Reporting on the Municipality
I attended the new Crowsnest Pass Branding Unveiling Public Open House, tonight at the Elk's Hall (6:00 pm - 8:00 pm).
It seemed to be a very quiet affair. There were a few councillors milling around the room and several key Municipal higher-up's. I did not see the Mayor. He must have been gone by the time I got there, at 6:30 pm. Other than that, in the time that I was there, I could count on my two hands the number of the general public who turned out for the event.
Is this a sign of indifference or apathy? Or is it a sign of something bigger? Are people around here just finally fed up with how things are going!?!? Do they just not give a damn? Or are they protesting in their own way by not attending? The event was advertised, so I know it was not because they did not know it was happening.
Of course, you know that the Municipality media will put a very different spin on things. "It was a tremendous turnout!! Very well attended!!" -- Just you wait and see!! The pictures will show lots of people there. But those pictures will most likely be of the pre-public Gala. Key members of our community were invited before-hand for a very special Wine & Hor d'oeuvres Presentation.
If you didn't get a special fancy invitation, then you were not important enough.
I must say that the new Brand looked interesting enough.
The graphic is unique but fairly simplistic.The explanation behind it does make sense, in it's own way. I have posted a picture of it below this post. The Catch Phrase is appealing. I am sure some people will love it.
However, I must say that by the time I got home, I had forgotten what it was. It was a good thing I bought home the printed material because I have had to refer to it a couple of times, to remind myself what it is. In fact, as I sit here writing this post, I had to glance at it again to refresh my memory. That can not be a good sign. Either I am getting old and losing my memory or the slogan they picked just isn't catchy enough.
Maybe it's a bit of both.
Well, I'll let you decide. Have a peak below. Soon enough it will be everywhere and on everything Municipality related. It is our New BRAND!!! It is "Naturally Rewarding".
For more information on the new branding go here
OR: Click on Picture's Below to Enlarge and read explanation.
|Monthly Ratepayer's Public Meeting
Wednesday January 23rd, at 7:00 pm
Location: Coleman Legion - Upstairs
New members encouraged to attend. Memberships will be available for $5.00.
Topics of discussion:
- Update on Crowsnest Pass Municipal Inspection
- December 21st Meeting with CAO Myron Thompson
- Contractors & Consultants Costs
- Municipal Master Fire Plan
- Open discussion and Q & A to follow
NEWS RELEASE | Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Mayor and Council Welcome Minister's Involvement
Inquiry will help to confirm practices and policies of Crowsnest Pass
(Crowsnest Pass, AB.) Yesterday, in a letter sent
to Crowsnest Pass Mayor Bruce Decoux, Alberta's Minister of Municipal Affairs
Doug Griffiths advised that he will conduct a municipal inspection of the policies
and practices of the municipality in response to a petition received by his
office. According to the Minister's letter, the objective of the inspection was
"to support the role of Council and administration in providing local
government services in the community."
"We welcome Minister Griffith's review of our
community's practices and policies and appreciate the inspection's importance
in clarifying the value of the services and decisions that we make each and
every day to support Crowsnest Pass," said Mayor Bruce Decoux. "We
value the fact that the Municipal Government Act within this province allows
for checks and balances in the operations of local governments so as to protect
communities and individuals. Having an oversight system in place strengthens
democracy and helps to build strong and vibrant communities," said Decoux.
Mayor Decoux and Council are determined to ensure
that community members feel confident in their local government and the
decisions that are made on behalf of our citizens. According to the Minister's
letter, an inspector will be appointed who will have broad access to any matter
connected with the management, administration or operation of the municipality.
Once complete, the inspection report is generally presented in an advertised
"Council and our administration will continue
to serve in an open and transparent manner and we will continue to be
accessible to the community we serve and to make decisions that will strengthen
our community which we all value," said Mayor Decoux. "We will do
everything in our power to support the Ministry of Municipal Affairs as it
moves forward with its inspection."
For more information contact:
Thompson, Chief Administrative Officer Municipality of Crowsnest Pass firstname.lastname@example.org |
Well, the petition has made it's way up north, to Edmonton, yesterday, Thursday November 1st, 2012. The petition has just over 2500 names of concerned Crowsnest Pass residents, asking for the intervention of the Minister of Municipal Affairs, the Honourable Doug Griffiths, into the Municipality, including the CAO, CFO, Mayor and council.
A delegation, made up of several of the Executive of the Crowsnest Pass Ratepayers, tried to present the petition the Minister of Municipal Affairs himself. However, Mr. Griffiths was unavailable to meet with this Crowsnest Pass contingent, in person. Instead, his Press Secretary met the group and accepted the petition on his behalf. The Press Secretary talked briefly to the group while the media filmed this meeting.
Back here in the Pass, rumors and questions abound.
The big question being: "Will the Minister intervene?"
Time will only tell.
CTV Lethbridge and Global have the story. You can watch them below:
The following is the CTV news story update on the Crowsnest Pass Ratepayers petition, reported on October 30, 2012.
It includes an short interview with our mayor Bruce Decoux.
More than 40% of the eligible Pass residents have signed the petition. The petition has 2485 signatures.
Watch the news story below:
The facts about the
action item in the Community Strategic Action Plan — The Crowsnest Pass does not need 2
The Library Board presented a
recommendation to Municipal Council in June 2011, to close the Bellevue
Council made a motion at this
meeting to accept the Board’s recommendation. Council voted 3 in favour, 3 against so the
motion was defeated. Three of the Board
members handed in
letters of resignation. The following
week Municipal Council called a special meeting to have
another vote. The vote this time was unanimous to accept the Board’s recommendation
to close the Bellevue
Why did three councilors
change their minds? The Board members
were then asked to withdraw
their resignation, and they did.
The Bellevue Library was closed on June
The Library Board did
a press release on June 3/2011 that stated “there are no plans to change
On August 17/2011, I
received a hand delivered letter from the Chair of the Board. “This letter
serves to confirm that my
employment with the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass Library, and all benefits,
is TERMINATED WITHOUT
CAUSE, effective August 17/2012. This
termination is considered “working notice”.
Imagine how I felt,
that in a years’ time, I would no longer be working in my profession that I had
been employed in for 20
To add insult to injury the Board had provided a false press release to
the public about staffing.
Press release on August 26/2011, states, by
the Chair of the Board, “that a Library Technician is being sought for a term position.
Library Board hired a full time Library
Technician on October 3/2011.
Her position, Senior
Library Manager of the Crowsnest Pass Library. A full time position is not a term position.
How has this action
affected the community?
Is the service
more efficient, more effective, and more
These questions can only be answered by the
public who are using the public service, or by the public who
are no longer using the public service.
Paid memberships were down in 2011. However, was it more cost-effective?
The Library Board is no longer maintaining two
libraries and are employing one less full time staff (approx. $28,000/year).
Fact -- The
Library Board requested an increase in budget for 2012.
The Board received $98,304.00 in 2011 from
The Board requested $112,500.00 for 2012 and Municipal
Council approved this increase.
Crowsnest Pass Library still needs work done to make it wheelchair accessible. There will still be costs to the
taxpayer (whether through grants or more budget
increases) to make the
Crowsnest Pass library wheelchair accessible. Currently there is no wheel chair access to the
basement, the bathrooms and there is no automatic door opener at the main door
of the Library.
The Library Board also
receives funding from the Provincial Government based on per capita. The amount received for 2012 was
The structure of Alberta
Library Service by the Public Library Services Branch
supports four principles for equitable public library service. Access is one of these principles and states
“Albertans have an equal right to access information regardless of economic,
I would hope that the
Library Board is planningdon providing a book mobile service for the community knowing
that much of our population are seniors and based on the geographics of the
Please note that there
is council representation on this Board so Municipal Council and administration were all aware of the changes that have taken place and the
Boards false press releases.
I did not
notice any commentary by the Municipal Council in their “As a matter of fact” report
to the community about there structuring of
public library service.
There was also no
mention about the library in the Municipality’s audit on facilities or any
mention of the library in the triennial budget.
Fact - In 2012 the Library will
serve 10% of the population at a cost of $143,832.00 to the
taxpayer (municipal and provincial funding).
These facts about
library restructuring were not mentioned in the Municipal Council’s "As a Matter
of Fact" that was submitted in
the local newspapers.
Payers Response to the Municipal Advertising of October 22,2012
First of all we would like to thank the
Municipal Administration and Council for releasing to the media and the public
the financial information that we have been requesting for the last three
months. Obviously, the Municipality has access to much more information, plus a
dedicated paid administrative staff with the time to work on putting together a
very informative response, to the rate payers flyer that was released to the
public last week.
Let’s review our comments of last week and
see what the municipality confirmed or corrected:
Taxes are climbing every year,
this year we the taxpayers will pay $387,331
more in property taxes than we did in 2010 this was confirmed by the municipal
Utility bills with previous
information we had, we showed our utility bills jumping from $182,054 per month
in 2010 to $201,945 per month a jump of $238,700 per year. Administrations
numbers show us going from $180,176 a month to $196,037 in 2012. For a total
increase of $190,343 for 2012 versus
2010, thankfully the 4.5% increase was only for the second half of 2012.
Franchise Fees in 2010 were
bringing in $295,551 today we are
paying $569,749 a difference of $274,198. Administration did in fact
confirm this number to be correct. They also shared some additional information
with us they answered the question, “Are
Franchise Fees a tax? No”.
These three numbers above we
previously stated added up to a difference of $900,029 per year thanks to the clarification provided by
administration the increase came to a total of $851,872. Administration also confirmed that Franchise Fees are
projected to increase $336,945 next
year plus an additional $35,224 in
property taxes. Which means in real terms instead of transferring $1,400,000 from the taxpayers pockets
next year versus 2010 it will be a more palatable $1,224,041.
Municipal hiring there as been
much debate about exactly how the numbers break down between Administration,
Office, Outside etc. Finally we have had clarification on October 2010 there
were 49 staff employed (Administration/CUPE) versus 57 today. An increase of 8 employees, which will be covered of
later when we show the municipal payroll numbers.
Consultants fees were incurred
during the recruitment of administration staff and to fill roles while the
recruitment was underway. We look forward to administration providing a more up
to date breakdown of Consultants/External Contractor costs in the near future.
Debt we have a very difficult time
pin pointing from the municipal press release exactly how the municipality funded equipment
purchases from 2007-2010 hopefully administration can clarify this for the
The ratepayers have other
concerns which we will be discussing further with our membership, in the
meantime we would like to thank everybody that has given their time, support
and efforts to allow a very large group of concerned rate payers the
opportunity to be heard.
There will be a Crowsnest Pass Ratepayers Association General Public Meeting, Wednesday October 24th, in the Blairmore Legion, at 7:00 p.m.
