Friday, October 19, 2007

Project Porchlight

Have you ever heard that saying: "If everyone just did BLANK we could save BLANK energy and BLANK dollars." ? Seems like you hear that often but rarely do you ever hear of anyone doing something about it. Well, it's going to actually happen here in Grande Prairie!

From the City's website:

"Aquatera, the City and the County of Grande Prairie have partnered with Project Porchlight to bring change to our community one household at a time. Project Porchlight will distribute one compact fluorescent light bulb to every home in the region.

How many bulbs is that you ask?
- about 17 000!

How much would it save the people of the region you ask?
- about $850 000!

Pretty cool and courtesy of Project Porchlight who are kicking things off at the Storm hockey game tonight.

If you or your group would like to help distribute these please, get in touch. [pdf download]

You can also call 1-866-585-6359.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Back In Action, Getting the Team Together

Well, council is back at it. I stopped by city hall this week to pick up the Orientation Package for council members. The package is given out at the start of a new term to give council members the general "lay of the land".

The Orientation Package binder that all new council member received contains:

The Strategic Plan
• Council & Administration Contact Directory
A list of the Boards & Committees
• The Mandates for all the Boards & Committees
Council Procedure Bylaw (C-962)[pdf file]
City Administration Bylaw (C-1012)
• Council Code of Ethics
• Conflict of Interest Legislation
• Resource Material for; Effective Meetings, Conflict Resolution, Team Building, ect.

On the cover it also has the schedule for the orientation process:

Friday from 6- 9 we'll have an informal meeting and dinner. This is really a "getting to know you" kind of session, which I think is really important given how many members of council are new to the job. This is also a chance for all the council members to share a little bit about what their priorities are and what they feel they bring to the job.

Monday there is a training session on the technology in council chambers, how to vote how to turn the mics on and off, it starts at 10:30. Then the County of Grande Prairie has invited us to visit them at 4 and we have to be back at city hall from 6 -9 is the swearing in session and official organizational meeting. The first part of the night is taking official pictures that end up in the annual report and on your council webpage ( - wear a suit and tie.) Then the first council meeting starts, members are sworn in one by one and sign the oath of office under they watchful eye of the city solicitor. (- pause when you sign so family can take pictures!). After the fun stuff council members stay behind to hear a little about the rolls and responsibilities of the job as well as to review some of the other info in the Orientation Package.

Tuesday morning from 10 - 12 we will be back at city hall to review committee priorities and some of the hot topics that the council will have to be ready to work on right away. This session is attended by council (of course) as well as the city manager and the four directors responsible for Community Development, Protective Services, Public Works and General Government Services.

So there you go, that's what the first week after being elected is like. Following all this committees start up as usual and then in November there are 5 days of budget sessions and 3 days of theAUMA conference in Calgary.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thank You!

This will run in Thursday's Daily Herald Tribune but I didn't see any reason why I shouldn't say thank you as many times, and in as many ways as possible....

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Election Results

Last night was a wild ride and came with lots of change!

Congratulations to all the candidates! Everyone who ran deserves to be recognized for the commitment they've shown towards our community.

The turnout at the polls shot up to almost 30% which was great to see and I think that gives this council a very clear mandate to get moving! The full results are here but in short we have a new team that will take the city in to the next three years:

Dwight Logan

Bill Given
Lorne Radbourne
Dan Wong
Helen Rice
Gladys Blackmore
Alex Gustafson
Yad Minhas
Elroy Deimert

I'm very proud of our accomplishments over the past six years and I'm honored to have the community invite me to stay and serve for another three years. I've really appreciated all the support from the community and kind words from friends through the election but now it's time to get down to work!

I want to stay as open, accessible and approachable as possible through the next term so I plan on continuing my blog. I've found it to be a great way to get information out to the community and to elicit feedback on the issues. I think this feedback and discussion are vitally important to ensuring that the whole community has a voice at the council table so I hope you'll continue to visit and stay in touch. Election day is really just the start of democracy.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Aquatera Launches Waste Reduction Week

I just received this note about National Waste Reduction Week from Amy with Aquatera.

"It's National Waste Reduction, a national event recognizing the importance of waste minimization and conservation.

This week Aquatera will be celebrating by visiting grade 2 classrooms to promote the 3 R's!  Students will learn the importance of recycling and how everyone can make a difference.  Grade 4 students participated in producing the radio announcements this week.  We will also be holding our annual "Get Caught Recycling" contest this week!  You could get CAUGHT RECYCLING at any of Aquatera's recycling depots in the City and win!  Just visit the recycling depots between October 15 - 19 and watch for the Aquatera van.  Each day a lucky recycler will win great prizes - it really does pay to recycle.

