Saturday, June 23, 2012

Town Hall Meeting……..We Might, We Might N….

Thursday night June 23, 2012 at the Elks Hall, Free Beef on a Bun big crowd.

Throngs of people wait in anticipation of the big announcements!!!! The Mayor garnishes a few boos has the meeting is set to begin, with a quick motion of waving his arms and a bit of a chuckle he say’s “bring it on”.

He gives a little speech laying out the agenda for the night. CAO Myron Thompson begins refreshing everybody’s memory with an update on the four pillars.

Then like a carefully choreographed dance recital each of the councilors gets up to address rumors, issues etc.
Councilor Gallant talks about municipal hiring states they have only increased the workforce by four people.
Councilor Saindon explains why we have spent so much on consultants. Apparently, we have had vacant administration positions for a total of 31 months combined since this council took over, why? Administrators getting married, moving back to California, Fernie who knows.

Then we hear from the public on such issues as the following, excuse me if I miss anything:

Security for Rum Runner Days Weekend
Resident paying for sewer that did not have it
Money spent on consultants
Accessibility for the handicapped
Bullying in the schools
Mayor’s letter condemning the public that disagrees with him
Collecting of back taxes
Requests for information not be acknowledged
Spring/Fall Cleanups
Blairmore/Coleman shops consolidation
Rebranding of the community
Non-Residential taxation
Bellcrest Seniors Hall
Communications on Bylaws etc

In the first half of the meeting there was three things that stood out to me, first of all watching the Mayor with his pompous attitude, this is the way it is if you don’t like it too bad attitude, too many wise cracks at the wrong times. Second in some cases people got really angry (leading to RCMP escort them out of the building) I wonder how much of that was related to the first point that stood out to me. Thirdly Councilor Londsbury’s comments I have a completely different appreciation for the man, he came across has very sincere, obviously with very much passion for this community. I may disagree with him on every issue but it became very clear to me that his heart is very much in the right place.

Then Part II, after a short break and about 25% of the crowd leaving (It did get to be too long of a meeting)

The Mayor came back with the good news section, well I really hope this council can achieve these things but it makes me nervous when I hear our leader say repeatedly “take what I’m saying with a grain of salt”

These were the announcements, the Mayor is going to strike up a committee of around eight (8) people to look at the issue of Economic Development this committee will make recommendations to Council; there will also be an economic development officer in place by Christmas.

Next, the Mayor has stated that some of the River Run properties have been purchased from mortgage companies and he states that the River is “beginning to thaw” that there might be something happening there. Then he says  “take what I’m saying with a grain of salt”

Next, he talks about the MD of Ranchland a municipality just to the north of us that has only eighty residents but lots of money and lots of tax base. The municipality is going to approach them and the province about moving some of that tax base into the Crowsnest Pass, which would help with our financial woes. Again, he states, “take what I’m saying with a grain of salt”

Then we reached the climax of the evening the Crowsnest Centre Site, with much glee the municipality has entered into discussions with a prospective developer that is looking at bringing a seventy five-room hotel (Best Western) to that site. However, it does not end there a smaller convention type area, a truck stop, a fast food restaurant, a big name sit down type restaurant, a dog run park area, and a secure area for RV’s etc. Then came the all familiar   “take what I’m saying with a grain of salt”.

Then came a question about the demolition of the building the Mayor stated that this company is so keen they are prepared to negotiate the cost of taking care of that into the purchase price. Then he when on to say by the time the first snow flies I expect to see that building gone, with the building process beginning next spring. Then he stated  “take what I’m saying with a grain of salt”.

With the interest of the crowd now at it’s peak he asked Myron to present some rendering of what the area could look like, then a picture of a beautiful three floor hotel was put up on the screen, with the comment made that we hope to see something like this but we may not. Again the Mayor made the statement several times “take what I’m saying with a grain of salt”

Lastly came the final goodie of the Night the Mayor is attempting to build dialogue with Teck.

My comments on Part II;
Economic Development Officer- obviously we need help in this area I hope several things, that they have a clear plan to pay for this without placing more burden on the taxpayers. That they hire somebody on a contractual basis that either performs or is gone (not a life time position) and lastly they have a method of showing clear results.

River Run-I hope something happens here, the issues only begin with back taxes, infrastructure, piles of dirt, big holes in the ground and many Investors who properly don’t have a whole lot to show for their investments.

