Current Temperature

30.5°C

July 25, 2024 July 25, 2024

Reviewing 2023 through Vauxhall and area stories

Posted on January 4, 2024 by Vauxhall Advance
Advance File Photo

January

 With the Vauxhall council looking to modernize the town’s electrical infrastructure, they’re looking to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) to receive a grant to aid them in this endeavour. To help explain to council just exactly what they will be developing, Peter Hart, account manager for SustainErgy Group explained what was happening.

The major responsibility any member of a municipal council will have is ensuring the needs of the community are met through their governance. Vauxhall town council is striving to achieve these goals by beginning to implement their findings from their new strategic plan. Kimberly Lyall, a strategic planning consultant, joined Vauxhall council over Zoom to go over this new plan for the Town during their Dec. 12 meeting.

 After an extended Christmas break, the U11 Vauxhall Sabres were back on the ice to restart their Central Alberta Hockey League season. The Sabres kicked off the 2023 portion of the season with a home game on Saturday afternoon against the Taber Oil Kings. 

Both teams were able to score plenty of goals but it was the visiting team that was able to walk away from the arena with an 11-5 win. The Sabres saw Jackson Wiest score four goals and add an assist while Levi Van Der Hook had the other goal, and Quaid Finlayson, Bentley Howg, and Cameron Wolfe had an assist each. 

While the residents in Vauxhall continue to deal with water odour and discolouration issues, Municipal District of Taber council has continued to get updates on progress. 

“The Vauxhall Water Commission had met with some operators as well as some water drinking experts from an engineering firm as well as Alberta Environment,” explained CAO Arlos Crofts during council’s regular meeting on Jan. 10. “ So, they did meet with them and I do believe the water commission will be having a proposal with respect to raw water treatment projects  for testing, probably come spring/summer. They will come with a proposal to the next Vauxhall Water Commission meeting, I believe that is January 23.”

February

 It’s been a long time up to this point, but with all amendments in place, the Municipal District of Taber councillors were able to get one final look at their Code of Conduct Bylaw before third reading. During council’s regular meeting on Jan. 24, councillors reviewed the bylaw along with a redacted letter from Marianne Ryan from the Alberta Ombudsman. Coun. Chantal Claassen was absent for this portion of the meeting. 

As a community building that is open to the public throughout most days libraries can often be considered the cornerstone of most communities. However, the Vauxhall Public Library is struggling to fulfill this role in the community as it is currently facing financial difficulties. 

Joerg Klempnauer, Vauxhall Public Library chair, spoke on how exactly this came to be.

“Many people are not aware of the library, and what the library does,” said Klempnauer. “Not even the town council members or administration people of the town have library cards. In reality, they don’t realize what the library is. The library was put in place by the town council — that’s how the Library Act works. The Town automatically becomes the primary funders of the library. If you are looking at a what our total budget plan was around $80,000, only about $20,000 comes out of the town council.”

With the House of Commons reconvening near the end of January, it did not take long for things to get back into the swing of it. 

Martin Shields, MP for Bow River, rose in the House on Feb. 10 to fire off against the Liberal government in regards to their taxation and spending.

“It is just incredible that the Liberal government believes Canadians have never had it so good, but it is just plain wrong,” said Shields. “The prime minister believes his tax-and-spend agreement is just too good to quit, even though over half the country’s people think the prime minister is just incapable of doing his job. Record-high inflation just increased by nine per cent, and it is just some half a trillion in spending that led to this crisis. However, CRA officials think the money is just not worth tracking down.”

The Bow River Irrigation District (BRID) closed their nomination process on Tuesday for the water services board of directors. 

The District has six divisions with a director for each of them, as well as a chairman presiding over the directors. Elections happen yearly, structured in such a way that at least two director’s terms expire each year in a staggered format. Those directors can run again as incumbents, and challengers may also run to obtain a seat on the board. 

March

Fundraising efforts are underway as the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball prepare to get the 2023 season started, and one key component of that mix is the Annual Awards and Scholarship Dinner hosted this Saturday at the Vauxhall Community Hall.

This year’s featured speaker is former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero.

“We got Ricky coming in. It’s our seventeenth banquet,” said Vauxhall Jets head coach Les McTavish. “So, you know, I know him a little bit through the Blue Jays stuff. So we’re excited to have him out.”

Following the drop of the new provincial budget on Feb. 28, the Alberta government held a post-budget round table to go into more details of some of the main concerns this budget is addressing. Travis Toews, president of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance, started things off by going over some of the main and minor themes that were key in this budget.

“Budget ’23 really consists of a number of things,” said Toews. “Two themes that have been standing agenda items for every budget since we took office, number one is that Budget ’23 includes the objective standing agenda item of positioning Alberta’s economy for competitiveness resulting in economic growth, investment attraction, economic diversification, job creation, and ultimately expanded fiscal capacity which result in additional government revenue. That’s been a standing agenda item in every budget that I have presented. I believe that should be a standing agenda item of every budget period. The other standing agenda item is fiscal responsibility. We took over in 2019 — privileged to serve Albertans as their government. We inherited a government that was close to spending $10 billion more compared to provinces on a per capita basis. We set it as a fiscal anchor in the early days to bring our spending in alignment with the average of BC, Ontario and Quebec on a per capita basis. We did some heavy lifting over the last three years to get that done.”

