Hate to steal somebody else's post title but this one is so fitting.
Check it out for yourselves my fellow blogger laid it out very well.
When I read some of the comments from our local politicians I think of the Roman Emperor Nero who fiddled while Rome burned.
For the guy that called me this morning and said that I was full of s**t for saying that the Rum Runner Committee promoted that there would be 20,000 + at Rum Runner Days. Check the above out, click on the picture to enlarge and read under the vendor information. I will be very surprised if none of the vendors demand their money back after being given that information.
Now that Rum Runner Days on up on us and everybody is in a festive mood I thought I would share with you how one of my readers see the financial situation in our great community.
I think this was very well done and if people can't laugh once in a while there is something wrong. (Thanks go out to Gord)
Just another reminder there is a rate payers meeting tonight at the Bellevue Legion 7pm only costs $5 to join if you are concerned about the issues that everybody seems to be talking about. Here is your chance to join a group that will lobby council on your behalf regarding these issues.
Over the last few years we have all read numerous articles or heard comments about the decline in the number of people willing to step forward and volunteer their time for community events and organizations.
The reasons why are numerous and could be debated all day long.
One thing I don't like is some of the comments made about volunteers with the Rum Runner Days weekend event coming up.
Which ever side of the debate you sit on regarding the cancellation of the Thunder in the Valley don't blame the volunteers, blame the politicians, blame the administrators. Those are all people that stand for office and know that pissing people off comes with the territory, the administrators get paid big dollars to handle the crap that comes with their job.
But volunteers they don't get to make the decisions, they don't get paid to handle the crap. Maybe if we all cherished our volunteers a little more we would have more people willing to help this community.
So save your anger, your displeasure for the decision makers not the volunteers.
For all of those that have been asking, you should have received a Parking permit with your utility bill. If you did not or you don't receive a utility bill. I am told that you can pick up a permit at the municipal office.
This is what they look like below, you will not be allowed into Blairmore after 9am on Saturday without one.
Thursday night there will be a meeting of the rate payers association to elect a President and Board of Directors.
The meeting will be held at the Bellevue Legion at 7pm.
Any body that has paid the $5 to be a member can vote, memberships are available at the door.
The Board will be made up of nine members a President and two directors each from Coleman, Blairmore/Frank, Bellevue, Hillcrest.
All positions will be elected for a term of one year
Well our Council built it, not a Field of Dreams like in the
movie but a structure a bureaucracy comprised of a CAO
with three Directors under him with each one of those having a Manager reporting
to them. Seven high paid administrative positions to look after a workforce of
barely fifty people and run a town with a declining tax base and population.
Well just like the movie we built it and they came, we just
can not seem to keep them. Let’s go through the list:
June 2011 CAO Tully Clifford
July 2011 Director of HR and legislative services Lynne Cox
September 2011 Director of Community Services Cam Mertz
April 2012 Fire Chief Ken Brands leaves.
June 2012 Manager of Operations Bob Schulz leaves.
July 2012 Manager of
Corporate Services Mariann Martens leaves.
This does not include the Manager of Operations that was
hired prior to Mr Schulz who was suppose to show up on a Monday and never did.
Sprinkle in there some expensive replacements from
Transitional Solutions, Councilor Saindon stated at the last town forum the
municipality had senior positions vacant for a period of 31 months combined.
It’s fine to propose “change” but is this what they were really talking about, large amounts of turn over in an organization usually
indicates that there are much bigger problems. If anybody wants to argue that
isn’t the case, then somebody sure made some poor choices when they hired these
people five of the people above were here for less than a year. Either way there is a problem.
Yes I realize that people come and go and sometimes for the
betterment of an organization changes must be made but this many in the span of
Wow did not expect all the comments on train whistles.
But seeing it is such a hot topic I did a little research to see what experience other municipalities have experienced with this issue, came across this excellent report done by Strathcona County recently (July 2011)
There council decided to drop the issue after receiving this report please take a few moments to check it out at the following address http://www.strathcona.ab.ca/files/Files/at-lls-arm-110712-report-7-1.pdf
For those that don't want to read the whole report I will provide a few highlights:
Train Whistle Sound Requirements
The Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR) state that:
Trains exceeding 70 km/h must sound whistle signal 400 meters before the crossing, to be prolonged or repeated, until the train has fully entered and occupies the crossing.
A marker post or whistle post will be located 400 meters before each public crossing where required.
Trains operating at 70 km/h or less must sound whistle signal to provide at least 20 seconds warning before entering the crossing and continue to sound their whistle signal until the train has fully entered and occupies the crossing.
Whistle signal is not required when manual protection such as a flag person is
provided or when rail equipment is approaching a protected crossing with automatic
warning devices; the exception to rail equipment are rail snow plows as they are still
require to sound their whistle.
There are some safety recommendations and warning requirements to fulfill before a grade level crossing can qualify for the whistle cessation. The requirements come from the Procedure &; Conditions for Eliminating Whistling at Public Crossings: Guideline 1, Appendix A, Transport Canada, and from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). These include:Enclosure I
Train Whistle Cessation Report July 2011
Document #45814: EEP Transportation Engineering.5715
Flashing lights, automatic gates and bells are required at crossings where maximum operating speed of train is 80 km/h or greater.
Railway advance warning signs should be installed on all vehicular approaches as per the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada.
