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


Peter Rosner said...

It appears this council is turning this community into a police state. Just like out of the book Animal Farm by George Orwell. They wanted change and got it oh you should hear the critics of the last council now. Looks like they got more than they bargained for this time. With all due respect to the family of our current Mayor for they are good people i am sorry but he is starting to act like Napoleon.

Anonymous said...

This press release tells me that nobody knows what's going on. Or they don't have any back bone

Anonymous said...

It appears that the Thunder in the Valley was cancelled because there is no policy in place that would allow it to go forward. Work on this policy should take a year or two. The way this is being communicated to the world is not so good because the policy of communicating with the outside world is still work in progress. Marx brothers would do a better job.

Anonymous said...

So what is going on?
Who is in control?
Who is running the Rum Runner Days Committee?
Do we need to bring in a shrink?
We obviously have somebody here in control that has a spilt personality, they need to start talking to each other!
The Mayor is unavailable? In this era of blackberry's, Ipads, etc I find it hard to believe that he is unavailable for a call or call back.
Maybe he does not want to be available.
Eighteen months in power and they don't have a policy in place to handle a situation like this.


Anonymous said...

If you want to call your members of council and don't have the number call 562-8833 that is the municipal office they will give you the numbers.
When requesting the numbers, ask for both of Councillor Saindon's numbers.
The one for the Saindon that is running the Thunder in the Valley committee, and the one for the Councillor Saindon that knows nothing about it.

Folks bitching on Facebook, these blogs and in the coffee shops is human nature. But it means nothing unless the members of council hear you.


Anonymous said...

"requirement for expensive liability insurance"

this is the only issue people.

who pays if something goes wrong?

municipality (taxpayer)? BFD?

liability, liability, liability

Anonymous said...

This is what the Chinook County Tourist Association had to say.

This would have been Thunder in the Valley's 19th anniversary. Every year, the festival draws crowds of about 25,000 from across Western Canada, many of them who make the trip specifically for the spectacular fireworks show. Its cancellation is expected to hit southern Alberta's tourism industry hard.
"It's going to hurt," said Nikolaus Wyslouzil, interim general manager of the Chinook Country Tourist Association.
Annual events such as Thunder in the Valley "do have a fairly loyal following and I know a lot of people come to the area because they can camp out in the Crowsnest Pass for those events," he said.
"It's going to impact a lot of businesses substantially, especially given the time of year," he added. "

For all the article go to:

Anonymous said...

Actually, who cares what the Chinook County Tourist Association says. I have to wonder what businesses would be affected. The people come here and basically camp for free all weekend, so no campground benefits. They probably bring all their food. The only places that would see more people are the gas stations and Tim's, who don't need to worry anyways. Other than that, like I said, who benefits. The Royal Bank, Post Office. Oh yes, the Liquor store, whoppee.

Anonymous said...

Point 14 of the strategic plan

14. Establish a committee to review and re-develop Rum
Runner Days and Thunder in the Valley with a focus on
increasing safety and increasing potential for economic
benefit to the community and local businesses.
. Reach out to the community and stakeholders for
volunteers for this committee.
. Encourage the development of a comprehensive plan
and objectives to achieve safety goals and economic

So have we now achieved this goal?

Anonymous said...

No use going on and on about it. Move ahead. Bottom line is it really does not benefit anyone.

Anonymous said...

Emile Saindon is speaking at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Wednesday March 14th at the Blairmore Lions Hall. Voice your concerns with him and get out and volunteer.

Anonymous said...

It’s hard to tell, but it seems like the volunteer driven institutions and events are slowly fading away in the Crowsnest Pass. Music Festival, Museum, Thunder....... Perhaps it is the “imperial” nature of this administration that is eroding the confidence of the volunteers and makes them pretty scarce. But we should not despair; there is a good chance that the municipality will have enough hands and feet at the head office to stage all future events “in house.”

Anonymous said...

Re: Thu Mar 08, 05:14:00 PM 2012

You got it partly right. There is an element of volunteer fatigue associated with several recent decisions. However, I think you're dead wrong to blame it on the Mayor and Council.

I have a question for all those who are squealing about the cancellation of Thunder in the Valley. How many of you considered serving on the Rum Runners Committee when the Municipality was appealing for volunteers last fall? My guess is precious few.

