News: October 5, 2015
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Edson brings home the medals at Firefit Nationals
It was a big weekend for a few members of the Edson Fire
Department at Firefit Nationals in Ontario.
After qualifying at regional events, including the Edson event in May, seven members of the Edson Fire Department travelled to Kitchener, Ontario last week to participate in the Firefit National Championships.
Over 300 firefighters from across the Country took part in the competition and Edson members represented our community very well. They all achieved their personal best times to date in every category they entered, earning a number of medals in the process.
"This has definitely been the Edson Fire Department’s most successful year in competing in the FireFit Championships,” said Deputy Fire Chief Tyler Robinson.
“Not only did we host a highly attended and successful event in May, but we were able to send two teams to Nationals. Every member who attended accomplished their personal best times to date in every category they entered, as well as receiving several medals," said Robinson.
See the Fire Prevention Week section in the Oct 5, 2015 issue of The Weekly Anchor.
News: September 28, 2015
Revenue Sharing ‘cheque in the mail’
No changes to the funding formula, dates, or assessment base
by Adrienne Tait
Cheques for $5.03 million to Edson and $1.9 million to Hinton from Yellowhead County “went in the mail yesterday,” said county CAO Jack Ramme at the September 22 council meeting.
Those cheques were the allotted portion of the 2015 revenue sharing agreement. The agreement underwent a review due to changes in provincial legislation that negatively impacted county coffers. Under the agreement the county had the right to terminate the revenue sharing agreement should their revenues be negatively affected by more than one million dollars. That clause remains.
The changes made by the province to the drilling well tax provided the county with the opportunity to review the agreement and make any changes it deemed necessary.
No changes to the funding formula, dates, or assessment base were made but new provisions to the accountability portion of the revenue sharing agreement were adopted by Yellowhead County council on September 22.
The payments made by the county to the municipalities of Hinton and Edson are, “in addition to any existing and future agreements in place between the County and the Town,” said Ramme.
The County is asking the towns to agree “to acknowledge the county in any promotional materials/signage or social media/print media releases with respect to operational expenses or capital projects undertaken with the funding assistance provided by the county,” the agreement states.
The county is also requiring annual accounting of how the revenue sharing funds were allocated prior to May 1 of the subsequent year.
One of the key changes to the agreement is the clause which states, “Any town community interest groups seeking operational funding will apply to the town and any funding approved by the town would be deemed to have been allocated by both parties, and no additional funding will be provided by the county.”
The reason behind the clause regarding community groups was “to alleviate the small amount dollar requests coming from groups that could amount to one big lump,” said Mayor Gerald Soroka. And to “avoid playing each side against the other,” said Ramme.
Councillor David Russell pointed out that the agreement, “refers to operational needs not capital projects.”
The cost sharing and recreation agreements do not pertain to the revenue sharing agreement which provides additional funding outside of cost sharing. The council pointed out that major facility projects such as a Fieldhouse, which would consist of both capital and operational costs and would be addressed under a separate agreement.
Mayor Soroka said that with this third payment, when averaged, “The County has paid $18 million over the past three years” in support of the two towns.
Councillor Berry said, “I think we have done a great job as a council putting this together again. I’m really proud of this agreement.”
The amendments to the agreement will be forwarded to the towns of Hinton and Edson and will not go into effect until signed by all parties.
News: September 21, 2015
Council defeats motion to partner with GYPSD
by Adrienne Tait
During the September 15 town council meeting community services director Jim Desautels provided town councillors and residents a synopsis of the meeting that was held for interested stakeholders regarding the new Dakin school project.
The meeting provided information regarding timelines, architectural and engineering possibilities, and project outlines.
“We were all advised that we have a matter of weeks to commit,” said Desautels. The timeline provided to the town would require a commitment by the end of September and to enter into an agreement with a monetary value attached by November.
Town council had hoped that the new gymnasium could be enlarged to the same size as Parkland’s gym with a suspended walking track. Because the gymnasium would be inside a public school, programming and public access would be limited to after school hours. However, the GYPSD would absorb the operational costs.
“We were told in order to do that the structure would have to be three stories tall and would have to adjust the design all the way around. It would be an imposing structure for the neighborhood and the cost would be extremely high,” said Desautels.
Town CAO Mike Derricott told council he had spoken with county administration and was told that the support had not changed and the county was currently not in favor of supporting the project.
Desautels said, “I’m fairly confident we would have to move forward on our own. We just don’t have time for public consultation or to form partnerships in time.”