Everyone is welcome and strongly encouraged to attend.
Topics of discussion:
- Update on the petition
- Budget information
- Open discussion
There is power and strength in numbers
FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICES UPDATE
most of you know, RCMP and the Explosives Regulatory Division of
Natural Resources Canada removed 640 kilograms of explosives from a
storage room in the Blairmore fire station early Tuesday morning. The
Municipality now considers this matter closed. An audit is being
conducted by an outside agency into the station’s operational processes
and finances. The Fire Services Master Plan will be rolled out in the
very near future and will enhance the operational capacity and training
for the local firefighters. A joint training session for all stations
was held on Wednesday evening, October 17 at Station 24
where approximately 25 fire service personnel were in attendance.
Equipment from all stations participated in the training exercise.
Crowsnest Pass Fire Rescue current staffing compliment is 45 fire personnel as of October 18,
2012. We can respond to any incident with a minimum of 15 personnel
which surpasses industry best practices. We are committed to provide
the level of service expected by our citizens. More information and
updates will follow on our progressive plan to move forward.
INTERESTED IN BECOMING A PAID-ON-CALL FIRE FIGHTER?
part of a progressive and dynamic team that is working for the safety
of our residents and protection of our community. We offer competitive
training, wages and benefits.
Please submit your resume with cover letter to:
Steve Munshaw, Fire Chief
Municipality of Crowsnest Pass
PO Box 600, Crowsnest Pass, AB T0K 0E0
Municipality of Crowsnest Pass
NEWSLETTER # 65 October 15th, 2012
It’s October and fall is here: Clear, bluer than blue skies, trees
turning yellow and frosty crisp mornings. Your Council is pressing hard
to continue the progress and change we promised.
This month we have had an unfortunate occurrence which resulted in a
number of our firemen leaving their positions. However our
administrative team managed the situation professionally and we are
assured of our safety. I understand some firemen are currently
re-applying for their position. Our head of Protective Services and our
new Fire Chief inform us that the restructured fire service will be
smaller, more efficient in its use of equipment and ultimately more cost
effective contrary to some opinions expressed.
We also met with the ratepayers group. Personally I found it to be an
enjoyable civil discussion in which there was an exchange of facts
versus rumor, the clarification of Council objectives versus
misconceptions, and a discussion of long term Council goals. Perhaps
most importantly we discussed the philosophical lens through which we
both view the current and future status of our community. It was
determined that Council has a “glass half full” philosophy as opposed
to the ratepayers “glass half empty” outlook. It was a good discussion
and we agreed to disagree on some points. At the conclusion of our
discussion Mr. Kovach surprised us (after such excellent discussion) by
requesting that the administration reverse their decisions regarding the
fire service and that the Council resign?
After such an excellent
productive discussion we all gave our heads a shake of consternation.
I note that once again some individual is instigating another Council
recall and our ratepayers group is requesting government intervention.
This seems to be becoming a habit. If with every Council you disagree
with the elected representatives – petition the government and throw
them out. Can you imagine what would happen across this province if
this occurred in every community? I wonder what kind of impression we
are creating with the government?
It appears one of our newspapers is unhappy with us and has contacted
the newspaper association regarding our approach to advertising. At
this time I am unaware of the details but I expect we will find out in
Now on to more positive items. Please note elsewhere in this issue
the various locations in which our newsletter can be picked up. We are
receiving an amazing number of requests for the newsletter and many
requests to publish it twice a month. I don’t think we can handle that
but we will look into it. It seems like people like to have the facts.
I am pleased to announce that after months (and months) of hard work
we have as promised, resolved the problem surrounding the Crowsnest
Learning Centre and “old” hospital facility. The new hotel restaurant
truck stop complex - is a go! The last few legal details are being
ironed out and early next month we and the developers are looking
forward to holding a public session to gather your input as to what you
would like to see happen. Watch our website or the upcoming newsletter
On the manufacturing plant status, I phoned them last week. They have
confirmed that we are the location they wish to locate in. This plant
produces a lot of clean hot water which needs to be cooled before it can
be put back in the environment and apparently this is proving a major
problem for them and delaying their decision. The moment I know what
their decision is I will inform you.
We are currently in discussion with an international heavy industry
which is considering Crowsnest Pass as its base.
A week ago another
Canadian heavy industry contacted me by phone and will be setting up a
meeting with us shortly. I wouldn’t get too excited over these latter
comments just yet as I believe these industries are just in the
As previously indicated your Council is working steadily on all
issues. Following Mayor’s Corner you will find a letter sent directly to
the Premier regarding our ongoing concerns over Highway No. 3.
In conclusion for this month I note that rumor and misinformation is
still being propagated by a small minority. This suggests we need to
intensify our efforts to bring you the facts and the truth. Please don’t
hesitate to contact our municipal administration, our councillors or
myself for the facts and the truth.
- Mayor Decoux
The following insert was included in today's copy of the Pass Herald.
Are Crowsnest Pass Ratepayers concerned?
We ask all taxpayers
of the Crowsnest Pass
to look at what has happened over the last two years. We are now gathering names on a petition requesting municipal affairs
to take a look at the issues raised by the Taxpayers of the Crowsnest Pass if
you are equally concerned please contact us at the numbers listed below.
- Taxes are climbing every year in 2010 (Bylaw 794)
showed the municipality collecting
$6,432,821 in General Municipal Taxation in 2012 (Bylaw 851) that
number is $6,820,152 an increase of $387,331
Bills in 2010 our utility bills were providing the municipality $182,054
per month today we are paying $201,945 a difference of $19,891 per month
or $238,700 per year
Fees in 2010 were bringing in $295,551 today we are paying $569,749 a
difference of $274,198.
Those three numbers above come to a total of $900,029 per
year more. Right now council has a proposal to increase Franchise Fees another
$336,945 next year plus an additional 2.5% in residential taxes. That will
transfer $1,400,000 more a year from the Taxpayers pockets to the Municipality
versus 2010. This does not include all the other Fees, Fines and charges that
have been increased by a council and administration that are focused on
- Municipal Hiring: Council would have you believe that
the Municipal workforce has not increased in size. At the date of the last
election there were 19 employees in the municipal office (Administrators
and Staff) Today that number is 25. In addition we are concerned about the
never ending turn over at the administrative level. From June of 2011 to
July of 2012 we had six changes at the administrative level.
- Consultants: Do you feel like every week there is
another consultant determining the future of our community. Up to April
5,2012 $19,000 to Abiocon Strategies, $49,000 to Friesen Tokar, $102,447
to Park Enterprises, $43,570 to All Fire Investigations, $13,055 to Inn
Heaven Bed & Breakfast, $203,545 to Transitional Solutions. Now we hear about consultants being used
for Branding and Fire Hall location studies. Where does it stop?
- Debt: Prior to 2010 previous councils had a policy of
putting money aside to purchase new equipment, 2011 $550,000 was borrowed
to finance equipment that is barely ever used. (Almost $300,000 on a track
hoe alone), 2012 $140,000 was borrowed to finance the two community Peace
Changes: Let’s look at what else as happened over the last two years.
Cleanup eliminated for the vast majority of the public.
- April 2011 Bellevue Library
2011 announcement regarding consolidation of Blairmore/Coleman shop does
not happen until a year later.
- September 2011 Mayor
Decoux informs Chamber of Commerce that the municipality will be hiring
another Peace Officer at “no cost to the Taxpayers”
- September 29,2011 fire and rescue services will be amalgamated to
facilitate a more efficient Emergency Response model
- December 2011 Tax Penalties
increased from 20% to 52%.
- Feb,2012 Census results show Crowsnest Pass population drops 3.2%
- March 2012 Council makes
decision to “defer Thunder in the Valley”
- April 2012 Devon Gas Plant
- May 2012 Mayor announces request
for proposals going out on the Crowsnest Centre Site
- May 2012 Tender for demolition
of the Crowsnest Centre put out with a closing date of August 30
- June 2012 Town Hall
meeting Mayor Speaks about Centre being gone before first snowfall and the
building process beginning next spring. Discusses approaching the Province
and the MD of Ranchlands to share tax revenues.
- June 2012 Mayor
releases first “Mayor’s Corner” Very critical of coffee talkers and people
that write letters to the editor or on web sites.
- June 2012 Rate payers
organization revived, meetings with the public begin.
- July 2012 Water/Sewer
rates increase by 4.5% electrical increases by 6%
- July 2012 Community
Peace Officer Trucks arrive ($140,000)
- July 2012 Despite
predictions of huge turnouts Rum Runner Days takes place with very poor
attendance at most events
- August 2012 Pass
Promoter runs story about Municipality hiring gopher hunters despite
denial at previous town hall meeting.
- Sept 2012 Community
Peace Officers are introduced at Council meeting
- Sept 2012 Announcement
that Chinook Pipelines is suing the municipality
- Sept 2012 Safety codes
Fees are going up 120%
- Sept 2012 Mayor
interviewed on Alberta Primetime regarding potential Quebec Manufacturer
- Sept 2012 New Fire
Chief and his new pickup show up
- Sept 2012 Debate on
Municipal Franchise Fee Increases begins.
- Sept 2012 Final report
on Rum Runner Days “deferred” to Oct 2 then again to Oct 16.
- Sept 2012 Community Branding Town hall meeting.
- October 2012
Municipality relives Blairmore
Fire Chief of his position.
ratepayers association requested information regarding the three year budget,
we were informed that this information would be given to us by the middle of
September and released to the public on the Municipal Web site. At our meeting
with Council on October 9,2012 we were finally presented with a pile of papers that
are suppose to answer the questions asked.
joining the Ratepayers or signing our petition contact the following:
William Kovach 564-4709 Gail Montgomery 564-4077
Troy Clark 563-0381 Sasha JaegerBaird 563-6073
564-0184 Marilyn Milley 562-2719
562-8180 Larry Ruzek 564 4384
Please check out our
Facebook Page a:
|As posted in the Pincher Creek Voice:
Fireworks issues in the Crowsnest Pass
RCMP Press release
Crowsnest Pass RCMP are advising that the RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit
has been requested to assist the Explosives Regulatory Division of
Canada in the removal of a large cache of fireworks from the Blairmore
Fire Hall in Crowsnest Pass Tuesday, on October 16, 2012 at 7:00 am.
The RCMP's role in this is provide expertise in the area of managing
these types of explosives and to provide safety to the public during the
extrication of the them. Transportation and destruction of the
fireworks and any investigation into the matter will be managed by the
Explosive Regulatory Division of Canada.
Consider yourselves forewarned: Here is another long-winded report.
If I missed something, I am very sorry. I have tried to be as thorough as possible. Thank you for taking the time to read it.