Amy Horne
Recycling Manager
Aquatera Utilities Inc."

Its a shame that through the campaign some candidates choose to knock Aquatera's recycling efforts. Recycling has always been a big part of what the company does and I think that accurately reflects the value that the community in general places on good environmental stewardship.

Thanks Amy!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Where to Vote

The advance polls are over and Monday is officially election day in the city and across the province! The polls will be open from 10am to 8 pm and results will roll in quickly after that.

If you are unsure of where to vote you can check the city's webpage here for full details and a larger map but essentially this is what you need to know: Check the map below, locate which of the thirteen voting subdivisions you live in. From there you'll be able to tell which voting station from the list below you need to go to.

Voting Stations by Voting Subdivision

#1 - Grande Prairie Elks Hall: 10806 - 106 Street

#2 - Crystal Park School (gymnasium): 9351 - 116 Avenue

#3 - St. Clement School (gymnasium): 9636 - 109 Avenue

#4 - Trinity Lutheran Church: 10404 - 100 Street

#5 - Holy Cross School: 11065 - 90 Street

#6 - Church of Christ: 9606 - 92 Avenue

#7 - Army, Navy, Airforce Club: 10117 - 93 Street

#8 - Swanavon School (gymnasium): 8908 - 100 Street

#9 - St. Gerard School (gymnasium): 9724 - 88 Avenue

#10 - Kateri Mission School (gymnasium): 7906 - Mission Heights Drive

#11 - St. Patrick School (gymnasium): 7810 - Poplar Drive

#12 - Alexander Forbes School (gymnasium): 7240 - Poplar Drive

#13 - Aspen Grove School (gymnasium): 9618 - 63 Avenue

After you've voted you can look for results here or even watch a live webcast of results and interviews with candidates here . Information will roll in quickly after the polls close thanks to the city's electronic ballots which are counted extremely quickly.

And, if you are looking to have a little fun I invite you to join me downtown at the curling club. I'll be upstairs watching the results roll in at an all candidates party. I'm not too sure of which of the other candidates will stop by but I will be there and so will Mayor Ayling. To say thanks for the support we'll make sure there is food on hand for those who might be a little peckish. Children are welcomed and encouraged!

I'd like take a minute in advance to thank everyone one who has supported me through the last six years and in this election. I really have appreciated the opportunity you've given me to serve and be involved - I hope I've earned the right to do so again.

For those of you who are regular readers; I'm sure you are the kind of person who always votes. We need more of you so remind people during the day that they've got to get out. Tell them how easy it is, and tell them that they don't have to know all the candidates - they can just vote for those that they really want to see in. And, finally, when you head to the polls on Monday make sure you take a friend or family member that might not otherwise go along.

... and, if you've enjoyed reading my blog over the past few months I hope you'll pass on a good word for me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Candidates Forum

My friend Kyle was one of the 400 people at the Chamber of Commerce candidates forum on the 1st. Even better than that - he recorded the whole thing!

Kyle put in a little over time and was nice enough to pull out my opening speech, answers to quite a few public questions and my closing statement. Thanks Kyle!

Judging A Person By Their Plastic

My friend and fellow Grande Prairie blogger, GP Conservative, is taking a critical look at the election signs that have popped up everywhere. In fact, he's even rating them!

So far he's covered Lorne Radbourne, Dave Story and Yad Minhas in Part One and then Wayne Ayling, Dwight Logan, Dan Wong and Elroy Diemert in Part Two.

He hasn't made it to my sign yet but from his comments I have a feeling I'm not going to do too well. What do you think? How do all the election signs stack up to one another?

Who's on top the of ratings? You have to check out GPConservaive's site to find out.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Out of Town on the 15th? Advance Polls Start Today!

If, for any reason, you think that you might not be able to make it in to vote on the October 15th election day - you don't have to give up your right to vote.

There are advance polls and they start today! From the City's Municipal Election Information page:

Advanced votes will be held in the Catholic Education Centre Boardroom Lobby between 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on:

October 5 (Friday)
October 6 (Saturday)
October 12 (Friday)
October 13 (Saturday)

The address of the Catholic Education Centre is 10106 - 99 Avenue.

So, today is your first chance to vote. If you think you might have to work late, take the kids to practice, or get sick on the 15th you don't have to wait. Get out and vote today! ....or tomorrow.... or next Friday.... or Saturday.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Recovery Program for The Storm of '07

July 17th of this year a storm and flash flood shocked the city. The storm made for an incredible spectacle and some strange sights on city streets:

"In one unique case, police were called to a motorboat being driven in the south end of the city near 89 Avenue just after midnight. The boater, who said he was a business owner concerned about the condition of his business, was loading his boat onto a trailer when police arrived. He was warned about operating a boat on the streets of Grande Prairie but not charged."

