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News: April 14, 2014

Annual Jesse James Memory Rodeo

by Deanna Mitchener
Saturday, April 19 is the eighth annual rodeo to honor the memory of Jesse James "The Outlaw".
"Many locals remember Jesse and that fateful day on December 1, 2006 when 11 year old Jesse had his life taken so suddenly. While traveling to Hinton to play in a hockey tournament a moose unexpectedly came out of the ditch hitting the vehicle on the passenger side where Jesse was sitting," said mom, Joanna James.
"For many residents this isn’t just another rodeo. It’s a celebration of his passion for life and a good old rodeo. This event provides an opportunity to rejoice and remember Jesse" said Joanna.
"This year Jesse would have turned 19 and the memorial rodeo happens to fall on April 19. The theme this year will be 19. Pink prizes will be given to contestants that receive a 19 in their time,” said Joanna.
“Travis James will be bringing a new event to the rodeo this year called the Wild Pony Race. This event was a favorite for the brothers to compete together in. Travis will be supplying the wild ponies for the event and this year it is for contestants 13 and under. The number 13 symbolizes Jesse's number on his hockey jersey, as he always enjoyed playing hockey as well as the rodeos," said Joanna.
The event is being held at the indoor Yellowhead Agricultural riding arena just west of
Edson. Admission to the rodeo is free, but remember pre-register as soon as possible so the association can plan ahead. The event usually brings in close to 40 youth to compete along with their families to cheer them on. “It is a great family rodeo to take part in or to come and be a spectator," said Joanna.
"It is always such a joy to watch these youngsters continue to grow and excel at something they really enjoy doing. These rodeos continue to inspire youth and continue to carry Jesse’s story and that means a lot to our family,” she said.
“As hard and emotional as this day is, it warms my heart being around others that enjoy rodeos as much as Jesse did. It keeps the memories alive and it’s my passion. It takes many friends, family and acquaintances to make this event happen each year. It always warms my heart to see how many friends are committed to this annual rodeo. Their help and support is greatly appreciated. Without their help and support this event would not be happening. So please know there are no words to truly say how thankful our family is," said Joanna.
If you would like to find out more about the Jesse James Memorial Rodeo or would like to volunteer, please give Joanna a call at 780-723-0940

Edson places second in ‘Earth Hour’

by Adrienne Tait
Edson placed second out of the 48 different municipalities registered to compete in the Earth Hour community challenge event from Fortis Alberta.
Earth hour is an annual global event during which people are encouraged to turn off their power for one hour.  This year Earth Hour was held on March 29 at 8:30 p.m. and Fortis Alberta launched the first annual community challenge for those within its service area.
Jennifer Yip, program specialist-energy efficiency with Fortis Alberta, said, “We started the community challenge as a new way to assist communities in our service territory in conserving energy and encouraging energy efficient habits. In regards to the participants who joined our Earth Hour community challenge, we noticed that there were small improvements in electricity savings during Earth Hour this year compared to previous ones.”
Edson’s total electricity consumption between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. March 29 was 13,580 kW, an energy savings of 2,233 kW when compared to the same time the previous week and marked a 14.1% decrease in energy consumption. The 2,233kW savings is equivalent to powering 148,867 15W CFL light bulbs and 2,481 houses for an hour.
Fortis Alberta said the total electricity saved in their service area during Earth Hour would power three percent of Alberta homes for an hour.
Yip provided some simple solutions to improve energy efficiency including turn off the lights when leaving the room, use energy star appliances, warm leftovers in a microwave or toaster oven rather than a conventional oven, and remember to dust the coils on the back of the refrigerator. 
One tip that could make a big difference on your energy consumption and subsequent bill is to unplug phone chargers and other electronics when not in use.  “Seventy-five per cent of the electricity used to power electronics is used while they are turned off but still plugged in. Use a power bar that can easily be shut off,” said Yip.
For more energy efficiency tips, please visit www.fortisalberta.com. 


