Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Debating the Numbers in the Crowsnest Pass

The debate over numbers continues on Councilor Saindon’s blog he states the following

As for all those new  municipal staff hirings that keep coming up on certain websites, I would ask that when you make comments you should do the research as to the actual net numbers that have been hired to replace those who have left through retirement, resignation or termination. Once you have actually taken the time to get the facts you might be surprised of the results you get”.

Well lets take a better look at the numbers, when the election took place in October of 2010 the municipality had the following positions between administration and office staff.

Director of Finance-1
Director of Public Works-1
Director of Community Services-1
Director of HR-1
Hourly and Contract Employees
Rec and FCSS-2
Inter Departmental-1
Development Officer-1
Public Works-1
Building Inspector-0
(Inspections + safety codes done by Park Enterprises)
Agricultural Fieldman -0.5
Assessor-1 Working on a contract basis  

That was a total of 19 municipal employees comprised of 5 Administrators, 14 Hourly staff and Park Enterprises and the Assessor working on a contract basis

Today we have the following  

Director of Finance and Corporate Services-1
Director of Planning Engineering and Operations-1
Director of Protective and Community Services-1
(At this time being filled by Transitional Solutions)
Manager of Corporate Services-1
Manager of Operations-1
Fire Chief-1
Hourly and Contract Employees
Rec and FCSS-3
Inter Departmental-1
Development Officer-1
Bylaw-1 (Will be increased to 2 soon)
Public Works-1
Building Inspector-1
(Inspections + safety codes done by Park Enterprises)
Agricultural Fieldman -1
Assessor-1 Working on a contract basis  

That is a total of 24.5 municipal employees comprised of 7 Administrators, 17.5 Hourly staff and Park Enterprises and the Assessor working on a contract basis. I have also only counted 1 bylaw officer at this point, but I am anticipating that this will increase by June 1. So the number then between administration and other office staff will be 25.5 employees.

Now I understand that since the last election the Taxation Clerk and the Development Officer retired. But you can see those positions are filled today and included in the numbers both  in 2010 and now.

If the above positions are not accurate anybody is welcome to email me with the corrected information and I would be glad to change the numbers.

Nobody still wants to answer the question what have we paid consultants? 

I was informed  that the "Weed Inspector" is actually called the "Agricultural Fieldman". It is now corrected, I have not received any other comments regarding errors in my numbers. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Confusion in the Crowsnest Pass

Below is a Municipal "Press Release" simply titled "Press Release" can anybody clarify what is going on here?
This "Press Release" seems to say what?
Maybe tomorrow there will be a "Press Release" that says "the municipality will continue to perform business as usual, and we will update you when there is something different going on"   

"The Municipality continues to transition the Fire Services and Search and Rescue Departments towards a single integrated department as per the structure change approved in November 2011.  Council and Administration wish to thank All Fire Services Incorporated for the assistance and support towards the initiation of this process.  The Municipality will continue to move forward in the restructuring process as the new Director of Protective and Community Services assumes their duties." 

On March 6,2012 the following motion was passed by council:
M#6441-12: Councillor Mitchell moved that Council through resolution appoints Donna Tona, CTS Interim Manager of Enforcement Services and KJ (Ken) Brands Interim Manager of Protective Services with all the permissions and requirements for decisions within the Departments of Fire & Rescue Services and Enforcement Services.

On the Pass Herald site they have announced that Interim Manager of Protective Services Ken Brands has ended his relationship with the Municipality.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Control the name of the Game.

