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September 17, 2018Current issue

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News: September 17, 2018

Multi-Use Facility Update:
No formal decisions made on site location

 by Dana McArthur

Yellowhead County and the Town of Edson jointly invited proposals from professional firms to help fulfil the community's need for a new Joint Multi-Use Recreation Complex. The services required include pre-design, site selection, geotechnical studies, and conceptual design.
Submissions received from the Request for Proposal (RFP) process are now being reviewed by Administration and will be forwarded to the Project Steering Committee on October 16 for review and recommendation to the respective Councils.
"The RFP tentatively identifies Griffiths Park as a primary site for 'investigation' but in no way has it been selected as the location site," said Town Manager Mike Derricott. "That is what the RFP process is about. We are going to hire a consultant to do the review of that site and the Repsol site, as well as any others if the consultant tells us those two are unsuitable. Our committee will review the consultant's report and forward it on to the Councils for ratification."
"Certainly no formal decisions have been made about the location of the proposed facility," stated Derricott.
It is anticipated the award of the professional services contract will be ratified by the respective Councils at subsequent Council meetings in the following weeks. Further updates will be released as the project moves forward.  - (with files Town of Edson)

News: September 10, 2018

New Daycare unveiled at Edson's Boys and Girls Club

by Deanna Mitchener
 
The Edson and District Boys and Girls Club Daycare held an open house on August 29 and welcomed community members to see their new Daycare space.
Children handed out flowers to everyone that attended the open house and Shell provided free food and beverages.
Vice Chair of the Boys and Girls Club Corey Halabi welcomed guests, "First, a huge thank you to Shell for sponsoring our barbecue and cooking the burgers and hot dogs in the rain."
"The Boys and Girls Club could not be here without the help and contribution through the Town of Edson, Yellowhead County, Grand Yellowhead Public School Division, and the employees of the club. What makes our community is everyone coming together and we are creating something here today that is really beneficial for the community," said Halabi.
 Today we are celebrating the open house of the Boys and Girls Club and for the opening of the new Daycare Program. They will be opening their doors on September 4. The hours of operation will be 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. I'm very excited about this opportunity for our community."
Club Support Manager of Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada Western Region, Therese Lorincz-McRea said, "I am truly amazed at all the work the staff has done in order to implement and have ready a new Daycare. We are always looking to ensure each club within each neighborhood is making sure they are reaching the needs of their own communities, and obviously this was something the community wanted."
 "The fact that this came together so quickly speaks volumes to the leadership of Altaf and to his amazing staff, as well as the commitment from the community itself, in order to make this happen. So on behalf of the Boys and Girls Club Western Region and the National office, congratulations on a wonderful job, well done," said Lorincz-McRea.
Edson Mayor Kevin Zahara, said, "We all know the important work the Boys and Girls Club does here for our community. This club has been in operation for the past 33 years and we have seen in communities outside of Edson the number of challenges where these clubs were not able to survive. But due to the continued work of the board, the staff, and community coming together this Boys and Girls Club has been strong for many years. The Town of Edson does lots of support for the club as well. The Town owns the building and charges a minimal amount for rent and provides some grants and other opportunities. This a new phase for the Boys and Girls Club and I wish them all the best success moving forward and thanks for such a great job from everyone involved in this project."
Yellowhead County Mayor Gerald Soroka, said, "On behalf of Yellowhead County I would like to welcome everyone here tonight. I feel this is a very fitting place and atmosphere to have a Daycare. The Boys and Girls Club is a natural progression to have in one facility and it's only going to enhance what we already have in the community. I think we are very blessed to have this kind of service here and enhancing it with other programs we currently provide."
Boys and Girls Club Board Member Trevor Bevan said, "I've been a board member somewhere around 10 years now. The club has been here for 33 years and I hope we can be here for another 33 years. We already have 12 confirmed children joining the Daycare. We can take more but we want to take it slow with just baby-steps to start out. We have a full board but we encourage anyone that would like to come out to a board meeting, to please join us."
Superintendent of Grand Yellowhead School Division Carolyn Lewi said, "I'm a mom, a teacher, and a superintendent so your kids wellbeing means so much to us as a board. Talking from a mom's perspective, good daycare was always very important, and now I'm hoping to become a Nana. We are so proud to partner with the club and donate a shed where the Boys and Girls Club can store their bikes. We also donate technology and internet to the club —and we look forward to having it continued."
The Club's Daycare Supervisor Corry Detillieux said, "I have been doing childcare in Edson for 28 years. I am so excited for the opportunity to join the Boys and Girls Club. The Club is going to grow and help this community in more ways than any of us really realize. I know great things have happened and will continue to happen through the Boys and Girls Club."
After the speeches were finished guests were invited to enjoy the free barbeque and to take a look around the new Daycare space.    

