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  July 27 2015

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News: July 27, 2015

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Town likely to partner in A.H. Dakin
gymnasium despite County declining

by Adrienne Tait
During the Yellowhead County committee of the whole meeting on July 21, the council declined a request to join with the town of Edson and Grande Yellowhead Public School Division to construct a community venue (gymnasium) at the proposed new A.H. Dakin School.
The Town of Edson is considering a partnership opportunity with the GYPSD that would see the gym in the new school be built to three times the size of a regular elementary school gym.  The new project could also include an indoor running track.
Positive points to the county partnering with such a project included the GYPSD’s ability to maintain the facility thereby reducing operational costs, and the economic savings from partnering with the school division, province, and town to build a larger facility with fewer dollars.
Several concerns were raised including the lack of community consultation, potential access restrictions to the public as a result of the facility being located within a school, and the quick response time required make a decision in order to meet the GYPSD’s September 1 deadline.  The uncertainty as to where this project would fit into the town’s long term plans was also cited as a concern.
County councillor Dawn Mitchell said, “I do feel town and county residents would benefit.  However the first three concerns represent how I’m feeling.  This also brings back memories of the snap answer required for the running track.”
Mayor Gerald Soroka said when taking into consideration the usage of the two libraries located within schools compared to the stand alone library, “The stand alone has by far the better enrollment and participation.  They are building one gym for the school itself, so how does utilization work?  What about staff and maintenance in the summer?”
Edson Mayor Greg Pasychny said the opportunity to partner on the expansion “would be a win.  It would immediately put an additional feature into the town that residents could use.”
Pasychny said that when town council looked at the gymnasiums around town the larger ones are booked solid while the smaller ones are not. 
While public consultation such as open houses and surveys would have been preferred concerns were raised that the lengthy process could mean the opportunity is missed.  Any feedback the town has received has noted the running track as one of the priorities and town council felt the new school provided an opportunity to provide that feature.
Despite the decision from the county Mayor Pasychny said, “We will most likely move ahead.  We see it as an opportunity.”


News: July 20, 2015

Centennial Park bridge being replaced

by Adrienne Tait
The bridge in Centennial Park is set to be replaced with an updated more modern bridge.  Council approved the reallocation of the remainder of the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) grant from the trail work project to the bridge.
The grant had funds available due to the 2015 trail work coming in well under the $200,000 available through the grant.
The new bridge was designed by architect, Gregory McClung of Edmonton who also designed the current structures at Centennial Park.  Community services director Jim Desautels said, “The design is very modern and ties into the present architecture for the pavilion/stage and the museum.” 
The new design is significantly wider than the current bridge.  An issue Councillor Gomuwka spoke to during the council meeting saying he “crossed that bridge along with half of Edson” on Canada Day and noted how crowded and narrow the bridge was.
The wider bridge will allow for better wheel chair/stroller access and pedestrian passing ability.
Desautels said, “A fresh set of eyes and a Council with the vision for making the park more of a focal point for Edson,” was the inspiration for the new bridge. 
“When you Google images of Edson, hopefully you will soon see pictures of the park, the fountain, and the new bridge in the background.  It will no doubt be used for family photos and likely even wedding photos,” said Desautels.
Construction is slated to begin by the end of summer and the project is expected to be completed quickly.
The town has already received the tenders are and will soon make the decision to award the contract.

News: July 13, 2015

 Rock Camp Alberta featured at Sundays in the Park

\by Adrienne Tait
The second in the Rotary Sundays in the Park series was held on July 5 with the Rock Camp Alberta theme.
Between 150 and 200 people took in the event which meant there were consistently 100 people in the park all afternoon.
Local bands Lotus Fire and Joe Public provided the on-stage entertainment for the day and covered a wide variety of classic rock and even a couple of country songs.
Organizer Ann Dechambeau said the Sundays in the Park series this summer, “Is going very well.  We’ve got a lot of good response from the public and the sponsors.  We’ve had some really great sponsorships this year.”
The series showcases local talent and provides family friendly shows at no cost to the public.
In addition to the free entertainment snacks and juice are also provided along with a variety of family friendly activities including bouncy house and face painting.
Dechambeau said if she had to pick one event to look forward to it would have to be, “The pig roast!  I always enjoy the pig roast.  It’s on August 9 this year.”
The series sees a variety of groups including the Town of Edson, Edson Rotary Club, Edson’s Arts community, local service groups and businesses join together to provide area residents with the Sunday afternoon entertainment.
The next Sunday in the Park is scheduled for July 12 and the theme is Play in the Park.