Tonight, Thursday October 11th, 2012, the Executive of the Crowsnest Pass Ratepayers Association held an open public meeting, at the Hillcrest Miners Club, to discuss recent issues within the community of the Crowsnest Pass.
The meeting was scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. but by 6:20 p.m. it was already standing room only. Concerned taxpayers filed through the doors into an already packed building. Hundreds of people stuffed themselves into the room, with many others filling the gaming room side, as well. In fact, the crowds spilled out the doors and onto the surrounding property. By the end of the night we had a good count of well over 400 people who attended this meeting.
Most of the Ratepayers Executive were in attendance, with only Ed Strembicki and Doreen Glavin absent. Elsie Linderman, Sasha JaegerBaird and several other volunteers, manned the petition tables at the front door, while people crowded around the tables to sign the petition. They were lined up long outside the doors, waiting for their chance to get in and sign. Marilyn Milley was assigning people to the various areas around the community, to take the petitions. Marlene Anctil was busy getting the canvassers to swear in their affidavits.
The meeting commenced at 7:00 p.m. with President Bill Kovach welcoming everyone in attendance and thanking them for being there. Sasha JaegerBaird filled in for secretary Doreen Glavin, and took the minutes of the meeting. The sound system was provided courtesy of Earl Scott.
Bill mentioned right away that anyone who was interested in taking around a petition, could come over and get sworn in by Marlene Anctil.
He then went on to give an update about the Ratepayers meeting with Pat Stier, last Thursday October 4th.
He discussed the letter to the Mayor asking for a meeting or if not then requesting for Bruce and the rest of council to step down. He let everyone know that the Mayor finally granted us an audience with himself, council, and administration, the afternoon of Tuesday October 9th.
Bill let everyone know that an email, with a follow up letter, has been sent to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, the Honourable Doug Griffiths, explaining our situation and asking him to intervene on our behalf.
Then the discussion turned to the volunteers of this community. He said that the volunteers are the backbone of this community and it is their hard work on which the foundation has been built. This was met with a huge cheer and acknowledgement from the crowd!! Bill brought up the firefighters, the swimming pool board, the ski hill volunteers, the museum and numerous other volunteer organizations that this community depends upon.
He then discussed the Ratepayers presentation and proposal to council on Tuesday October 9th. He recapped the meeting and then explained that council and administration gave us no more than lip service.
Bill then read the report from Volunteer Alberta for the Alberta Fire Chief's Association. This report covered Local Initiatives, including context and objectives.
The report is as follows:
Local support for the fire department is an essential condition for success in recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters. It is therefore crucial to build support among employers, community groups and residents.
The level of local support is influences by the public perception of the fire department. Well-run fire departments that are seen as "professional" typically have more success in recruiting and retaining more committed and desirable volunteers.
local fire departments need to undertake a series of initiatives that improve the public perception of the fire department. (all things that we seem to already, up until recently, and have had a good grip on) This includes initiatives that raise awareness about the department; generate interest in volunteering for the department; and reinforce volunteer management operations in the department so that the department is "walking the talk".
Individual fire departments should use the Department Self-Assessment Tool to determine which initiatives are appropriate for their department.
- Increase awareness of volunteer firefighting among target audiences, including non-traditional firefighter demographics such as women, immigrant populations and First Nations populations;
- Undertake local public relations that promote a positive and realistic image of volunteer firefighting;
- Attract more volunteer firefighter applicants, including those from non-traditional firefighting demographics;
- Increase retention through tactics that ensure current volunteers continue to feel valued and supported by the fire department; (boy - the Municipality sure is NOT doing that one!!!)
- Inform current volunteers about the department's recruitment campaign and engage them into contributing to the recruitment campaign;
- Facilitate and smooth relations with local municipalities and other key stakeholders. (Really!?!? Has the municipality even read this???!?!?!?)
Then the discussion turned to the recent fireworks issue and accusation by the Municipality.
Bill explained that the fireworks were in fact stored properly, by certified pyrotechnicians and that the Municipality was aware of these fireworks. They were even bought by and paid for, by the Municipality. He went on to say that the accusations were entirely false, the Municipality was fabricating things and grasping at straws.
Bill then mentioned that at the meeting with the Mayor, council and administration on Tuesday, the Mayor stated that he didn't care if they had to tear down the foundations of this community and instead build new one's.
It was then mentioned that Bill received a call today from the Ministry and they will do whatever they can to help with our petition. This news was met with some cheering from the crowd.
Bill then went onto to explain why we were not doing a petition up calling for the resignation of council and the Mayor. He explained that we only had 30 days to do the petition and that the Minister and the Municipal Affair's office had another 30 days to go over it. If we called for a resignation or of council and the Mayor the minister might leave them in place, as there is only then 10 months left until a new election.
He said that if we do the petition this way, asking for the Minister to intervene and check into our Municipal Finances, he could then do so right away.
At this point in time, Marilyn Milley was asked to speak on the petition. She said that it was a great turn out and thanked everyone for coming. She went on to explain how petitioning works, the map's of the areas that we need covering and that if anyone wants to help out by going door-to-door with the petition, that they would have to see Marlene and do the affidavit, then come back ans see her to be assigned an area.
Bill said that all next week and next Saturday, if anyone needed to sign the petition or if they wanted to get the petition to help fill out, that they could go to Gary's Barbershop/Marlene's Bookkeeping Services to do so.
He explained that in order to sign the petition, you have to be 18 years of age, a local resident of the Crowsnest Pass for the last 6 months, and entitled to vote within our Municipality only.
He also said that anyone taking the petitions around the community, needed to get the filled in one's back as soon as possible, as they need to be counted and we want to have plenty of time to do so.
The topic of discussion turned to the volunteer groups in our community. He asked if anyone had any more news regarding the volunteer firemen or the volunteer swimming pool board.
Several people got up to speak. It was told that as far as the firefighters are concerned "everyone" except 4 or 5, who still have their pages, have received letters of termination. All of the terminated firefighters have been told that they are "welcome" to reapply. However, they have been informed, that before they are rehired, they need to get a criminal check done, have a current driver's abstract (both at their own expense), undergo a medical exam and form filled in, go through an interview process and have all their training up-to-date and current.
This information was met with much booing and exclamations of surprise and disbelief from the crowded room!!
We were also told that as of tomorrow, all of the volunteers who have been terminated will not longer have any insurance coverage, which includes life, disability and any necessary bonding that they have had.
The 4 or 5 firefighters that still are on call and have not turned in their pagers have been in talks with the Fire Chief, administration and council. They have not received letter's of termination and have not lost their insurance coverage. They have been encouraged to try to convince the other firefighters to come back and reapply.
It was asked where the 5 paid firefighters have come from. We were informed that they have come from Charli Lake. This is the same place that the new Fire Chief has come from. The very same one who had the entire volunteer firefighters walk out on him, only to be replaced with paid firefighters. Some of which are now stationed in our community.
Fire Insurance coverage came up. It was suggested that people need to check with their own insurance agents/company's.
One lady who works for Western Financial Group, stood up and spoke on the fire insurance situation. She said that she deals with the three big insurance companies: Intact, Wawanesa and another one (I will post the name once I get it from her).
She stated that she has talked to the majority of the Insurance Companies about our current situation and was told that we are still covered and that it is status quo. They are watching the situation here in the Crowsnest Pass, however we are not to blame for our current state and therefore not our fault that we do not have the necessary firefighters and fire protection.
She welcomed anyone to come in and talk with her or anyone one of the other people in her office, whether you deal with Western Financial or not. She said that they would be happy to help with any questions.
We then had a series of Question's and Answer's from the crowd.
Question: How can we get the firemen back today!?!? Or speed up the process.
It was put out to the audience to see if anyone had any suggestions. One was that the firemen need to go and take
back their fire halls.
Bill said that the letter to the Municipal Affairs Office asked if the Minister could step in as soon as possible to help with our firemen situation.
He also suggested that the squeaky wheel gets the grease and that we should all write, email or call the Minister at Municipal Affairs asking for his help.
Bill said that the minister is building a file on the Crowsnest Pass. The more people who contact him about he issues the better!!!
It was asked where will the money come from to pay for all the new position's including the Peace Officer's.
Dean Ward got up to speak on this. He started by saying that a Peace Officer was sitting waiting down by the S.P.C.A watching all of the traffic coming to the meeting. He suggested that maybe the Peace Officer was waiting there to nab people after the meeting and going to write a bunch of tickets, to pay for himself.
This generated several comments and some laughter.
Dean then went onto the go over some of the numbers and discussing fees, including franchise fees and taxes. He said that at the time of the last election we all wanted change, and we got it. However, there is good change and bad change and we got the bad!!!
It was mentioned by an audience member, that if we are taxed to death, eventually many will move away and our house property prices will go drastically down and be worth nothing.
Bill then fielded more questions from the floor.
It was brought up about the Fire Chief and was it true that he was not certified to do fire inspections. This was confirmed.
It was also brought up about Devon and losing that tax base.
Bill then stated the Mayor and CAO constantly compared us to other communities in regards to our tax base, taxes and fees.The CAO said that we were at par or even less than other communities and should feel good about that.
Bill stated that you can not compare us to other towns. That it was like comparing apples to oranges. He said that we are drastically different that other towns, and we no longer had the industry that was contributing to that tax base, as was in the past.
One lady spoke up saying that we have a 50% - 60% senior population and are on limited or fixed income. So where is the money going to come from? It was stated that 83% of us pay for the tax bill in the Crowsnest Pass.
Another question: Has rescue been affected yet? No not yet, however many of them are just waiting for that hammer to fall.
Question: What is the minimum number of firemen needed to respond to a call. Answer: 5 minimum. - Currently we have 4 paid one's, who do not even know the area.
Question: Who owns the fire halls? Answer: The Municipality.
Question: Who bought the fire support vehicle's and equipment? Answer the firemen, and Jamie Margetek was instrumental in many of those purchases.
Question from "Cathy": In regards to "The List". Who is on "The List"? Who knows who is on "The List"? Can we ask who is on "The List" or if we are on "The List" how can we get our name off of "The List"?? This question was met with much laughter.
Sasha JaegerBaird (yours truly) was asked to answer that question. Answer: They never told us who was on "The List". The mayor seemed to indicated that he, the CAO, the RCMP and the Peace Officer's all knew who were on the "Soon To Infamous List".
After this question, Lisa Sygutek asked to speak. She told us that in a recent series of question's directed to the Mayor, she asked how many firemen we have available. She was told 28. However when pressed by her, the Mayor could not tell her who they were.
It was the deduced that 14 of these had to be Rescue (however not trained for fire), and 14 firemen (4 of which must be the hired help from Charli Lake). So who are the other 10???
