Monday, April 30, 2012

Pennies for polio

Art exhibit gets glowing reception at Lebel

Toni Lucas and Chris Davis, Pincher Creek Voice

"Invitation" (detail) by Kari Lehr
Art lovers gathered at the Lebel Mansion on Saturday afternoon, April 28 to sample the artwork of Karen Tamminga-Paton and Kari Lehr at an opening reception.  The collection, titled "Re-assembled", will be on display at the Lebel art gallery throughout May and June.

The event was very well attended, with art connoisseurs of all ages dropping in over the course of the afternoon to have a look.

Pincher Creek's Allied Arts Council prides itself on exhibiting quality original works, and this collection is certainly exceptional.

Karen Tamminga-Paton and Kari Lehr
C. Davis photo
"We are good friends and we also happen to be neighbours," explained Karen Tamminga-Paton.  "We spend a lot of time talking about art, and going to each others studios.  This is actually the first time that we have had our art in the same room together."

"It has been so much fun to have the art meet each other.  We have influenced, and informed each others work, and I think that we have added a lot of dimension to our work through our conversations."

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Out and about April 23 - 29, 2012

Random stuff we've seen around the area over the last week.

C. Davis photo
We took a long drive in the rural areas south of Pincher Creek on Saturday. It started off cloudy, but soon enough the sun came out, making for a gorgeous late afternoon of photography.

Abandoned house near Shell-Waterton
C. Davis photo

The wild crocuses are in bloom. Bring on summer!
T. Lucas photo

Artist Kari Lehr
C. Davis photo
^Crowsnest Pass artist Kari Lehr was at the opening reception of "Re-assembled", an exhibit of artworks by her and Karen Tamminga-Paton at the Lebel Mansion. Put on by the Pincher Creek Allied Arts Council, the exhibit will be on display for May and June. Watch for a more comprehensive story in the Voice soon.

One of the many fascinating pieces for sale
at the Allied Arts Council gift shop, located in the
Lebel Mansion.
C. Davis photo

C. Davis photo
Renovations to the exterior are well underway at St. John's Anglican Church on Main Street, Pincher Creek. 

Halton emergency drill
C. Davis photo

Students at Matthew Halton School has a surprise emergency drill on Tuesday, April 24. Lucky for them is was pushing 30 degrees celcius that day. They got organized according to the plan, and then marched to the old pool building nearby on Main Street, which has been designated as their gathering place should an emergency force an evacuation at the school.

Pump predicament
C. Davis photo 
The entrance to the Esso station on Waterton Avenue looks daunting, but owner Minju Lee assures everyone that although work is being done on the pavement surrounding one set of pumps, the other set is working fine.  Inside the station it's business as usual.
This young lady was the life of
the party at the Co-op AGM last week
C. Davis photo

We had the decided pleasure of running into our good friend Annie at
the Ranchland Mall on Saturday.
T. Lucas photo

Cameron Spence and Marty Eberth of  Travel Alberta with Bev Thornton
T. Lucas photo
^The Alberta Southwest Regional Economic Development Alliance held a meeting at the Heritage Inn on Wednesday, April 25 with a variety of tourism representatives to discuss Travel Alberta news, marketing strategies, and Alberta SW projects and marketing plans for 2012-2013.

One of the fascinating oddities to be seen at the
Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village is this home-made plow
C. Davis photo

Spring arrived at the Co-op Garden Centre last week
C. Davis photo

Additions to the rose garden next to Lebel Mansion are coming along nicely,
as seen here on Saturday, April 28
C. Davis photo

Karen Tamminga-Paton
C. Davis photo
^ At the opening for "Re-assembled", artist Karen Tamminga-Paton shows off her funky foreign footwear.

C. Davis photo

Alberta's New Clothes

Rob Bernshaw, Columnist, Pincher Creek Voice

It is the dawning of a new day here Alberta, where a new set of clothes has appeared in the Alberta Legislature, visible for all the world to see. It is great to see the shift in the MLA's of various parties heading into the Alberta Legislature.  It seems that Albertans have made their choice on the current political stage.

Some have cried and some have cried out in jubilation at the recent election results in Alberta.

With four more years of Progressive Conservative rule, only time will tell how Alberta of the future will look like.  In the Alberta of 1971 over 3/4 of eligible voters turned out in order to topple the Social Credit dynasty of the day, while here in the Alberta of 2012, slightly over half of eligible voter turnout was achieved. This was not enough to effect any major toppling in the Alberta political landscape, as a lot of pundits were predicting.

What does this mean for the average Albertan, that works hard to provide for themselves, is hard to say?  Will a lot of people benefit from being at the public trough, or will the official opposition, be able to hold feet to the fire, for all Albertans to benefit?

