Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Kinosoo manager awarded for outstanding passion

For the Bonnyville Nouvelle.

Jurgan Grau (centre) poses with the Lars Fossberg award in along with Bonnyville M.D. Council on May 25.
Submitted photo
 The manager of the local ski resort has been recognized with a major award for exceptional service to the community.

Jurgan Grau, who runs Kinosoo Snow Resort, was awarded the Lars Fossberg Award on May 4. The award recognizes outstanding passion and initiative towards the skiing community within the Canada West Ski Areas Association, which covers ski hills from Winnipeg, MB. to Whistler, BC.

“I really feel the recognition should go to everybody involved in the ski hill throughout the years,” praised Grau, downplaying his own contributions. “I think that the industry has recognized what we've done. We've really created something great in this small community.”

Grau said he was honoured to be counted among such esteemed company, especially since wasn't aware he was even nominated until he was declared the recipient.

“I have no idea who else was nominated,” noted Grau. “When I was called up to receive this recognition I was literally dumbfounded.”

Lars Fossberg was a passionate skier who maintained a resort in Quesnel, BC. He is known for building the entire resort himself. The award was set up by his family as a memorial for their “bestefor” (Norsk for grandfather.)

“Lars was known for being a pioneer in the industry,” explained Grau. “He cleared all the runs, he used the logs to build the chalet, the shacks, his home and so on. He would build his own parts instead of buying them. He was a true pioneer.”

This is the first time Grau and Kinosoo have been recognized with the award. Grau has close to 30 years in the industry under his belt. He has worked at Kinosoo since 1996.

“We used to get around 8,000 users a season,” mentioned Grau. “Now we get about 50,000 users.”

The Kinosoo Snow Resort is approaching its 35th year of operation and is now in its 20th year being managed by the MD.of Bonnyville. It was previously started as an initiative by a commander at CFB 4 Wing.

“Thirty-five years ago it would have taken a great deal of vision and love of skiing to start a small ski area like this in a small community,” noted Grau. “Over the years the municipality has been very committed to the facility. There has been nothing but improvement here.”

Grau added that the award itself was nice, but the recognition of the hard work that has gone into the resort was what really counted for him.

“Our goal and mission has always been to develop a ski experience that, on a smaller scale, would be very much like what you would find in the Rockies. We have a beautiful chalet and consistent snow,” explained Grau. “More importantly it was about community building and enabling quality time with family.”

Grau wanted to express his thanks to the MD and the community for helping Kinosoo Ridge get this far.

“It's been a long road. They've done really well for the facility and the community,” praised Grau. “Honestly, the initiative was something that we all had. It was a vision we all shared, and we've all worked pretty hard to make it happen.”

Rain doesn't dampen Pontiacs Alumni Golf Tournament

For the Bonnyville Nouvelle.

Justin Fontaine and Lucas Isley celebrate after Isley managed to make a long putt on the 12th hole during the first annual Pontiacs Alumni Golf Tournament on May 28
Eric Bowling
 Devoted golfers won't let a little rain get in the way of their tee-time, but local hockey alumni took tough to a whole new level on Saturday.

In what can only be described as true, unfiltered grit, alumni of the Bonnyville Pontiacs laughed in the face of mother nature, defying golfing convention and playing 18 holes of golf in the pouring rain in the first ever Bonnyville Pontiacs Junior A Alumni Golf Tournament at the Bonnyville Golf & Country Club on May 28.

Former players and fans alike joined NHL players Justin Fontaine of the Minnesota Wild, Mark Letestu of the Edmonton Oilers and the now-retired Jon Kalinski of the Philadelphia Flyers, to help raise money for the upcoming World Junior A Challenge – which the Bonnyville Pontiacs are hosting in December.

“It's good to see all the guys I used to play with,” commented Kalinski. “It's for a good event too.”

Golfers raised over $2,000 bidding on who got to play alongside the NHL greats. Winners of bidding war also received a signed jersey from their player of choice. Kalinski was acquired by Morris Mercier for $500. Fontaine raised $850 from Lucas Isley for the cause and Letestu earmarked a cool $1,000 for the Pontiacs.

Letestu expressed that he was grateful to be helping the Pontiacs raise funds.

“It's all about supporting the organization that helped me get to where I wanted to go,” said Letestu. “Being a part of alumni is a cool thing, sharing stories and seeing old friends.”

Club superintendant and Golf Pro Randy Gallop was also auctioned off to Claude LaPointe for $500.
Fontaine said he was just happy to be back in town for a weekend.

“It's my hometown. I grew up here. It's been a part of my whole life,” expressed Fontaine. “A lot of these guys I grew up with – they're my buddies. I hope I can make it every year.”