The project was estimated to cost $2.1 million for the gymnasium expansion. Inquiries were made as to the possibility of adding a walking track to the ground floor. While the walking track could be made a caveat of the agreement Derricott said, “I’ll be the bearer of the bad news. It’s unlikely that it would include a walking track at that amount.”
Councillor Chouniard spoke against the project and said his concerns were restricted public access and the lack of support from the county. “Our other partner is saying ‘nah.’ When we looked at this for the library the numbers changed. This facility would be accessed by the public but is on private land.”
GYPSD school board trustee Joan Zaporoksy was in attendance and said, “We partner with the Grande Cache and Evansburg communities. We have public libraries in both schools and it works very well.”
Councillor Boyce said he had always had two requirements the first was the walking track and the second was county support. With neither of those in place he could not support the partnership project.
Councillor Bevan said he had heard concerns from residents the project does not represent the community as a whole as well as outlined potential issues walking across the track to get to the gym.
Councillor Gomuwka acknowledged the concerns and said, “All the things that have been said are valid. We’re not getting what we want but we’re going to lose this. This would have been an asset. We’re making this decision because the county is not on board. I’m not concerned about that. I’m concerned that we’re going to lose a bigger and better gym that the community needs….If this goes by the wayside nothing is going to happen for the next five years.”
Councillor Bevan said, “If you commit to this, the other groups are going to come back and say ‘why wouldn’t you commit that $2.1 million to the groups?’ I know we don’t have the money but if I was part of those groups I would.”
Councillor Gomuwka responded, “Let’s not fool ourselves we’re not going to put $2.1 million away. We can’t go to the groups and say we’re going to put money away.”
Mayor Pasychny said that he was against the project because of the money and said there would always be groups coming forward that want funding. Pasychny added that the number one response he has always heard from residents is the need for a walking track. He said he was “perplexed” by the need for three stories as he believed two stories would be sufficient.
Mayor Pasychny said he had believed the opportunity to partner with the GYPSD for a gym the size of Parkland looked solid. “We’re challenged because our neighbor doesn’t want to be a part. I would support this if the county would sign off saying their residents wouldn’t use it,” he said.
If the county believed their residents would not support or use such a facility they had valid reason not to participate. “If the county doesn’t feel their residents would use the facility they should have no problem signing off on it but I believe their residents would enjoy the facility and use it,” said Pasychny.
The council defeated the motion to participate in the partnership opportunity.
News: September 14, 2015
Edson festival kicked off stage five of Tour of Alberta
It took nearly a year of planning but Edson pulled off their host
community pre-stage five festival on September 6.
Edson community services director Jim Desautels said, “I’m proud of our team of committed volunteers. They ran a seamless event. It was a solid team effort. Comments coming out of the Tour of Alberta were extremely favourable towards Edson and what we put together.”
Edson and District Recycling Society’s Anne Auriat had a goal of hosting an environmentally friendly waste free event. The pancake breakfast was served on reusable plates and with recyclable utensils. After more than 400 people there was just one small bag of garbage.
“Anytime you get to bring a world class athlete to your town it’s an amazing thing. We had 120!” said Desautels.
One benefit of hosting the event was the number of people and groups that worked together in order to showcase the community through volunteer and sponsorship opportunities.
For one local boy winning a competition gave him the chance to take part in the race. Six year old Cooper Lemieux worked hard on his bike in order to win the competition to start the race by ringing Edson’s historic fire bell.
Local dignitaries including West Yellowhead MLA Eric Rosendhal and Mayor Greg Pasychny also attended the event and welcomed athletes and spectators alike to the festivities.
“In the end we had enough dedicated volunteers to make it work. Early on we had tremendous support from the community and when the call went out for more help, Edson came through. Numerous agencies and groups answered the call; our local volunteer fire department, RCMP detachment, Minor Soccer Association, Edson Cycling Association, the Friendship Centre, the Edson Recycling Society, Rotary, Galloway Station and museum, EMHA, and the Edson Orcas Swim Club to name a few,” said Desautels.
Local businesses showed their support with monetary donations and in-kind support. Thanks were expressed to many including to Wayne from Tim Horton’s in Edson, John and Jamie from Bannister GM, The Eagle, Velvet Energy, Keith at Sobeys, Gary and Paul from Mountainside Rentals, Mark from Happy Camper, Neil from Smitty’s, Shawn from Trail Printing, Conoco Philips 66, Weyerhaeuser, and Talisman Energy.