News: April 7, 2014

Cree program provides graduates with highly sought after skills 

by Deanna Mitchener
A meeting held by the First Nations Metis Inuit (FNMI) committee regarding the need to have a Cree language program within the high schools was held March 27.
There were discussions about getting information to the school district about how Cree language programs provide graduates with highly sought after skills. 
“We have the only accredited Cree language teacher in Alberta and a very popular and successful Cree language program at the elementary and junior high level. But all of that energy and talent may be wasted if our students are not supported to complete their studies in high school,” said Kathleen Westergarrd, FNMI committee member.
“There is a desperate need for Cree speaking professionals for education, healthcare, law, and government services. Any graduate with these skills will have a professional advantage,” said Westergarrd. “A high school Cree language program in Grande Yellowhead will support our young people with moving into important progressive roles across our community, our province and country”.
“We are in a unique position to provide leadership through the expansion of our existing program. We need Grande Yellowhead to recognize this opportunity and chose to take advantage of it for everyone's benefit. The Cree program is open to all students from all cultures,” said Westergarrd.
“This program will also allow students to improve their understanding of Aboriginal cultures, spirituality and beliefs,” said Westergarrd.
Joe Pearce with the Aboriginal education program at Parkland, said, “I will bring forward the concerns about Cree high school education to see what can be done to bring this kind of a program into the high schools.”

County fire departments cost share new water tanker

Representatives from Yellowhead County council and fire services, and Parkland County fire services were in Evansburg on the evening of March 20 as Yellowhead County and Parkland County unveiled the new Fire Services Water Tanker Truck at Yellowhead County Fire Hall #10 in Evansburg. The new truck replaces the older tanker that has been in service for more than two decades.
During the commissioning ceremony the old tanker was driven out of its bay and the new tanker was brought in with the keys to the new vehicle formally handed over to the Evansburg District Fire Chief. The new replacement tanker is expected to be in service for twenty years before it will be replaced.
This new unit is part of a cost-sharing agreement with Yellowhead County and Parkland County. Under the cost-sharing agreement 50% of the new tanker will be funded by each municipality. The cost of the new vehicle was $310,000 and was the lowest of the bids that were received by Yellowhead County.
Yellowhead County Mayor Gerald Soroka was pleased with this opportunity to work with Parkland County to bring this new vehicle into service for the two communities. “Through this agreement with Parkland County we’re able to work together to bring these services that add to the safety and well-being to our communities’ residents and businesses. It’s really a necessary resource that greatly contributes to all the work that our volunteer firefighters do.”
The tanker being replaced is a 1991 model year and was beginning to require extensive maintenance and repair and had exceeded the Yellowhead County policy age of twenty years. The new unit is a fire service specific vacuum tanker that facilitates rapid filling and discharging of its load. The replacement tanker is a larger tandem-axle unit that will provide additional water at fire incidents as far west as Niton Junction and east into Parkland County to Gainford.

News: March 31, 2014

 Parking on Second Avenue

by Adrienne Tait
The parking of large semi trucks along Second Avenue has been an ongoing concern for months. 
At the last town council meeting the council received the protective services meeting minutes from November during which visibility concerns along Second Avenue were raised.
Committee members recommended to the bylaw enforcement officers that although the MLA’s office was aware of the issues, further communication may be required.
While Second and Fourth Avenues fall under Alberta Transportation jurisdiction for maintenance because it is a provincial highway, parking within town limits is a town bylaw matter, said Alberta Transportation’s Jasmine Franklin.
“We are aware of the situation and we have been working with the town for some time now.  Because it falls within town limits they are responsible for enforcing traffic bylaws such as no parking zones,” said Franklin.
Alberta Transportation has documentation dating back to 2012 as discussions have been ongoing between the two governing bodies to work towards a solution.  “We will do what we can and what is within our power to do,” said Franklin.  “The town has authority over land use and for implementing any bylaws such as no parking.”
In 2012 a traffic study showed that the intersection did not meet the requirements for further interventions such as traffic lights.  The study looked at sight lines, volume of traffic, pedestrian traffic, posted speed limits, directional traffic counts, and projected volume.  The analysis determined that changes were not necessary at that time.
“We will do another analysis based on 2014 data to see if improvement is required,” said Franklin.  Alberta Transportation has not yet received that data but will compare it to previous studies, such as the one done in 2012, to determine the projected volume which will also be factored into any Alberta Transportation decision. 
In the meantime Franklin said, “We have been working to keep the conversation open.”