The Queen is not Dead - Short may She Reign

Phil Burpee, Columnist, Pincher Creek Voice
Phil Burpee
     Well, fancy that. Premier Redford has seen off the barbarians in handy fashion. The mighty and righteous Wildrose bosom-bus dropped its oil pan and had its pistons seize up with an awful screeching and clattering, even as it was highballing along the rose-petal highway to power and success. It couldn't happen to a nicer crowd, of course, but still, the astonishment was palpable as to just how spectacularly and thoroughly this grand bid for the driver's seat came off the rails. Such was the level of misappropriated confidence and hubris, that Wildrose leader Danielle Smith determined that it was safe to throw all caution to the wind and recklessly pander to the core element of her movement, a particularly unsavoury pack of rabid squirrels, mangy shin-humpers, and snoose-sucking mouth-breathers. We remember the mantra now as it scuttles off with its tail between its legs - .....'climate change is still a matter of debate, flat tax is good for Albertans, bad people go to hell, the judiciary impedes the will of the people, the law of opinion can and should supersede the law of the land, Dani-bucks for all my children, hydrocarbon royalties must be lowered to relieve undue pain and suffering for trans-global corporate behemoths, white people know best, social services belong in the private sector, old people are whiners, everybody in Calgary and Edmonton should drive cars, and Donald Duck never wore pants because he was a duck - duuh!.....' Quite the platform. Rocket science in a Crackerjack box.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

National Day of Mourning recognized in Pincher Creek

The Canadian flag flew at half-mast
at Pincher Creek Hospital today
C. Davis photo

Toni Lucas, Pincher Creek Voice

The flag at the Pincher Creek Community Hospital and Health Centre was at half mast today to honour the National Day of Mourning, held on April 28 every year to remember workers who have been killed, suffer disease, or are injured at work. The goal for this day is to raise awareness and prevent injury and illness at the workplace, in the home, and in the community.

This memorial date was created by the Canadian Labour Congress. The Day of Mourning has since spread to approximately 80 countries around the world and has been adopted by the AFL-CIO and the International Confederation of Free Trade.

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, "The National Day of Mourning was officially recognized by the Federal Government in 1991, eight years after the day of remembrance was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress.

Co-op celebrates 90 years at AGM

Chris Davis, Pincher Creek Voice

Joyce Taylor and Barbara Dunbar
at the Pincher Creek Co-op AGM

C. Davis photos
The Pincher Creek Co-op was established 1922 as the result of a Pincher Creek Chapter UFA resolution in January of that year. It was established as an agricultural marketing co-operative for local ranchers and farmers to sell their produce to local consumers in the tough economic and agricultural environment that followed the First World War.*

The last few years have been filled with big changes for the Pincher Creek Co-op, starting with the complete remodelling of the grocery store, through to the completion of the new C-Store/gas bar last year.  Significantly increased competition has also created some challenges.

On the evening of April 26 Co-op management, staff, and members met at the Heritage Inn for the Annual General Meeting, filling the convention room.

For many present it was a first chance to see, hear, and meet new General Manager David Crowell, who recently became the 16th GM for the organization.

MC and retiring VP
Cliff Elle
Retiring Vice President Cliff Elle acted as emcee for the event. Director Ed Janzen started things off by saying grace before attendees lined up at the buffet tables.

After everyone had eaten their fill of a roast beef dinner with all the fixings, the meeting proper began.

Co-op President 
Grace MacMillan
First, Recording Secretary Joyce Taylor read the minutes of the last AGM, after which President Grace MacMillan read her report. She said notable highlights of the past year included General Manager Bruce Buckingham  moving on to another assignment after 4 1/2 years, the hiring of David Crowell as the new General Manager, and that the Co-op appeared to be on track for the General Cash Repayment Plan to commence in 2014.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Multiple Fatality Collision on Highway 63 near Fort MacMurray

Updated 1:20 am, April 28

Boyle and Wood Buffalo RCMP, along with other emergency crews, responded to what they describe as a horrific motor vehicle collision located at KM marker 88, on Highway 63.  RCMP confirmed that the head-on collision between two pick-up trucks has left seven people dead and two others seriously or critically injured.

Preliminary reports indicate that a northbound pick-up truck, carrying three occupants, pulled out to pass another vehicle, and then collided with a southbound pick-up truck, carrying six occupants. There was a significant fire as a result of the impact. Three of the deceased were traveling in the northbound truck.

Motorists are reminded to be careful when traveling south of Fort McMurray as the weather and road conditions remain unfavourable.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pincher Creek and area's emergency siren policy

Pincher Creek Emergency Services
Pincher Creek Community Emergency Management Agency

Public Information Release

The communities of Pincher Creek, Cowley and Lundbreck all have sirens attached to their fire halls.  In the past these sirens had a number of different uses including sounding at certain times every day (noon for example).

The sirens have not been used for a number of years.  The Pincher Creek Community Emergency Management Agency sees that they could be an effective tool to alert our communities to an emergency.