News: July 6, 2015

Edson's future festivity plans
to include new inflatables for kids

   Krysta Hawboldt coordinator for the Canada Day Festivities was a little disappointed to find out, she could not bring back the Extreme Bungie for this years event. "They booked it out to another event, it's so hard to get vendors from the city that find it worth their while to drive out to surrounding communities. Next year we will be purchasing at 50 foot inflatable obstacle course, and inflatable game centre. We hope to get some corporate sponsorship to help pay for them. It would be nice not having to depend on others to provide activities for our community. This way we would be able to use them at all our events, and not worry that someone else booked it," said Hawboldt.
  "Velvet Energy has expressed some interest in sponsoring it, so we hope they do, and if anyone else would like to help. Between the two activity centers they would cost around $15,000. We hope to get lots of use out of both. Once the ice is out of the skating arenas we will be able to rent them out for special occasions such as birthday parties," said Krysta.
   If you would like to help sponsor bringing in some of our own equipment for these sorts of activities please contact Krysta Hawboldt, recreation coordinator for the Town of Edson, or call 780-723-4403.


News: June 29, 2015

Lightning strikes blows tank 60 yards at well site

by Adrienne Tait
A bolt of lightning struck a local well site on Tuesday afternoon.  The strike resulted in a flash fire and one tank had “blown.”  Overall two tanks and two structures were affected.
Yellowhead County fire chief Cory Chegwyn said the county responded initially believing that the lightning strike had caused a fire that was threatening the well site.  Instead crews arrived to discover the actual facility had been struck.
“It was a significant strike.  One tank flew through the air and landed at the edge if the lease about 50 to 60 yards from where it was placed,” said Chegwyn.
Two structures that were three or four meters apart had been on fire when crews arrived.
The sweet gas wellsite had been shut in by the energy company operators by the time the county fire crews arrived.  There was some venting but was from the residual gas left within the closed circuit.
“What was burning when we arrived was the rig matts because the fuel source had been taken away and everything else was metal it was out,” said Chegwyn.
In situations such as these it falls to the energy regulator to investigate the cause of and response to a fire rather than the county.


News: June 22, 2015

Recreational fire pits now require permits

by Adrienne Tait
Edson residents now require a permit for their recreational fire pits.  At the June 16 council meeting the second and third readings of the amended fire bylaw were passed.
Among the changes to the bylaw is a permitting system for fire pits which will see a onetime $25 permit fee and all recreational fire pits required to comply with safety regulations and pass an inspection.  The permits are non-transferable should there be a change in property ownership.
After receiving some public feedback minor changes were made to the wording of the original amendment which would allow fire pits at the discretion of the fire chief with regards to minimum distances from property lines and combustible materials.
There will be a grace period until December 31 for residents to obtain their permits.
Councillor Brian Boyce said, “Fire pits are almost a cultural thing in Edson….by giving the grace period we are giving residents the opportunity to get their permits without paying any fee.”
The original bylaw was passed in 1963 and had not received significant updates since.
The protection services committee worked on the revised bylaw for a number of months before presenting it to council in February.
In addition to the recreational and open air fire pit permitting system the amended bylaw allows fines for false alarms and restricts fireworks.
Section eight of the proposed bylaw sets the guidelines for false alarms.  If during one calendar year the fire department responds to three false alarms originating from the same property there will be a $200 fee.  That fee increase to $400 for each subsequent alarm.
The new bylaw changes also addressed the sale of fireworks.  The bylaw states, “It is strictly prohibited to display for sale, offer for sale, sell, possess or store low-hazard fireworks, firecrackers, fireballs, squibs or any such Chinese firecrackers within the boundaries of the town of Edson.”
Likewise it is strictly prohibited to buy, obtain, or discharge such fireworks.
The bylaw will now come into affect.


News: June 15, 2015

Aggravated assault charges after incident at campground

On Sunday, June 7, 2015 at approximately 8:00 p.m., Evansburg RCMP were dispatched to an assault complaint at the Pembina River Provincial Park Campground.  On arrival at the campground, RCMP met with local Emergency Medical Services who were treating an injured person.  The female victim had been assaulted and had several lacerations to her face.
Investigators determined there had been two large groups of people involved in multiple altercations at a local beach a short time earlier.
RCMP have charged 30-year-old  Katrina IRONEAGLE, of St. Albert, Alta. with one count of Aggravated Assault with Intent to Wound/maim. She is scheduled to appear in Evansburg Provincial Court on September 14, 2015.
One additional male has been arrested in relation to this incident, and charges are pending.
The victim was taken to the hospital and has since been released.  No other injuries have been reported.
RCMP are interested in speaking with anyone who witnessed the incident at the Pembina River Provincial Park on June 7, 2015.  If you know anything about this please contact the Evansburg RCMP Detachment at 780-727-3654.