News: September 3, 2018

Trans Mountain halts construction on Expansion Project

   Just one day after Trans Mountain announced that pipeline construction for the Expansion Project had officially begun, the Federal Court of Appeal has put a halt on the federal approval of the project over a failure to consult with First Nations. The court also pointed to a failure by the National Energy Board to consider the increased tanker traffic the project would generate along B.C.'s coast.
   The ruling puts an end to the pipeline construction until the government organizes meaningful consultations with the First Nations groups involved.
   Kinder Morgan stated they are suspending construction in “a safe and orderly manner” and stated they are committed to building the project in consideration of communities and the environment, with meaningful consultation with Indigenous peoples and for the benefit of Canadians.
   Surprisingly, the federal government did not make the impending court decision a condition of the purchase of the project from Kinder Morgan.
   With Kinder Morgan shareholders voting overwhelming on Thursday to sell the project, Trudeau's gov’t is now locked into buying the stalled pipeline as costs begin to climb and Alberta remains on the hook for $2 billion to cover “unforeseen costs”. A deal Alberta’s NDP Premier Rachel Notley may now pay an equally heavy political price for.
   On top of this, B.C. Premier John Horgan’s NDP government may still pursue in court whether the province can regulate the flow of bitumen through pipelines in its territory.

News: August 27, 2018

 Tiffin area booster station repairs cancelled

Town moves ahead with inline pumps for affected homes in the area
 
by Dana McArthur
and Sue Ann Common
The Tiffin area booster station repairs were back on the table at Town Council during their August 21 meeting. The Town sent out a request for bids on the project which was expected to cost approximately $250,000.
Only one bid was received from Schendel Mechanical Contracting for $497,000.00 + GST —twice the amount of the engineering department's estimate.
The Tiffin area was getting a higher pressure but since the shutdown of the nearby pump station due to a leak the areas of Tiffin and Wilshire Estates have been experiencing lower pressure since August of 2017. Residents have been voicing complaints to councillors to address the issue.
During a previous Council meeting in May this year, Director of Engineering Dawit Solomon demonstrated that Tiffin was not experiencing a lower water pressure than the average in town. The minimum goal is to achieve 40 psi.
Solomon said, "This is very high as far as I am concerned and if we push this to a later date and have another round of bidding I think we can still get a good price. Alternatively we can install an inline booster system and the affected areas would get a higher pressure."
Councillor Janet Wilkinson, asked, "If and when we service the people of the Grande Prairie Trail will this have anything to do with this pump station?" Solomon explained that the Tiffin station was constructed in 1985 to serve mainly the north-east parts of town and these areas had not developed at the projected intensity. Therefore, the station has never been in use to the extent required for over 30 years. When it comes time to service the Grande Prairie Trail area a new station closer to that area would be in a better location to service both the GTP and the north-east part of Edson. The cost of a new pump station was roughly estimated at $3 million.
"Is putting this money into this current one a waste of money if we should be looking at one on the Grande Prairie Trail?" asked Wilkinson. Solomon responded, "The Tiffin station does not have the capacity to go as far as the Grande Prairie Trail. The repair was to bring the Tiffin station back where it was but the numbers are quite high."
Solomon explained that adding inline pump systems to each of the affected homes would cost about $1,500 each and that the systems would then be owned by the resident who would be responsible for repairs and servicing. "The operating cost for these systems it not very much," explained Solomon.
Councillor Trevor Bevan said, "I'd like to see how many residences are affected there and if it amounts to a $20,000 or $30,000 fix it would be better than spending over $400,000 in an area where we may be looking at a different system in a few years."
Mayor Zahara agreed inline pumps were worth looking at. "How long would it take us to install these if residents wanted them?" Solomon replied, "We will need to do a closer test of each home to see who needs it and then we need to engage a contractor to give a timeline to install it." Mayor Zahara was concerned that this moves ahead quickly as affected residents have been very patient. Solomon responded, "I think this will be quick, I do not think this will take a lot of time."
The inline pumps would no longer be needed if a new pump station was built closer to the Grande Prairie Trail.
Council defeated the motion to re-tender the Tiffin station repairs and voted all in favour of moving ahead with inline pumps at affected residences.