We are therefore implementing a policy where these sirens may be used to alert people when we have an emergency.  In the interest of having an easy policy to remember, if requested the sirens will be used to put out a single continuous tone.  This tone will last for one minute.  If more than one tone is requested the next tone will be five minutes after the previous one, again for one minute.

The sirens may be sounded for a number of different reasons such as:

  • Help is required in filling sandbags
  • An evacuation is occurring due to some event
  • A major fire requiring evacuation is occurring
  • Other volunteer help is needed

Alberta Emergency Alert
When you hear the siren there is an ongoing emergency event and you should check for information on what to do:

  • Check Alberta Emergency Alert’s website at
  • A dedicated phone line has been set up to release information to the public during emergency events at 1-855-627-5365.
  • Tune to local radio stations for news updates.

The week of May 6-12 is Emergency Preparedness Week.
As a test, at noon on Saturday, May 12 the emergency sirens will be sounded.
Local activities will be held on Saturday, May 12th at the Ranchland Mall (Co-Op) from 9:30 AM to 2 PM.  Please come out and talk to local emergency service agencies about tips on how to ensure your family’s safety.

Watch for further details in next week’s local media.

Granum Drop In Centre B&E reported

In the early morning hours of April 17, 2012 the drop in centre in Granum, Alberta was broken into. The suspect(s) smashed the front door to gain entry into the centre. The suspects also forced entry into several rooms inside the centre, damaging the doors.  It does not appear that anything was taken from the property.

The Fort Macleod RCMP is continuing to investigate this occurrence and would ask anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the Fort Macleod RCMP Detachment at 403-553-7200 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

MD Council notes, April 24 meeting

Chris Davis, Pincher Creek Voice

The Municipal District of Pincher Creek No. 9 Council met on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 24.  Reeve Rod Zielinski was absent.  Deputy Reeve Terry Yagos chaired the meeting.  Also in attendance were councillors Bjorn Berg, Helen Cyr, Rod Cyr, and CAO Wendy Kay.

Related story: Final Mile Rural Connectivity Initiative gets go-ahead from MD Council

Texas Gate Policy adopted 
The draft of Texas Gate Policy 302 came back from the Agricultural Service Board with slight changes.  It was then fine-tuned for wording by Council
With the amendments, the Policy was unanimously approved by Council.

Search and Rescue trailer insurance coverage under MD's policy denied
At their April 10 meeting Council received a request from Search and Rescue to include a recently purchased storage trailer under the MD's insurance policy.
The trailer is intended for storage and hauling equipment.  The MD's insurer advised that they are not able to insure the vehicle under the MD's policy.

Elected Officials Training Policy passes
After some rewording, the Elected Officials Training Policy was passed unanimously by Council.
The Policy supports any MD resident who wishes to take the Elected Officials Education Program (EOEP) courses offered by the Alberta Elected Officials Education Program Corporation at their own expense.  If that person was to become elected in a future local government election the MD would reimburse their registration costs, on confirmation of a passing grade.

Grader purchase passes 
With Councillor Helen Cyr opposed, MD Council okayed the purchase of a new grader.

Out of four bids, Director of Operations Leo Reedyk recommended the purchase of a Cat 160M AWD from Finning, which he said was the only bid that met all of the specifications.  The quoted price was $424,450, considerably higher than the $399,280 originally budgeted for the purchase.

Councillors Helen Cyr and Bjorn Berg expressed their dissatisfaction at the discrepancy between the Public Works estimate and the actual price. "I'm not very happy with this, staying with one company when there is so much difference in price," said Councillor Helen Cyr.  "I don't like dealing with them over a barrel with this kind of increase."

The $25,170 upwards discrepancy in price will come out of the  Public Works Capital Reserve.

Castle Crown Wilderness Coalition weed-pull funding approved
Weed pull funding in the amount of $1,000 was unanimously approved for the Castle Crown Wilderness Association's 5th annual weed-pull, which is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, July 25.
Council directed that future funding requests by Castle Crown will be directed to Joint Funding.

Cowley Lions request for gravel approved
The Cowley Lions' request for gravel to finish work on 5 new campsites and a newly buried electrical line at Lundbreck Falls was approved unanimously by council, up to 150 cubic metres.  The Cowley Lions have arranged for the trucking.

Council funds UFA Safety Smarts Program 
Council approved a $1,449 funding request for the UFA Safety Smarts Program, and directed that future requests will be directed to Joint Funding.  The program educates students about the hazards associated with rural living.

Dust Control Policy 307 amended
Dust Control Policy 307 Schedule A amendments passed unanimously.  The amendments are updated annually to provide a list of areas to be included in dust suppression efforts.

Council to request reconvening the Oldman River Dam Environmental Advisory Committee

With several members of Council mentioning weed and mussel concerns near the Oldman River Dam, it was unanimously decided to ask the Minister of Alberta Environment to reconvene the Oldman River Dam Environmental Advisory Committee.  In the committee's final report, released in 2010, it suggested it should be revived in ten-year's time to review the "success of further mitigation and implementation of the recommendations".