Somebody once told me that when a new government is elected they go through a period of time where the electors are very patience, very understanding and accept that every thing does not change over night.
This period his often referred to as the honeymoon phase, during my two terms of council this phase lasted about six months.
Since the election I was not at all surprised that things were pretty quite then for the first six months, I was a little surprised with the next six months (Apr 11-Oct 11), then I was shocked that the last six months have been so subdued.
But I have to keep in mind that our local government has been acting like the good folks at the Lotto 649 they were selling hope (Strategic plan, Municipal reorganization, Improved efficiencies etc, etc).
Suddenly the last couple of weeks it was like Spring came early, a rebirth around town, people started talking about local politics and not in the Pollyanna sense that I have heard over the last eighteen months, but in the sense that they are starting to ask questions and have expectations.
“When is the strategic plan going to do something for us”, “why is the municipal hiring so many new people”, “where are the inefficiencies”, “how much are we spending on consultants”, “are our taxes going up”.
Then two weeks ago “the cancellation of TITV” all of a sudden the local media jumped on board, editorials were written that put our local government in less than a positive light, they have started to ask questions. Maybe just maybe the honeymoon is over, let’s be honest folks I have lived here for almost 30 years and this council has gotten a fairly easy ride from the media compared to previous councils.
On my first term on council I was told if you can’t handle the heat get out of the kitchen. So I felt it would be interesting to see how this council reacts over the next few months to feeling a little bit of pressure from the public and the media.  Well I did not have to wait a few months, Tuesday night March 20 I went to the council meeting. I expected just a regular council meeting, they went through the normal course of business. Just prior to going into camera the Mayor announces that he is going to do something different. He is going to allow the media the opportunity to ask a question each to clarify anything that may have happened that night. Didn’t seem like a bad idea until suddenly the Mayor seized the opportunity to chastise the media for some “blatant errors in both papers reporting over the last few weeks”, then the lecture turned to how critical it is that they report the council proceeding “accurately”. When a member of the media attempted to respond to his comments she was shut down very quickly and told this is not a “debate”.  
Wow, I realized at that moment why there is so little debate during the council meeting, (debate to me is not taking a moment to agree with the party line, or making the right motion). If this had been 30 years ago in the old USSR I think those members of  the media would have been carted off to the Gulag.     
During my six years on council I always believed I had the right to disagree with the media, to not like what they were printing. Never once did I feel like I had the right to control what they had to say to make sure that they reported “accurately”.
It will be very interesting to see how the media reports from this point forward!.            

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Fireworks To ban them or to ban them

Tuesday night on the agenda is the second and third reading of the Fireworks bylaw.

March 6 first reading passed by a vote of 4-3. With councilors Gail, Gallant and Saje opposed.

There was a presentation made by the Interim Fire Chief about the bylaw he spoke in support of banning the sale and use of fireworks in the Crowsnest Pass. He was questioned about the possibility of allowing fireworks under a regulated process. But made it very clear that where other communities have allowed it the process was so Onerous that in reality Fireworks are allowed but people do not sell them because simply the procees is so complicated that nobody can be bothered.

So hence the title of my post "To ban them or to ban them"

Now I am sure  some of the councilors have been feeling a little pressure on this issue (especially with Fireworks being such an hot topic right now) so maybe somebody will flip flop on the vote Tuesday night time will tell.

But really if the process is going to be so difficult that nobody will bother, you really are banning them you are just providing the decision makers the opportunity to say "I didn't support banning Fireworks, I voted to allow them" .

But on the other side of the arguement the more laws in place the more potential for the Community Peace Officers to pay there way.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Consultants-Is this the price we pay?

Crowsnest Pass-Money is tight?

I like a lot of my readers have been asking the question for months, what are we spending on Consultants.
We all know they do not come cheap and when you look at what CEO’s, Celebrities and athletes are making now days it is getting crazy, but in their defence they can only make it if somebody is prepared to pay it.  
At the last council meeting Councilor Saje asked if Council could be supplied with the amount of dollars spent on consultants, administration answered that they would and in fact they could post the information on the web site, as of today I have not seen anything yet.
Obviously it is not confidential information protected by FOIP rules because the information below is posted on a public site.
It's great for council to see that information but what about us the taxpayers, I have been trying to research what kind of money is paid to the type of consultants we have been using without a lot of success.
Until today I received an email from a very astute follower of my blog and told to check out the following address and to read the minutes from the Nov 5 and Nov 10, 2010 meetings.
To my great interest I found the following which I have copied and pasted from the November 5, 2010 minutes:

