Monday, January 28, 2008

Library Update - January 28th, 2008

Musical Interludes

Escape your office and bring your lunch for another season of Musical Interludes at the Library. Join us on Wednesdays from 12:15 to 12:45 throughout the month of February.
Feb 6   Christopher Murphy - Hand drum and Irish folk ballads

Feb 13  Monica Littleton - Piano selections

Feb 20  GPRC Jazz Ensemble

Feb 27  People’s White Crane Kung Fu Association - Lion Dance

Friends of the Library Spring Silent Auction

Join the Friends of the Grande Prairie Public Library for their annual Silent Auction in the Library from Tuesday, February 19th to Saturday, March 15th, 2007. 

Exciting items including a miniature figurine from the Trail of Painted Ponies and a hockey stick autographed by the Edmonton Oilers will be auctioned to support the purchase of furnishings and equipment for the new Library due to open in 2009.

New Online Research Tools

Have you been wanting to work on your motorcycle or dirt bike in preparation for the riding season, but don’t have a manual? Look no further than your Library.  Bundled with your Library membership, you have access to over 30 online research tools.  New for 2008 is the Small Engine Repair Reference Center, the Home Improvement Reference Center, World Book Online and World Book Kids.

No School Zone at the Grande Prairie Public Library

Need to debrief after school? Have fun learning about the concept and origin of Art Trading Cards and enjoy making your own to exchange with your fellow students at the end of this workshop.  For ages 11 – 14. Register by calling (780) 532-3580 ext 226.
Date: Wednesday, February 6 
Time:  3:45 pm - 5:15 pm

Have a Heart: Food for Fines Days
February 13 & 14, 2008 will be Food for Fines Days at the Grande Prairie Public Library.  The Library will waive fines on one overdue item for each non-perishable food item you bring.  The Library will be accepting non-perishable food items and toiletries for the Salvation Army Food Bank. Do you have fines on five overdue items?  Then bring five food items! Don't have fines?  Feel free to bring a donation anyway! Call the Library at (780) 532-3580 for details.

Friday, January 18, 2008

More Info on Shopping Bag By-laws

Wow! The response to my post asking if GP should ban single use shopping bags has been pretty impressive. I have two prior posts on the subject, the first one is here and this is the second one that was posted last week. This is probably the issue that I have received the most comments on the whole time I've been running the blog. As of today there are 20 comments on the post and 61 votes have been cast in the poll.

There have been some really good comments that have raised great points:

One that I hadn't considered was security. "How does a store know that the person walking out with a bag full of goods went through the till if they don't have a store bag?" Good one, I'm sure there are answers to that but it would need to be considered, or at least recognized.

Another was on people from out of town. "What about people who are new to the city or tourists or out of town shoppers? They won't know to come with their own bag." I don't know - what about these kinds of people? I would guess they just have to buck up the extra loonie for a bag they can reuse when they get home.

Just to clarify two things for everyone;

1. I know that web polls like this aren't scientific and 61 votes is probably not a large enough sample to be an accurate representation of the whole city.

2. I wasn't posing this as a moving to paper instead of plastic. What we are talking about is getting rid of the single use plastic bags. Other options would be up to stores and the public. ( Already many stores are selling re-useable bags, for a small price )

In the first post I mentioned that Leaf Rapids, Manitoba was going ahead with this. I've visited their site and below you'll find their bylaw.

I'm really enjoying the discussion, keep it going. Have a read of the bylaw and think about if something like this could work in GP. Let me know what you think!


On April 2, 2007, Leaf Rapids became the first municipality in North America to introduce By-Law legislation banning single-use plastic shopping bags. After April 2nd, cloth shopping bags will be the order of the day. Retailers who contravene the By-Law by giving away or selling single-use plastic shopping bags could be liable to a fine of up to $1000.00.

In order to assist other municipalities that might want to introduce similar legislation, Leaf Rapids is providing the wording to By-Law # 462. The By-Law was passed at 12:01 AM on March 22, 2007.


By-Law No. 462

Being a By-Law of the Town of Leaf Rapids for the establishment of Single Use Plastic Shopping Bags.

WHEREAS Single Use Plastic Shopping Bags are a very visible component of litter throughout the Town of Leaf Rapids, lake side, trails, roadside and the nuisance grounds;

AND WHEREAS Single Use Plastic Shopping Bags have a negative impact on our wildlife habitat and are not environmentally friendly;

AND WHEREAS the Town of Leaf Rapids incurs a significant cost to clean up the Single Use Plastic Shopping Bags each year;

AND WHEREAS local businesses can reduce merchandise cost by not having to purchase Single Use Plastic Shopping Bags;

AND WHEREAS the Town of Leaf Rapids has provided education to shoppers and school children about the environmental advantages and reduced cost of using reusable shopping bags;

AND WHEREAS by using a multi-use shopping bag, residents are reminded of the positive impact of recycling;

NOW THEREFORE upon passing this By-Law, the Council of the Town of Leaf Rapids, enacts as follows:

1. THAT the Town of Leaf Rapids will be Single Use Plastic Shopping Bag free effective April 2, 2007.

2. THAT retailers in the Town of Leaf Rapids will not be permitted to give away or sell plastic shopping bags that are intended for single use.

3. THAT a person who contravenes this By-Law of the Town of Leaf Rapids is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction of a fine of not more than $1000.00.

4. THAT where a contravention continues for more than one day, the person is guilty of a separate offence for each day it continues.