MD of Ranchland-Every thing they said about Ranchland is true lots of money, lots of tax base, and very few people. I would assume that administration has provided council with all of the information from 2007-2010 when the previous council attempted to go down this same path, and councilors from previous councils told me that they also approached this issue. I hope that they look at what the City of Cold Lake when through in their “many” years of attempting to tap into the revenue of wealthy surrounding municipalities.

The Crowsnest Centre, the enlightened people that have spent the better part of shouting out for the last twenty years that if you are going to attract any kind of commercial development to this community that is the spot. Must be very thrilled and I am, imagine how much common sense it makes to take 6+ acres of flat property, that is fully serviced and right next to a major highway that has 12,000 vehicles a day traveling past and using it has the centre of commercial activity in the Crowsnest Pass. What a brain wave.
I am assuming that there was no tender for less than $600,000 to get rid of the building, but never the less I cannot wait for those first snowflakes to fall.     

In conclusion, I hope all of the “Announcements” happen, but it is not going to be easy or fast. 

Note: The Mayor and the CAO stated a number of times during the meeting that if anybody wants information to contact administration and it will get answered. I will be doing this and everybody else that has concerns should take advantage of this offer.


Anonymous said...


Great summary of the meeting. I agree with your comments regarding too many attempts at humour - also with your comments regarding Councilor Lonsbury, although I already held his community-mindedness and volunteerism in high regard.

It was unfortunate that tempers flared (I left at 10:00 and hear there was more of this towards the close of the meeting), but all in all, I think forums like these are a positive and effective way to better understand the choices and decisions that are made.

I'm certain you and I wouldn't always agree politically, but I appreciate the efforts you put into this blog; also the tactful way you share your opinion.


Anonymous said...

I think they got a little ahead of themselves.The meeting was called with very short notice, maybe they thought that they had a done deal regarding the hotel, maybe they did not want it to leak out,maybe,maybe, maybe.It is hard for me to imagine that the CLC building will be gone by Oct.I think people are tired of talk and want to see some action.I hope they actually get the deal done in a hurry so we can have some good news from this council. Even if all they actually did was put the land up for sale(so they should not take to much credit for this), as the previous council did all of the super tough legwork on this.

Anonymous said...

I commend the Mayor for holding these Town Hall meetings. It's something that would have never happened with the previous Mayor & council. Many of the issues we are dealing with at the moment are as a result of previous town councils and town administrators.

It's easy for those who run blogs to criticize, but why did some of them not stand up on Thursday and voice their concerns?

George said...

"BruceGate Saves the Crowsnest Pass"

I was so glad to hear at the meeting that we are finally going to get a major development on the old hospital site. What a great turn of events for us. For this council to be able to get some one interested in developing such a prime piece of land when the other councils have failed is nothing but astounding. Hats of to the Mayor and his councilors.

"Remember you can take this with a grain of salt."

Anonymous said...

7:59 Previous council did do all the leg work so kudos to them.
Do you think with Bruces sensitive nature he could have handled the crap that those guys were put throught.
9:15 If you do your reserach previous councils did do town hall meeting I went to the last one there were more people at the head table than there was in the audience.

Lets not forget there was another group that drew out lots of people for presentations on big developments. We all know where that ended.

This time in about 15 months we will see how much of this comes true.

Just maybe we will be taking everything we heard with a grain of salt.


Anonymous said...

A quick comment or two regarding something that came up at the meeting about how our CAO does not currently reside in CNP. First of all, this was totally unfair to Mr. Thompson. Is this any different than the CNP residents who work in the mines across the border in BC, where they don't pay taxes? Good thing for us they are not forced to live there, in order to earn their livelihood.

Anonymous said...

After the little adventure we went on five years ago in our little town. Lets be very careful we do not get led down that same garden path again.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 09:25

Huh? Explain please.

Anonymous said...

9:25 is talking about Bridgecreek.

Anonymous said...

Just read the following ironically posted almost two years ago to the day:

Anonymous said...

I am not sure I see the connection....

Anonymous said...

Thomas, "... tactful way you share your opinion". If Mr. Ward was anymore 'tactful' he'd have no opinion at all. :-(

Anonymous said...

Dean in line with 10:12 don't you think it's time you had the gonads to tell us "YOUR" opinion on all these wonderful announcements?