Landfill road paving tender approved in principle
Central City Asphalt Ltd. submitted the lowest bid for paving of the landfill road at $2,997,638.20.  Genivar reviewed the tenders and projected a total project cost of $3,609,273.53, significantly less than the $3,655,00 budgeted.  The Landfill Association has indicated it is willing to cost-share in the project.

Director of Operations Leo Reedyk said the MD should now have discussions with the Landfill Association prior to signing the contract.

The MD's share of the funding would come out of the Roads Reserve

Council unanimously approved, providing the MD's portion of the funding does not exceed $3,000,000.  The project could start as soon as May 7 of this year.

New MD Building moves forward
Council directed Administration to prepare a rezoning application for the  site of the proposed new MD Administration building.   A Public Hearing to consider rezoning  will be required by the Town of Pincher Creek.
(See correction at the bottom of this article)

Ladies Social Club of Cowley to celebrate a century of service
In a letter to Councillor Bjorn Berg, Jo Anne Elliott recounted the Ladies Social Club's long history and inquired if there would be any funding available for their upcoming celebrations.

According to Elliott, the club was formed in 1913 as a social club for local farm women.

Excerpt from Jo Anne Elliott's letter:
"Over the years we have knitted socks for soldiers and raised funds for the Red Cross.  In 1924 we took over the job of looking after the Livingstone Cemetary. In the forties we catered to auction sales.  In 1988 or 1989 we installed a large rock at the Livingstone Cemetary and we have raised a flag there ever since.  In 1993 we planted a crabapple tree at the cemetary.  We provide lunches for funerals in Cowley when asked.  We have also catered to other functions when asked.
Every year in November we donate excess funds to different groups sucha as Search and Rescue, Stars, the Pincher Creek Women's Shelter, and others depending on how much money we have."

The Ladies Social Club of Cowley will be holding a special celebration and tea at Cowley Hall on Friday, June 1 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. and the public will be welcome to attend.

(My favourite quote from this meeting: "It might be gavel time" - Deputy Reeve Terry Yagos)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Final Mile Rural Connectivity Initiative gets go-ahead from MD Council

Chris Davis, Pincher Creek Voice

The Final Mile Rural Connectivity Initiative was again a topic of discussion for The MD of Pincher Creek No. 9 Council at their April 24 meeting. The Provincial initiative aims to ensure that 97% of Albertans have access to high-speed internet, with an emphasis on rural areas.

According to Director of Operations Leo Reedyk's report on the subject:
    "There are a number of residents within the municipality that do not currently have high speed internet access via hard wire or radio transmission. The Provincial Government has indicated that the initiative applies to households who have a download speed less than 1.5Mbps. The majority of users within the Municipal District have service above the threshold. When discussing the initiative with a local internet service provider the we were advised that installing additional towers and infrastructure for the few households per location was cost prohibitive for service providers to do alone." 
Reedyk advised Council that they should determine whether to pursue the project further and if so they should prepare a request for proposals.  According to his report, "In order to develop the proposal to a workable and fair arrangement, a request for proposals would need to be initiated to identify companies who are prepared to partner with the municipality on this initiative."

Deputy Reeve Yagos wondered "What might happen to local companies like Tough Country if we go ahead with this?"  Reedyk said it would likely be a more expensive service, and could possibly provide a better service than that currently in place in some areas.

"Where does the MD qualify?" Yagos asked.  Reedyk replied that potential areas might be in areas like Maycroft Road, Castle River Flats around Highway 507, Gladstone Valley, Spread Eagle Road, the east end of Halifax Flats, and north of Spring Point Colony.  A total of 8 areas in the MD were identified as being potentially eligible.

Reedyk reminded Council that there was a stringent criteria for Provincial funding, which among other things would require the MD to maintain the infrastructure for five years.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development would be the granting agency for the initiative.  If approved, Provincial funding would pay for 75% of the project.  The MD would have to ensure the remainder was covered, an amount estimated in 2003 at $50,000.

Reedyk also suggested the finished result might accommodate MD communications greatly, reducing the need for multiple kinds of communication gear needed to cover the rural areas by MD workers.

Council voted unanimously to accept a motion by Councillor Berg to approve Reedyk's recommendations and write a request for proposals.

Badminton tournament held on Saturday

The Badminton Districts Junior High League Tournament was held last Saturday, April 21 at Matthew Halton and St. Michael's  schools.  Participating schools from around the region included Saint Michael's (STM), Matthew Halton (MHHS), Livingstone (LHS), JT Foster (JTF), Willow Creek Composite (WCCHS), Crowsnest Consolidated (CCHS), and FP Walshe (FPW).