News: June 8, 2015

Kinsmen Soap Box Derby set for Father’s Day

by Adrienne Tait
It is time once again for the Kinsmen Go Kit Derby.  This year marks the fifth annual Father’s Day event which was inspired and organized by Gean Chouinard and his son Ryan.
The event routinely draws a sizeable crowd the largest of which was over 200 drivers and 500 spectators.  One of the most surprising aspects of the race for organizer Gean Chouinard is the large area from which it draws.  “We’ve had people come from Grande Cache, Hinton, Whitecourt, and Drayton Valley.”
As with any annual event there are moments for the organizers that stand out.  When asked what his favorite Soap Box Derby memory is Chouinard said, “There were two four or five year old boys who were on the starting ramp and they smiled and showed each other their driver’s licence.  (Because when you register Trail Printing donates and we give them each a driver’s licence.)  So they are sitting on the starting ramp all smiles and waiting for thumbs up and they’re showing one another their driver’s licence.  That was one that sticks.  There has been a hundred memories but that is one that sticks.”
Not just for the young, but also for the young at heart Chouinard said they have had racers from aged two to well into their 60s.
There is no pre-registration for the race just a requirement to show up an hour prior to race time.  The race runs June 21 from noon until 3 or 4 p.m. weather permitting.
Soap box derby car kits are still available to purchase but there are several cars that will be made available for people who just want to come out and drive.
As in previous years refreshments will be available and the Kinsmen will be on hand to run the event.  The cost of registration is $2 per person as the event is designed to promote community spirit and be fun event not a fundraiser.For more information contact Gean Chouinard


News: June 1, 2015

Tour of Alberta preparations underway

'Edson and County residents will get to see a world class event up close'
by Adrienne Tait
Town of Edson preparations for the Tour of Alberta are underway.  The elite cycling event will start in Grande Prairie and will be travelling from Jasper to Edson September long weekend.
Town of Edson community services director Jim Desautels said, “Our local organizing committee is meeting regularly and our planning is on schedule.   We have a festival coordinator as well as many other coordinators.”
The committee is comprised of town employees who have agreed to volunteer their time on race day in order to ensure it is a success.
Details of the festival have not yet been released but updates will be forth coming in the coming months.
Edson is the starting point for stage five of the tour which will see racers leave from Edson and finish the leg in Spruce Grove.  The race start and festival is set to take place at Talisman Place on Sunday, September 6.
  “This will be the longest leg of the Tour of Alberta ever.  The residents of the Town of Edson and Yellowhead County will get to see a world class event up close.  I am advised that the Tour of Alberta plans on using many county roads, including some gravel roads, as they make the trek to Spruce Grove,” said Desautels.
The Town of Edson is partnering with the Tour of Alberta to be a full stage partner for the fifth leg of the race. The Tour of Alberta had requested a partnership be formed with the Town of Edson and Yellowhead County each contributing $50,000 to cover the $100,000 cost of being a host community.  The request was approved by town council but defeated by county council.
Desautels said, “The Town of Edson is paying $50,000 dollars for the start to take place in Edson.  I can’t speak on behalf of the Tour of Alberta on where any funding shortfalls will come from.  I can only speculate they will try and make it up in sponsorship opportunities.”
Despite not receiving the sought after support from the county, the Tour plans to show as much of the province, and the county, as possible.  The current route will see racers make their way down the old highway across the low bridge into Entwistle providing Evansburg residents an up close look at the race.
“The Tour of Alberta wants to ensure the riders and the 40 million plus worldwide viewers receive a true picture of our spectacular corner of the province,” said Desautels. 
 Approximately 120 volunteer course marshals are required for the race start in Edson.  Volunteers will receive a Tour or Alberta T-shirt in addition to the opportunity to see the race up close.
Anyone wishing to volunteer can visit the Tour of Alberta website at www.tourofalberta.ca to register. 
Desautels said, “In the world of elite cycling there are only three cycling races in a higher calibre bracket than this race.  The Giro D’Italia, the Tour de Spain, and of course the Tour de France.  We will get to see many of the same teams and riders at our start that compete in those three races.  Many of the best riders in the world are looking forward to competing here as it is the last major test before the UCI Road World Championships being held in Richmond Virginia September 19-27.”


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