The weather was the only downside to the festival although it did not prevent several attendees from riding their bikes to the event. With an estimated 450 people in attendance the cooler weather did not dampen spirits. Desautels said, “Residents from inside and outside of Edson rode their bikes to the event to see these tremendous athletes up close. It was nice to see everyone there enjoying themselves and having fun. There is nothing better than the shared experience of culture and sport to bring a community and a district together.”
News: September 7, 2015
Deadly Weed Found in Canola fields near Yellowhead County
Plant has toxic effects that could result in death to livestock
or humans if ingested
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry are warning agricultural producers in and around Yellowhead County that a plant that is poisonous to both livestock and humans is showing up in canola fields in central Alberta. The plant is reported to have a narcotic effect that can result in death when more than the equivalent of 0.1% of a victim‘s body weight of the plant is ingested. According to an information sheet released by the Government of Alberta’s Agriculture and Forestry department, all parts of the plants are poisonous.
The province has included tips on how to detect, remove and dispose of the weed in the safest manner. The plant can be identified by its distinct spiky, egg-shaped seed pod, its white to purplish trumpet shaped flowers, and its smooth thick red to purplish stems that can grow up to 2 metres tall.
The information sheet says that only proper disposal of the plant should be done as seeds can be released from the pods resulting in possible re-seeding of the prohibited noxious weed in fields. There are also potential problems in human consumption if the parts of the plant contaminate canola seed. Burning should also be avoided at all costs as the weed may release toxins in the air and cause secondary poisoning. Proper disposal consists of manually pulling the weed wearing protective equipment, and double-bagging the weed for landfill disposal in order to avoid any contamination.
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has advised that early detection and eradication is very important to stop the spread of Jimsonweed. Cases have been reported in Barrhead, Leduc, and Westlock counties. The original information sheet released by the Government of Alberta’s Agriculture and Forestry department is attached. Images to help identify the plant are also attached.
Please contact the Yellowhead County Agricultural Department or Nicole Kimmel, Weed Specialist, at Alberta Agricultural & Forestry at 780-422-0885 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to report any sightings of this weed.
News: August 31, 2015
Prepare to head back to school
by Adrienne Tait
School resumes in Edson and area on September 8. As parents and students prepare for back to school they are asked to keep a number of safety tips in mind.
The Town of Edson recently passed a bylaw which puts school zones in effect continuously from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The start and end times remain the same as the provincial law but simplifies the in-between times.
Students and parents alike are also reminded not to text and drive or text while walking in busy areas.
With the increased use of technology back to school safety tips can encompass more than traffic laws. Sandy Axmann, supervisor of curriculum and FNMI for the GYPSD, had the following advice for online safety.
-Remember that if you put something online, or into a text, it is in writing. Make sure that your words and actions do not hurt others. If you would not say it to someone’s face, then don’t say it online. If you would say it to someone personally, then make sure it is respectful.
-Make sure you know the people you are online with.
-Parents need to monitor frequently their children’s online activities.
-Work with your school administration if problems arise. When adults get involved early on, in an appropriate manner, bullying stops.
Parental and student involvement in school activities is also recommended to ensure a safe and healthy school year.
Axmann said parents may be surprised to learn that the schools want them to be involved at all ages and encourages a community minded approach. “As students enter middle school, the trend is for parent involvement to taper off. This doesn’t need to happen- parent involvement just needs to look different. More behind the scenes involvement ensures that you know what is happening and can support your child as they need it because you are familiar with the staff, and how things work in your child’s school,” said Axmann.
Students in 2015 have more exposure to technology and information than ever before, and the approach to learning may have changed, but some things remain constant said Axmann. “Back to school routines are basically the same, just with more high tech gadgets - better back packs, better calculators, better computers, better connections. Students have more engagement and leadership in their education. It’s about choosing to get involved in your school to ensure that elementary, middle school, or high school is the best experience.”
News: August 24, 2015
Tour of Alberta reaches Edson September 6
by Adrienne Tait
As town staff and residents gear up to host the fifth leg of the Tour of Alberta town council has approved the necessary road closures to allow for set up at the festival site as well as the rolling road closures as the cyclists make their way through town.
Starting on September 5 staff and volunteers will begin set up around Talisman Place. The road will remain closed until after the tour leaves Edson on September 6. “As the tour progresses through town we will have rolling road closures much like a parade,” Jim Desautels community services director said at the Tuesday evening town council meeting.
