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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Letter to the Editor: Questions for Pincher Creek Town Council revisited

D. Gray -  As many Pincher Creek residents know, there was a Town Hall meeting on March 29th, 2017 which was placed conveniently on YouTube.  At that time, many people brought forward some integral questions and concerns. Some of those were provided to the CAO. Which in turn, answers and follow ups were to occur.  I was one of those residents that raised some questions and concerns. I like others, were deferred to the CAO by the Mayor. To date I as a resident taxpayer, have not heard from anyone from administration or Council. No phone call or a letter. Not even a reply in local media. Why not?


My questions were:

a) Why is the Town using invalid Pincher Creek housing data and weak surveys? Wouldn’t this inadequate combined information influence the Town Council’s future community housing plans? How does that meet the needs of the vulnerable and address efficiently the town’s growing housing needs? The Mayor agreed at that time, it was not good information.

b) What was the Town Council and administration going to do about the ‘apparent’ Conflict of Interests within the Town’s departments? How are those department’s behaviors and actions NOT a Conflict of Interest? According to the Town’s document the staff are a municipal “Public Servant”.

c) Why are there a lack of economic initiatives to sustain downtown Pincher Creek and small businesses? An Alberta grant was available for the Town to apply for. They didn’t? Why?

d) Why is there a lack of transparency in any of the Town’s plans for attracting, promoting and marketing tourism …most who will have free Park Passes, in recognition of Canada 150?

It is estimated that several thousands will be passing ‘through’ Pincher Creek on their way to Waterton or along other highways, to access local attractions in other communities. What will the Town Council and administration of Pincher Creek be doing to tap into this historic event & incredible economic opportunity?

e) How is the town utilizing their Mill Rate (tax base) to determine their financial budget applications towards economic stimulation, social services and infrastructural needs?

f) Why are there financial inconsistences?

g) Why are there so many costly, overlapping, community surveys being done with no strategic plans with outcomes and measureables presented?

h) Why is there a lack of consistency and transparency from the Town’s administration, as well as in the council minutes on what any community plans are?

i) Why is the Town paying close to 3 million in town wages, when no one writes grants? What do the administration and departments really do for a population of 3162 people? What are we paying for? Town staff have taken many workshops, on the community’s dime, in particular, to learn more about writing grants……they benefited…..what about the community?

Examples:

  • In November 2016, many seniors approached FCSS & Social Service department for assistance in applying for a grant to address rural Senior Abuse. The grant was for $75,000 for 1 year OR $150,000 for 3 years. It would have supported a part time position as well as bring knowledge to Pincher Creek community and support seniors. This group of seniors who asked for assistance were turned away twice by FCSS & the Social Service department. WHY? Town staff had just returned from a grant writing workshop…..
  • Why are we paying close to $300,000 for a seasonal waterpark with Canada 150 funding when the Town’s economic and FCSS departments could have taken a quarter of that and obtained matching/stacking funding through several other grants up to 1-2 million dollars to invest, in a Curling Recreational Facility for Southwestern Alberta? They have taken several grant writing workshops…….
  • Imagine, if you will, 2 significant infrastructural initiatives showcasing the Town of Pincher Creek in commemoration of Canada 150. Wouldn’t that attract more people to come and invest positive financial benefits into the Town of Pincher Creek? 


  • Doesn’t the Town Council and administration need to work in partnership with their residents and small businesses by pulling their own weight in building a strong recognized, viable rural community? Are the Town administrational services and departments only riding on the waves of efforts by dedicated Pincher Creek volunteers and small businesses owners? How is this sustainable?

    Are Pincher Creek’s Council and administration only offering silence, diversion, smoke and mirrors to cover up the lack of initiatives, programming and services that could meet our growing community’s needs? To build sustainability as per their own strategic plan and poster in the Council Chambers?
When will we see more ethical and integral work from our elected officials and administrative departments? Aren’t they the voice of the people? According to the Municipal Act, FCSS Act /Regulations they do have obligations to meet and adjust to the needs of their community. After 10+ years from Council and present administration, how has Pincher Creek really benefited from their past electoral promises and expenditures?

As a researcher, philanthropist, entrepreneur, grant writer, advocate, professional ……but more importantly a proud resident of Pincher Creek, I believe that the community of Pincher Creek deserves better. To do more than just survive………let’s have a collective agreement to expect more from OUR municipal staff and representatives, that they be held accountable and provide us consistent integral best practices in their work for our community.

Together, we can make the Town of Pincher Creek THRIVE ….

                                            …… for our children and generations to come!

D. Gray

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