A 6 foot high chain link fence for the length of 800 meters along the track on either side of the roadway is required to prevent trespassing.
Median islands are recommended to restrict drivers from going around the lowered
gates. (As per FRA)
Four quadrant gates can be considered for additional safe
7.0 Policies/Considerations in other Cities/Counties
Strathcona County staff researched the experience of other municipalities that have considered implementing whistle bans. The City of Kamloops, Tofield, and Parkland County have whistle bans at certain grade level crossings. The City of Edmonton had a bylaw in place however have since rescinded the bylaw as it was difficult to enforce even though trains typically travel below 70Km/hr making it easier to identify offending trains, however since the conductor always has the final judgment when blowing the whistle, in addition to liability concerns for reduced safety. St. Albert, Red Deer, Olds, Yellowhead County, Sturgeon County, Red Deer County, Camrose County and Beaver County have investigated whistle cessation, however to date do not have whistle cessation bylaws.
More information regarding these decisions is detailed in Appendix B
8.0 Considerations Of the nine level crossings identified in the report, four have automatic gates, flashing lights and bells and five have flashing lights and bells. Roadways with higher traffic volumes may require supplemental safety measures such as median islands or four quadrant gates. Additional requirements include:
Removing any debris, structures, trees or vegetation within the stopping sight distance of thee train track to provide a clear unobstructed view of approaching trains.
Installation of advance warning signs to alert motorists of whistle ban.
Safety measures such as flashing lights, bells, gates and 800 meters of chain link fence on either side of the crossing along the track.
The municipality pays to upgrade the crossing which could cost from $300000 to $500000 per site. Additionally the municipality becomes liable for collisions on the tracks when the gate system fails which has been the deciding factor against implementing the ban for many towns, cities and counties. It is important to note that train engineers have an obligation to sound their whistle if they believe there is a danger.
Transport Canada has a grade crossing improvement program where lights and gates are funded 80% by Transport Canada, 12.5 % by the municipality, 7.5 % by CN rail. However, grant money is not available for changes due to whistle cessation legislation
There is conflicting evidence identifying an increase in collision rates when a whistle ban is implemented. The FRA states that collisions increased as much as 50% in the United States upon whistle cessation. It is noted that only 40% of crossings with bans have gates, and 12% of crossings with bans do not have any safety feature and several other factors have changed between the study periods. Administration does not recommend pursuing whistle minimizing policy to be completed. Due to the experiences neighbouring municipalities have had with assuming liability for intersections, extensive monetary commitment for intersection improvements, reduced level of safety, drawn out and lengthy approval process, lack of enforceability, and mixed public opinion. The challenges and potential issues that arise from implementing whistle cessation at this time do not outweigh the positive
There are some things to think about before a municipality goes out and does this, in 2005 I spoke to a Transport Canada Rep at the AUMA convention about this issue his advice was "you don't want to deal with this issue" based on what I have read above I can see why.
Number of crossings in the Pass I am guessing the following 2 in Hillcrest, 1 in Frank, 4 in Blairmore, 2 in Coleman.
The above is where some of your tax dollars are being spent. The questions are always do we need it and can we afford it?
Little bit of a quiz under the list of the consultants you will find one that was paid $32,700 they are also the company that threw together the pamphlet for Rum Runner Days. Hard to believe we couldn't have done it internally. Also hope some of that $32,700 was spent on other things than just the pamphlet.
With the clues above can anybody name the company?
Here is the Press Release from March 7 regarding Thunder in the Valley pay special attention to the first sentence.
March 7, 2012
Municipality of Crowsnest Pass
"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"
So like most people I got my town bill yesterday after reading the fascinating write up on Riparian Area Health, I proceed to the Rum Runner Days pamphlet where under Vendor Information I see the following "It is anticipated over 20,000 people will attend the celebrations".
Well that statement blew my socks over, maybe it's a typo maybe it should have read 2,000 or maybe the committee is just being overly optimistic. But let's say they are right then what does the press release from March 7, really mean? What happened to all the previous concerns wasn't the issue all these people coming to the Crowsnest Pass, and all the related issues that come with a crowd of that size. Is the RCMP now guaranteeing the safety, if a crowd of that size comes won't the costs be the same will we need less toilets? less traffic control? less policing? just because there are no fireworks. Is the appropriate emergency operational plan, and the traffic plan now in place? if they are, then couldn't Thunder in the Valley have just gone ahead?
I think we have been had, in a few short months we went from we can't do this event because there are too many safety and financial concerns attached to a crowd of 20-30,000 people, to we can now do this event which will attract more than 20,000 people????
Two things: Very interesting letter to the editor in the Pass Herald this week from long time resident Dick Burgman regarding the town hall meeting.
Second if you have not had chance yet check out the Thunder in the Valley T-shirts now available at Sears, very well done. Only $20 and all the profits go to support a very good cause the Crowsnest Museum.
Letter to the Editor is available at the following address:
Bev Oda who is quitting as a Member of Parliament after a long tenure of eight years will receive immediately a pension of $52,183 per year that's better than $4348 per month. You may say good for her she put her money into the plan. According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation for every $1 the member of Parliament puts into the plan the taxpayers put in $24.36 that is criminal. Once again at every level of government it reinforces the need for the taxpayers to make their representatives accountable.