Just over 60 golfers attended the Texas scramble gathering. Several holes featured fun side games – a “Happy Gilmore” styled putt and a longest drive prize were played on the first hole, a closest to the pin prize was featured on the eighth and 15th holes, and a longest putt prize was offered on the 10th hole.

“It was a pretty good turnout for our first alumni tournament,” said tournament coordinator Robb Hunter, who serves at the play-by-play announcer for the Pontiacs. “We can only hope it grows from here.”

The tournament is the starting point of a year of celebration for the Pontiacs, who not only are hosting one of the biggest Junior tournaments in hockey, but are also celebrating 25 years of operation this fall.

“It's an opportunity to get our alumni together and create momentum going into our 25th anniversary – throughout the entire season we'll be doing different types of events and functions that are going to honour our alumni, our builders and founders,” explained Pontiacs Head Coach Rick Swan. “It allows an opportunity for the current group here to understand that they have a responsibility to stand on the shoulders of those who have paved the way and supplied the tradition to allow us to enjoy the success that we have today.”

With the alumni gathered together, all eyes were focused on making sure the Pontiacs had their shots lined up for the World Junior A Challenge.

“It's quite the showcase event for the community,” expressed Hunter. “We want to put our best foot forward and show not just Bonnyville but the whole region off to the world.”

This is the second time the world-renowned hockey tournament will be played in Alberta. Camrose hosted the six-day-long bout in 2008.

As the guarantor of the tournament, the Pontiacs are required to cover the accommodations of the six visiting teams – coming from as far away as the Czech Republic and Russia. With the entire hockey world watching Bonnyville this winter, Swan added that the whole Pontiacs organization is united in making sure that the World Junior A Challenge is going to be a week to remember.

“It's a world-class brand of hockey that has never been seen in this area before,” expressed Swan. “It may never be seen again.”

The golf tournament was won by Denis Dadrin, Jeremy Gerhardt, Claude LaPointe Gerry Amyotte and Randy Gallop.

MD of Bonnyville passes new waste removal bylaw

For the Bonnyville Nouvelle.

Big changes are coming to how residents across the municipality will be dealing with their garbage.

The MD of Bonnyville passed a new bylaw concerning municipal waste collection at their council meeting on May 25. The bylaw clarifies the role of the MD in regards to the curbside service.

“Before there was really no direction on where people had to put their garbage, so the bylaw gives people a definite answer to that,” explained Agricultural and Waste Services Director Matt Janz, “We’re also starting door-to-door pickup in rural subdivisions.”

Up until now, door-to-door pickup was only available in the hamlets of Ardmore and Fort Kent. However, now the service will be extended to the entire MD.

The bylaw, which was passed unanimously, also enables the MD to collect fines for improper waste disposal, as well as to charge residents a monthly pickup fee of $15. The pickup fee will apply to the entire MD, including the two hamlets.

“Previously there was no charge for waste services, so this is going to be new to them,” added Janz. “Now that we’re doing rural pickups, we feel that is an added service so it would be unfair if we charged the rural sites and not the hamlets.”

Garbage bins will be provided to all households in the MD for free. Residents with a high volume of waste can request an additional waste collection cart for a one-time fee of $75. A second cart will add an extra $10 to the monthly pickup fee.

A total of 330 garbage bins were distributed between Fort Kent and Ardmore last year, and an additional 125 bins will be spread out across the MD over the next few weeks.

The MD will now be able to issue fines for improper waste, starting at $100 for a first violation and increasing to $600 by the fourth violation. Fines can be issued for things such as an overflowing waste container, damaging the waste container, interfering with waste collection and disposing of prohibited waste.

“Previously, when our public safety officers caught anyone in an infraction with waste usually they wrote tickets under the provincial acts,” explained Janz. “We’re not looking to put out more fines, but just in case we get person who tries to push our buttons or ignore the rules we now have fines we can implement.”

Prohibited waste includes sharp objects, fuels and chemical cleaners, animal carcasses, yard waste, explosives, electronics, fluorescent light bulbs, car parts, hot ashes and recyclable material.

“We have full recycling at all of our transfer sites and we have full recycling bins at four of our larger bin sites, around Moose Lake and Cold Lake,” pointed out Janz. “We want people to recycle as much as possible.”

Sawdust is permitted if it is double bagged. Lawn wastes including fallen leaves in autumn, as well as most prohibited wastes can be dropped off at one of the seven transfer stations in the MD.

“We have organic bins at both our transfer sites and our bin sites,” mentioned Janz. “We also have a central drop off at our transfer site in Fort Kent.”