According to the proposed schedule tent crews will arrive to begin clearing the parking lot and setting up tents around 3 p.m. on the Saturday. The street closure for 11th Avenue between 49 and 50th Streets will start at 5 p.m.
Work for the Sunday morning kick off to leg five is scheduled to start at 4:45 a.m. with vendors and the festival open by 8 a.m.
Stage 5 of the race will start in Edson on the morning of September 6. The race will begin following the national anthem at 10:30 a.m. with the festival wrapped up by 11 a.m.
For more information or to volunteer at the event please contact the Town of Edson.
THE EDITOR (full letter here)
‘Will we opt to stay on familiar and stable ground?’
News: August 17, 2015
Armed man shot by RCMP
Investigators seeking public’s help locating witnesses to the incident
by Adrienne Tait
On Friday, August 7 a man was shot by Edson RCMP at the Provincial Building after they responded to a call for assistance.
The 27-year-old male had attended the Edson Probation Office, located in the Edson Provincial Courthouse, in order to speak with a probation officer. The man, who was known to the probation officer as well as RCMP, was “visibly upset, displayed signs of impairment, and engaged in erratic behaviour” according to the media release.
He then produced a weapon and threatened to commit suicide. At that time he was asked to leave and staff members called the RCMP detachment to report the incident and that the man remained at the courthouse armed with a weapon.
RCMP responded to the call for help. Edson RCMP members located the man in the grassy area north west of the courthouse across from the Tim Horton’s and Sobey’s parking lot.
Efforts to arrest the armed man peacefully were not successful and he was subsequently shot by police. The man received emergency medical attention on scene to treat the life-threatening injuries he had sustained.
The man was stabilized at the Edson hospital before being airlifted by STARS air ambulance to an Edmonton hospital. He remains in stable condition.
The officers involved were not physically injured.
The RCMP Major Crimes Unit is investigating the actions of the man involved in the shooting.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), a civilian-led independent investigative unit, has initiated an investigation focusing on the actions taken by police officers and the circumstances of the incident. An ASIRT investigation is standard procedure when any incident involving Alberta police results in serious injury or death. The investigative team is also responsible for investigating any serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.
As part of the investigation, ASIRT investigators have interviewed some witnesses but are seeking the public’s help in locating and speaking with anyone else who witnessed the incident as it occurred in the busy commercial area.
“In particular, ASIRT investigators would like to speak with any members of a work crew at a hotel across the street from the incident,” said media relations person Dan Laville.
Anyone with information is asked to contact ASIRT at 780-644-1483 or toll-free by first dialing 310-0000.
News: August 10, 2015
Hit and run at Vision Park
On August 1, 2015 at approximately 3 a.m., a 23 year old
male was hit by an unknown vehicle near the entrance to Vision Park
in Edson, Alberta. The victim was taken to hospital where he
has since been taken by ambulance to an Edmonton area Hospital due
to the severity of his injuries.
The victim was wearing a black tank top with white stripes on the side and the number 95 in white on the back, dark blue board shorts and a black hat. Edson RCMP are looking to speak to anyone who may have seen, or have knowledge of the event to please contact them at 780-723-8822 or to contact Crimestoppers.
News: August 3, 2015
Edson airport cleared to move
ahead with security designation
by Adrienne Tait
The federal government announced on July 28 new regulations to allow airports that don’t have access to security screening services from the CATSA to obtain them on a cost-recovery basis.
10 airports across Canada, including Edson, have been approved to move forward with obtaining the screening services.
Only two Alberta airports, Edson and Cold Lake, are among those approved.
Although there is no federal funding available for the Canadian Air Transport Security Agency (CATSA) designation, changes to the regulations will allow the approved municipalities to shoulder the cost of the required security.
The announcement was made by Jim Eglinski, Member of Parliament for Yellowhead, on behalf of the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, at the airport in Edson at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Eglinski told those in attendance that addressing the CATSA requirements was one of his first orders of business for the newly elected MP when he arrived in Ottawa.
The partnership between the municipalities and the benefit to the region as a whole showed favourably in the lobbying process. “We have the four communities; we have Edson, our County, Hinton and Jasper. Three communities and one county getting together with the unique idea of making this a designated airport so that we can bring in traffic from the major areas and fly into the major areas,” said Eglinski. The ability to have commercial service to the region is expected to have positive impact on industry, tourism, and the economy. (See August 3, 2015 for more information)