The Alberta Firearms Act, or Bill 8, passed first reading during the March 7 meeting of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. 

On March 1, Joseph Schow, MLA for Cardston-Siksika, announced three bills to be tabled in the spring legislature. Among the bills announced was Bill 8, “the Alberta Firearms Bill”, which would give the Province a framework to regulate issues relating to sale, seizure, and licensing, and pushes back against the federal government’s Bill C-21. 

The Horsefly Regional Emergency Spillway project sunk shovels in the ground Friday afternoon to commence Phase 1 expansion of the key flood mitigation project for southern Alberta.

Once complete, the Horsefly Spillway project will help address overland flooding concerns and stormwater runoff problems impacting several regions in southern Alberta which have sometimes seen extensive flooding in recent years.

On Monday, the Town of Vauxhall held a municipal by-election with Henry Zacharias, an employee of Bow River Gas Co-Op, taking the win.

“I’m excited to work with the rest of Town Council to help make the rules and policies so that the citizens and businesses in Vauxhall can thrive,” Zacharias said.

April

With sexual assault becoming a growing problem the Alberta government is working on ways to ensure everyone can get help, regardless of where they live. At a recent rural round table meeting, MLA for Calgary-Peigan Tanya Fir, and Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women, announced the government’s new program to help sexual assault survivors in rural communities.

 While spring weather has been challenging for the past several weeks for the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball Jets, a trip down south to Las Vegas seemed to come at the right time. 

While the plan was to play games in Twin Falls, ID and Salt Lake City, UT, the weather didn’t allow for it, so the Jets instead played in a pair of exhibition games against Bishop Gorman and Desert Oasis before the tournament got underway. After winning the first game 4-3, the team saw a lacklustre result in game two with a 15-14 loss. 

 With the Town of Vauxhall getting all their financial ducks in a row after approving this year’s budget they had Patrick Treadwell from MWG Chartered Professional Accountants provide them an audit report. 

“That is a clean audit report,” said Treadwell when reading through the documents that were presented to council last week during the April 11 meeting. “That being said, we didn’t find any issues. No management letter points that we found. Clean on the report just means that everything is shipshape and everything works out properly. We’re happy with the work that we did, we’re happy with the statement. That’s why we can give a clean audit report. Like I said, these are your statements. There was a thought in the past where the auditor was coming in to present my statement, but we do want to change that, though, to where it is your statement because it’s based on your transactions, your bank, everything at the Town of Vauxhall. I’m just here to present to make sure that everything is disclosed properly, and how it’s kind of supposed to be shown.” 

 Earlier this month, the M.D. of Taber Council visited the Lamb Weston factory east of Taber.

“The M.D. of Taber was interested in obtaining a better understanding of how our award-winning facility operates, our extensive contributions to the local economy, and the challenges we face,” said Scott Wojtowicz, plant manager. “We had thorough discussions and identified areas to strengthen our partnership to benefit the local economy.”

May

The Town of Vauxhall was recently awarded a grant through the Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership (AMWWP). The funding, delivered through Alberta Transportation, will support up to $2,241,516.80 in essential upgrades to the core infrastructure as part of the Sanitary Truck Main Replacement. 

Vauxhall has had a history of sanitary concerns which were inspected and discovered by MPE Engineering with a report to Council back in 2005. The trunk main replacement was one of the recommended solutions to the issues discovered in that study. 

During the M.D. of Taber AGM on April 27 in Hays, CAO Arlos Crofts provided an update on the Horsefly Spillway Project.

“This is, I would say, a decade-long – at least decade-long – project that past councils and past administrations have initiated and worked on, and the torch has been passed across the transitions, so it’s quite a positive legacy project with respect to regional storm drainage,” Crofts said. 

Crofts stated that about a decade ago, a regional committee was formed to help mitigate the impact of large overland flooding scenarios and events. That committee, Crofts said, came together and prepared a regional Storm Water Drainage Plan. They also identified seven key projects throughout southern Alberta that were relevant to the regional drainage program, one of which was the Horsefly Regional Emergency Spillway.

Candidates of the Cardston-Siksika riding attended a public forum in Picture Butte on May 16 to discuss their party’s platforms and take questions from those in attendance.

UCP candidate and incumbent for the Cardston-Siksika riding, Joseph Schow, was joined by three other candidates, Terry Wolsey (Independence Party of Alberta), Angela Tabak (Independents for Alberta), and Par Wantenaar of the Solidarity Movement of Alberta, which was formed at the beginning of May. NDP candidate, Colleen Quintal was not able to be in attendance due to a scheduling conflict.