Moved by Councillor Good
                                SC10-183      That Council approve entering into a Memorandum of Agreement with Transitional Solutions Inc. for the period from November 8, 2010 to April 29, 2011 and that the funding be allocated from the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve as follows:
                                                    -     Twelve hundred ($1200.00) dollars per day (plus GST) for each day worked by Kevin Robins
                                                    -     Twelve hundred ($1200.00) dollars per day (plus GST) for each day worked by Donna Tona
                                                    -     A flat rate of fifteen hundred ($1500.00) dollars per month for accommodation and meals
                                                    -     Fifty cents ($0.50) per kilometer for all kilometers travelled from Transitional’s office to Mountain View’s County office
                                                    -     Subject to articles 13 and 14, any time in a twenty-four (24) hour day worked by Robins or Tona beyond seven (7) hours shall be banked until the banked hours total seven (7), at which time Transitional shall invoice Mountain View for an additional day pursuant to articles 16 or 17 of this Agreement, whichever applies;
                                                          and further, that the total contract amount be to a maximum of $194,000 (not including GST);
                                                          and, that the Agreement include amendments as provided by County Legal Counsel. 

Now I know full well the Council of the Crowsnest Pass may have negotiated a better deal! I hope but if its even close to what was proposed above think of the following. 
$1200 per day for a seven hour day,  not bad $171.43 per hour plus $1500 per month for accommodation and meals. Once again nothing against the consultants we would all make this kind of money if we could. But the question is can we the taxpayers of the Crowsnest Pass afford it.  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cash Grab (Part 2)

Cash grab-Alberta School Foundation Fund Requisition:
The requisition will jump by $214,789.32 for 2012 which in simple terms if the municipality does not off set this with other savings (Thunder in the Valley $160,000 for example).
Taxes will increase by $114.81 on a $350,000 property or $65.60 on a $200,000 property.

Proposed Cash grab-Utilization of Franchise Fees to stabilize the mill rate.
Interesting concept the municipality will increase your Power and Gas rates so your mill rate does not go up as much. We will take more out of your left pocket therefore we can take less out of your right pocket.
By increasing the Atco rate in 2013 to the maximum a further $211,980 will be brought in, by increasing the Fortis rate to the maximum in 2013 a further $124,965 will be brought in.

Incentive for additional cash grab-The census results which saw the population of the Crowsnest Pass drop by 184 people will result in a per capita funding decrease of $78,586 for 2012.

Information-Municipal Reserves now sitting at $ 1,131,328

Information-Municipal debt now sitting at $1,578,507

Friday, March 9, 2012

Thunder in the Valley Committee Reacts

Just took this off my fellow bloggers site John Prince at

Dear Editor:

Upon learning of Crowsnest Pass Municipal Council's decision to cancel the upcoming Thunder In The Valley event originally scheduled for July 2012, we would like to express our sincere disappointment. 

For the past eighteen years we have poured our hearts and souls, as well as thousands of volunteer hours, into putting on one of the largest fireworks shows in southern Alberta. We would also like to thank the people of the Crowsnest Pass for their overwhelming support that has allowed us to continue for almost two decades. 

It has been made evident to us over the past few months that Council, as well as the RCMP, have lacked the support or desire to see this event continue. As it finally came to a tipping point on March 6, 2012, it became very clear that the members of the council have been looking for reasons to cancel the event rather than find solutions to promote and continue with it. 

In an email from Councillor Saindon on March 7th, he informed us that even though "(they) know this event draws an enormous crowd (that they) as a committee need to move forward with new events that will still draw people and make the weekend a success." 

We have always contended that we did not want to push an event on this town that was not desired. We now have to accept that it is not. Council has informed us that they do not have an adequate plan in place to address the concerns raised. This appears to be no more than an excuse, using the guise of inflated cost evaluations coupled with the refusal to make appropriate plans. We question as to why council has deferred this planning until only a few months prior to an event of such a large scale in the community? As far as we understand, the monetary value of the policing and management of the Rum Runner Days weekend was a large factor in council's decision. 