Bantom Division (Grade 7)
Boys singles:

  • Brady Douglas- LHS-Gold
  • Caden Raptie- WCCHS-Silver

Girls Singles: 

  • Isabelle Charette-STM-Gold
  • Erinn McRoe-JTF-Silver 

Dyson Lytwyn
T Lucas photo
Boys Doubles:

  • Michael Svab & Tom Wolshe- STM-Gold
  • Adam Steele & Dyson Lytwyn- WCCHS-Silver

Emma Parkson and Baylie Martine
T. Lucas photo
Girls Doubles:

  • Jamime Tricker & Kayla Benedict- WCCHS- Gold
  • Emma Parkson & Baylie Martine- JTF- Silver

Mixed Doubles:

  • Simon Burke & Anna Koevoet- CCHS- Gold
  • Luke Legault & Allison Almond- JTF- Silver

Midget Division (Grade 8) 
Kevin Gfrerer and Derek Tarcon
C. Davis photo
Boys Singles:

  • Kevin Gfrerer- CCHS- Gold
  • Derek Tarcon- CCHS- Silver

Girls Singles:

  • Leilani St. Onge- WCCHS- Gold
  • Georgia Robinson- JTF- Silver

Boys Doubles:

  • Cody Robachaud & Kaiden Kohut- JTF- Gold
  • Austin Lindsell & Brendan Attrill- WCCHS- Silver

Girls Doubles:

  • Anita Vanrootselaar & Layne Burton- WCCHS- Gold
  • Brooke McLaren & Rachel Walker- JTF- Silver

Juvenile (Grade 9)
Rap Palao
T. Lucas photo
Boys Singles:

  • Aidan Kidd- FPW- Gold
  • Rap Palao- STM- Silver 

Girls Singles:

  • Kim Vanrootselaar- WCCHS- Gold
  • Chantelle Legault- JTF- Silver

Boys Doubles: 

  • Jaxson Anderson & Gavin Burns- WCCHS- Gold 

Girls Doubles:

  • Natalie Thyssen & Gloria Boyle- WCCHS- Gold 
  • Michelle Weeres & Jayci Blake- JTF- Silver

Colton Ball and Janet Taylor
T. Lucas photo
Mixed Doubles

  • Colton Ball & Jan Taylor –MHHS- Gold
  • Conor Beagrie & Jen Walker- JTF- Silver 

Coming up, the Far West Zone Qualifier is being held in the Crowsnest Pass on Thursday, April 26.  Zones will be held on Saturday, May 5 in Medicine Hat.

The Senior High Districts Zone Qualifier was held on April 18 in Pincher Creek.

Town declines to attend Calgary Home and Garden Show in 2013

Chris Davis, Pincher Creek Voice

The Town of Pincher Creek Economic Development Department will not be participating in the 2013 Calgary Home and Garden Show.

The Town has attended the show for a number of years.  The Pincher Creek and District Historical Society (PCDHS), which manages the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village, has been the managing partner for the endeavour for the last three years, and bookings for next year's show are already due.  In the past PCDHS has booked a large block of space at the show that has been filled with various partners from this region.

At their April 24 meeting Town Council voted unanimously to decline the invitation to attend next year, based upon a recommendation and Request for Decision signed by Economic Development Officer Wendy Kalkan and Town CAO Laurie Wilgosh, following a recommendation to decline to attend made at the April 5 Committee of the Whole meeting.

The Request for Decision reads in part "The writer believes Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village will adequately represent Pincher Creek at the 2013 Calgary Home and Garden Trade Show, and that Town of Pincher Creek Economic Development is able to achieve similar awareness and promotion through some of the other marketing, promotion and trade show options and strategies discussed at the April 5, 2012 Committee of the Whole meeting."

Town of Pincher Creek Mill Rate increases 4.2%

Chris Davis, Pincher Creek Voice

At their April 24 meeting Pincher Creek's Town Council voted unanimously to amend the 2012 budget and increase the property tax rate for 2012 by 4.2%

Originally the rate was to be much lower, at 2.5%, with new tax revenue due to growth exceeding expectations.  Projected tax revenue growth was $22,000 but was actually $61,150.

The budget was amended to reflect additional dollars required for the Education and Pincher Creek Foundation requisitions.  The Pincher Creek Foundation manages Crestview Lodge.

According to a mill rate document provided by the Town, the following is the summary of the increased service and revenue costs:

  • 1.1% Municipal tax increase to fund Town services
  • 0.5% Pincher Creek Foundation increase
  • 2.6% School Foundation increase

The Education Requisition increased by $130,629 (12%) more than 2011;  The Pincher Creek Foundation Requisition increased by $22,654 (29.5%) more than  2011.

Property taxes are calculated by multiplying your current property assessment by the mill rate.

Pincher Creek Curling Club brings new building proposal back to Town Council

Chris Davis - Pincher Creek Curling Club President Randy Elliott acted as the main spokesman of a four person delegation that appeared before Pincher Creek's Town Council on Tuesday evening, April 24.  Elliott said that, having considered and measured other sites and possibilities, the club had come to the conclusion that constructing a new facility adjacent to the Pincher Creek Golf Course clubhouse was the best option for replacing the present aging curling rink and clubhouse, which is located on Main Street between Sobey's and the MCC arena.