Question from "Tim": What about the rumor about the Swimming Pool board? Answer: All members have in fact been dismissed (or asked to resign). They have all received a letter in the mail dismissing them. They were told that they could reapply and are all welcome to join the new one big Super Board!!
Statement and question from one person in the crowd: We have way less people now in the Pass, than we did years ago. We did not need Peace Officers then, why do we need them now???
To which most people agreed.
Bill talked about the BIG companies the Mayor said are coming to the Pass. One of which will employ over 700 people.
Bill brought up Philips Cable. We were then told, by a woman in the crowd, that when it comes to these "NEW companies, until a development permit is issued, we will NOT know who or even if a business is coming into the Pass.
Another Question from a fellow in the crowd: He asked if the Ratepayers Association was prepared to get rid of council and if the Executive was ready to take over and run this town. This question was cheered by many.
Bill said that we can ask anytime, as an organization or group, to have our bylaws changed. However, if council will listen is another thing entirely.
Question from "Debbie": How can we get rid of the CAO before the next election??
Bill replied that council can do it anytime, but only if they think it needs to be done, which is unlikely. However, it can happen right away with the Minister of Municipal Affairs intervention.
Otto stated that the more people who sign the petition and the quicker we get the signatures, the faster we can get this taken care of.
Someone asked for the mailing address, phone number and email address of the Minister of Municipal Affairs.
We told everyone that we will post it online on our Facebook page.
However for those there tonight, the phone number was given out and is 1-780-427-3744.
The email is email@example.com
Bill thanked everyone for coming and to sign the petition if they had not already signed it.
The meeting concluded at 8:15 p.m.
Article Posted Online Today In: Shootin' The Breeze
Another take on controversy in Crowsnest Pass
An open letter to our community of Crowsnest Pass, Councillors, Media and Provincial Officials
are a group that have given calm contemplation to the discord
embroiling our community and wish to represent our views through this
letter to express our concern regarding what appears to be a lack of
confidence in our current elected body of municipal councilors.
vibrant community is made up of a number of opinions, the job of our
elected officials is to consider as many of those opinions as possible
and make decisions through due process within the parameters of the
Municipal Act, and the requirements of Provincial and Federal law. We
may not necessarily agree with those decisions, however we appreciate
that we could never have all the details that led to that decision
unless we ourselves were on council.
are confident we all share a common goal in seeing our community
prosper and move forward. The processes and procedures to accomplish
this are obviously complex and involve multiple issues of history,
legacy, legal and liability concerns and much, much more. We have
charged our elected officials with the mandate to move our community
into the 21st century while at the same time respecting the generations
that came before us. This is a tall order. It will only be accomplished
through an endorsement of support of the process of our duly elected officials and their compliance with good governance.
group wishes to provide our portion of that endorsement and confirm
that there are members of this community who agree changes are necessary
and changes are not always easy.
request however full disclosure and transparency of the process. We
understand full details cannot always be made public due to privacy act
legislation and confidentiality protocols. However, we do expect a
standard of professionalism and accountability by both our elected
officials and the administration they oversee.
have called for an external review of council and administration. We
would support such a review with the goal to reinstate confidence by the
majority of the community.
wish to see a focus on good old fashioned dialog. Conversations with
all stakeholders consisting of well thought-out, reasonable and
pragmatic opinions and the decisions to match.
Our future depends on it.
Warris, Deb McKinlay, Vern Harrison, Bern Sawatzky, Elaine Beaudoin,
Andrew Fairhurst, Tim Grier, Sheila Juhlin, George Machum, Pat
Pichurski, Charli Martens-Carpenter, Heather O’Bear, Erin Fairhurst,
Becky Pichurski, Penny Warris
Unedited press release
Ratepayers Meeting Tonight at 7 pm
There will be a Crowsnest Pass Ratepayers Association meeting this evening at the Hillcrest Miner's Club at 7 p.m.
All concerned citizens are welcome.
Topics to be discussed:
- Fire insurance issues due to firemen walkout
- Petition to Municipal Affairs by Ratepayers Association
- Discussion on ongoing tax increases
- Results of meeting with Wildrose MLA Pat Stier
|The Municipality posted the following on their Facebook page today, denying all responsibility regarding the knowledge of, purchasing of, and storage of the Fireworks that were found in the Blairmore Firehall.
The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass has never
purchased high explosive fireworks nor has it sold high explosive
fireworks to Thunder in the Valley (TIV) or the Blairmore Smoke Eaters
(BSE) or the Blairmore Fire Department (BFD). Thunder in the Valley-TIV
(Blairmore Smoke Eaters-BSE) members have always ordered and purchased
high explosive fireworks for their annual event since TIV was first
In 2007, TIV (BSE)
approached the Mayor and CAO to have the Municipality PAY for their
fireworks and REINVOICE the TIV (BSE) sighting the Municipality receives
100% of GST back on invoices and this saving would be passed onto TIV
On November 6, 2008 the Municipality issued a letter
to TIV (BSE) advising that this arrangement was not in compliance with
GST legislation and the GST on the 2007 invoices to TIV (BSE) for
fireworks was to be paid immediately to the Municipality for submission
to Revenue Canada as the fireworks were NOT a Municipal supply or
Up until 2011, TIV (BSE) members have continued to
purchase all fireworks for TIV and the Municipality has paid for these
TIV (BSE) invoices. The Municipality has in turn invoiced TIV (BSE) back
- inclusive of GST as the fireworks are NOT a Municipal supply or
product. This arrangement allowed the TIV (BSE) to pay the Municipality
for their fireworks after their annual (TIV) event as opposed having to
pay a Supplier before their annual (TIV) event.
members declared that their members are certified Pyrotechnicians who
are educated and responsible for the safe storage, handling and
functioning of fireworks and firework devices. TIV (BSE) members chose
to store these high explosive fireworks without proper containment in
the Blairmore Fire Hall without advising the Municipality of Crowsnest
Let me start this Blog entry by saying that today's meeting with council and administration, was a very long winded one and my report of it, is equally as long winded. Consider yourself forewarned. :-)
Today, October 9th, 2012, at 3:00 p.m., the Executive of the Rate Payer's Association met with the Mayor, Council and some members of administration, for a "special" meeting, at the MDM building.
Those in attendance were:
Council members: the Mayor - Bruce Decoux, Andrew Saje, Larry Mitchell, Brian Gallant, Jerry Lonsbury & almost an hour late to the meeting came Emile Saindon.
Councillor Siegbert Gail was conspicuously absent.
Administration in Attendance: CAO - Myron Thompson, CFO - Marion Vanoni, Director of Protective and Community Services - Albert Headrick, the New Fire Chief - Steve Munshaw and secretary/recorder - Carolee Ison.
Executive of the Rate Payer's Association: President - Bill Kovach, Vice President & Hillcrest Representative - Larry Ruzek, Coleman Representative - Sasha JaegerBaird, Hillcrest Representative - Rudy Pagnucco, Bellevue Representative's - Gail Montgomery & Troy Clark, Blairmore/Frank Representative's - Marilyn Milley & Marlene Anctil, Secretary - Doreen Glavin & Treasurer - Elsie Linderman. Absent was Coleman Representative - Ed Strembicki.
Media in attendance were: Pass Promoter - Joni MacFarlane, Pass Herald Reporter - Lindsay Goss, CJPR - Randy Spencer, Global Television Reporter - Quinn Campbell & Alternative Media - John Prince.
The meeting was originally scheduled for 2:00 p.m. It was changed to start at 3:00 p.m. due to some council members who could not make it for the 2:00 p.m. start time. The Rate Payer's Executive arrived at 2:35 p.m. and were asked to wait in the hallway, while council and administration conversed. The Media and the Rate Payer's Executive were asked to join the room at 2:50 p.m.
The "special" meeting commenced at 2:55 p.m.
The meeting started with the Mayor asking us to agree on an end time for the meeting of 4:30 p.m. (which later was changed to accommodate the list of issues not yet covered by this time).
The Mayor stated that we would run this "special" meeting like a normal council meeting, in that we would run our statements/questions through him to other members of council and administration and visa versa.
He then turned the floor over to the Rate Payer's President Bill Kovach, who represented the Rate Payer's Executive through this meeting.
Bill started with addressing the Triennial Budget. He made the request that council scrap the Triennial Budget and go back to the way it was before. He stated that this type of budget was made for a community which is both prosperous and growing, of which we are neither.
He suggested that a new budget be drafted up for 2013 (as an annual budget). He said that this was both realistic and economically feasible and one which the community can live with.
He then stated that council should enter into a referendum of agreement to cut spending that meaning, not being allowed to raise taxes, fees, levies and service costs to balance the budget.
This request was met with a response by both Brian Gallant and Marion Vanoni.
It was explained that this kind of budget was becoming the norm everywhere and that very soon Municipal Affairs would expect every Municipality to use this kind of budget.
Brian Gallant said that it was very normal nowadays for most places to utilize a 3-5 year budget and a 5-10 year Capital Plan.
Marion explained that this type of budget was a "Living Document" and could and would be changed and updated as necessary. She said that our Strategic Plan was also a "Living Document" and it, too, could and would be changed as needed.
She went onto say that until 2007 the Crowsnest Pass has run in a deficit position. In 2007 was the first time that this Municipality could take the surplus created, to pay down that deficit. She also said that the budget would be reviewed every year and be adjusted "as we go".
Brian said this was all part of a "Long Term Plan" for the Municipality.
Next issue addressed by Bill was the budget and financial information requested by the Rate Payers Association, from Myron Thompson, way back in the beginning of August that we still, as of today, not received, even though we were told that we would have it by Mid-September.
Myron jumped right in to explain that it had been on the internet.
Bill replied that those numbers were wrong and not broken down enough.
Myron then handed Bill a large stack of papers that, according to him, are the correct and requested information. Bill told council we would go through them.
Myron then offered to sit down with the Rate Payer's Executive anytime, and go over the numbers.
It was also suggested by Myron, that the Rate Payer's Executive be there on October 22nd, when council and administration go over the upcoming budget.
Bill then addressed "Excessive Spending" and that it should be stopped. He said that effective immediately Council and administration should get rid of the consultants and redundant staff and to begin to trim the bureaucratic fat.
The Mayor, Bruce Decoux, responded to this by saying that he and council were just preparing for success. He said that they liked to look at the glass as half full, rather than half empty.
Bill brought up the increased interest rate, taxes and levies.
Jerry Lonsbury jumped in by stating very vehemently that "his" Municipal Levy has not increased much in over the last 10 years. He provided us with a breakdown of his Tax Assessment. He said that in 2002 his Municipal Tax Levy was $2,276.53 and now, in 2012, it is $2,288,14, an increase of only $11.61 in almost 10 years.
Bill responded that Jerry was pretty lucky and that many of the rest of us taxpayers are not quite so fortunate.