After reviewing the proposed 'budget,' which is full of inflated figures, it is no wonder that they decided to cancel the event. Rather than working with the current situation, they would prefer to go in a different direction and "focus on the parade, car show, Gazebo park events, free stage, potential concert, dinner and dance etc." 

We also find it unusual that the Municipal council based its decision on the recommendation of two individuals, the CAO and the Interim Manager, Enforcement Services, neither of whom even live in the community full time nor took the time to meet with our organization to discuss their concerns. 

However, as mentioned in our original statement following the announcement, we do not agree with Municipal council's decision, but we will abide by it as they have been elected to speak for the people of the Crowsnest Pass. 

We do find it interesting that the municipality has recently found funds available to create several new positions and to spend enormous amounts of money on having bylaws created and revised, but when it came to spending money on public safety for an event that draws thousands to the area, the financial burden became too high. 

Interestingly enough, the Crowsnest Pass Promoter recently published an article regarding a new fireworks bylaw, in which Donna Tona is quoted as saying "If we continue with our fireworks show, Thunder in the Valley, we do need to follow the rules of the province [and] all the Acts.” 

We find this surprising as news to us, as the members of our organization are regulated by the Federal Government through the Explosives Regulatory Branch and use fireworks that are not subject to provincial acts. It brings into question how much research was actually done by her. 

Following that up, the article mentions that "Mayor Decoux questioned why Thunder in the Valley organizers haven’t brought the issue to the attention of the RCMP if it was against federal law." Quite honestly, we are embarrassed that the mayor's ignorance regarding what we have been doing for the past eighteen years. We did not realize that it was a volunteer organization's responsibility to ensure that the municipal council was doing its due diligence in matters of legality. 

Between the comments of Tona and Decoux in the article, our organization was quite offended, making us feel that we have been nothing but a group of common criminals for the last eighteen years. 

We would ask that before Mayor Decoux or Interim Manager, Enforcement Services speak publicly about our organization in the future that they would do some adequate research to avoid slandering our organization's reputation. Possibly in the future they may want to actually consult us directly on such matters.

Thunder in the Valley Committee

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Standing behind your decisions.

Crowsnest Pass Defers Thunder In The Valley But May Have Other Fire Works To Deal With

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Posted at 1:58:04 PM

Source: Tristan Tuckett - Dori Modney -- Country 95 News

CROWSNEST PASS: There will be a lot less thunder at Thunder in the Valley this summer.

A spokesman with the Crowsnest Pass Municipality confirms that while Rum Runner Days will still go on, there will be no fireworks. Country 95 News spoke with Municipal Councillor Emile Saindon, who initially stated he had nothing to do with the event and didn't know anything about it. However, staff at the Municipal office stated Saindon was the only person who could comment on the issue and Saindon's own blog site states he is the Chairperson for this year's Rum Runner events.

Saidon eventually, and reluctantly, admitted the fireworks are being deleted for this year because of traffic and emergency response but he would not elaborate.

As of noon Wednesday, the Thunder In The Valley website posted it as the 19th annual event which would take place on July 19th. There was also a clock counting down to the date.

A news release from the Municipality was issued at 1:30 Wednesday and the text follows:

After extensive deliberation with respect to public safety and finances, the Council of the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass has resolved to defer the Thunder in the Valley component of Rum Runner Days festival. The suspension will be in effect for this current year and remain in place until such time that an appropriate emergency operational plan, traffic plan as well as the requirements and changes identified by the Rum Runners Event Committee are accomplished.

The CAO for the Crowsnest Pass refused comment on what changes the Rum Runner Event Committee were hoping to put in place. Country 95 News was also told Mayor Bruce Decoux was not available to respond to questions about how the decision would impact economic and advertising elements of the summer event.

Various blog posts from the Crowsnest Pass indicate safety is the main concern, coupled with the requirement for expensive liability insurance and the illegal sale of fireworks by local stores. The Municipality is working on a bylaw to deal with the issues.