I have a fair bit of volunteer experience in this community, so let me give you some of my observations from the trenches. First off, there seems to be a hard core of volunteers who have cycled through many of the local volunteer committees and boards, and many of them are starting to wonder if it's worth it. The majority of them are relatively new residents of the Pass. With a few notable exceptions, residents whose families have been here for generations are conspicuously absent. A lot of those folks seem to prefer sitting back and bitching and complaining at what others are trying to do on their behalf. The usual complaint is that "we don't need no big city hotshots with degrees telling us how to do stuff." Well, if you want to move this place into the 21st century, you better get over this attitude. Join the rest of us who are actually trying to move this place forward. Stop complaining about every Mayor and Council before they've had time to deal with the mess this place has become.

With regard to the current flap over Thunder in the Valley, Council was absolutely right to make the decision they did. If you are unhappy with the decision, then step forward and help get things organized for next year. I for one will not miss what Thunder in the Valley has become. I look forward to it returning some time in the future, when it is properly organized and regulated, and public safety can be assured.

Anonymous said...

This administration can’t seem to get any mojo when it comes to dealing with volunteer organizations. It is not so much a question of what they are trying to do, as much as how they are going around doing it. Managing volunteers, such as fire department and others, is not easy. Some people are better at this than others, not everyone is skilled in everything. It could be as simple as a question of temperament, or as complicated as a question of control, who knows. This council came in with a great hope that it could hold a line on our precarious financial situation, if they are doing this - their communication strategy is not very good. In fact, this lack of communication strategy was glaring for all of us, as we watched and listened to the regional media over the last couple of days.

Anonymous said...

Anon @7:25
I look forward to it returning some time in the future, when it is properly organized and regulated, and public safety can be assured.

It seems to me that it was "properly organized and regulated" for 18 years until now when we got a new mayor/council and police chief, then everything went to hell and has to be cancelled? Those are the facts, everything else is supposition.


Anonymous said...


I am just getting a little sick and tired of hearing about the lack of volunteers.
I have lived in this community and volunteered in this community for 40+ years.
I have a son that has been a volunteer for a long time.
You want to drive people away from volunteering come in and tell us we have been doing things wrong for the last twenty years. Bring in a bunch of high priced consultants to show us the right way.
We know we have problems with Thunder in the Valley of course but we have problems with people driving on Highway 3. Should we shut that down? No we police it.
I am sick and tired of listening to people that have lived here for three years telling me its time I got out from my computer and volunteered. You have no idea how much time I and other members of my generation have put in over the years.
You talk about Thunder in the Valley being too expensive well in August come out and tell us how much money the town saved by not doing it? compare the dollars to last years.
I am also getting sick and tired of hearing about us not having money. At the same time we keep hiring consultants, administrators, peace officers. Don't try to deny this its a small town the town employees talk to there neighbours friends and family we know what is going on.
We can not even afford to run a little old library and a small town museum.
But I know that is the volunteers fault. The question everybody is asking what is next.
I am getting really sick and tired. I am so sorry if I keep repeating myself I am so frustrated.

40+ years Volunteer

Anonymous said...

No need to be frustrated. It does not matter how long anyone has been here. WE ARE ALL THE SAME - PAY THE SAME TAXES. Plus a small town can only have so many things going on - perhaps it has been too much for the Pass. We are in a recession. People are working trying to make ends meet; life is different than 40 years ago. And who cares is someone tries to improve things. Too many old school people around - not willing to work with other people. I also wonder how many towns this size actually have a mammoth museum as is here. To reiterate, 3 years or 40 years, IT DOES NOT MATTER AND NO ONE CARES.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen any numbers on how much money is actually made that weekend. Funny. Maybe only a few actually support it - as it is good for them; i.e. liquor store.
Is that information available?
I did hear that it costs Council $100,000 to bring the carnival section. That is a lot of money to make up.

Anonymous said...

The March 7 news release Dean quoted has been replaced by

March 9, 2012 - Thunder in the Valley Press Release

stating the decision was made by the "Rum Runner Steering Committee". No mention of Council.

Anonymous said...

This is the second best event in my life. The first was when the 52 acre development failed. Thank God this Thunder in the Valley crap is over.
With the $160,000 savings on that drunken celebration. We may even get a break on our taxes this year.
It is so refreshing. Rid of all those lousy tourists keep them rolling through. Fernie can have them. Keep the Crowsnest Pass for the people that built this town.
I used to love it when you could go to the Pass Hotel for a beer and know everybody by there first name.


Anonymous said...

"Keep the Crowsnest Pass for the people that built this town."

