News: May 25, 2015
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Repsol acquisition of Talisman now complete
Edson's Talisman Place naming agreement and sponsorships will be honoured
by Adrienne Tait
As of May 8, the Talisman Energy and Repsol acquisition was complete.
Repsol acquired all of the outstanding common shares of Talisman for $8.00 USD per share and all outstanding preferred shares of Talisman for $25.1093 CDN.
The $8.3 billion deal marks the beginning of a more competitive and diversified global energy company according to representatives.
Repsol has a presence in over 40 countries and is now the 13th largest private energy company in the world by market value standards with a combined global production of 656,000 boe/d in 2014.
With the Talisman acquisition Repsol has identified Canada as a core part of their upstream operations and an area of primary growth development.
The integration of Talsiman and Respol is complex and it may be some time before any changes to staffing, job descriptions, or responsibilities are determined.
Berta Gomez, communications coordinator, Canadian Business, for Repsol said, “In Edson, there have not been immediate changes to job functions or responsibilities. We’re very focused on operational continuity and efficiency. It’s business as usual.
The Talisman agreement for naming rights of Talisman Place here in Edson will be honoured as will sponsorship agreements to which Talisman had previously entered. “As for a potential name change at Talisman Place, it is too soon to speculate,” said Gomez.
For now, Repsol plans to maintain the business plan Talisman set out at the beginning of the year with a focus on efficient management and continuity of operations.
As for the benefits or concerns for local employees Gomez said, “Repsol has indicated that Canadians will play an important part in management of assets and that staff retention across the new organization is a first priority.”
Canadian employees will also have access to enhanced job opportunities and enjoy the same benefits and opportunities worldwide through Repsol.
News: May 18, 2015
Need for public transportation in Edson discussed
by Adrienne Tait
Joan Olson from the Edson and District Day Care Society appeared before town council at the regular council meeting on May 12 to present information regarding the need for public transit in town.
Approximately 300 surveys were distributed asking three questions: Do you think there is a need for public transportation in Edson? How do you get around Edson now? How often would you be likely to use a bus service if it was available? And, what factors would influence your use?
The survey was distributed the last two weeks in August with a deadline of September 30 for completion. 95 surveys were returned. Of those, 86 people responded that they felt there was a need for public transportation in Edson. 67 current use their own vehicle, and 32 answered that they would be likely to use the service four days per week or more.
Cost, route, and time were all considered factors that would influence usage.
Olson said that both Hinton and Whitecourt, considered “sister communities,” have implemented a public transit system in addition to their senior’s transportation systems. Whitecourt’s public transit system is new and is currently being run on a two year trial basis to fully evaluate viability.
Olson said for some, “Taxis may be unaffordable. The cost can be a barrier for accessing services.” Olson told council that one of the Day Care employees paid $26 for a cab ride from Hillendale to work at the centre just that morning.
Councillor Gean Chouinard said the cost of providing public transportation can be high and suggested that people may not realise that the seniors transportation bus is also for people with short or long term disabilities and is available for people over the age of 45.
Olson said while the society does a good job with seniors transportation is does not address the single parent or under thirty demographic. Public transportation could be used for high school and junior high students who could use a ride to work after school, moms with children in strollers, people on a fixed or limited income with no means of purchasing a vehicle, people who are new to the community or new to the country, as well as those who either lost or are unable to get a licence.
The GYPSD does offer bussing but only for eligible children who are attending a program at one of the area schools.
News: May 11, 2015
Town provides update on fluoride levels in wells
Since the introduction of the town’s new diluter well, over the
last four months, Edson has seen just one instance of fluoride
levels slightly above the maximum acceptable concentration set by
Health Canada of 1.5 mg/L (milligrams per litre).
That result came back at 1.59 mg/L and only in one sample area of eight throughout town.
The town’s water supply comes from wells. Currently there are 11 wells, with some being high producers, and others being low production wells. The largest production comes from Well #18 which is located on the Ansel Tower Road.
Managing naturally occurring fluoride levels has been, and will continue to be, a long-term focus for Edson’s well water supply. Naturally occurring fluoride can be found in all natural waters at varying concentrations.
Some of the wells, including #18, contain naturally occurring fluoride at levels higher than Health Canada standards. To mitigate the fluoride, the town mixes water produced from Well #18 with water from wells with little or no fluoride.
As upgrades to wells continue, some of the diluter wells will need to be shut down from time to time, resulting in varying fluoride levels.