Hazardous wastes such as insecticides and other toxic chemicals can be dropped off during the MD’s annual toxic roundup that is happening on June 25 at the Bonnyville transfer station.

Collection day runs between 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays.

Cold Lake Youth Council requests no smoking signs for public spaces

For the Lakeland Regional.

More no smoking signs may be coming to public spaces in Cold Lake

The City of Cold Lake could be cracking down on smokers ignoring the public spaces bylaws – at least if the youth have anything to say about it.

Two members of the Cold Lake Youth Council appeared before city council on May 24 to request no smoking signs be put up in a number of public spaces. They’re hoping to remind citizens of Cold Lake’s smoking bylaws.

Kamryn Smith and Patricia Feng explained to council that a survey they took of fellow students and parents showed widespread irritation with smokers in public spaces. The youth council would like to see something done about it.

“We went out into the skate park and everyone we asked said they really hated how everybody was smoking at it,” said Smith. “The fact is that we have our big airshow coming up and we have a lot of people coming to Cold Lake. I feel that it would be a good tourist attraction if we were working with the law.”

Feng added that she would like to see more signs around not just the skate park, but also along Kinosoo Beach and the splash park.

“The problem is that some of the youth don’t actually realize that this is actually not allowed,” pointed out Feng. “Ignorance is no excuse.”

Currently, smoking within five metres of a public space in Cold Lake is punishable with a minimum $250 fine.

Feng said that the smoking was one thing, but the fact that smokers tend to leave their cigarette butts where they finish them wasn’t helping either.

“When you smell it, you just don’t want to be there,” added Feng. “There have been cigarette butts found at the beach.”

Smith echoed concern about discarded cigarettes around town.

“If you have little kids or babies playing at the beach, they like to put new things in their mouths,” commented Smith, adding that dogs and cats are also at risk of discarded litter.

Mayor Craig Copeland expressed his admiration for the youth council’s presentation and said that their request would be taken for further consideration.

“The youth delegation had a great idea. They’re making council aware that we have a problem in that we don’t have enough signage,” commented Copeland. “We’ll bring it in front of council at the next meeting and make some decisions on whether we fund it right away or push it to budget deliberations in the fall.”

He also mentioned that the city currently has five bylaw officers who are able to issue out fines should the need arise.

“We can make it a priority,” mentioned Copeland. “I don’t think it’s a very big ask.”

Council increases operating budget and tops up goodwill fund

For the Lakeland Regional.

Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland
The City of Cold Lake has revised its budget as a result of the slow economy.

The goodwill fund has been increased to compensate for the larger than normal volume of funding requests.

At the May 24 meeting, Cold Lake City Council moved $35,000 from its contingency fund to its goodwill fund.

Council normally spends between $60,000 to $100,000 a year on goodwill requests. This year, council has already allocated over $56,000 for goodwill.

“I think it’s a sign of the times,” said Mayor Craig Copeland. “People are challenged to find any money right now from industry, so they’re coming to us for a lot of requests.”

Despite all of the groups asking for extra funding, council is still attempting to rein in spending. A request by the Cold Lake library for $56,280 will most likely be sent to the fall budget before being discussed.

“I’m sure what will happen is that the library will be deferred to the 2017 budget deliberations, as our contingency money right now is under $200,000,” explained Copeland. “We don’t have a lot of money to play with right now.”

Copeland added that he was sympathetic with the library’s needs.

“I can appreciate their frustration and I like their renovation designs.”

However, Copeland maintained that helping move projects along is what the goodwill fund is for. To that end, council approved a $2,500 grant for the Cold Lake Sr. AA Cardinals and a $3,000 grant to the Cold Lake Agricultural Society for their upcoming Cold Lake Stampede during the meeting.

“When you compare to other things we’ve funded in the past, the $2,500 to $3,000 fits in line with what we normally do,” said Copeland. “It was a number that council was comfortable in supporting.”
Changes lead to operating budget increase Council also increased its operating budget from $59.8 million to $60.4 million to accommodate new revenues and expenses.

Corporate Services General Manager Linda Mortenson explained that the increase was needed to cover new expenses that had not been foreseen at the original budget deliberations. An additional $645,800 in revenue was received from the MD of Bonnyville, along with a $50,000 surplus from the Family Community and Support Services. The extra funds were depleted by a $100,000 shortfall from the Gold and Winter Club.

Council decided to put this $595,800 surplus towards the John Howard Society to the tune of $88,500 as well as expanding the Golf and Winter Club contracted services by $75,000.

Council also decreased the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) allowance by $92,000 and placed $24,300 into the contingency fund to offset the money moved to the goodwill fund.