This was posted at the following address

Motion from March 6 Council Meeting Minutes available on Municipal Web site

M#6443-12: Councillor Gail moved that Council defer the Thunder in the Valley event from the
Rum Runners celebration until such time that Council determines and approves an
appropriate traffic emergency measures and financial plan to reincorporate this
Councillor Saindon abstained from voting due to conflict of interest as
Chairperson of the Rum Runner Days Committee

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Thunder in the valley-It was great while it lasted

Well after a unanimous vote (except for Councilor Saindon who declined to vote), council has decided to defer Thunder in the Valley. Which in laymen terms means it isn't happening this year.
I have had my differences with some people over this issue but there was never a question on my part about the economic impact of this event on this community.
It would take more than both my hands and all my toes to count the number of times I have had business people say to me this is the one weekend of the year I make decent money in this community.

Will Thunder in the Valley be back? You tell me.

Here is my opinion of what happened (I may be wrong but you don't have to agree with me).
I believe that some of the local politicians had no intention of carrying on with Thunder In the Valley. I was telling people last summer that this would be the last year. But knowing politicians they seldom want to take the heat for their decisions. So what do politicians do, you try to find a way to blame somebody else so Council came forth with a plan prior to Christmas (even though one of their own administrators told them last night that a event of this size should be planned a year and half in advance). To strike up a committee to run the Rum runner days/Thunder in the Valley weekend. Well we all know what a hot potato this issue as been over the years. I believe at that point council anticipated that the firemen would get pissed off and tell them to stick Thunder up their rear end. Well the firemen figured that one out and real quickly threw it back in council's lap. So now what to do? well you have to find good reasons to cancel it so lets aim for two hot button issues "safety and cost". The number being thrown around last night was anywhere from $70,000 to $150,000 for additional costs for thunder in the valley. Why such a large spread in the numbers? because they weren't  really sure. Are those costs justified? well lets be honest you can generate any number you want . Depending on what you ask for, if you want nobody parking in Blairmore and everybody bussed in $$$$ if you want to put a fence along the CPR tracks $$$$ if you want traffic controlled by Peace Officers instead of volunteers $$$$, an RCMP member on every street corner $$$$ and so on and so on.
Think of it has a buying a vehicle if you want to show up to work in a big diesel  4x4 all chromed up with leather seats, or you are just looking for a small safe efficient car that will get you to work and home every day the costs are going to be so different.
Safety is that an issue well it depends on what criteria you look at are there a certain numbers of twits in every crowd? no question, has that been better enforced over the years you bet 4 years ago we had 50 people in jail Saturday night last year I think we had 15 the whole weekend. Traffic I'm told that the flow of traffic has improved every year maybe people aren't telling me the truth. Could things be done better? always.
Will some people be glad it's gone? you bet.
Interesting I remember talking to an individual a couple of years back that said they would never shop at Fields ran into the guy on the weekend he can't believe that we are losing another business.

Clarification: I was just called and asked by a reader to clarify that Rum Runner Days is still scheduled to go ahead. It is only Thunder in the Valley that was cancelled by council. 

BVJ Small Town Saturday Night

I know this isn't about politics but it is a good opportunity to put the Crowsnest Pass and the surrounding area on the map.

Check this out the Crowsnest Pass made the ten finalists, I felt it was very well done if you agree go to the address below and vote, you can do it every day from now until the 20th