"Of all the sites we looked at, the one that best suits we think would be the golf course," Elliott said. "At our last meeting with the Town and the Rec Board we were asked to put in a final proposal concerning the curling facility in the town of Pincher Creek," he explained.  "We had the drawings and the measurements for the proposed building so we went to four separate sites to see if the sites would accommodate the building and the necessary parking."

Elliott gave a rundown of the sites that had been considered.

Of the golf course location he said "At the golf course we measured up right beside the parking lot between the maintenance road and number 7 tee-off box, and the building is 194 feet long, and there was 250 from the edge of the ditch to the back end of the tee-off box.  It would fit there and there's lots of width."

"We checked number 2 soccer pit behind the pool and the library," he continued. "The site is big enough to accommodate a curling rink, but if there was ever a new arena to be attached to it there wouldn't be enough room."

"Site number 3 was the AG grounds, and again that was large enough to accommodate the building but the utilities and the waste-water would be a large issue in that area."

"Site number 4 was relocating lobby end of the curling rink club to the back end between the curling club and the old pool, and by the time you would pay to have everything removed with all utilities, building, and moving the ice plant and everything else, we're already up to a million dollars.  I don't think it's worth putting a million dollars into that building.  The ice surface there is only good for another ten years or so."

Elliot also explained that the projected costs of the proposed new structure came from several local businesses, two different prices came from Star Tech for the ice plant that would be needed, and an estimated cost for demolishing the present building was provided by Three Rivers.

Included in the proposal package were leases from curling facilities in Fort Macleod and Crowsnest Pass for comparison.

The price for a new facility was estimated to be $1,660,130 according to one plan, or $1,600,835 to the other. Both proposals state "Unforseen, permits, licenses, registrations and forgotten probably add $50,000 to $100,000 to the price."

"We're in the process of raising money by grants," Elliott continued. "We hired a person to help us out in that end of it.  We started a building fund, and we're hoping to continue with building-fund fundraisers.  We've asked different facilities and clubs around town for a letter of support, and we'd appreciate it if we could get a letter from the Town also."

According to Elliott construction would take six to seven months, and the club would aim at opening the new facility in time for the 2013-2014 season.  

Councillor Sahra Hancock had a number of questions for Elliott, primarily focusing on who would own the club, and who would maintain it.

"One of the things reading through this that I wasn't clear on, are you requesting permission to build on any of these locations, or are you asking the Town to build it?"
"We're a volunteer club," Elliott replied.  "There's no way we can do it."

"What is the model that is being suggested," asked Hancock, wondering if the club would operate it or the Town would.  Curling club Vice President Rick Visser indicated that the lease arrangements of the Fort Macleod and Crowsnest Pass clubs had been included to demonstrate models that were being used elsewhere.

Councillor Hancock continued to be concerned about the costs of maintaining the building and operating costs.  "In my mind, building something is the easiest part," she said.  "This community built a 4 million dollar pool in a fairly short order, and now we've got a million dollars annual operating expenses on that. We've got a half-million dollar operating expense on the arena, which I think would be a comparable dollar figure. They operate on the same time line, and have the same kind of ice-plant maintenance, and that kind of stuff."

"Would the curling club look after the building," interject Mayor Ernie Olsen, "I think is the biggest thing here, no matter who builds it."

"I think we would be," said Elliott.  "I think we would be doing the ice, I think we would be doing our janitorial,and stuff like that, but I think when you get to the equipment such as the ice-plant, for example, that's a big expense for us.  In the Crowsnest Pass the municipality is looking after the maintenance of that because it is their equipment."

"Sure, we would look after when we're using it, but as far as repairs and stuff, when it's a municipal building I don't think you can ask us to look after it," Elliott continued. "We may not look after it the way you want it looked after."      

Mayor Olsen noted that if the curling club looked after the facility during the approximately six months it used it, the Town would not face the high expenses it incurs at the arena, where Town personnel are onsite as much as 16 hours a day when in use.

Councillor Hancock was also worried that the proposed new rink would only have 6 months of dedicated use, and that renting it out the rest of the year for other functions would create competition for other Town facilities that provide such rental space.

"The decision is not just building a building, it's the 20 years of operating and maintaining and having it be cared for.  I think that's a bigger conversation than just saying 'here's a bit of land, let's go build a building' because we've got ongoing year-after-year ways that this will affect the Town's budget.  How do make sure it works, that there can be a curling facility in Pincher Creek, but that there  is enough foresight and planning going into it so that we're not being blind-sided for something that hadn't been planned for or thought about."

"The biggest problem is we're running out of time," replied Elliott.  "If we don't get something done soon we can forget about curling in Pincher Creek.  The engineer's report says that building is done in two more years."