The actual level will vary depending on which wells are being used at the time and where in the community the measurement is being taken.
According to AHS the highest measured level is above the acceptable limit of 1.5mg/L. Measurements taken between March 2014 and March 2015 show the naturally occurring fluoride levels ranged from 0.47 mg/L to 2 mg/L. Over the last four months there was only one instance higher that the accepted limit.
It is to be expected that the levels of naturally occurring fluoride will continue to fluctuate in the town water supply and the health advice provided by AHS in the attached will continue to remain in place, according to town officials.
The town states they are working hard to maintain low levels of fluoride in drinking water and this is not a prolonged exposure to high fluoride levels. As more diluter wells come online it will assist in managing the levels of naturally occurring fluoride in the community’s water.
If you have any questions about the town’s water supply please contact the Town of Edson Public Works Department at 780-723-6461. If you have health-related questions regarding fluoride in drinking water please call Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-5465.
News: May 4, 2015
Candidates voice their platforms at Political Forum
by Adrienne Tait
All three West Yellowhead MLA hopefuls were in Edson on Wednesday evening for a candidate’s forum at the Pioneer Cabin. The forum marked the third held during the final week of campaigning prior to the May 5 election.
The cabin was full of Edson and area residents with questions, the majority of which centred around health care, education, and taxes.
Each candidate was given five minutes for their opening remarks and three minutes for closing remarks as well as an opportunity to address questions submitted by attendees.
In his opening remarks NDP candidate Eric Rosendahl said, “After 44 years Alberta families can’t afford the Prentice plan to make you pay to get less.” Rosendahl went on to give a brief work and volunteerism history. “Our record shows that we stand for an effective representation of small business, organized labour, first nations peoples, low and middle income families, students, the homeless and of course senior’s issues.”
Rosendahl went on to outline current provincial cuts and new taxes. “Together Rachel Notley and the NDPs will stand up to Jim prentice and the PCs and take leadership for what matters to Alberta families. The NDP top priorities are health care, education, family priority and infrastructure.”
The NDP party platform included shortening waiting times, support for special needs education, process more oil in Alberta, save more royalties and a royalty review, support growth in alternative energy, value added agriculture, and high tech industries.
Wild Rose candidate Stuart Taylor began his open statement by stating, “The PC government has run the province’s annual finances deep into red and they did it amidst one of the biggest booms in history…. We could build 30-40 seniors homes with the money Robin wants to spend on annual interest in debt.”
Taylor proceeded to say, “Fluctuating commodity prices is the real world. It’s the world in which every government must function.” I’m running for the Wild Rose because I believe Albertans deserve a health care system that actually works. Albertans deserve a government that is accountable, fiscally responsible, transparent, and a government that stays away from debt traps.”
Current West Yellowhead MLA Robin Campbell told those in attendance, “I stand by my record over the last two terms.” Campbell listed a number of projects that have been approved and are moving ahead for the region including the Edson hospital, A.H Dakin school, modernization of the Grande Cache High school, the new school in Jasper, Evergreen school playground, advocating for a new airport, the spray park, and recycling programs.
Campbell addressed a number of issues raised by the NDP platform. “As we look forward to the future there are some stark differences between what our party proposes and what other candidates are saying here tonight…Edson is a very diverse economy. We depend on the coal industry, we depend on oil and gas, and we depend on forestry. The NDPs have already said in their platform they want to shut down the coal industry. They want to shut down coal fired generation across Alberta which is going to lose thousands of jobs. The NDPs have said they are not going to support the Gateway pipeline. A pipeline that has already been approved by the National Energy Board. A pipeline that we need to get our goods to tide waters so we can get the best price we can for the bitumen we mine in this province.”
When addressing the possibility of refineries within the province Campbell said, “Everybody wants a refinery but not in their back yard.”
The question of crossing the floor was also asked. Rosendahl said the philosophical differences between the parties would mean NDPs would not cross the floor.
Taylor said too many people forgot their duty and the party has put measures in place, including a $100,000 fine, to deter floor crossing.
Campbell said, “As your MLA I would not cross, I would rather quit first.”
All of the candidates said they support front line workers and funding for education but each had different views on how to ensure stability.
The NDP propose a 2% corporate tax increase. The PCs have put forward their 10 year plan. The Wild Rose party is advocating for government spending cuts.
Albertans head to the polls on May 5.
News: April 27, 2015
Early Childhood Matters adds more days for indoor play
by Deanna Mitchener
Early Childhood Matters has added another day for kids to come out and play.