J.R. Shore wows Chautauqua audience

by Adrienne Tait
Marty Pawlina, a singer songwriter from Edmonton, was the opening act for Chautauqua on Saturday night, March 22.
Pawlina released his first album “Old Fire New Flame” the same day as the Edson performance.
The Chautauqua audience was also treated to not one, but two performances for the fourth show of the season.
When the Chautauqua board booked J.R. Shore he suggested to them that for a slightly higher fee he would be able to provide two bands for one show and that is just what they did.
The first half of Shore’s performance included Steve Anderson on the tuba, Garth Kennedy on keyboards, and Mike Barer on the violin.  The rich sounds of Americana rooted music dominated the first set and included unconventional musical instruments such as a big red suitcase and sound effects to accompany Shore’s baritone voice.
Despite a couple of minor sound glitches, by the intermission comments such as “fantastic” and “bet show of the season” could frequently be heard amongst audience members.
Following the intermission, Anderson left the stage and two new band members who played drums and electric guitar, were introduced. 
Barer switched his violin out for a bass, moving the second half of the performance from a predominantly blues folk sound to a fusion of classic rock and rhythm and blues.  Anderson and his tuba returned for the final song.

News: March 24, 2014

Top winners named at popular “Trivia Night’

by Deanna Mitchener
The Edson Senior’s Transportation Society held their 16 annual Trivia Night on March 16 at the Royal Canadian Legion.
The event has always been a huge success with a lot of enjoyment and this year was no exception. The teams were all very impressive, very skillful with a magnificent team spirit.
Don Moorehead, president of the Edson Senior's Transportation Society said, "We were down a bit on teams this year, but it was still a great turnout, with a lot of support as always from the community. The support is awesome. We could not have done it alone, all the volunteers and businesses that help out year after year is what keeps us going strong”.
 All the proceeds from the annual event go towards the new bus.
"Twenty nine teams took part in Trivia Night this year, all competing against each other but with a great team spirit. Tanis Goeres put together the questions for Trivia night."
John Walker was the MC and judges were Tanis Goerez, Eleanor Dunford, Dale Barembruch, Earl Traphen, and Bob and Joan Carter. Twelve volunteers helped to make this event happen, which ended around midnight.
First place went to Schlick Six,  2nd place went to Alba’s Avengers and  3rd place went to Richard’s Craniums. The Fire Hosers won best dressed and Brett Gantz won $937 in the 50/50 draw.

Theatre project still needs male performers

by Deanna Mitchener
"We had an awesome turnout last Friday for auditions for the Chronicle Project, both from people auditioning and from people just coming to see what everything was about.  I have also been booking private auditions for people who were unable to make it to this past Friday's event," said Deanna Adam.
The newly formed performing arts group will be staging a production of ‘Whiteoaks’ a play by Mazo de la Roche.
"Holding the open auditions was an awesome opportunity for me to see how people in the community respond to being in the spotlight. The primary purpose of having everyone watch each other do their monologues is to help break down the mystery of the audition. Secondly each performer can use what the others do as a benchmark to measure their own performance against then, hopefully, push themselves to do even better the next time they audition for something," said Adam.
"We still need more male performers, three of them to be exact, one between the ages of 16 and 30, one between 25 and 40, and one over 40. I am currently booking private auditions with anyone interested in jumping into one of these roles. To book an audition people can call me at 780-728-7081 or email me via the website,” said Adam.
More information on the show and the auditions can be found at www.thechronicleproject.com


News: March 17, 2014

Rural communication strategy to proceed

by Adrienne Tait
Yellowhead County council has decided to proceed with the rural communication strategy and enter into an agreement with Vitel Consulting for one year with an option to extend the contract.
The rural communication strategy, as outlined, recommends the county consider a cell/internet/radio tower network as a utility and provide four towers in the county’s east end to provide service to county residents.
The first phase of the strategy includes a design and marketing phase during which time Vitel Consulting will market the prospective towers, acquire sits, hold community meetings, and design a schedule.  The fee for the first phase of the plan is $3,500 per month.
The second phase would be to build the towers at a cost of $5,000 each.  The third phase is the operation and maintenance of the towers which is expected to cost $2,000 per month.
In discussion with neighboring jurisdictions the county report says the synergies being put together and the skill set and networks available to Vitel viewed as a very positive endeavour and will strengthen regional opportunities to improve communications in the region.  The other jurisdictions speak very highly of the service and results they have received from Vitel Consulting.