Bill then brought up the increased interest rate that is supposed to be now imposed on off-site levies. He said that it was not a good way to encourage new people to the community by charging them so much.
Larry Mitchell then interjected by telling us that the interest on the offsite levies is no longer in effect. (a win for us)
Myron told us that the levies have not been addressed in over 12 years. He said that they were now either inline with other similar communities or even lower.
Brian then stated that the levies are currently paid for or subsidized by us, the taxpayers. He said that council has decided to shift the burden/responsibility back on the home owner and off of the taxpayers. He indicated that we, as tax payers, should be very happy with this decision.
Bill then went on to bring up the Peace Officer Program and the added expense that this program has put upon the taxpayers. He said that it was a major concern expressed by the public. He went on to say that council should cancel or opt out of the Provincial Peace Officer Program. He said that the majority of taxpayers agree that all we need is one very efficient Bylaw Officer. We need one that just enforces bylaws not spending all the time issuing highway speeding tickets. Bill went on to say that we already have substantial and free RCMP patrolling our area and doing it efficiently as well.
He said that the Enforcement pie on the chart on the Municipal website is $810,000.00. He said that we want to know where that money is coming from. He said that Protective Services is separate and is $650,000.00.
Bruce said that he would turn it over to Marion to explain, however there were good reasons for the program and then he would address this issue again later in the meeting.
Marion responded with several operational costs and numbers. She also said that the amounts included the Agriculture Program and Animal Control. She said that tax levies were are $320,000.000 and the mill rate was $1,000,000.00.
Brian Gallant also responded as to why we have a Peace Officer Program in place. He said that it is to make this a better and safer place in which to live and attract new people and business. He said that one person can not patrol this entire community. He said that some good news is that only 2 bylaw tickets have been issued in the last month. He said that most bylaw infractions have been handled by simple communication between the Peace Officers and the person involved, without the issuing of tickets.
He said that the Peace Officer Program is a great revenue generator for the municipality. He said that other communities that have them have more than paid for themselves and made money. He cited Longview and it being know as a place you better slow down or get a ticket. He said that we could be like them, making tons of money from the tickets issued on the highway, especially on long weekends by city people speeding.
Bruce went on to state that our long standing "Peace Officer" - Bylaw Officer that we have had for years, was "illegitimate". Bruce explained to us that these fellows who did the job over the past many years, were never approved to do Peace Officer duties, even though they applied to the program. This was due to a clerical/administrative issue that was never rectified with the Provincial Government.
Bruce said that our past Bylaw Officers were doing Peace Officer duties, but only had the authority of a Bylaw Officer. As a result, most infractions that they dealt with and decisions that they made, were continuously overturned by council. Then they would quit, because they had felt that they had no authority.
Bruce said that this decision to bring in a Peace Officer Program, was a long time coming and a good one for our community. He said that by having a Peace Officer, instead of a Bylaw Officer, all complaints, issues and tickets will now be handled through the court of Queen's Bench and not the Municipality.
He went on to say that a lot of our old bylaws were wrong. They were either worded wrong or just incorrect. He said that council and administration are now in the process of updating and correcting them.
He also went on to say that as of right now, there are 280 unsightly premises on the books, that need dealing with.
He stated that "We need to clean up the community!!! We need bylaws with teeth, to clean it up."
He said that it is also a safety factor. We need good protection to attract new people to this community, but he would talk more on that topic later in the meeting.
He said that we need two Peace Officers to cover both shifts, evenings and weekends.
Albert Headrick took a turn to talk, saying that proper safety affects our quality of life. He said we need enforcement in place to ensure things are okay once we push tourism. He said that our Peace Officers compliment the local RCMP. He said that the RCMP's priority is crime, not enforcment or writing tickets. He said that the Peace Officer Program is a joint venture with the RCMP.
Marlene Anctil asked why it seems like quite often we see the two Peace Officers in the truck together, if in fact we have two of them in order to cover all shifts.
Albert replied that is could be several things. He said that it might in fact be a RCMP officer with the Peace Officer doing a ride-along. He asked why send two trucks when they can ride together? He also said that sometimes the two go out together when they have a known "problem person" to deal with. He also said that the one was still training when it comes to several things and they will go together while he is training.
The Mayor finished by saying that there are several people on a special "watch list". He said that they are known aggressive people. He said that when this happens that the Peace Officer must deal with this person, then they quite often go together. He said that this type of call "needs" two people to respond to it. He cited the recent beating of our Bylaw Officer as an example.
Bill then addressed the Fire Budget, the Firemen Walkout Protest and the firing of Fire Chief Jamie Margetek. He strongly suggested that council and administration reinstate our Voluntary Firefighters and follow their departmental budget which was realistic and cost effective. He said that this will save a bundle as it would get rid of our new Fire Chief (whom we don't need) and the cost of the paid firefighters, which has currently been implemented. He asked if we keep it the way it is today, where exactly is this money going to come from, other than from us, the already strapped taxpayer?
Albert and the new Fire Chief, Steve Munshaw, were directed to reply to this.
Albert addressed the Fire Protection Issue. He said that Fire Protection and technology have evolved and changed greatly through the years. He said that the main concerns were now structure, operational guidelines and efficiency. He said that it was extremely important that these things need to be addressed and soon. He said that the current Fire Department Chiefs do not have the time and could not be expected to deal with these issues. Therefore that is why we need a Fire chief. That this change has been along time coming and that all four Fire Departments were aware of this needing to happen. He said that nowadays it is all about due diligence.
He said that the Master Fire Plan has been in the works for awhile now. As has the Fire Station Location study. He said that this Fire Station Location Study would be good for us because it would lead to cost effectiveness, better coverage, the elimination of duplicate services and provide a better level of services. He said that the firemen knew about this. It is no surprise to them. They have been consulted and included in the process.
Steve Munshaw said that he had a meeting with several of the firefighters on Sunday. He said that communication has been restarted with them and many of them are on board with the new structure, contrary to what is being said around the community.
Albert jumped back in to say that with the new program the firemen will be providing better service than what we have now.
Brian Gallant went on to say he has nothing against the current firemen. He stated that he respects them and thinks that they do a good job, but not the best job that they could potentially do. He said that they they need more training to be better. That they are not up to the current standards. They are the same today that they have been for a very long time. They need to move forward and get the proper training.
Albert said that when he sits down with the firemen, to go over the New Master Fire Plan, he would like to include the Rate Payer's Executive in that discussion.
Andrew Saje then asked what the budget was from the voluntary firefighters. He directed this question to administration.
Marion said that she did not have their figures and went on to change the subject. She asked the question about whether we really need an aerial ladder, if we need a new one or could we buy a good used one, in fact why do we even need to buy on at all??
Marilyn echoed this question and asked about the the platform that the Municipality currently has.
Albert said that we already have a 1976 King 80 foot platform, but it is not insurance worthy. He also addressed buying a used one, stating that we get what we pay for. If we buy a $250,000.00 used one, then we will have $250,000.00 worth of other people old problems. He said that a new one would run over a million dollars. He went on to say that the best idea was getting one through a joint purchase with another Municipality. This way they can buy in bulk saving much money and maybe even getting a new one for $500,00.00 - $600,000.00 instead of a new one for over $1,000,000.00. He then went on to ask, do we even need one? Do we even have the water capacity for one? He says that currently they are doing an equipment review.
Brian told us that Fire Department costs have not gone up as we think they have. He said that instead the amounts in the past have not be allocated into the right budget. The Municipality has currently allocated $225,00.00 this year and $225,000.00 next year, for a quint, but will not be able to buy one for this price. He said that we also have to replace our fire equipment. He stated that our fire fighters are under-trained and need to meet current standards.
Bill asked who is it that says that we need to replace the current equipment?
Myron then told us that even if we looked into a used quint we would have to set aside $225,000.00 this year and an additional $225,000.00 next year. He also said that we would still be in a situation where we would need to borrow the money for one.
Andrew asked if the information would be in the budget at the end of the month.
Brian said that everything was being paid for, but in different budgets. He said that now they are all under one budget. He said it only looks like a lot more money.
Albert was then asked by Marilyn Milley, with his 37 years experience of firefighting, why he did not apply for the position of Fire Chief? And also could our
voluntary fire chief could report directly to him?
Albert very strongly went on to say that we need a full time Fire Chief!!!! He said that it has been in the plans for many years. He stated that it is all very complicated. He says that everyone needs a life outside of their work position. He said that many things need to be done. He said that with his current position, he is too busy to deal with fire protection full time, andthat he was responsible to so many
other facilities and departments that he just didn't have time. He again stated that we need a full time Fire Chief to do all of these things that need doing!!
Myron said that there was to be many new things implemented regarding fire protection, such as public awareness and education and in house training to save costs, that the new Fire Chief would be doing.
Bill asked Steve Munshaw if he was certified to be a fire inspector. Steve replied that he pretty much had everything that he would need except that he has to apply for the license and take an exam.
The next subject that Bill brought up was the Chinook Pipeline's Lawsuit. He asked if the Municipality loses the lawsuit, where will the money come from to pay for it?
Bruce addressed that topic. He stated that "We will NOT lose it!!"
He went on to say "However, if we do, the Municipality's insurance will cover it".
Brian jumped in, saying that in his experience and judgement, the Municipality is NOT in the wrong!!
Bill then addressed the Devon Gas Plant Closure Issue. He asked if council has considered the cost replacement method (new tax base) now that the Municipality has lost Devon. Where will that tax base come from??? What will offset the loss??
Mayor Bruce replied. He again brought up the new light manufacturing plant that is expected to make the Crowsnest Pass its new home. He said that it will employ 70 people once it is up and running but abut 30 people to start. He said that we are the company's first choice for location. He went on to say that the only thing stopping it from moving ahead, at the current time, is an issue with how to put clean hot water back into the environment properly. He said that this business is trying hard to overcome this problem.
Bill addressed the River Run issue.
Bruce replied. He said that currently there are 285 lots coming back to the municipality and will be put out for public auction. However, the Municipality wants to sell the lots as a package and needs permission from the courts in order to do so. He said that we are waiting for an answer back and should have one by March of 2013. They want to attract another developer, that is why they want to sell the lots as a package, however they want to make sure it is done properly this time.
Bill brought up what are the plans for the Crowsnest Center?
The Mayor also responded to this one. He said that we are down to the last few legal problems. He said that the lawyer's have been working hard to make sure that everything is correct so that we don't have another River Run problem on our hands. He said that the Municipality is being very careful. He did go on to say that it will be done within the next two weeks. He said that the company that plans on developing where the old hospital is, wants to hold a session with the residents of the Crowsnest Pass, in order to get the publics input. Bruce expects to have some progress made by Christmas or by next spring at the latest.