The indoor play space program now includes every Sunday from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. and every Monday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Masonic Hall located at 4725 9th Ave.
Once a month they offer indoor play space in Yellowhead County with their PJ's Plus Fun and Food event. Each month a different location within Yellowhead County will play host to this event. The next one is scheduled for April 29, at the Marlboro Hall from 4 - 7 p.m. Come dressed in your pajama's.
Early Childhood Matters is a group of individuals and agencies from Edson and area working together to enhance early development opportunities for the children and families in the communities. The organization was developed in response to a comprehensive assessment of early childhood skills that was conducted province-wide. In response to this data the organization has been offering indoor play spaces for families with children under the age of five.
The play space offers families a place they can take their youngsters to engage in healthy physical activities indoors.
Children have opportunities to build attachments as they play together and share in a safe and nurturing environment. Play time can enhance healthy early brain development. Children can create, invent, reason and problem solve as they learn social skills to negotiate with peers, resolve conflict, take turns, share and make new friends. Play space can help build resilience to enable them to cope with new situations, and adapt to changes.
News: April 20, 2015
Community Services requests 15 new spin bikes
by Adrienne Tait
The Town of Edson Community Services department has put forward a request to purchase 15 new spin bikes. If approved, the spin bikes would be placed at Talisman Place and classes would be moved there from HRH.
Currently the town program utilizes the HRH bikes and facility for the town program but those bikes are deteriorating with usage and are in need of replacement.
Alpine Fitness also offers spin classes but as both programs are consistently full with waiting lists management believes that by offering the program at different times and with both classes full the town program does not impede nor create direct competition with the local business.
Councillor Brian Boyce asked if the town run program inhibits Alpine from running additional classes and said, “Alpine started the spin classes and bootcamp and the town is feeding off of that…. If we buy 15 bikes it is competition. If we didn’t have it Alpine could run more classes.”
As the town is currently paying $100 per session to HRH it was believed that the purchase of the bikes could be paid off within a year to a year and a half.
Mayor Pasychny spoke in favor of the purchase with the conditions that the $100 currently budgeted for HRH be redirected to pay off the capital purchase cost and maintenance costs for the new bikes, and that there be no changes to the fees being charged so as not to undercut local business.
Councillor Bevan said, “I like them up at Talisman Place. People can come up to do a spin class while their kids swim or play hockey.”
Town of Edson community services director Jim Desautels informed council that the recreation department was able to make adjustments within their existing budget to be able to pay for the bikes.
The vote came in at three in favor and one against purchasing the new bikes. The matter will now proceed to council for approval.
News: April 6, 2015
What we will be paying more for:
Previous budgets heavily reliant on oil revenues
The 2015 Alberta budget included a number of increases to taxes
and fees as well as cuts to some departments.
Alberta Finance Minister Robin Campbell said, “People are tired of the rollercoaster.” He noted that previous budgets had been heavily reliant on oil revenues and the spending would reflect those revenue projections. “Then when times are bad we don’t have the money to pay for programming. When times are good we need to put more money in savings.”
Service fees have increased across the board and will impact everything from the cost of renewing your driver’s licence to the cost of buying a house. Real estate land title and mortgage registration fees prior to July 1, 2015 were $50 plus an additional $1 per $5,000 increment while the fees after July 1, 2015 will be $75 plus an additional $6 per $5,000 increment. This represents over 400% increase in land title and mortgage registration fees. For a home buyer who requires a $400,000 mortgage on a $500,000 fees will increase from $280 to $1,230.
Despite the increase Alberta’s real estate transfer costs remain the lowest in the country.
Budget 2015 introduced two new tax brackets for 2016. Taxable income over $100,000 will be taxed at 11.5% and taxable income over $250,000 will be taxed at 12% to be applied in increments over the next three years and fully implemented by 2018.
The prices at the pumps will go up as tax on gas and diesel will be raised by 4cents per litre, to a total of 13 cents per litre.
The budget also called for an increase in the tobacco tax, for the first time since 2009, which will raise the price of a carton of cigarettes by $5. According to Alberta finance, “These changes align with Alberta's Strategy to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use.”
The cost of buying a bottle of liquor has also increased by 22 cents per litre with mid-sized brewers seeing an increase of 11 cents per litre.
Fines for traffic violations will increase.
Albertans will also see the return of health care levy effective July 1. “We know health care in the largest expense in our budget….It is not a premium and is not structured like the former health care premium which was eliminated in 2008. This new levy will be administrated through the personal income tax system and will not payable by employers.” Albertans with an annual income of less than $50,000 will not be subject to the levy. The health care levy is capped at $1,000 per year for people earning $130,800 or more.