Councillor Don Anderberg said "There should be some background here with respect to curling facilities and municipalities in the Province of Alberta.  "I would say that this curling facility in the Town of Pincher Creek is one of the few that are privately owned or owned by a society such as the Pincher Creek Curling Club.  The vast majority of curling rinks in the Province...are owned by the municipalities.  There are several municipalities that are building curling rinks, because they see the value of curling to their communities.  It's one of the few sports that you can participate in from a young age, probably 6 years-old, to 80-plus years-old, and it's one of the few sports where that 6 year old and that 80 year-old can participate in the same game, compete against each other, and actually have a good game."  Anderberg also mentioned the many other facilities in town that operate within a six month window. "If it's done right, this facility could be used 12 months of the year.  If it's at the golf course, the golf course could use it in the summertime."      

"The decision has to be made one way or the other here," Councillor Anderberg continued.  "The Curling Club has done everything it has been asked to do by the Town Council and the Recreation Board to get information to bring forward."

"Council supports curling in Pincher Creek," he said.  "It's on the record.  I think we should move ahead and find a way to make it happen."

"Saying you support curling in Pincher Creek is different from say you're going to fund curling in Pincher Creek," Councillor Hancock replied.

Councillor Wayne Oliver asked if why the old clubhouse could not be torn down and replaced with a new structure in the present location, and was told by Randy Elliott that the cost would be quite prohibitive, and given the short lifespan left on the rink not worth it, adding that modern rules governing public facilities for things such as wheelchair ramps could not be accommodated by the present rink.

"You guys have done everything we've asked of you," Mayor Olsen told the Curling Club delegation. "It's time for Council to discuss it, and then it would have to go to a public hearing."  He said he would try to have the issue put on the agenda for Council's upcoming retreat on May 5.  The lease is going to be the biggest part of it."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Canyon kids clean up

Chris Davis, Pincher Creek Voice

Clean up time!
C. Davis photos

Grade 3 students of Canyon School braved brisk winds and more than their fair share of yucky stuff today, April 24, to help keep our town clean.  They cleaned up garbage of all types from the areas around the AG grounds as their part of the ongoing Community Clean-up.

LRSD announces Leadership Positions

LRSD news release

Livingstone Range School Division is pleased to announce the appointment of two coordinator positions for the 2012-2013 school year.

Lorna Adrian will serve as Coordinator, Learning Services and Chad Kuzyk will fill the role of Coordinator, Technology and Learning Services. They will work together with Crystal Good Rider, FNMI Lead Teacher, to support the delivery of educational programs to all students. Their collective focus includes the delivery of curriculum, student assessment, learning support services and the effective use of technology to deliver educational programs.

Lorna Adrian has worked in Livingstone Range School Division as a teacher, Divisional Social
Studies Lead Teacher and, most recently, as the School Improvement Facilitator.

Chad Kuzyk joined the staff of Canyon School in 2010 as Assistant Principal. His previous teaching experience in both elementary and junior high schools in Ontario and Okotoks, Alberta will serve him well in his new position.

“I believe that Lorna, Chad and Crystal will make a dynamic team and know that they will work together to support student learning”, said Superintendent Ellie Elliott.

Livingstone Range School Division #68 has 15 schools and 12 Hutterite colony schools in southwestern Alberta.  The division office is located in Claresholm, Alberta.

Early morning garbage can fires doused

Toni Lucas, Pincher Creek Voice

According to Pincher Creek Fire Chief Dave Cox,  the Fire Department put out two garbage can fires in the early hours of Tuesday morning, April 24.  The first was along Main Street at about 2:00 am, the second was along the creek path, approximately one block west of the fire hall, at approximately 3:00 am.

Emergency Services respond to grass fire east of Pincher Creek

Chris Davis, Pincher Creek Voice

Emergency services from Pincher Creek, Piikani, Cowley, and the RCMP responded to a grass fire east of Pincher Creek this morning, at a property located south of Highway 3.

The fire started at approximately 10:00 am, and was under control by 11:00 am.

Multiple RCMP cars and officers responded, limiting access to the scene.  According to Fire Chief Dave Cox, Pincher Creek responded with 3 units including a tender, and Engines 43 and 11.  Peigan Fire responded with 4 units, including 2 engines and a bush truck.  Cowley Fire responded with 1 engine.  Beaver Mines responded with Engine 31.

Site of grass fire east of Pincher Creek
C. Davis photos

Cox said the fire was sparked along the CPR tracks.   Low humidity and high winds contributed to it spreading fairly rapidly.  A house and outbuildings were threatened.  A utility trailer was damaged  in the blaze, a wood pile was destroyed, and the overstructure to a well was destroyed, likely necessitating the well to be cleaned out.

Fire crews remained on the scene until about 3 pm, mopping up old railway-tie piles and burning material on the interior of the fire.   CPR traffic was halted and remained so until the fire was managed.