Council doesn’t expect any further changes to the budget this fiscal year.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Cold Lake contemplates interest-free loan to attract doctors

For the Lakeland Regional.

Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland
File Photo
The City of Cold Lake is contemplating offering a $50,000 interest-free loan to doctors moving to the area.

During the Corporate Priorities Committee meeting on May 17, Chief Administration Officer Kevin Nagoya presented a list of 16 municipalities around the province and the strategies they have used to attract doctors to their jurisdictions.

Cold Lake has not seen a significant increase in doctors since 2006. While new doctors have come in, its only been to replace the physicians leaving the area, rather than add to the overall numbers.

The Cold Lake Healthcare Centre has 24 acute care beds and 31 continuing care beds, and services roughly 36,000 patients a year. Currently the city has 12 doctors and one surgeon. In comparison, the Town of Bonnyville has 21 active physicians.

The city is looking at hiring doctors from both inside and outside of Canada.

“The biggest gap, especially when coming from out of the country but even if they are coming from right out of school, is what revenue or credit rating do they have to be able to actually come to our community?” explained Nagoya. “How much flexibility is there?”

Nagoya showed a number of programs conducted throughout the province. Incentives range from Bonnyville, which won an award for their program in 2015 with the creation of a $150,000 pot for loans for doctors, to Beaverlodge, which waives municipal and education levy taxes for five years and kicks in a $5,000 relocation bonus.

The report also discussed Whitecourt, which provides a $50,000 interest-free loan for new doctors. This model appealed to council the most.

“That way they can spend it any which way, shape, or form they need,” pointed out Nagoya. “It would be tailored to what those doctors need. Once they get their feet on the ground, then the payments can start happening.”

Nagoya added that when a doctor begins his or her practice, it can take up to a year before they begin to actually collect revenue to support themselves.

“This would assist in that transition. It gives the doctor a connection to the community.”

Mayor Craig Copeland said that he had spoken to several doctors in the area. They said the interest-free loan would suit their needs the best.

“What that money does is help them put a down payment on a house,” pointed out Copeland. “You want a doctor to have a house in your community. It provides a bit more stability that they aren’t going to leave on you.”

Copeland added that a doctor immigrating to Canada could be looking at $10,000 to $20,000 in licensing fees to practice in Canada.

Nagoya also mentioned that the charity Hearts for Healthcare currently donates up to $20,000 to new physicians who move to Cold Lake. The package is catered to the individual doctor’s needs, which has included covering apartment and car rentals as well as clinical fees.

The Alberta Medical Association offers an incentive payment of up to $60,000 for doctors moving to northern communities in the province, as well as a number of smaller reimbursement and subsidy programs to help get their practices off the ground.

In spite of all the incentives currently available, council agreed unanimously that the onus is on the city to attract doctors to the community.

“All these communities have gone into the marketplace with their tools,” commented Coun. Bob Buckle. “The city should step up to the plate and put up some money of its own.”

It is estimated it will cost around $250,000 to start the program. A proposed bylaw is expected to be put before council by July.

Rick Swan nominated as CJHL Coach of the Year

For the Bonnyville Nouvelle.

Pontiacs head coach Rick Swan (top left) is up for the title of CJHL Coach of the Year.
File Photo
For a man in the running to be declared one of the best coaches in junior hockey, Rick Swan is incredibly humble.

“I really appreciate being a part of this organization,” said Swan, downplaying his own contributions.
Swan has been nominated for the CJHL Coach of the Year Award. He claims that he only gets the credit because he has to make the tough decisions and that the glory should be reserved for the team as a whole.

“We have exceptional first-rate staff with Larry Draper, as well as assistant coaches Mark Jensen and Craig Cuthbert. These are guys that put in overtime hours for part-time pay or no pay at all, but they have a passion to make sure that our players come in and we do a good job developing them,” commented Swan. “As coaches we’re only as good as our players.”

The retired policeman turned hockey coach has been running the Bonnyville Pontiacs for three years. In that time, the team has grown into a major contender in the AJHL, attending the playoffs all three years, as well as sending 17 players to major colleges around the continent. This last season the Pontiacs set a franchise record for most wins and most points in a single season.

Swan was already declared the 2015-2016 AJHL Coach of the Year – a title he credits his own mentor Chad Mercier with more than his own efforts. However, he is far more excited about the opportunities his players are getting from his work than his own accolades.

Pontiac forward Bobby McMann, who won the league MVP this year, will be attending Colgate University in New York. Locally born 17-year-old Brinson Pasichnuk, is off to Arizona State after being declared the Most Outstanding Defenceman of the year.