Post-secondary institutions did not receive their previous level of funding and will take a $72 million hit. According to Alberta Finance, “To ensure Alberta's post-secondary education system remains sustainable into the future, the system will be transitioned over the next 5 years into a model that reduces reliance on government funding. As a result, Campus Alberta base grant funding will be reduced by 1.4% in 2015-16 and 2.7% in 2016-17.”
Despite the reduction in post-secondary funding the budget includes a $3 million increase for public library services bringing the funding total to $36 million.
The provincial savings accounts will be accessed in order to help offset the projected deficit and the province plans to take advantage of the current low interest rates to fund some of the major projects.
News: March 30, 2015
Yellowhead County Fire Fighters Awarded Services Medals
Several Yellowhead County firefighters were each presented with a
Meritorious Service Award at the Yellowhead County Council chambers
on March 24, 2015. The awards were presented to honour their actions
taken during a multi-vehicle pile-up and fatal crash that took place
on December 4, 2014 in Yellowhead County.
The recipients of this award were the first emergency responder to arrive at the multi-vehicle incident that involved collisions on both the east and west bound lanes of Highway 16 at an area between Niton Junction and Chip Lake. Smoke covering the highway limited their visibility while they were on the scene of the incident, further putting their safety at risk.
Yellowhead County Mayor Gerald Soroka presented the Meritorious Service Awards and commemorative plaque to the following firefighters: Corinne Grant, Ed Strauss, Penny Lowe, Candice Canning, and Brenna Smyrski.
“Each time we send our crews out we want to think they’re safe in a safe area, but that’s not always the case,” said Mayor Gerald Soroka, “Thank you for your courage, strength, and dedication.”
The county also presented Alberta Emergency Services medals to Russell Smith and Nolan Jespersen. The nomination was based on 12 years or more of service.
News: March 23, 2015
Province announces 30% weighting for diploma exams
by Adrienne Tait
Alberta Education Minister Gordon Dirks announced, in a release on Monday, that as of September 1, 2015 diploma exam weighting will shift from a 50/50 to a 70/30 weighting with the school-awarded grades worth 70 per cent.
“We want students to benefit from classroom assessments that reflect their abilities over a longer period of time, rather than relying so heavily on one assessment lasting only a few hours,” said Minister Dirks.
Press had been applied to the Alberta Education department by the Alberta School Boards Association and was in line with the Alberta Teacher’s Association (ATA) Evergreen local’s policy which has been in place since 1990.
The change in diploma exam weighting is designed to provide “a more accurate reflection of student performance” by placing greater emphasis on teacher assessments rather than the single exam mark.
The new weighting system for diploma exams for the grade 12 core courses of language arts, social studies, mathematics, and sciences will be applied as of November 2015.
Kelly Smith, local ATA president and teacher at Ecole Mountain View School in Hinton said, “We are extremely happy with Minister Dirks announcement of the weighting of the diploma exams.”
Kevin Zahara, press secretary for West Yellowhead MLA and Minister of Finance Robin Campbell confirmed that Campbell’s office had received messages from teachers from within the constituency in support of the change.
News: March 16, 2015
Youth-focused Arts Alive returns to Edson
The Arts Alive Festival returns to Edson and area April 25 to May
Youth participants under 18 years old can register to participate in creative writing, photography, and visual art.
Adjudication times will be announced on the festival website and workshops, including a songwriter’s circle, will be offered.
Arts Alive Edson provides an opportunity for young artists to showcase their work, meet other artists, and receive professional feedback.
Everyone is invited to view the Arts Alive Edson entries. From April 28 to May 20, photography will be on display at Galloway Station Museum and visual art at Red Brick
A creative writing showcase will take place at the end of April with adjudicator Natasha Deen in attendance.
On Saturday, April 25 there will be a special concert by JUBILOSO and the Bells of Concordia University will ring in the second year of the festival.
It will take place in the Sacred Heart Church hall at 7 p.m. Tickets will soon be available at the Red Brick and Vanier Community Catholic School.
The festival registration deadline is Wednesday, March 25th. Online registration can be completed at www.artsaliveedson.com or forms can be picked up at Edson Public Library, Galloway Station Museum, and Red Brick Arts Centre.
If you would like more information check out www.artsaliveedson.com and the Arts Alive Edson Facebook page.