Synfuels Updated Yellowhead Synergy Group

by Adrienne Tait
In a recent presentation to the Yellowhead Synergy Group, Tim Crowe of SwanHills SynFuels invited stakeholders to voice any concerns about a proposed Gas to Clean Fuels (GCF) development.
The project would be built near Bickerdike and could result in 100 full time employment opportunities and 5,000 barrels of Gas to Clean Fuels (GCF) being produced each day.
One question raised was regarding access to the site off of Highway 47.  Crowe said that a traffic impact study will be completed and submitted to Alberta Transportation and any interchange will meet their requirements.
Crow also addressed concerns regarding the technology being used.  The plant would use the same technology as currently used in the Methanex Plant in Medicine Hat for the first stages of the process.  The latter stage involves technology not presently used in North America, but which is in use in China and has been used in New Zealand for the past 30 years.
Water was cited as a major concern from attendees whose questions ranged from volume to monitoring and licencing requirements.  One of the changes for industry in the past few years has been water licencing. 
Crowe told attendees that previously licences had been granted by the Alberta Environment indefinitely but were now limited to 10 years or less and ground water required proper monitoring.  Crowe said, “Water is the number one issue.  It would be insufficient to do a study, submit it and think everything would be fine.  We need discussion with local residents and stakeholders.”
With natural gas prices spiking to a high of $24.82 on February 5, and maintaining an average over $4/GJ, a price which has not been seen consistently since 2005-2008, the economic feasibility of the project could be impacted if prices continue to rise.  Tim said, “We look at future curves and estimated market curves.  The forecast is still quite low five years out.”
It is an issue that is more complicated than simply watching natural gas prices according to Crowe who said the differential between the gas and natural gas prices plays a role as does the company’s ability to use the synthetic fuel being produced at their Swan Hills facility as feedstock.
While the project is still in early days the company is moving forward with its development plans.

News: March 10, 2014


Sabres hosting Midget B Provincials

The Edson Legion Midget Sabres are hosting Midget B Provincials March 20th -23rd, 2014.  There are 8 teams total participating including the Edson Midget Sabres. Opening ceremonies are set for Thursday, March 20 at 6:30 pm at the Edson Leisure Centre.  Edson Sabres first game is on Thursday at 7:45 starting at 4:00 p.m. Everyone is encourage to come out and cheer on the Sabres. If anyone would like to help volunteer it would be greatly appreciated.

Council set to increase
bulk potable wastewater

by Adrienne Tait
Edson council will increase the bulk wastewater rates (potable water) from $2 per cubic meter to $3 per cubic meter once the upgrades and new pump is installed at the dispensing station. 
The new wastewater dispensing station was originally expected to be online by March 1 but due to weather and contractor delays is a few months behind schedule. 
The new resolution changes the wording to “once it becomes operational” rather than citing a specific date.
Council has renewed the Edson Boys and Girls Club lease agreement for another five years at a rate of $400 per month.  The rate marks no change in the rental agreement and all other terms and conditions remained the same.
Council rescinded their motion to approve the purchase of 2014 loader for the airport due to a clerical error.  The original motion was for the amount of $189,152 and was expected to include GST.  Further review of the tender indicated the GST was not included so the motion was rescinded and a new one passed for the purchase of the loader in the amount of $198,609.60.  SMS Equipment remained the lowest bidder even with the change in total.
Council has adopted a new supplementary sick leave policy.  The previous policy allowed the town manager to consider supplementary sick leave for employees for either compassionate care of a family member or the admission of an employee to hospital during their annual vacation.  The new policy no longer addresses the compassionate care leave as it is now addressed under provincial legislation. 
The change came on the heels of the Alberta government announcement that “as of February 1 they will now provide compassionate care leave for employees that wish to take time from the workplace to care for a gravely ill family member.  Workers will now be able to take up to eight weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave, and may apply for employment insurance during this time.”
Councillor Brian Boyce has been appointed the new Deputy Mayor for the upcoming quarter until the first council meeting of July 2014.  Town council rotates the position of Deputy Mayor every four months and appoints the new one based on alphabetical order. 