“Their character is off the charts,” praised Swan. “I believe both kids will play professional hockey one day because of their self-driven desire to become the best that they can.”

Swan may be a big fan of sharing the spotlight as much as possible, but when he begins to talk about his coaching philosophy it becomes quite clear why the Pontiacs have done so well under his watch.

“It’s about treating players as professionals. If we’re not doing something on a daily basis that’s improving our players, organization or staff, then we’re wasting everybody’s time,” said Swan. “It’s about attention and purpose in everything we do, both as players and as human beings. If we can develop good people, then we’ll attract good people. If you have good people, then you’ll have a good team.”

In spite of coaching the Pontiacs being a full-time, 12-hour day job, Swan maintains his love for the game makes it feel more like play than work.

“This profession doesn’t seem like a job. You come to work every day looking forward to working with young athletes to help them exceed their expectations and what they thought was possible,” exclaimed Swan. “It just feels like fun to be able to do this every single day.”

Swan conceded that the recognition of getting nominated is a nice pat on the back, but he’s more interested in how it will help the Pontiacs than himself.

“It’s humbling, but more importantly it’s a great reflection on our organization,” added Swan. “Reputation helps with things like recruiting and it helps with exposure to get players up to the next level.”

Swan added he’s far more focused on preparing for the Pontiacs spring camp starting May 27.

“We’ve got 120 players from across North America. Colorado, Minnesota, California, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Alberta,” said Swan. “It’s a real reflection about where the organization is going.”

The winner of the CJHL coach of the year award will be selected May 24.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Local schools open their hearts to evacuees

For the Bonnyville Nouvelle.

Fort McMurray evacuee Sebastien Griffith, 6, stands with Duclos principal Richard Cameron. Griffith is attending Duclos while his family is staying in Bonnyville.
Angie Hampshire

Dave Griffith just can’t say enough good things about Bonnyville.

“Everyone in this town has been phenomenal, everywhere you go,” said Griffith. “When we registered at your recreation centre, one lady came up and just gave me a big hug and asked if everything was okay.”

The father of two’s life was turned upside down after the call was made to evacuate Fort McMurray on May 3. He and his wife, Essa, grabbed everything they could and were out of Fort McMurray as soon as they could be.

“When they did the final evacuation, we had to travel north,” explained Griffith. “So we went up to the Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) horizon site and spent the night.”

Griffith added he was told that a lot of the CNRL staff slept in their offices to ensure that the evacuees had enough beds to sleep in.

“The next morning they had giant breakfast spreads set up for everyone,” continued Griffith. “I know now I’m going to have to up my standards for cooking breakfast. The kids now know there’s more than one type of bacon.”

Among the many challenges he has faced over the past two weeks was trying to keep his children away from the worst of the news coming out of the oil city.

“We tried to shelter them from a lot of the scary news stories, and we wanted to get them back into a routine as soon as possible,” explained Griffith. “So when we found out the schools were more than willing to bring in the kids, right away we jumped at the opportunity.”

Luckily for him, the school system in Bonnyville was there to answer the call. An order came down from Education Minister David Eggan for all Alberta schools to enrol students displaced by the wildfires for as long as needed. Local schools across the region wasted no time opening their doors - and their hearts - to the wandering evacuees.

“They refused to take any money,” said Griffith. “Then they asked if there was anything else they could do for us.”

His son, six-year-old Sebastien, is now enrolled in Duclos Elementary. His daughter, 11-year-old Lydia, is enrolled in H.E. Bourgoin.

“We knew that we would accept any student quite happily,” said Richard Cameron, principal of Duclos Elementary School.

“We started putting together a plan to be very prepared to accept students as of May 9.”

Cameron mentioned that the school system was providing everything from backpacks to hot lunches to help the young students transition to their temporary schools.

“The teacher came out and showed my son around the school,” noted Griffith, adding the school went so far as to have teddy bears prepared for all the new students. “We didn’t have to worry about anything.”

“It’s stunning,” said Griffith with a pause. “The way (the staff) jumped in and took care of everything.”

School fees were also waived for evacuees to help through this difficult time.

Cameron added that the school had counsellors ready to help students with the transition. He pointed out that giving children some structure was a vital part of lightening the load that many kids are coping with.

Griffith agreed wholeheartedly.

“I have some emergency management background. I know how important it is for the young ones to get back into a fixed routine again. If they’re just sitting around they’re going to hear stuff on the (news).”

Cameron said that all the children of Duclos gave his new students a very warm welcome.

“Little children tend to get attached to their school, but the newcomers have been very bubbly and happy to be here,” added Cameron. “We want to do everything we can to make the children safe and comfortable.”