Boy isn't that what we have been getting for the past 100 years? Don't you hear the people asking (demanding) 'change'. Instead you kill off what makes us 'unique', worth untold dollars in tourism potential, and create a 'police state' with your peace officers (revenue police) at the front gates, killing off what makes us special i.e. MOUNTAIN FREEDOM.

Surely this one-night (of inconvenience... for some) promotional extravaganza that puts us on the map is what most communities strive for, and pay huge sums to try and achieve. We've already got there! And we want to throw it away? Instead of truly capitalising on it in a 'smart way' ie: in a smart 'business/tourism' way?

Killing 'Thunder in the Valley' may very well be the first of a thousand cuts that kills this community...


Anonymous said...

Looks like the $160,000 saved should pay for one of the new administrative positions. This is positive. One only hopes they don’t decide, after this experience, to hire a Director of Media Services.

Anonymous said...

JP 3:58 Could not agree more.

Anonymous said...

Whatever you think of the decision, it was made on information from the RCMP, Administration and legal(ish) consultants about public safety, liability, costs and random camping etc. This could all have been done months ago (should have been addressed by previous Councils IMHO). These are not matters that can be handed off to a volunteer committee - they are Council responsibilities.

If those issues had been resolved in time, I think there would have been volunteers interested in actually running the event.

20-20 hindsight, maybe.

Anonymous said...

Re: JP Fri Mar 09, 03:58:00 PM 2012

Couldn't agree less.

I am sick and tired of hearing about "mountain freedom." That phrase seems to be the license under which people do whatever the He!! they want, both in town, and in the forest reserve. If you want people to invest in this place, you need some order. Otherwise, we can all sit and watch Hwy 3 as investor dollars flow by on the way to Fernie, and our population and tax base continue to go south. Now that the Mayor and Council are suggesting that we have a few rules in Dodge City, we've got all you types squealing like little pigs. "Police State, Police State" -- what nonsense!

I for one can't wait until the Peace Officers get to work this spring and clean this place up. And as far as Thunder in the Valley is concerned -- good riddance. Let's fix this thing and make it for families again, not a bunch of drunks that show up for one weekend, spend all their money at the liquor stores, and are gone, leaving a big mess for the taxpayers to clean up.

Anonymous said...

Anon @9:23
I have been called a lot of things in my life but never a 'squealing pig'. :-) :-(

I too agree we need to clean up this place and in this regard I (while a councillor) and my wife (who at one time was chair of the Unsightly Premises Board) have been strong advocates for change over the years in this regard. My concern is with after the 'Peace Officers’ (Revenue Police) get done with cleaning up the community where will they focus their attention in order to maintain their fine quotas that supposedly pays their way? I suggest it will be in targeting travellers on Hwy 3 and local residents for jaywalking, not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, etc., etc. I think these days most people pay enough in taxes without having to endure the fear of slipping up only to have to pay even more because some politicians who can’t figure out how to pay for their agendas by ‘earning income’ resort to these type of exploitive (extortion) measures to achieve their ends. Once these people are in place there will be no end to the irksome petty tyranny of the officious demands of policemen, government clerks, and electromechanical gadgets (radar). Big city ‘Police State’ is the right moniker for what is coming… if allowed to happen?

As a final note in regards to the above, I had a brief conversation the other day with a local RCMP officer (cute blond) who told me what wonderful things Peace Officers were doing in places such as Longview and Pincher Creek in writing ‘thousands’ of tickets annually (primarily for traffic offenses) and thereby bringing in substantial dollars for their municipalities. In the land of the free, no one will be safe or immune if this is allowed to happen here… not even you Anon @9:23.

You tell me with a straight face that the way this council has been behaving with all their rules, regulations, policies, usury fees that attack the poor, etc., etc. that we won’t (aren’t) be losing our freedoms here, while at the same time chasing away investment, all while in the pursuit of ‘order’, and I say as a 'squealing pig' Peace Officers =Police State.

“You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig”.

With respect to Thunder in the Valley, did not Mayor and Council have a 'whole year' since the last one to prepare for one twenty minute fireworks display that would be still four months off? In my opinion, they bit off more than they could chew in taking on the firemen. The lack of public support and their own arrogance and incompetence have led to this decision to cancel. In the process they blamed everybody but themselves and their own ineptitude. And these are the people you elected to take this community forward? Ones who can’t even put on a simple event without having it blow up in their faces.