Monday, March 5, 2012

Government in the commercial real estate market and how to lose money

The municipality of the Crowsnest Pass has roughly $1.3 million in reserves not a lot when you consider towns in Alberta on a per capita basis have on average 4-5 times that amount.
After Mayor Decoux declared on November 9, 2011 that we could no longer afford to operate the Crowsnest Centre, or afford not to take advantage of the commercial opportunity that site as to offer.
There as been a lot of debate about knocking the old hospital down, first reaction that I hear from most people is get rid of the eye sore.
The next question is it easier to get somebody interested in the site with out the building there?
I feel it makes no difference if a hotel chain is prepared to buy that site for $2 million they will just discount that price by the $6-800,000 to knock it down.
Let’s say you do not buy that argument you believe that the building as to be gone before you can sell the land.
Then you have to figure out how to pay for it? The municipality could get a loan how long would the taxpayers have to carry the debt?
The municipality could take the money out of reserves?
It would take a substantial portion of those reserves and how much income would be lost and the same question how long would it be tied up.
Maybe we can learn from what another community did in a similar situation let’s take a thriving community in Southern Alberta. Lethbridge, a while back the council of the time purchased a piece of prime real estate across from the Park Place Mall. They paid $2,000,000 for the property and spent $900,000 to clean it up.
Have a look at the picture   it does not look as big as the Crowsnest Centre maybe that number of $6-800,000 is not out of line for demolition. Going by the theory that a prime location like this next to a major mall, in the heart of down town in the midst of a community that has seen it’s population double in the last fifteen years. This piece of land should have been an easy sell, which in turn would have led to plenty of development, increased tax base and additional employment.
The property just sold in the last few weeks for $2 million dollars, the city paid $2 million dollars for it and spent $900,000 to demolish the previous buildings. Imagine if the Crowsnest Pass had took on that kind of debt or went through $900,000 of reserves to turn around and lose a $1 million, especially when it took 11 years to sell this prime piece of real estate in a awesome location in a community that has not stopped developing in the last twenty years. (That's right Lethbridge purchased this land in 2001)

Put the centre up for sale make a purchase conditional on the new owner demolishing the building within an agreed time frame do not take on debt or burn up most of our reserves for a sale that could take 10-15 years to happen.    

Friday, March 2, 2012

The cash grab is under way (coming soon)

Everybody around town is asking how can the municipality pay for all these new positions?
Well first of all folks its not the municipality paying for all these new positions its us "the taxpayers" on this post I am going to track the various "cash grabs" that have taken place for this financial year. Plus any that I hear council is considering, so fasten your seat belts sit back and read. Remember if you are not prepared to speak out be prepare to "pay", silence a politicians best friend.

Cash Grab #1.
On Sept 21,2011 I first reported about Franchise Fees those are charges added on to your Hydro and Gas bills that are a source of revenue for the Municipality.
Cost to the taxpayers Hydro $147,823, Gas $47,638  Total cash grab of $195,461

Cash Grab #2
Back tax penalties went from 21% to 55%, outstanding taxes October 2011 $1,040,000, outstanding back taxes February 2012 $880,000 massive penalty increase forced a whooping 15% of back taxes to be paid. I suspect in line with any other year. At 55% increase each year who will be able to pay them and who will purchase all these properties when they go up for back tax sales?.

Proposed Cash Grab #3
Business Licenses presently $75 each, will rise $25 per year starting in 2013 to double by 2015. Cash Grab  of $11,675 per year  

Proposed Cash Grab #4
Safety Code Fee/Electrical and Plumbing Permits Increase estimated cash grab for 2012 $24-26,000

Proposed Cash Grab #5
Cemetery Fees cash grab $2500 per year

Cash grabs to come? lets not forget the big ones your municipal taxes and municipal utilities.

Word on the street is that the new  Manager for the Office is starting on March 12 and the Director of Community and Protective services position is now advertised. Negotiations between the Municipality and Cupe are ongoing after a marathon two day bargaining session in February they do not meet again until March 19th.  

The drive to be the lean mean municipality continues, Coleman/Blairmore shop consolidation I was told this morning its still on going.


Crowsnest Centre-After many years off debate and millions of dollars wasted common sense has finally prevailed.