Topics of discussion ranged from wind farms in the region to healthcare and Alberta’s relationship to Ottawa. 

June

On May 6 the M.D. of Taber Fire Service responded to a call for help from the province.

“We received a call from the Provincial Operations Center asking if we could send a type 6 engine, which is a wildland truck, to the Drayton Valley area to assist with the wildfires,” Nathan Coté, Regional Fire Chief and Director of Emergency Management for the M.D. of Taber, stated. “We are very thankful to the Council of the MD of Taber for the support to allow us to respond to the call for mutual aid assistance.”

With a single game left on the calendar for this spring, the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball Jets have seen their winning streak reach an astronomical level. Heading into this past weekend, the Jets were back down south as they played in the Missoula Memorial Day Tournament. 

The Jets opened up the tournament with a game against the home team Missoula Mavericks. The bats continued to propel the Jets forward as VAB collected an 11-6 win. Brett Getz and Hudson Kozicki got on the mound for the Jets en route to the win. 

Taber and District 4-H’s Show and Sale will be held on June 8-9 at the Taber Agriplex.

“Taber district has been having a sale for many years,” Sandra De Groot, Hays 4-H Club Leader and District Secretary, said. “We have great support from the area farms and businesses who like to support the 4-H youth by buying their animals for butcher or to resell.”

DeGroot says that the event will kick off on June 8 with a female show of breeding sheep and beef animals at 6 p.m. The June 9 events will kick off at 10 a.m. with the opening ceremony, followed by the Market Lamb Show at 10:15 a.m. On the afternoon of June 9, De Groot says, the Market Steer Show will begin at noon and the Dog Agility Show will happen directly afterwards. The awards show will take place at 2 p.m., the Pig Show will take place at 4 p.m., and the sale will round out the day.

Residents of the M.D. of Taber are invited to have “Coffee with Council” on June 20 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Grassy Lake Community Hall.

“By implementing this program, we hope to provide enhanced transparency to our ratepayers and to foster an atmosphere of two-way communication between the public and elected officials,” Carley Grant, Communications Coordinator for the Municipal District of Taber, said.

Local MLA (Cardston-Siksika) Joseph Schow will be taking on a new cabinet position within the provincial government.

The MLA was sworn in as the Minister of Tourism and Sport on June 9 during a ceremony which saw the swearing in of the Province’s new cabinet following the UCP’s re-election as a majority government on May 29.

Schow said while he has yet to receive a mandate letter on the precise scope of the portfolio, he said that at a high level, the role is about selling Alberta as a province.

With the federal government announcing a new federal budget, Martin Shields, MP for Bow River, shared his take on it.

“I think the overall picture in the sense of spending is always one of the tough things about the budget,” said Shields. “Back last fall in the fall economic update the minister for finance talked about the need for $20 billion more. When you get to the budget itself the minister was now talking $60 billion more through the budget. This is post-COVID. This is not COVID time, this is not matters dealing with COVID so to go from a projection of we want to balance the budget and have a day for it, that’s gone, to suggest that $20 billion six months ago was going to be the next target and then to get a budget of $60 billion more.”

The Vauxhall Spurs have certainly gotten off to a great start this season and the coaching staff is excited about what that could mean for the biggest games of the year later this summer. While there’s still lots of road left before those games happen, everyone knows how fast the summer goes and that includes the baseball schedule. 

Looking at the early returns, the Spurs have racked up quite a few wins, but there’s always room for improvement. So far, the coaching staff has seen improvements in tons of areas and they’re rather happy with how the team has been able to improve on all facets of the game thus far.

July

Due to the hot, dry conditions that are forecasted to continue, the Municipal District of Taber has issued a Fire Advisory within the municipal boundaries until further notice.

With the Fire Advisory in effect, the public is advised that a higher fire risk exists.

Martin Shields, MP for Bow River, argues this is unnecessary.

Eligible Alberta families are now able to apply for grants through KidSport Alberta, for up to $350 per child in grants to help offset registration for sports and recreation programming.

Minister of Tourism and Sport, and MLA for Cardston-Siksika, Joseph Schow announced on July 18 that the application period for the “Every Kid Can Play” (EKCP) initiative is officially open.

As part of the EKCP program which was announced in April 2023, eligible Albertan families can apply for up to $350 in support to help offset registration fees for sports programming. A $3 million commitment from the Province will be directed to and administered by KidSport Alberta and provide direct financial supports to Albertan families.

A new large solar field proposal in southeastern Alberta, which includes a large capacity battery storage system, has been proposed in the region west of Medicine Hat.

Proteus Solar would be built on in three phases on about 1,000 acres of land owned by the Bow River Irrigation District located four kilometres south of the hamlet of Hays in the Municipal District of Taber.

Proteus Power, a Texas-based development company, applied to the Alberta Utilities Commission this week to construct the project first proposed in 2018.

See more Year in Review in next week’s Vauxhall Advance.

Leave a Reply

Get More Vauxhall Advance
Log In To Comment Latest Paper Subscribe