Fort McMurray students are also exempt from having to take final exams for this year, though according to Bonnyville Centralized High School (BCHS) Principal Corey Baker, at least one student attending BCHS already wrote his diploma exam.

“He studied for it and he wanted to write it,” laughed Baker. “He was all smiles today and just happy to be back at school.”

Baker emphasized that the friendships people make during times of crisis can last a lifetime.
According to Nicole Garner of the Northern Lights School Division, as of Friday afternoon 242 students had been welcomed in the division’s 15 schools.

“We’re adding new kids every day,” explained Garner. “We’re definitely expecting more to come in through the coming weeks.”

Griffith maintained that being able to put his kids in school was making the rest of the evacuation process far easier.

“We don’t have to be as careful talking to insurance companies, or even when family checks in,” commented Griffith. “We don’t have to censor ourselves. We can spread all the paperwork over the small table and track where everything is.”

The smooth transition for the new students is a welcomed development during these difficult times, especially given the uncertainty of the situation. It is widely expected that it will be several weeks before evacuees will be able to return home.

“I don’t even think the province knows when people will be able to go home,” said Cameron. “If people want to stay for a few weeks or the entire remainder of the school year – we are entirely flexible.”

Griffith and his family are currently staying in a fifth-wheel donated by a friend he met at CNRL.

“Luckily, my kids love camping,” he said with a laugh.

He added that he was fortunate enough that his house survived the flames.

“It’s not just a house. It’s electricity and roads,” he added. “I can’t see it being less than several weeks before they get the infrastructure back to where it’s safe.”

Griffith said that he’s not in a huge hurry to move his kids around.

“If they get very comfortable with the place, I could see asking our host if they could let us stay a little bit longer so we can finish the year out,” suggested Griffith. “The kids seem to be really having a lot of fun with the classes, and the staff is bending over backwards to help us out.”

"This is an awesome town."

Council leaves seat vacant after Plain's resignation

For the Lakeland Regional.

Councillor Kelvin Plain.
File Photo

Cold Lake City Council will finish its term with six councillors after Coun. Kelvin Plain submitted his resignation on May 9.

After four terms with the City of Cold Lake, Plain moved to a home outside of the municipality and was therefore unable to finish his term.

Chief Administration Officer Kevin Nagoya explained to council that because a general election is scheduled within the next 18months, a by-election is not legally required under the Municipal Government Act.

“This is not the first time the City of Cold Lake has had six members of council,” explained Nagoya. “It’s up to the municipality what they want to do.”

The estimated cost of a by-election is$10,000. The last general election cost the city around $20,000.
Coun. Darrell MacDonald voiced his support for a by-election, arguing that it would be best to ensure a quorum at future council meetings.

“We’re busy people, all of us,” said MacDonald. “If we bring in somebody new we will have the ability to stay within our means.” Coun. Chris Vining supported the by-election, but cautioned that council needed to act quickly on the resolution.

“If you’re going with this, we need to get the gears turning really fast,” commented Vining. “If you’re going to have the election in July or August, I’m not sure there’s much of a point.”
He added, “It seems a little bit problematic.”

However, Coun. Bob Buckle disagreed, pointing out that council had functioned with six members before. He noted that by the time the new councillor was up to speed on procedure there would be six months until the next general election.

“I think it’s an unnecessary cost,” said Buckle. “From a practical perspective, I don’t think it’s totally necessary.”

A minimum of four councillors is needed to have a quorum at a council meeting. Nagoya estimated the earliest date a by-election could occur would be July13.

“Administration could not turn out anything quicker than that,” explained Nagoya.

Coun. Vicky Lefebvre pointed out that the hypothetical councillor would only have term of 14 months before the general election.

“If you do July, it’ll probably be September before we get someone working,” said Lefebvre. “It’s not a hill to die on.”

Mayor Craig Copeland said he was in support of a by-election, adding that he had voted for it the last time.

“Nothing’s changed in my mind. I’m a big fan of filling the roster,” said Copeland. “I think it would be a great opportunity for people to come forward. It bridges experience.”

Council was hung on the vote at a 3-3 tie Vining, Copeland and MacDonald were in favour, while Buckle, Lefebvre and Coun. Duane Lay were against - putting the matter to rest. The next general election is scheduled for October 16, 2017.

Copeland said that Plain’s departure leaves some very large shoes to fill.

“This council has seen many accomplishments and Kelvin was no small part of them,” said Copeland. “He has strong principles and he sticks to them. That’s why he’s had the trust and respect of this community and his colleagues on council. It’s been a pleasure to serve Cold Lake along side Kelvin and I wish him all the best.”