In the late 80’s the Alberta government decided that the old hospital in Blairmore was no longer efficient, effective and needed to be replaced. So the Crowsnest Pass got a new hospital the province then gave the old hospital and the seven acres it sat on to the municipality. A prime piece of property along side one of Alberta’s major highways they also provided $150,000 to knock the building down.
Around that time a group of people saw the opportunity to develop in the Crowsnest Pass our very own version of the “Banff Centre” what an opportunity. You can imagine the thinking lets take that money hire a consultant to come in and do a “strategic study” which we can then use to move this community forward.
Well the “study” was done a report provided that said take an old decrepit hospital pour $4-5 million into the building in capital improvements, subsidize for 3-4 years then we will have an attraction that will draw people here for many years to come and pay for itself.
Lots of people jumped on board and decided to move ahead, with several  exceptions to the consultants report they did not put the $4-5 million up front into the building they did not subsidize it for 3-4 years, it ended up being 20 years. Worse of all at the end of that 20 years of trying to do our very own version of a convention centre on a nickel and dime budget, did we end up with a mini version of the Banff Centre or did we just have an old decrepit hospital?
During the last term of council 2007-2010 there was a majority of councilors that had the common sense to see that we could not afford the centre, and that we could not afford to not utilize that space for commercial opportunity. A majority but not all, I can remember the fight waged by Mayor Irwin, Councilors Taje and Mitchell to put a stop to what the vast majority of people in the Pass felt was the right thing to do.
We all heard the out cry the food bank will be out on the street, we will lose our education consortium, where will the people go when the highway is closed.   
Time marched on the education consortium moved to the MDM, the Food Bank is having its Grand Opening tomorrow of a brand new debt free building that will serve our community for many years to come. We had the highway closed just a short while back nobody froze to death, everybody was taken care of and three days later it was like it never happened.
Politically a new council was elected in 2010 with only one carry over from the Crowsnest Centre debate that being Councilor Mitchell an ardent opponent of getting rid of the Centre what impact would he have on this issue with the new council.
Well November 9 at the town hall meeting we got our answer surprisingly Mayor Decoux stood up and stated the following. “We has a community can not afford the Crowsnest Centre and we certainly can not afford to miss the commercial opportunity that site offers”.
What a vindication for myself and the other three councilors that had the intestinal fortitude to work through all the crap, the procedural stone walling, the lies put out to inflame the community, to do the right thing for this municipality.
Finally on Feb 21,2012 the following motion was moved by Councillor Saindon

 “That Administration develop or have developed an Expression of Interest for a hotel development on the Crowsnest Centre property. This document and a
Press Release will be distributed to recognized developers and the public. Both documents will be presented at the March 6, 2012 Council Meeting for Council approval and release”.


Even Councilor Mitchell an ardent supporter of the Crowsnest Centre who fought every step to get rid of this decrepit old hospital building agreed.   

Now I turn to my concern on this issue 5-6 years ago administration recommended that council approve a new town shop in Coleman it was going to cost $3-400,000 but it would be financed by using grant money and reserves that would be replenished when the municipality sold the old Coleman shops.
Well as administration provided us with more information on the shop the cost ballooned to $1.3 million I kept pressing for an answer to how we would put the dollars back into reserves, well the theory was that those two old Coleman shops would be sold for $6-700,000 more than enough to build those reserves back up.
Thankfully Council based on the large price of building that shop and the believe that those shops would be up for sale for a long time had the sense to put a stop to the Coleman shop.
I see that administration is suggesting that council take money from reserves to demolish the Old hospital, our reserves are at $1.3 million its going to take a good chunk of that to demolish it. In this economy how long is it going to take to sell that property? It could be a while, do a Google search and see how many hotels are being built in rural Alberta outside of the prime tourism areas or in communities serving the oil and gas industry. Not many, why not offer the land for sale as is, if it costs $600,000 to rip the building down a buyer will just discount the price by that much. Do a conditional sale ABC hotels will buy the land Jan 1st 2013 subject to the building being gone prior to that date, those are just a couple of suggestions. There are many options that could be negotiated without cleaning out the reserves.

Never the less I do applaud “all” of this council for recognizing and confirming that this community could not afford the old hospital and for moving forward to bring commercial opportunities that will create jobs and pay taxes on that site. Just as I applaud former Councilors Cole, Macleod and Salus for having that same vision and the guts to stand behind it.