Bill then brought up the Unsightly Premises Bylaw. Bruce told us that currently the Peace Officers are dealing with Traffic Issues, but it will balance out over time.
He said that once things have fallen into place, the Peace Officers will divide their time to 1/3 bylaw, 1/3 education and 1/3 traffic.
He stated that the current bylaws need redrafting.
Myron then jumped in to tell us that council and administration is currently going over the bylaws and making the final decisions and revisions.
Bruce stated that "We want to be prepared!!! We see the glass as half full!!"
He said that the Government has identified the Crowsnest Pass as a future iconic area and that this is very good news for us.
He then told us that there are "two" very BIG, heavy industries that have contacted the Municipality and are considering coming here. He said that one of them will employ as many as 700 people or more. He said that the Crowsnest Pass may very well become the next Fort McMurray (but not near on such a big scale). He said that our council is just preparing for this future and we will appreciate all the steps that this council has currently taken and that it will all make sense, once that time comes.
Bill then asked the council members if they were happy with council's direction and what has transpired by them. He asked if they could respond individually.
Jerry had his say first. He stated that he was extremely happy with how council was moving forward. He then stated that that much of what is currently going on within the community and on Facebook is just rumors. That he is tired of it and that people need to stop starting and spreading these rumors. They need to deal in facts.
The Mayor said that they can come to him, or any of the council or administration, for the facts, anytime!!!
Marlene Anctil stated that many people are intimidated by council and the mayor, that they are unapproachable.
Brian disagreed and said that many many people come to him all the time and he make the time for them. He said that he gets a lot of great feedback. People are constantly telling him that he should stick to his guns!! He told us that there are quite a few people that agree totally with council and what they are doing. However, they tell him that they and are afraid to speak up, for fear of being bullied by others within the community.
Emile jumped in and said that he can count on one hand how many people have approached him since he has got in on council. He says that he can walk down he streets and no one comes near him. He wishes that they would come to him. He said that he works at the landfill and his door is always open.
Bruce acknowledged that maybe Gail was right that council, including the Mayor, can seem a bit stand-offish and that maybe they need to work on that.
Larry Mitchell said that "We need to move ahead, not look behind us".
Andrew Saje asked why the Rate Payers Association even exists? What was it reactivated? Why with this council?
He suspects that it has to do with the lines of communication, between members of the community and council/administration. Andrew suggested that maybe we are not getting the information that we need.
Emile's comments were: "I do my research!! I do NOT speak out of turn. I get my information first."
He went on to say: "This council has done a lot of hard work. Everyone has done work in their areas of expertise. Council has worked together. The direction we are going is the direction we need to go!!"
As the councilor's finished, Bill then made his final point.
He told council that this community has seen no visible improvement since this council took over the reigns and it appears as though nothing will change, cost increases or not, because the profit from the increases are being totally wasted on projects and consultants that are going nowhere. He went on to say that the Strategic Plan which was to extend over a period of 10 years is being implemented in a community that the Plan was not intended for. He stated that it was intended for a successful and prosperous community of which we are not. He went on to say that in order to prosper, a community must have growth and anyone can see that we are stagnating and declining at a rapid rate and can ill afford to create the utopia suggested by the Mayor and his Strategic Plan.
Somehow then we got talking about protocols and policies.
Marion stated that there are new stringent protocols in place. All policies have to come before a Policy Committee. Then it has to have a wording developed and then back to the Policy Committee. Then it is presented to council. It might be thrown back to the Policy Committee for more work and then onto the G & P. ....
At this point, she was trying to tell us more, but Myron placed his hand on her knee under the table and she stopped talking.
It was brought up about the communication within the Municipality and their way of advertising and announcing issues & events. The Mayor said that they were doing it properly and soon most communities would be doing it the same way that we were doing it. He stated that newspaper advertising was going the way of the dinosaur. He said that it was just too bad that the newspapers had a problem with it, but it was the way of the future.
He stated that the Municipality's website provides the minutes of all meeting's, the morning after a meeting is held.
It was brought up by Bill that some things are not very clear. They are too vague.
Bruce made a note of that.
He said that when it comes to advertising and announcements, we actually have overkill, with how we inform the public.
He said that everywhere is now moving everything to the web, that we might as well get used to it!!
It was mentioned that this community is made up of many people including many senior's who do not own computer's or can not use one. Therefore they can not access this online information. They rely on the newspapers as a source for their information.
When the Mayor was asked about the swimming pool board and those volunteers, and if there was any truth to the rumor about them being "let go", Bruce very adamantly stated that this was the first that he heard of this new rumor. He then looked at Myron and said that he would have to "look into it". He also said the he doubted that it was any more than an ugly rumor.
We inquired about the ski hill. We were told that chair lifts and a few other things were planned for it to make it more viable and attractive to visitors, as a place to come and ski. Bruce then told us that all of this has been part of a plan that he has been in talks with Teck and Telus about. He said that there are no plans to shut it down.
After that there were a few random comments and then closing remarks by Bill.
He asked that council adhere to our requests or we are asking them to step down and resign from their positions. He said that we were still holding our meeting on Thursday night and will be circulating a petition to get Municipal Affairs to look into our council's spending.
Bruce warned us that we might want to do our homework first, because we may not want to go down that road.
Meeting adjourned at 5:40 p.m.
If I missed anything, I am sorry. I tried to be as thorough as possible.
I can tell you this, I wish I could be inside their heads, and privy to the secret looks that were being shot back and forth between our Mayor and the CAO.
|Crownest Pass MD Meeting - CTV Lethbridge News Story - Oct.09/12
See News Story
|An article written by our very own
recently migrated Kimberly Massey, posted today in the Rocky view
Weekly, puts our current situation into a whole different perspective.
It is titled: "Troubles in other communities offer perspective on Rocky View County".
You can read it -
|The Municipal Government Act states that under general duties of councilors:
(a) to consider the welfare and interests of the municipality as a whole
and to bring to council’s attention anything that would promote the
welfare or interests of the municipality.
This could be interpreted as if only the councilor considers that which
would promote the welfare or interests of the municipality and the
taxpayer’s input would be meaningless.
There are two types of government, the irresponsible and the
responsible. We are currently being led by a group using the
irresponsible method. Anyone and I do mean anyone can balance a budget
by increasing fees, utilities, licenses, electrical, etc. etc. and
rewriting the bylaws which when violated carry a large fine the first
offense beginning at $250. Tally up the total increased revenue and add
2.5% to the property tax and voila you have a balanced budget even one
that would show a surplus. Such genius!
The second type of governing the responsible method takes some doing.
It is a method using common sense, restraint, cutting spending and if
needs be to obtain a balanced budget add a minimal amount to the
This method shows a governing body to be accountable and
fiscally responsible to the people it represents, the taxpayer.
By increasing everything from soup to nuts, have you considered the
burden you are placing upon the seniors of this community? What do we
do, email Stephen Harper or Flaherty and tell them that our municipality
is nickel and diming us to the extent that we might have to cut back on
our groceries, or perhaps cut out one of our prescriptions because our
rates went up and we are over budget? I’m sure that they just might
consider a $1.50 raise on our pension.
Let’s face the truth of the matter. You have hired a group of strangers
(experts) to come to our community and force upon us their ideas and
methods in order to teach us how we should live in our own domain.
We've been doing pretty well up until now, or so we thought so, but that
doesn't appear to be the case. Many people I have spoken with have
stated that this isn't Calgary and we do not have to deal with the
noise, pace and congestion which in order to curb problems arising from
this are forced to pass bylaws. This is not the case here, and if my
sidewalk isn't cleared of snow, then it’s because I cleared it and the
snowplow came along and covered it up. It seems that since Kevin
Robbins and Donna Tona have been on board we have a new bylaw to contend
almost every week, no ifs and or buts, it’s a done deal and we have to
live with it.
Also, why are you doing everything that covers a period of three years?
Has the thought crossed your mind that you won’t be in office then?
This council and mayor are suffering from the BIG FROG LITTLE PUDDLE
Get over it and start doing the job you were elected to do
instead of harassing your citizens and preying on us. If this is what
you consider having our best interests at heart then you certainly have a
misconstrued idea as to what good governing is all about. Start being
responsible, and show some Government Transparency and we will feel that
maybe we are not just cash cows living here for the hell of it.
(on behalf of the Ratepayers Association)
|Call us naive, but we thought we were living in a democratic country,
however, the way we see it, absolute dictatorial government is alive and
flourishing in the Crowsnest Pass.
While taking part in the peaceful demonstration on Thursday October 4,
we had many mixed feelings. On one hand we were elated to see over 100
concerned citizens turn out to finally begin to take their power back.
On the other, we watched with great sadness and compassion on Thursday
evening as a column of our firefighters filed by the door to the
Municipal Office to drop their pagers in a box. Earlier that day we were
left with a feeling of absolute disgust as the mayor, council, and
administration hid behind covered windows at MDM, and called three RCMP
vehicles to assure that we restrained ourselves before they would exit
The mayor and council could have negotiated to reinstate our volunteer
Blairmore fire chief, but instead, in their usual manner, chose to
ignore the wishes of the people, and chose to hire a number of outside
firefighters, and again in their usual manner, at great cost.
They obviously have never heard the phrase “If it ain't broke, don’t fix
it.” We have had a fire department that ranked among the most
efficient, highly trained, and dedicated anywhere, costing a fraction of
what this “new” plan is going to cost. Again, unbelievable.
This mayor and council seem determined to bring the Pass to its knees,
both economically and in terms of morale. Are none of the councillors
willing to stand up to a dictatorial mayor and represent us in a way
that indicates they are hearing us?? We know we are not the only ones
who are tired of financial decisions being made arbitrarily, without any
attempt to first communicate with the public, or to listen to the
people. We see the hiring of outside consultants at exorbitant costs,
who in turn implement solutions to non-existent problems, again at great
cost. To quote the president of the Ratepayers’ Association, “while our
tax base, and our population is declining, they are spending money like
we just won the lottery.” Sadly, this administration will leave us with
a legacy of deep debt. It could take us years to recover.
On October 4, we were so gratified to be among those who refuse to be
demoralized, bullied, and bankrupted. People want their power back. The
way we see it, citizens of the Pass WILL prevail. This administration
has to go, and one way or another we can all be part of the initiative
to remove them as soon as possible. Then, hopefully, we can all begin
the job of rebuilding a vital and spirited community where there is hope
for the future.
This administration has been invited to resign, but considering their
dismal record of refusing to acknowledge valid concerns of the voting
public, that is unlikely to happen. In any event, we are gratified to
know that there will be a petition circulated, requesting that the
Department of Municipal Affairs intervene in matters concerning policy
making and performance of our mayor, council, and administration. At
last, those who want to be part of positive change here will be able to
actively make their wishes known.