It also left many homes and businesses with uninsurable damages. Immediately afterwards the city and other local agencies went to work collecting the data that the Province would need to decide if this storm qualified as a "Once in 100 Years" event. It did and so the Province has launched the "2007 Grande Prairie and Area Disaster Recovery Program".

From the Municipal Affairs media release:

"The 2007 Grande Prairie and Area Disaster Recovery Program ($700,000) includes the City and County of Grande Prairie and includes all municipalities that reside within the county. Damage occurred following a severe hail and rainstorm on July 17, which resulted in overland flooding throughout the area ...

Disaster recovery programs cover damage for which insurance is not readily and reasonably available. For example, insurance policies traditionally cover damage from causes such as sewer backup and hail; however, insurance coverage is not available for flooding resulting from water entering through basement windows. The programs include funds for municipalities, homeowners and small businesses, with the majority of the funds going to municipalities for infrastructure damage, emergency costs, etc."

For answers to some important questions for those looking to make claims check out the full release here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

More on Blue Box Recycling

At the candidates forum last night there were some questions on blue box recycling. I've posted on the issue before and I'm running a poll on the right hand side of the site. Aquatera has been looking at the considering the possibilities for recycling locally. In fact there is a lot of recycling info in the company's website.

The company's Solid Waste Master Plan has some detailed information on the different levels of service that the community could consider. These include a range of four options from maintaining/improving the current depot system all the way up to "Maximum Diversion". Each option will have a different cost above and beyond what we pay now but each will also offer the ability to divert more from the landfill.

From the Solid Waste Master Plan:

"Options for Single Family Collection
Four single-family residential collection options are presented for consideration, with varying levels of diversion potential, but also varying costs to provide the collection service. The four options are described below. For all the options, the Eco Centre and Landfill Drop-Off (for yard waste and recyclable materials) would be maintained.

1. Enhanced Depot Focus: Includes curbside garbage collection, seasonal curbside yard waste collection and depot-based recycling. In addition to Grande Prairie, this type of collection system exists in Lethbridge, Calgary, Medicine Hat, and Kamloops, BC. Under this option, the current system can be enhanced by expanding the number of recycling depots and using promotion, education and demand-side management tool such as reduced weekly bag limits to encourage waste diversion.

2. Curbside Focus: Includes curbside garbage, curbside recycling, and seasonal curbside yard waste collection. This type of system is in place in Red Deer, Hamilton (Ontario) and many municipalities in British Columbia including Vancouver and Burnaby.

3. Organics Focus: Includes curbside garbage, curbside collection of source-separated organics (SSO), seasonal curbside yard waste collection, depot-based recycling. We are not aware of any municipalities with a system currently in place that provides curbside organics collection with depot-based recycling.

4. Maximum Diversion: Includes curbside garbage, curbside recycling, curbside collection of source-separated organics (SSO), seasonal curbside yard waste collection. This type of system is in place in Halifax, San Francisco and several Ontario municipalities including Guelph, Markham, Etobicoke and Toronto.

Analysis of the existing program suggests that the current diversion rate for the single family sector may be as high as 33%. Further analysis of the four options indicates that there is the potential to increase single-family waste diversion by 13% to 23%, depending on which option is selected. The summary of diversion potential is presented in Table 1-6 below. [Current Diversion, Additional Diversion and Total Recycling Potential are all expressed in tonnes]

OptionCurrent Diversion RateAdditional DiversionTotal Recycling PotentialFamily Recycling RateNet Additional Recycling
Current Program3,123-3,12333%-
Enhanced Depot-1,2544,37749%13%
Curbside Option-1,5504,67349%16%
Organics Option-1,9455,06853%20%
Maximum Diversion-2,2415,36456%23%

So, that's some of the background work that the folks at Aquatera have been doing. Of course at this point the information doesn't include costs and that is an important part of the equation. When costs are available the thing the community, and members of city council will have to ask themselves is how much are we willing to pay to move from 33% to 56% diversion of waste from going to the landfill.

What do you think? Use the "Comments" link below to leave me some feedback.

World Record Walk Oct 3rd

Peace Country Health is inviting all of Grande Prairie to be part of an attempt to get in the Guinness Book of World Records.

I just received the email below explaing the "what" and "when" of the event. Its important to take a few minutes now and then to get active and a simple walk is an easy way to do it.

Thanks to PCH and their Health Promotion Coordinator Marcia Oliveira for organizing this!