News: August 20, 2018

 GYPSD addresses potential Wildwood School closure

“It's not about the Wildwood School closing, it's so much bigger”: Board Chair Rosadiuk

by Cassie Kushniruk
 
 “School boards are responsible for making decisions about school closures because locally elected trustees are in the best position to evaluate and respond to the unique circumstances and priorities of the communities they serve,” said Alberta Minister of Education David Eggen concerning Grande Yellowhead Public School Division's (GYPSD) current facility review process.
The board is currently in the process of reviewing the Wildwood School, Grand Trunk High School, and Evansview Elementary school facilities, considering the best options for the modernization of each.
“I recognize that the potential closure of a school may be worrisome to families, school staff, and the community,” Minister Eggen stated.
A report from GYPSD's facility review session in May stated that the schools all fail to meet the requirements of 21st century learning needs and are subjected to less diverse programming due to low enrollment. Due to the aging infrastructure of all three schools —the report stated— each has costly maintenance and operational fees, and the schools' smaller class sizes are prone to a grade-split, which is not a preferred option. 
Out of four possible options for the schools that were devised during the facility review session facilitated by Alberta Education, Alberta Infrastructure, and community stakeholder groups in Evansburg, one option posed a threat to Wildwood and its residents. In this option, Grand Trunk High School in Evansburg would be modernized and resized into a Kindergarten-Grade 12 school, while both Wildwood School and Evansview Elementary would be demolished and its students moved into Grand Trunk. The board stressed that this is only one of the options and that no decisions have yet been made.
“It's not about the Wildwood School closing, it's so much bigger,” said GYPSD chair Brenda Rosadiuk. “We want to provide the best learning opportunity and educational programs for the students of Wildwood and Evansburg within the resources that we have.”
“The Closure of Schools Regulation sets out basic requirements regarding the school closure process,” said Minister Eggen. “The regulation also specifies that a school board must provide members of the community with an opportunity to express their opinion, concerns, and ideas on the matter.” GYPSD held a community engagement session in Wildwood on June 14, inviting local and surrounding residents to voice their concerns, understand the facility review process, and provide valuable input on how the board could provide the best learning environments and programs for their students. “There is still another community engagement to go through, which we really value,” Rosadiuk said. “If we didn't feel there was such a value in our community engagements, we wouldn't have held them because they do cost the division money. We really value what they're saying and we don't want to make a decision without our communities' input.”
Rosadiuk mentioned how pleased the board was with the turnout during the engagement session, as locals and residents from surrounding communities attended to support their school and community. “We are so pleased that people have taken the time and effort to be concerned, to be positive, and to be supportive,” she said.
 Out of the engagement sessions in both Wildwood and Evansburg, GYPSD has issued reports which both address and express concerns raised by residents. “Any concerns that would be from our parents—whether in Evansburg or Wildwood—to do with busing or educational programming is a concern to the board,” Rosadiuk said.
The board additionally plans to address concerns by taking heed to them during their next engagement sessions which are said to be held in September, and mentioned that new ideas and options may even result from the sessions.

News: August 13, 2018

Wildwood residents distraught with possible closure of beloved school

by Cassie Kushniruk
 
Although still in the planning and discussion phase, Wildwood residents remain distraught over the news that their beloved Wildwood School may be subjected to closure in the coming months.
GYPSD is currently exploring options concerning the modernization of the Wildwood School, as well as Grand Truck High School and Evansview Elementary located in Evansburg. One of the options the board expressed was closing Wildwood School and Evansview Elementary to combine them into Grand Trunk High School where students are said to be offered a variety of programs and extracurricular activities.
However, many Wildwood residents believe that these extra-curricular activities and programs will not be achievable for their children if moved to Evansburg for schooling due to increased traveling times. “Some kids are already on the bus for an hour to begin with,” said local resident and Wildwood School parent council chair Deb Verhaeghe....
Local resident and Wildwood Councilor Anthony Giezen expressed the importance of sporting activities offered by Wildwood School, referring it as a major aspect of the community's “social fabric”.
“We're pretty big on our sports,” he said, mentioningtheir basketball, volleyball, and baseball programs that run throughout the year. “If the kids aren't able to attend that, it seems that they would get pushed out of that circle.”
Other programs offered by the school are also in danger of change or possibly termination if Wildwood School is to shut down. A successful reading program, which Councilor Giezen says is “above average”, may be affected due to the lack of one-on-one connections between teachers and students in larger schools...
 
See the August 13, 2018 issue of The Weekly Anchor for the full story along with LETTERS from local residents....