

I will vote for all 7 of these guys if there is a hotel built or a rec centre even in the process of being built (actual bricks and mortar) when the next election rolls around.
They have 1 year in and have really done nothing.If I get 2 more years of planning I will go nuts.
I do agree with the Mayors opening story. We must clean up this community and make it as appealing as possible to businesses, retirees and young famalies.We do offer a lot but we could be some much better.I hope everyone gets on board and does there part, starting with the municapality, then the businesses at the towns entrances ( seamans, drains, wakalucks ) and all individuals.

Anonymous said...

The Strategic Plan says:
"include a designated area for big box store development."

Here is a list of 147 Canadian retailers. It does not include some categories such as automotive.

Anonymous said...

4 hours of my life, that I will never get back.