The email:

" Have you ever wanted to be in the Guinness Book of World Records?

Here is your chance! On October 3 at 10:30am you are  invited to participate in the Walkolution!

Our goal, together with people from all across Canada is to break the world record for the most people walking 1km simultaneously. If you are wearing a pedometer 1km is approximately 1,250 steps.

Register now, grab your co-workers and go for a walk on Oct 3th!!!!!

See the website for more information, <>

Walking is a great way to be active and can easily fit into your day, here are a few ideas:

·         Instead of a coffee break, go for a walk

·         Have a walking meeting

·         Get out of the office to ponder an idea

Let's break the world record!!

Marcia Oliveira, MSc. Health Promotion

Health Promotion Facilitator

Peace Country Health"

Monday, October 1, 2007

Candidates Forum Tonight

Tonight is the Chamber of Commerce forum for Candidates for Mayor and Alderman in the city. There will be some changes to the forum for those who have experienced them in the past; In previous years the forum has been at the GP Inn - this year it will be at the GPRC Theater, In previous years the forum has been broadcast by Channel 7 - this year, I've heard that there will not be any television coverage of the event.

It's really a big disappointment that the forum won't be recorded. I know that a lot of people caught the re-broadcasts leading up to the election (it was shown at least a couple of times a week) and enjoyed the ability to hear and consider everything, even if they weren't able to be in attendance.

Other than those changes the major thing affecting the event is simply the number of people running for Alderman. Everyone needs to get a chance to do an opening presentation, answer questions and finally to close the night off. With 16 people in the race the openings and closings have had to be cut short. The downside to this is that it's very difficult to convey any real depth in a speech of answer to a question if you've got a tiny time limit to do it in. Hopefully the public will be following up with the candidates afterwards to ask questions one on one.

I'll be at the forum early and stay late to meet with people and answer as many questions as I can.

Here's the forum agenda and rules as emailed out to candidates by the Chamber:

5:45 pm – All Candidates Report to Chair for Speaking Order & Format
6:00pm – Mayoral Forum
7:15 pm – Break
7:30 pm – Aldermanic Forum
9:50 pm – Closing Remarks

There will be tables for candidates to display information in the concourse area outside of the theater doors. Doors open at 5:00 pm for Candidates and 5:30 for the Public.

Rules & Regulations:
• The moderator for the forum will be Dr. Scott McAlpine of Grande Prairie Regional College.

• The facility will be opened at 5:00 pm for the candidates and their campaign workers in order to provide enough time to get organized for handing out or setting up pamphlets and literature.

• No signs may be posted in the room, nor attached to any walls, curtains, doors, etc.

• The doors for the public shall open at 5:30 pm.

• The candidates shall present themselves to the Moderator at the head table promptly at 5:45 pm to draw for the order of speaking.

• The forum will be called to order promptly at 6:00 pm, and the doors to the room will be closed. Anyone arriving late will only be seated between speakers so as to keep the disruptions to a minimum. We will adjourn at 10:00pm.

• The candidates will be seated alphabetically at the speakers’ table, starting on the right, facing the audience. In the moderator’s opening remarks, candidates will be introduced in alphabetical order.

• Candidates will have (3 minutes Mayoral) (2 minutes Aldermanic) to expand upon their political platform. The format of the presentation is at the discretion of the candidates. No candidates will be allowed more than their allotted time and the moderator will ask the candidate to be seated.

• During the question period, questions will be received from the floor in written or spoken form. The public will approach the microphone, identify themselves and address a question to one candidate. The ushers will read the written questions and address to one candidate. The moderator will use his discretion in balancing written and spoken questions. In an attempt to keep equal responses, each question directed at a candidate will be directed at another at the discretion of the moderator. In the case of general questions (not specifically directed), the moderator will use his discretion in addressing it toward one or more candidates. Not all candidates will necessarily have to opportunity to answer all questions.

• The moderator will rule out of order any question (s) deemed inappropriate, offensive and derogatory or that would seem to attack the integrity of any candidate.

• The moderator will rule out of order any person who unreasonably attempts to use the question period as a platform for expressing a point-of- view on any issue.

• Answers to questions will be limited to no more than two minutes in order to maximize the number of questions that can be fielded in the time allotted. The question period will be limited to 48 minutes (Mayoral) & 66 minutes (Aldermanic) . Depending on the number of questions evident, the moderator may further limit response to less than two minute at his discretion.

• Candidates will each have (2 minutes Mayoral) (1 minute Aldermanic) after the question period for a rebuttal or to summarize their platform.

• The moderator will have final jurisdiction in all matters.

Hope to see you there!


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