Talk about leaving a mess. You can’t get more messier than what has been allowed to happen here with this cancellation. This is a mess that may never go away and never get cleaned up all because of one man’s power tripping on behalf of a tiny minority of party poopers elites who can’t stand the noise anymore from this one-night of celebration that puts us on the map making our community uniquely different, fun-loving, and free.


Crowsnest Pass Home said...


During the presentation from Ms Tona on the community peace officers. Councilor Gail asked the question "is there a possibilty that we are going to turn people away from the Pass"
Her response was "there will be a very negative reaction for 6-8 months then people will adjust"

The Longview example I spoke to a councilor from Longview a few years back and yes it was a cash cow for awhile. Then it changed I know what I do when a come up the hill just before Longview.

How long before the Pass's reputation of being an heavy enforcement area becomes common knowledge.

One of my concerns with the Peace Officers is their positions will not be sustainable in the long term. Once the community is cleaned up and its common knowledge that you slow down between Burmis and the border. How nit picky do you think they will become to reach their quota's. To satisfy their master's promise of being no burden on the taxpayers.
Two years from now you will have a council debating the merits of dropping back to one peace officer.

One last comment is the municipality and the RCMP now prepared to gurantee safety for the rum runner weekend, or any other weekend where we will have more than just the local residents in town.
If their "not" then would there be consideraion to cancel those other events.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Crowsnest Pass Home said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Was just reading Emile Saindon's blog his letter in response to the Thunder in the Valley issue.

Really he put himself in a no win situation this town is very easy to understand when it comes to these types of issues (Dean think back to the Crowsnest Center).

The people that wanted to see Thunder in the Valley gone could care less about the letter and his arguements it is gone yahoo that's all they need to know.

The people that are pissed off about Thunder in the Valley he can argue until he is blue in the face, any arguements fact or fiction mean nothing to those people there mind is made up you could have Stephen Harper making the arguements it would not change their opinion.
Sounds just like the Crowsnest Center doesn't it Dean.

Growing up here I find out a long time ago there is no middle ground on issues its either for or against, compromise just does not exist here.

So if he wants to be a politician for more than one term then he better learn to pick the side of issues that pisses the least people of.

If I hear one more time I was doing what was best for the community I will scream. Every politician does what works for his/her agenda.

So lets both sides recognize this issue is done now, nobodys mind on either side is going to change. The test of who the public supports will come in about a year and a half.


Anonymous said...

"Councillor Saindon abstained from voting due to conflict of interest as Chairperson of the Rum Runner Days Committee"

Alberta Municipal Government Act :

174(1) A councillor is disqualified from council if
(f) the councillor does not vote on a matter at a council meeting at which the councillor is present, unless the councillor is required or is permitted to abstain from voting under this or any other enactment;

Anonymous said...

This place is starting to make me sick.

Anonymous said...

Would someone please explain to me what "agenda" individual members of Council could possibly have? Is serving on Council going to make anybody rich? That might be true for federal politicians who draw a nice salary, lots of perks, and a pension plan most people can only dream about having. The reality is that serving Council means you get to work your butt off, earn a pittance level salary, get crapped on by everyone who disagrees with a Council decision, no matter how well founded it is. I can think of no benefit to serving on Council other than the satisfaction of trying to make things better. If I was currently on Council, and listening to all the crap that's flying around over the TITV issue, I'd not be worried about re-election. I'd be thinking about life after my term ends. What concerns me is that the way this community attacks Councillors who are trying to do the right thing, is going to prevent good people from ever wanting to serve.

It seems our schools have failed in explaining what democracy means. Democracy does NOT mean every decision must have 50.1% support of the population at large. If it did, we could just hook everyone up to the internet, and base all decisions on an online vote. Frankly, the thought of that sort of decision making scares the heck out of me. I vote for the people I think have the ability to judge a situation and make an informed well thought out decision. I do not expect that someone I vote for will always take the same position as I do. As far as the current issue is concerned, Council made the right decision, and it does not matter whether or not the majority of the public agree with it or not. Let's move on folks.

Anonymous said...

Anno.08:32:00 AM 2012 You must have been sleeping at school in civics class when they were explaining the word AGENDA in the context of holding a meeting. This word may be confusing because it has many different meanings.But you are right, we elected these people so we must suffer them until the next election. I have heard the Mayor say somewhere during the election that he only wants one term, to correct all the mess created by the previous councils. I voted for him. Hope he is a man of his word.