Again, to the firefighters, we deeply acknowledge your history of dedicated professional service to all of us.
Dick and Susan Burgman
The Calgary Herald just posted this online:
More firefighters protesting dismissal of Blairmore fire chief
Update as of 9:00 p.m. tonight:
Tonight at 7:00 p.m., the Crowsnest Pass Ratepayers Executive met with most of the firefighters, at the Bellevue Fire Hall.
Hillcrest Fire Chief, Jerry Newman, told the gathered crowd, that he and his fellow firefighters at both Bellevue and
Hillcrest fire halls will be turning in their pagers, in protest for the
dismissal of the Blairmore Fire Chief Jamie Margetak.
He made it quite clear that they are not resigning. They are only going "off-duty" until such time the situation is resolved.
He stated that the firemen are not giving up on the community. A skeleton crew of approximately 5 men will remain on active duty with their pagers, and rotate with the other firemen, who agree to do so, as needed. This is to ensure continued fire protection to the residents of the Crowsnest Pass.
“We’re just taking ourselves out of
service until the situation is resolved." Jerry said.
Several of the media were in attendance, again tonight, to report on this situation.
I will post further updates as they become available.
Today at 2:00 p.m. there was a peaceful public protest held at the Crowsnest Pass Municipal Office, calling for the resignation of the mayor, council, CAO and senior administration.
Over 100 people showed up this afternoon for what had to be the
biggest protest this community has seen in decades, according to many long time resident's.
The protest was then moved to the MDM in Bellevue, when it was found out that the CAO and council were not at the Municipal Office, due to renovations. Instead they were in a meeting at the MDM.
Once there, the
Crowsnest Pass RatesPayers President, Bill Kovach, had a very brief
meeting with the mayor, council, and
administration. He informed them that the citizens of the Crowsnest Pass
were asking for their resignation. He also mentioned that a petition
the works, and that Municipal Affairs had been informed as to
what was going on in our community.
and council have agreed to a meeting with the executive of the RatePayers Association. This meeting will take place next Tuesday October 9th at 2:00 p.m. A gathering of concerned CNP citizens will gather outside, while this meeting takes place. More details to follow.
Another protest gathering is planned for this evening at the Municipal Office for 7 p.m. as a show of solidarity. It is anticipated the Hillcrest and Bellevue firefighters will be most likely handing in their pagers tonight.
The executive members of the RatePayers Association has been requested, by the Firefighter's, to attend a meeting with them, at the Bellevue Firehall at 7:00 p.m. tonight, before the firefighter's make their decision.
See pictures of the protest below. Click on the smaller thumbnail picture to see a larger view of the photo.
Municipality of Crowsnest Pass press release - Oct. 3/12
Fire Service Discontent
At 10 p.m. on October 3, 2012, the Municipality
of Crowsnest Pass received word from Station 25 Chief Wayne Robutka,
that effective immediately, 17 of 19 members of Station 25 have turned
in their pagers and will not be responding to disaster and fire
incidents. Their position is they will only return to service upon the
reinstatement of the Station 24 Chief and he further stated "that it was
time for action with no more waiting."
The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass is extremely disappointed by the
actions of Station 25 fire service members in the lack of
professionalism and disregard for public safety relative to the time of
day and short notice that was received.
In response to Station 25's deliberate disregard for the safety and
protection of 1,654 residents in the Coleman area, the Munipality has
deployed its modified response which includes fire service members of
Station 22, 23 and 26 on alert standby to respond to any incident.
Further to this modified response, the Municipality has retained
external qualified services to bolster public safety as the Municipality
has been requested by Station 22 and 23 to consider a comprise of the
reinstatement of the Station 24 Fire Chief as of noon October 4, 2012.
The Municipality is aware that we have existing fire service
personnel that have the best interest of the community at heart and
would like to thank them for their continued service and commitment to
the residents of our community.
As an employer, the release of Station 24 Fire Chief followed strict
internal and external labour protocol and required processes.
This extreme action taken by the paid/volunteer firemen of Station 24
and 25 has initiated the Municipality to undertake an external
examination of the operations and activities of the Municipal Fire
For further information please contact Myron Thompson, Chief
Administrative Officer, Municipality of Crowsnest Pass 403-562-8833 or
Unedited press release
FIRE SAFETY CONTINGENCY PLAN - Station 24
Crowsnest Pass Fire/Rescue
The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass Fire & Rescue Services falls
within the Protective and Community Services Department. Fire &
Rescue Services are deployed from five stations positioned in core areas
of the Community. Each station has a Station Chief who is responsible
for that station and the Station Chief’s in turn report to a full time
Fire Chief. There has been a recent termination of a Station Chief and
with this action response plans have been modified for an interim period
to allow a transition process to take effect. Fire protection within
the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass has not been compromised and remains
at a high standard. Residents and businesses can be confident that there
safety and protection is being upheld.
Municipal Population 5,565
Number of Total Stations: Fire -4 Search/Rescue 1
Station Response Distance:
Coleman to Hillcrest 14.99 km from East to West
Coleman to Blairmore 6.73 km
Hillcrest to Bellevue 3.65 km
Blairmore to Bellevue/Hillcrest 7.92 km
Distances are calculated following the closest and most direct route.
Response times will vary pending time of day, environmental conditions
Station: 22 (Hillcrest) Personnel 21
Station: 23 (Bellevue) Personnel 18
Station: 24 (Blairmore) Personnel 21 – 11 = 10
(Recruitment & interviews scheduled)
Station: 25 (Coleman) Personnel 19
Station: 26 (Rescue Blairmore) Personnel 14
Total: 93 original members from 5 Stations
11 resignations YTD from Blairmore.
Total strength remaining - 10 members Station 24 (Blairmore)
72 personnel remaining other stations.
The Municipality has a full time Fire Chief that is
actively engaged with all stations and is ensuring that public safety
and protection will remain a top priority. Emergency Call Dispatch
protocol has been alerted to page out all stations until further notice
for any incidents occurring in Station 24 area including remaining
personnel from Blairmore Station 24.
Municipality of Crowsnest Pass has a long standing Mutual Aid
Agreement with the Town of Pincher Creek and is consistent with industry
best practices. This agreement engages the reciprocal provision of fire
and rescue services to each municipality.
Unedited press release copied from Municipality of Crowsnest Pass Facebook page
The following was posted on Facebook yesterday:
"I just wanted to get the attention of the Sun (Facebook friends the CNP
too) on an issue in the Crowsnest Pass today. A 34 year volunteer
firefighter (Fire Chief) was fired for reasons other than just cause.
Reasons that are completely seemingly fabricated. After the municipal
council made the decision to cancel the Blairmore Fire Department's 19th
Annual Thunder In The Valley fireworks display they have been looking
for ways to remove the head of the Blairmore Fire Department and anyone
who is not willing to be bullied by the current Mayor and his puppets.
Tonight municipal officials called a meeting with Station 24 (Blairmore
Fire Department) explaining what has happened. All 11 members to were
able to make the emergency meeting turned in their pagers, quitting the
department at the disgust of which a 34 year volunteer was treated."
Followed today by the "Official" Announcement from the Municipality.
Municipality of Crowsnest Pass
Effective October 1st, Station Chief Margetak has been relieved of his
active duty. This action has prompted conclusion of additional fire
service members from the Blairmore Station. The Municipality of
Crowsnest Pass wishes to advise the public that a contingency plan is in
place and a protocol has been established to ensure the ultimate safety
of the public while the transition takes place. The Municipality of
Crowsnest Pass wishes to thank Chief Margetak for the years of
dedication and service and wishes to thank also those fire fighters that
remain on active duty.
Update: Read Pass Promoter Article Online. Take the poll at the end of the article.
In a recent Crowsnest Pass Herald story, Margetak expressed concerns about organizational changes to
Emergency Response services announced by the Municipality. “I think
it was poorly handled,” he reportedly said.
See article in Crowsnest Pass Herald:
It awfully coincidental that Jamie Margetek was interviewed, stating his opinion, and then he was fired. I wonder if Doug Cox, who also was interviewed, will be next? It seems as if anyone who does not agree with council is "let go", fired, or soon relieved of their position.
All of this stupid decision making, is just another nail in this councils coffin!!
I hope all the Fire Departments stand in solidarity and follow suit. Maybe then council will have to sit up and take notice. It happened once before and things got better.
But with this council, who knows. They seem to be making weirder and weirder choices. It's almost like they have gone mad!! Or maybe it's just their leader who has gone mad!! Whatever it is, it is scary because we, the people, are at his mercy and every strange whim that he has.
Global Lethbridge Interview:
Quote "According to John's source from yesterday, today all but two (who couldn't be reached) firefighters in our Coleman Fire Department and all of our Hillcrest Fire Department firefighters have turned in their pagers today, as well. They've all walked out. No word yet on Bellevue."
Well, now the sh*t really is hitting the fan!! Will council finally realize the error of their ways? They are being forced into a corner. Will they back down or come out still fighting against the rest of the Pass population?
I think it's time for them to hang their heads in shame and admit their mistakes. Time for them to save even a small amount of face and man up to the reality of what they have been doing to this community and try to at least salvage what is left.
An interesting bit of news to share.
Apparently the Crowsnest Pass may soon be a "manufacturing hub", or so our Mayor wishes to believe.
In an interview with Alberta Prime Time - Talk of the Town, that aired on September 11, 2012, Mayor Bruce Decoux was asked about the mystery manufacturing company that is considering putting down roots in the Crowsnest Pass.
Our Mayor was quite clear that he could not tell us anything about this company. He stated that the name of this Quebec based company was being withheld as per the company's wishes. He stated that it was a "secret", and that even he was having a hard time keeping this secret.
He went on to say that he had been asked to keep it all in house, until such time the company decided on the location that they were planning on. He also stated that the "BIG secret" (emphasis mine) would be made in the form of an announcement with the next two weeks.
The next day, in the September Municipal Newsletter, in the Mayor's Corner, Bruce also talked about this "mystery" industry.
What I want to know are three things:
First, if this is supposed to be a mystery (a secret), and he has been asked by the company to not talk about it, then why is he talking about it so much?? I mean, so far we know several key things about it, that he, himself, has told us.
It is a company based in Quebec. It is a large manufacturing company. It is looking at opening up a plant in the western provinces.
It seems to me that armed with this knowledge (that we are not supposed to have knowledge of - Wink Wink ... Nudge Nudge) and a bit of time on the internet, I am sure I could narrow it down to one or two potential companies.
So much for a secret.
The bigger question begs to be asked:
Just what does this secret company think of our mayor (not) telling us this information?? I think I'd be pretty choked if I knew that had happened. Especially when he had been asked not to say anything.
