Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Pincher Creek holds Town Hall meeting

Council for the Town of Pincher Creek
Councilloe Doug Thornton, Mayor Don Anderberg, councillors Duane Filipuzzi, Wayne Elliott, Jim Litkowski, Lorne Jackson, and Mark Barber

Toni Lucas

The Town of Pincher Creek held a Town Hall meeting open to the public on Wednesday, February 24 in the Town Hall Gymnasium.  There were approximately 100 people in attendance. This  council was sworn in October 2013 and they saw this as an opportunity to let the public know the many things they have been doing now they are halfway through their term. Each of the members of council gave a report regarding various boards or committees they attend while Mayor Anderberg gave an overall report of what the Town has accomplished in the last two years and what is coming up in the future.

There were displays around the room showing information from the various departments including administrative, operational, budget, and recreational programs. Speakers included Mayor Don Anderberg who acted as emcee for the evening, Councillors Mark Barber, Wayne Elliott, Lorne Jackson, Jim Litkowski, and Doug Thornton gave reports. Councillor Duane Filipuzzi is new to the council and did not give a report. Additional speakers included Livingstone Macleod MLA Pat Stier, Sarha Nodge speaking on behalf of the Pincher Creek and District Municipal Library, Jason O'Connor from Axia Fibrenet, and David Green with an update regarding Family and Community Support Services. At the end of the meeting there was a short question and answer period.

Livingstone Macleo MLA Pat Stier
Livingstone Macleod MLA Pat Stier said "It is a pleasure to participate here with the council on one of my favorite things, and that is how a community is doing." He explained the geographic region of Livingstone Macleod riding. "I've got 22 communities, 14 councils, and several school boards. It's my pleasure and my extreme privilege to be able to represent such a beautiful, wonderful area, and so many great people." He talked about the industry, culture, education, history, and the people of this area. "One of the best parts of being an MLA is having the ability and the opportunity to attend events like this." He explained he regularly attends the Mayors and Reeves meetings for this area, and the Highway 3 meetings. Stier talked about the current economic climate. "We may have to learn to be patient, I'm afraid, with what was announced today, as one of the worst financial reports I've seen in some time by a government. 10 billion dollars in debt, they're forecasting now." Stier said he is going to continue to press for upgrades in this area. Additionally he spoke about education, tourism, and the new Castle Provincial Park areas. Stier closed by saying "I am going to be continuing to monitor the funding concerns of municipalities during this difficult times to ensure all of these rural based municipalities, whether they are urban or rural, get their fair share of infrastructure funding that they keep talking about, to assist with the facility upgrades we need and to support the local employment difficulties, and perhaps, to even be able to see some growth."

Mayor Don Anderberg
Mayor Don Anderberg acknowledged the many other governments, agencies, special interest groups, and organizations the Town of Pincher Creek works with. He spoke about the budget and taxes for the upcoming year. "Along with the many tasks we are responsible to take care of on your behalf comes a significant expenditure of funds. The proposed operating budget for 2016 is $11,166,000 and the capital budget for 2016 is $3,364,000. 2016 is the second year of a two year operating budget. There was a 0% municipal property tax increase in 2015 and 2% proposed municipal property tax increase in 2016, although that isn't set yet. This is also the second year of a four year capital budget. Multi-year budgeting has given us the advantage of freeing up administrative and council time, along with being able to better target funding for larger projects or combining smaller budgets into one bid. It should be noted that a significant portion of the tax notice that you receive from the town is for education tax. The education tax is calculated by the provincial government, and collected by the town on their behalf." He listed the many boards and committees the members of council sends a representative to and discussed how the council attended a retreat where they planned how to progress forward at early in the four year term of being on council. There the council identified issues where they want to see growth including economic development, communication, community and social needs, and sustainability which they are working on during this term. Anderberg listed various projects that are underway or have been completed since the beginning of this term, which began in the fall of 2013.

Before the meeting many people had the chance to try on virtual reality headgear provided by Jason O'Connor from Axia Fibrenet, or visit with him to ask about the possibility of Axia bringing fibre optic network through the town of Pincher Creek. O'Connor said "You're a progressive community, and I find this important."  Axia will not be installing a fibre based infrastructure until there is significant community support.  "We only go where communities want us to go."

Community housing plans/conceptual drawings on display

One of the highlights which came out of the reports were updates on the future community housing plans for the areas straight east of the PCES Fire Hall, and on Main Street. Another was the designation of the Crowsnest/Pincher Creek Landfill Association site as one of a limited number of Class 2 landfills (non hazardous waste landfill) in Alberta. This designates what kind of waste this landfill can and cannot accept.  There was reported the area currently has 12 RCMP officers, and two bylaw officers.  Although some committees have more than one representative from Town Council, one person delivered a report from each of the following boards, committees or organizations.


Mayor Don Anderberg: Community Housing Committee, Emergency Services Committee, Mayors and Reeves.

Councillor Mark Barber: Facility Committee, Highway 3 Twinning Committee, Recreation Advisory Board.

Councillor Wayne Elliott: Cemetery Committee, Operations Committee.

Councillor Lorne Jackson: Alberta Southwest Regional Alliance, Communities in Bloom, Economic Development Committee, Library Board, Regional Landfill Board.

Councillor Jim Litkowski: Police Advisory Committee, Museum Committee.

Councillor Doug Thornton: Community Hall Board, Community Transportation Committee.

Sarha Nodge spoke as the Pincher Creek and District Municipal Library Community Outreach Coordinator, and as the new Chair of the Pincher Creek Foundation.

David Green reported as the Coordinator for the Pincher Creek Family and Community Support Service.

Conceptual drawing of planned Crestview Lodge dining area

Wearing pink to support anti-bullying initiatives

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