He added, “It’s a tough day on me. Kelvin brought a great perspective to things. He’s going to be a big loss.”

'Paint the plow' kicks off Public Works Week

For the Lakeland Regional.

The Assumption Junior/Senior high school Art 30 class paints the blade of a city snowplow. From left to right: Natalie War, Divine Tanjay, Paige Collins, Anna-Claire Blackman, Elisha Johnson and their teacher Meghan Osfertag.
Eric Bowling
 Grade 12 Art students from Assumption Jr./Sr. High School have nearly completed painting one of the city's snow plow blades as part of the upcoming National Public Works Week.

Beginning May 15, the week-long celebration will involve an open house of the water treatment plant, an open house of the public works building and a community clean up.

“National Public Works Week has been celebrated since the 60s,” said Denise Pollard, Intermediate Secretary for Public Works. “This week's theme is ‘Public Works – Always There.'”
Pollard added that the plow painting was a late addition to the week's agenda.

“We put this together very quickly,” said Pollard.

The art project was based on a similar idea from Public Works Magazine. The art class has been painting the blade for the past two weeks.

“This is our experiment,” explained Meghan Osfertag, the art teacher at Assumption school. “It's really neat to see the class all working together. It's nice. It helps the kids feel like they are part of the community.”
She added that the students designed the project completely themselves.

Anna-Claire Blackman, one of the students painting the blade, said that the her class decided together on a theme of the four seasons to represent the fact that public works is active all year long.

“This is an awesome way to express ourselves. Especially because the city is going to see it,” said Blackman. “It really shows the city that students are really involved. I'm really excited to represent my school.”

The paint job is not expected to last the winter, but Infrastructure Services General Manager Azam Khan said that the city is planning to put a protective varnish on the blade to protect it from the elements.

“We're going to get some ideas,” explained Khan. “I don't want this to go away in the snow.”

The finished blade will be placed on display at the public works open house on May 19 and will be put into service during the winter season. A second blade will be available for the public to decorate at the public works open house.

“Sort of a graffiti wall,” joked Khan.

Lakeland Lightning win gold in Canada Cup West

For the Bonnyville Nouvelle.

The Lakeland Lightning kick back after crushing all contenders in Kelowna, B.C. on May 8.
Submitted photo

The Lakeland Lightning has surpassed all expectations at the 2016 Canada Cup West in Kelowna, B.C. on May 8.

The AAA peewee team drew players from AA teams in Bonnyville, Cold Lake, Lloydminster, Fort McMurray, Mallaig, Kitscoty, Wainwright and Vermilion.

“They were kids from the entire Lakeland area,” said coach Rick Swan, who also coaches the Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs. “They were selected through a trial process. We were fortunate the parents asked us to coach them.”

Swan explained that the majority of the players on the team had previously played in the Alberta Winter Games.

The team opened the tournament with a scorching 6-0 victory over the Vancouver Island Monarchs and topped it off with a 2-1 win over the Young Guns Elite Hockey Academy. The Lightning then clobbered the Calgary Riggers 7-1 and plundered the Kamloops Ice Pirates 5-2 to finish the round robin with a perfect 4-0 record.

“We had strong goaltending and good depth on defense and forwards overall,” boasted Swan. “Our players showed some great promise that they're going to be great players in the future.”

The Lightning continued zapping their competition on all fronts, defeating the Chilliwack Jr. Chiefs 5-2 in the semifinal before taking the gold in a thunderous 4-2 victory over the Grande Prairie Storm.

“Emmet Croteau played extremely well against Grande Prairie in the final game,” praised Swan. “Also local kids like Caden Cabana, he showed that the introduction to contact is something that he's gong to be okay with.”

This is the first level of hockey where players are able to engage in full contact.
Bonnyville contributed five players to the dream team. All local players were scouted from the Lakeland Peewee AA Panthers.

“I'm amazed at how well this team has come together as a group,” expressed Swan. “They're just a strong group of kids. Being able to grasp the hockey they were playing at such a young age was very impressive.”

“It brings a lot of optimism that there's such a strong level of talent in the Lakeland area.”

The team began practicing for the tournament during the weekends at the end of April. The team will have two more practices until heading off to Saskatoon for a second tournament that starts May 20.

“We're focusing on training and habits. All the good stuff,” mentioned Swan.

Swan added he is looking forward to seeing his players develop and had a number of players earmarked as possible future Jr. A Pontiacs.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

La Corey unveils new fire hall and grading bay

For the Bonnyville Nouvelle

La Corey Station Fire Chief Al Donald (left) cut the ribbon on the new fire hall with Reeve Ed Rondeau (centre) and Coun. Mike Krywiak.
Eric Bowling
 The hamlet of La Corey unveiled its new fire hall over the weekend to a crowd of nearly 50 residents.