The next question is:
When is this BIG secret life-as-we-know-it changing surprise supposed to be announced? According to the interview, it is supposed to be within two weeks.
Well, guess what folks, as of today, it has now been two weeks. He did tell us it would be within two weeks.
Have you heard anything? I know I haven't. Yet.
Maybe the Mayor is just keeping us in suspense until the last possible second (that would be midnight tonight). Maybe this is all just a BIG pipe dream. Maybe the company found someplace else to go. Maybe this company is just a tad bit upset that our illustrious mayor did not (tongue in cheek) tell us "anything" as requested by them. Anything is possible. Maybe......
Well, we will see what today brings.
I know that I will be waiting with baited breath!!
Wow!! A Manufacturing Hub!!! We could be the next Fort McMurray!! Attracting people from all over Canada, to the manufacturing capital of Alberta!! It IS the Mayor's Dream!! Or is it just more wishful thinking??
Recently a host of lawsuits seems to be plaguing the Crowsnest Pass. Some have been initiated by others and some by the Municipality itself.
On July 20th, 2012, a statement of claim citing the plaintiffs
as Chinook Pipelines Inc. (Chinook) and the defendant as the
Municipality of Crowsnest Pass was filed with the Court
of Queen’s Bench in Lethbridge.
Apparently Chinook Pipelines Inc. is suing the Municipality of Crowsnest
Pass for $420,000 worth of lost profits and damages to its reputation. Further allegations include
$30,000 for wasted time in preparation of a bid for the 2011 infrastructure improvements, interest, cost of the action and further
relief, that the court may permit.
Just what the Crowsnest Pass needs, a lawsuit. Yet another way to waste our taxpayers dollars.
But does the insanity and waste of money stop there? Not a chance.
Apparently the Municipality of the Crowsnest Pass is suing a certain former consultant turned
interim CAO (and his firm) for "Breach of confidentiality". Who in turn, is counter
suing the Municipality.
Oh what fun!!!
We all know who will be getting rich from all this. It will be all of the lawyers involved in the lawsuits. Can you believe all of this nonsense, at the you, the taxpayers, expense??
If you think this is bad, you have not heard the rest of it.
A reliable source has informed me that a certain entertainment group, hired to do a performance during Rum Runner Day's, was not paid in full for their agreed upon contract. After repeated requests, to Emile Saindon, Chairman of the Rum Runner Committee, to provide the money in full, and not hearing back from him or the committee, this group has decided that a lawsuit may be in order.
They have included the Municipality of the Crowsnest Pass, the Rum Runner Committee and especially the chairman in their grievances.
A bit of background on this issue:
This particular group was hired to perform. A contract was signed and agreed upon. Half was paid in advance with the balance due upon their arrival to perform. They arrived as scheduled. Unfortunately, they got rained out.
Now, as most entertainment contracts go, when someone is hired to perform, the entity who contracted them, is required to either have all arrangements in place, prior to the event. This includes an alternative arrangement, if this is an outside performance and it ends up raining. This is called a contingency (or backup) plan. Everybody has them.
Oh, wait!! The Rum Runner Committee did not have one. No surprise there. Except for the fact that one member of this committee mentioned that maybe they should have one in place. In fact, it was brought up twice by this member. What was this member told?? Oh, it won't rain!! We don't need to have an alternative place to hold the event. The weather will be just fine!!
Do you and I live in the same place?? This is the Crowsnest Pass. It's the Rocky Mountains. The weather here changes constantly. What were they thinking??
Obviously they were not.
So what did this all end up meaning for all involved parties?
Well, either the show must go on, get moved to somewhere else inside or if the hired group is told that the show is called off on account of rain (severe weather, etc.), the group still gets paid anyway. It is just how it is done!!
Instead, the chairperson decided that he did not want to pay this group all of their money and handed them less than half of what was left owing.
Now for those of you who say, well if they didn't perform they shouldn't get paid. Ideally in a perfect world this might be nice for the person paying the money. However, that is not how it works. It is not like the group cancelled or did not show up.
This group came over 1000 kilometres to perform. They paid their own gas, paid for their own meals and stayed overnight in a hotel at their own expense. They have families to feed, mortgages or rent to pay. They are entitled to a certain level of assurances. They arrived ready, and willing to perform. They were on time and prepared. It is just too bad Mother Nature was not in agreement that day. However, they are still entitled to that money. It is in their contract. It is the industry expectations.
So why should one man make a decision that affects their lives like that??
At the time, they were so shocked that he would do that, they took what he gave them and left. It was not enough to get home. They had to dip into their own funds to pay for the trip.
Once home, and upon reflection and discussion within the group, and obtaining proper advice, they emailed their dismay at this situation and asked for the rest of the money. After repeated emails and eventually only one response from the chairperson and in a negative manner, they decided that other ways to collect this money may have to be taken. This was now almost a full month after Rum Runner Day's.
Fast forward to the end of August:
The Rum Runner Committee met on Monday August 27th, to discuss the 2012 Rum Runners Days budget, successes and issues raised this year and whether or not to pay this particular entertainment group. After asking the question of the committee, everyone, except one person, seemed in agreement that payment was to be withheld.
At the time of this posting, this entertainment group has still not heard anything back from the Rum Runner Committee or the chairperson.
Wow!! Again, sadly no surprise. After all, the chairman and his committee know what's best for everyone.
So this group is now contemplating their next move, but they have mentioned lawsuit a couple of times. They just want their agreed upon money. Who can blame them??
However, we do know who to blame, if they end up filing a lawsuit.
Update: Since the posting of this Blog article, the group mentioned above has finally been paid in full.
Crowsnest Pass Branding Survey
The Municipality of the Crowsnest Pass has put a survey online, for the residents to fill out.
They are asking for input from we, the people of this beautiful mountain community.
They say that our input is important, as part of the development of the brand for Crowsnest Pass, in order that itreflects the needs and values as well as economic opportunities and priorities of the entire community.
You can find the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YXHXPZQ
One really wonders how much of our input they will really take into consideration, especially considering how much lack of attention they have paid to our voices and concerns up to now.
Seems like it is just a formality and may be a way to garnish some of the already lost support back from the community. An election is only just over a year away. Has campaigning already started?
Crowsnest Pass Rate Payers Association
Kovach, President of the Crowsnest Pass Ratepayers Association is very
pleased to provide an update on the progress of the Association. What
began back in June has a number of taxpayers getting together and
voicing numerous concerns about the direction our community is heading.
In a few busy months of public meetings being held in each community, to
determine if there was interest in revitalizing the Ratepayers
Association and hearing the concerns of the ratepayers it was
determined very quickly that the public is very interested in having a
Ratepayers organization in place.
The decision was made to move forward
to elect an executive comprised of residents from all areas of the
Crowsnest Pass. President William Kovach is very pleased to announce
that the Association has in a very short time frame already signed up
over four hundred members. He encourages anyone interested in joining
the organization to contact any of the following executive board members
(Cost of $5).
William Kovach 564-4709
Gail Montgomery 564-4077
Troy Clark 563 0381
Sasha JaegerBaird 563 6073
Ed Strembecki 564-0184
Marilyn Milley 562-2719
Marlene Anctil 562-8180
Larry Ruzek 564 4384
Rudy Pagnucco 562-8147
In line with the concerns raised by ratepayers at those meetings the
executive created a mission statement for the organization one that
states the following:
“The Association monitors municipal
decisions to ensure that responsible and accountable governance is
being provided for the people of the Crowsnest Pass."
Ratepayers Association wishes to achieve these goals by working in
cooperation with the municipal administration and council. To that end
the Association has requested the following, a meeting with council and
administration to introduce themselves and share the goals of the group
(August 21, G+P meeting). A request for information from the CAO,
regarding the concerns raised by the taxpayers at the public meeting
(Taxation, spending, hiring, use of consultants etc) . The vast majority
of which should be readily available as it is contained in the
triennial budget put in place by council several months back.
Additionally President Kovach would like to announce that to keep the
public better informed of how the ratepayers efforts are proceeding, the
group will very shortly have it’s own Facebook page, they will also be
holding their next executive board meeting September 20 at 7pm in the
basement of the Coleman Legion. All members or prospective members are
more than welcome to attend.
On Thursday July 19th, the members of the Crowsnest Pass Ratepayers Association elected their new executive board.
The newly elected executive are as follows:
President: Bill Kovach
The Board representing:
Hillcrest: Rudy Pagnucco & Larry Ruzek
Bellevue: Gail Montgomery & Troy Clark
Blairmore/Frank: Marilyn Milley & Marlene Anctil
Coleman: Sasha JaegerBaird & Ed Strembicki
Congratulations to everyone. I look forward to working with all of you.
If you are a resident of the Crowsnest Pass and have something to say about how the Mayor and council has been governing this community since being elected, in October of 2010, then now is the time to come out and have your say.
A Town Hall Meeting is planned for this Thursday (tomorrow) June 21st at 6:30 p.m.
Are you happy with the direction that things are going? Do you support our elected official's decisions? Or do you think that they are completely out-to-lunch?? Is council's spending in line with what you expected? Or do you think we are being taxed to death? Just where are our tax dollars going?? Does the Crowsnest Pass have anything to show for it??
Come out tomorrow, in support, or not, of our Mayor and councilmen. Tell them what you think and how you feel about the job that they have been doing for us?
Town Hall Meeting - Thursday June 21, 2012
Council extends an invitation
to the Public to attend a Town Hall Meeting, Thursday, June 21st at 6:30
pm at the Elks Hall.
Located at 2025 – 129 Street Blairmore.
Beef on a
Bun will be served prior to the meeting in the Elks Hall parking lot
commencing at 5:00 pm.
We may have narrowly escaped a tax increase to our Municipal Property Taxes...
Good People of the Crowsnest Pass, we have been given a false sense of security.
The Crowsnest Municipal council passed a 10% Utility Fee hike, that was approved as part of the 2011 budget.
Currently Municipal Utility bills are produced and billed every two months.
A two month bill looks something like this:
Recycling Levy $5.00
Garbage Levy $35.64
Sewer Levy $32.10
Water Levy $46.00
Current Charges $118.74
That breaks down into $59.37 per month per household.
A 10% increase would see that amount go to $65.31 per month.
That may not seem like a lot but the projected revenue for the 10% fee hike will mean an additional $95,000 ++ a year for the municipality.
So technically we may not have been hit in the wallet with a Property Tax increase, but we have been hit in the pocketbook with this new 10% Utility increase.
Which, incidentally, is effective retroactively for the January and February billing period. So be prepared to see the extra added onto on your March bill.
My question is: What is this extra revenue that will be collected, going to be used for???
Something good I hope. Something that this community can use.
What are your opinions?