A possible small flareup at the site is currently being investigated by Chief Cox at time of publication of this story.

updated to include the participation of Beaver Mines Fire with Engine 31

RCMP warns of home improvement scams

  • Yearly Movement of “Travelers” to Canada to Conduct Home Improvement Scams

Known in enforcement circles as “Travelers”, these are a distinct group of nomadic individuals that arrive in Canada (from the USA, the United Kingdom and Ireland) and operate as unlicensed, itinerant contractors.  These groups  often reside in campgrounds or  trailers parks just outside major urban centers working the rural peripheries of the larger centers and small rural communities. They tend to visit southern Alberta in the spring each year.  These groups run scams involving paving, painting, roofing, rain gutters, chimney repair or any other home renovations.

A typical sales pitch is that they are working in the neighborhood and can offer a reduced rate for  a particular job.  Their work may be of poor quality and the consumer often ends up paying considerably more to fix the shoddy outcome. Targets of these groups are often seniors who succumb to high pressure sales tactics .  The Travelers constantly, and aggressively, approach their victims until they have received as much money as the scam artist feels he/she can get out of the victim.

Possible warning signs:

  • knock on your door offering a special price because they just happen to be doing work in the area.
  • promise a discount if you allow them to use your home to advertise their work (The same offer is likely made to everyone).
  • quote a price without seeing the actual job
  • demand a large down payment for materials
  • conduct a free inspection of your home and then suggest major repairs 
  • unmarked truck or van with out of province licence plates
  • no business identification
  • local address or phone number
  • no local references

The RCMP would like to make the public aware of these potential  scams.  Education, prevention and consumer awareness are the best ways to deal with unscrupulous contractors.  Investigations, after the fact, may not have successful outcomes: these individuals typically stay in a community for only a short time, making it difficult for police to identify, locate and, when possible, obtain evidence and charge them.  It is important for homeowners to know their rights and the protections that exist so that they can be confident in the people they hire.  Service Alberta has an eight page Home Renovations Tipsheet that helps homeowners determine a qualified and competent contractor at

The RCMP suggests that consumers use caution when accepting unsolicited offers for service, especially if the person is using one of the above mentioned techniques to obtain your business.

To report a scam occurring in your area, please contact your local RCMP Detachment.

Pincher Creek RCMP: 403-627300

The 2012 Graduates of Piikani Nation Secondary School

Spiritriver Striped Wolf

Spiritriver Striped Wolf, Columnist, Pincher Creek Voice

This year I’m actually graduating from PNSS. The Grad ceremony is on June 1—Although time and date isn’t totally written in stone until we give out the invitations, though I will post when we decide on a for sure time. Anyone’s free to come and share this special time with us graduates, in fact having people from the community of Pincher or else where to share this day with us would be really awesome.

It’s actually going to be quite a unique Graduation. It’s free to come to the event and around 5 to 10 dollars for a plate of food (Prices haven’t been written in stone either). Because it’s a small high school, it’s going to be a grad/prom event, with only the graduates, their dates, their families, and those awesome to show up for the traditional graduation ceremony, then at the end of the grad, a dance.

Graduates Eva-Mai, Leland, and Alex
Spiritriver Striped Wolf  photo
I really hope it works out great since this is a very historic moment in the lives of those graduating, and with limited funds, it’ll be difficult, but at least we’ll be able to make the best of it. We’ve been fundraising like crazy, really; we’ve done raffles, bake sales, we’ve served hot meals, and even did a flea market at Co-op and we’re definitely not done. It’s a really good experience fundraising to have an awesome grad, and it’ll totally be worth it knowing we worked for our special day together.

Graduate Tamara
Spiritriver Striped Wolf photo
There’s six graduating from Brocket school this year, a small number, however I think we’ve kind of bonded. We’re a bunch that are very different in personality, yet it’s almost like we’re family. It’s kind of corny, but it’s the benefit of graduating with a small number of peers that you know well during your high school year that pulls you together, especially with the whole ordeal with having to raise funds for the success of our event. Either way, whether our day isn’t as spectacular as most grad and proms are, we’ll still be there with the knowledge that we made it—and that’s something not a whole lot of people can say.

Graduates catering for the “Youth and Education meeting for donations
Spiritriver Striped Wolf photo

If you would like to donate for the success of our Grad and Prom the address and phone number of our treasurer is:
Box 3178 Brocket Alberta T0K 0H0
Leland English

I’ll have a lot for the Voice in a couple weeks or so. The Pow Wow that I was going to cover was postponed to May 11, which is hosted by the “Piikani Youth Chief and Council”. If you’d like to experience this event, it will be at the Community Hall in Brocket. I’m not so sure what else will be taking place in May, but you can count on me for finding any and all happenings in Brocket.

Thanks for reading! If you would like, you can contact me by email at, or you can just post a comment here.

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