The two-bay, six-door garage will house three fire trucks as well as the Municipal District's road graders.

The fire hall is a welcome replacement of the old building, which was built somewhere between 1960-70. A major improvement of the new station is that it comes equipped with its own pumping station so trucks can re-fill their water tanks right in the shop.

“Before we used to have to go down towards Iron River. There was a tank set up for firefighting,” said firefighter John Healy. “Here we can back in and fill our trucks up in no time flat.”

Healy added that another benefit of the new station is that it keeps all the firefighting equipment under one roof.

“In the other spot there was two bays, but one was a bit further away and they had different keys,” explained Healy. “In this one here everything is in one spot.”

The fire hall is over five years in the making. Construction began last summer and the hall has been in service since this spring.

The hall cost $2.2 million to build. Funding for the project came from the MD's general revenue. The majority of the money was set aside in earlier budgets. “It was broken up under two budgets,” said Bonnyville M.D. Reeve Ed Rondeau. “Half of it was the fire authority budget and the other half was the transportation and utilities budget. Then we put it together as one building.”

Rondeau added that the hall's new location should allow for faster access to the highway for first responders. The previous hall was right in the middle of La Corey.

“I think it serves the region a little better,” commented Rondeau.

The La Corey Fire Hall covers a wide area of land, from Crane Lake to Cold Lake, as well as Goodridge to Glendon. The facility will also provide assistance to other fire departments in the county.

“One of the things that people need to understand is that we totally work in conjunction with Iron River Fire Hall,” said La Corey Station Fire Chief Al Donald. “If we get a call, we both go. They've got a rapid response unit and a tandem tanker, but they don't have a pumper. We have the pumper and two tankers.

“It's a huge area.”

The fire hall will also be used for training recruits on every second Tuesday, of the month as well as hosting regular administrative meetings on the same days.

A side benefit of the new building has been a spike in new recruits to the volunteer fire department.
“The best part of this is how much it increases interest in the department,” said Bonnyville Fire Guardian Rollie Inman. “We've had four new volunteers in the last week alone.”

The fire hall is widely seen as a necessary development in the growing community of La Corey.

“The community has changed quite drastically. As the community grew, so did the fire department,” explained Regional Fire Chief Brian McEvoy.

Wildcats net gold in provincial handball

The Notre Dam Wildcats pose after winning the 2016 Alberta Handball Provincial Championshops at Lillian Osborne High School in Edmonton.
Submitted Photo

The Notre Dame Wildcats Senior Boys Handball team has been crowned the provincial high school champions after a tight 30-23 game against the Sedgewick Central High Rams to cap off a brilliant season.

“We peaked at the right time,” said head coach Daniel Dargis. “We ended up beating everyone handily, almost doubling the score against every team we played.”

The win concluded a long tournament at Lillian Osborne high school in Edmonton that played from April 28-30. This is the seventh provincial championship in high school handball held in Alberta.

This was the second meeting between the Wildcats and the Rams after the Wildcats defeated the Rams 37-17 in the round robin portion of the tournament.

“They came back with a little bit more fire in the finals but we were able to hold them off,” commented Dargis. “Our defence was outstanding all weekend, so I knew that if we could maintain the lead we could take it home.”

Dargis added that throughout the tournament he was able to take his main line of players off the court and give his younger players a chance to play.

“I really have to hand it to my goalie, Teehgann Paschinuk,” praised Dargis. “He struggled in the first game of the tournament but he turned it around for every single game after that.

“He was able to stop shots exactly the time we needed him to. He kept us in the game. Goaltending is not a fun position to play.”

The team played two tournaments earlier in the season, one also at Lillian Osborne High School, where the team placed sixth overall, and a second at Blessed Sacrament school in Wainwright where they placed second.

“We were making steps in the right direction,” noted Dargis. “We then ended up as zone champions.”
Handball is a relatively new sport in Canada but is very popular in Europe and South America.

“It’s kind of a mishmash of North American sports like soccer and basketball,” explained Dargis. “There’s a lot of movement like soccer and a lot of similar rules to basketball but it’s way more physical.

“You’re not bodychecking people but the physicality is way up there for a high school sport.”
While the season is done for this year, Dargis pointed out that the sport is growing and invited the community to join the team next spring.

“It’s definitely a growing sport, so come take a look at it,” he urged. “Every spring we host ‘zones’. Community support is huge in any sport you play, so it would be nice to see the community come out and support a new sport that the schools have taken a liking to.”