News: March 3, 2014

‘Hot market’ puts two county road
projects under contract estimates

by Adrienne Tait
Terry Carter, manager of engineering services for Yellowhead county, told council that due to the hot market in Alberta right now for base and paving the tenders for two 2014 major road construction projects have come in under county construction contract estimates.
County council awarded the base and paving tender for the 14.54 kilometer section between Twp Road 543 and Highway 751 of the Niton North Road to Carmacks Enterprises Ltd for $8,103,567.06.  
The tender is approximately 8% under the estimated cost. Carmacks has completed numerous base and paving projects for Alberta Transportation and is considered a reputable surface contractor. 
The project is expected to be completed by the end of the 2014 construction year.
The base and paving tender for the Evansburg North Road section between RR 544 and Highway 22, a 10.46 kilometer length, has been awarded to E Construction Ltd. for the amount of $10,173,792.97.  The company previously completed the grade, base and pave construction on the Carrot Creek Tower Road for the county. 
The bid was $1,187,923 under then next lowest tender and is approximately 20% less than the county’s construction cost estimate.  The Evansburg North Road project is expected to be complete by the end of the 2015 construction season.
The 2014 summer gravel program tenders for Evansburg-Wildwood, Nojack stockpile, and Wolf Lake/Elk River were awarded to Lafarge, JFR Oilfield Services, and Gabriel Construction respectively.  All tenders were awarded to the lowest bidder. 
Council has approved the purchase of a new CAT 160M Motor Grader from Finning for the amount of $314,350 plus GST.  Initially it appeared the lowest proposal came from Volvo for $309,000 but Infrastructure Director Don O’Quinn told council that further investigation revealed the proposal submitted by Strongco for the Volvo did not meet County specifications.
 The county approved an updated fire protection requirements policy. The policy, presented by Fire Chief Chegwyn, now includes a definitions section, grammatical changes, and expanded clauses to reflect standard National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards.
At the suggestion of the fire code administration, the policy now includes a clause which applies to fuel dispensing stations which may allow for the provision of chemical fire extinguishers in lieu of a water supply provided all other safety requirements are met.

Canadian Tire gas bar opens in Edson

by Adrienne Tait
Local retailers Andy and Elsenor Budal, of A and E Ventures, have opened the Canadian Tire Gas Bar in Edson. 
While the gas station carries the Canadian Tire name and is on Canadian Tire land, the station itself is part of the Parkland Fuels Corporation which has several retail fuel and convenience stores including Fas Gas and Esso here in Edson.
What makes the Canadian Tire gas bar different from the others in Edson?  In addition to the promotions available through the Canadian Tire partnership the Budals hope to offer “friendly service, the cleanest bathrooms in town, and the most complete selection of cigarettes.” 
The gas bar will be open daily from 6 a.m. to midnight with six pumps and full convenience store.  
Budal expects that the first few days and weeks will be a bit slow as the Canadian Tire store is not yet open, but they plan to use the time to navigate the learning curve and have any kinks worked out.  “Once they open it’s going to be busy.  It’s going to be a lot of growing and a lot of learning.  It’s going to be good for us to have the time to get any bugs worked out.  I think it will work well for us.” said Andy.
The store marks the western most fuel station in Edson and the Budals anticipate that will be an advantage for travellers coming in from Hinton, Jasper or B.C.
He said, “It’s a brand new store, a brand new location and we’re going to do everything we can to be the best.”
While the Canadian Tire store is not set to open for another couple of months, Edsonites now have one more option when it comes to choosing a gas station..