5. THAT on passing of this By-Law, By-Law No. 457 is hereby rescinded.

6. DONE AND PASSED as a By-Law of the Town of Leaf Rapids at the Townsite of Leaf Rapids, in the Province of Manitoba, this 22nd day of March, 2007, A.D.


Small plastic bags that are used to store non-packaged goods such as: a) Dairy products b) Fruit, vegetables or nuts c) Confectionery d) Cooked foods, hot or cold e) Ice f) Smaller bags for fresh meat, fish, candy and poultry g) Bags that cost more than $1.50

Monday, January 14, 2008

Library Update - January 14th, 2008

It's time for the Library Update! Here's what's going on at the GPPL, courtesy Library Director Laurie Harrison. Thanks Laurie!

Wonderland in the Library
The Children's Library is hosting a draw for tickets to the Grande Prairie Live Theatre Alice in Wonderland play. To qualify participants must borrow a classic, fantasy or fairy tale library book. The theatre has donated the tickets. Working with the theatre is a new partnership that holds the prospect of working together on exciting programs.

The Grande Prairie Public Library’s 20th Annual Clem and Muriel Collins Writing Contest

The Grande Prairie Public Library's 20th Annual Clem & Muriel Collins Writing Contest will be accepting submissions beginning Wednesday, January 2, 2008. The theme is Travel. The contest features five categories (Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-9, Grades 10-12, and Adult) all with great cash prizes.
The contest closes Monday, March 31 at 9:00 p.m.

No School Zone at the Grande Prairie Public Library                    

Need to debrief after school? Join us for a Cartooning Workshop. For ages 11 – 14. 
Register by calling (780) 532-3580 ext 226.
Date: Wednesday, January 16 
Time:  3:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Family Literacy Day at the Library

National Family Literacy Day is Sunday, January 27, 2008. Join the Library for reading fun from 2:00 -  3:00 pm and meet some special guests! 
The annual ‘Turn off the TV’ Contest runs from January 19 to January 27. Visit the Children’s Library to pick up an entry form.

Grande Prairie Public Library Book Club
The next session of the Grande Prairie Public Library's Book Club will start at 7:15 pm on Thursday, January 17 in the Library's Spencer Room. We will be discussing The Girls by Lori Lansens. New members are welcome. For more information call Anna at 532-3580 ext 234.

Bedtime Stories at the Grande Prairie Public Library             

Come in your pajamas and bring teddy for a half-hour of bedtime stories.
Tuesdays from 7:00 -7:30 p.m.
January 15 - February 5 
For more information please call (780) 532-3580 ext 226.

Friday, January 11, 2008

New Poll: Paper or Plastic

I've added a new poll to the blog in response to a question I received by email:

"Bill, I thought you might enjoy this link. Essentially China is banning free plastic bags commencing June 1, 2008. I know San Francisco has also done this. More cities will follow suit. Wouldn't it be something if Grande Prairie did this as well, beating Edmonton and Calgary to the punch?? There is no real downside.

Sorry for bugging you about a trivial issue, but I thought it was a
great idea."

My reply...

"Thanks for the note and don't every worry about sending anything along! Any ideas are appreciated, even the seemingly little ones.

I actually posted about this on my blog quite a while ago.

I like the idea but to be honest I'm just not sure about pushing it forward here. What do you think, would most people be in favour? The only downside I see is that it can be viewed as council adding costs to businesses. Kind of like if I told you that your office couldn't use BIC pens anymore. I know, I know that's not a great analogy but you know what I mean.

What do you think?"

The two comments I received on the previous post were both positive about banning these single use bags, and now this email. So, I'm asking you all out there - what do you think, is this something the city of GP should pursue?

Let me know what you think by voting and leaving comments.

The poll will close at 12:00am February 1st.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Why I Love The Internet

This post isn't about city business or local issues so if that's what you are looking for please feel free to skip on past. If you like a good story about the power of the internet with a little humour and a David vs Goliath undertone (I know I like them) then read the story linked in the quote below....

"The letter accuses me of interfering with and misappropriating Ed Stelmach’s personality (I’m really not sure where Ed Stelmach’s personality is, but I certainly didn’t take it)."

Here's the media attention this has attracted.

Lessons I think this should reinforce:

1. It doesn't have to cost a lot to get broad media attention for your cause (you just have to be smart).

2. There are still those who don't understand how quickly stories and ideas spread through the internet. (and they can look silly trying to swim against the current)

3. It's worthwhile to register a domain name if you think there's a remote chance you might use it. (especially if you are a public figure)

Just in case anyone out there any big ideas - I already own, .com, .net and .org ... they all point to this site.

Oh, by the way, I'm reading Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams right now. It's subtitle is "How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything"

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Multiplex Action Around BC and AB

Some quick notes from other communities about the development of their multiplexes....

City of Kelowna considering community bonds to support financing for the Mission Recreation Park Aquatic Centre.
-full story here

My Comment: This is interesting, unfortunately I don't know if this is possible for AB municipalities, we'll have to check into it. Also of note - Kelowna is getting a Flow Rider.

Town of Penhold receives $6 Million from the Province of AB and The Government of Canada for New Multiplex Facility.
-full story here

My Comment: Wow! Hmmmm, a $6 million dollar investment in our Aquatics Centre would be nice!

Province of BC and The Government of Canada Contribute $2 Million to Upgrade and Expand Chetwynd & District Multiplex.
-full story here

My Comment: Wow! Hmmm, a $2 million dollar investment in our Aquatics Centre would be nice! ; )

Expansion of Fire Service

This morning at the Protective Services committee the City's Fire Master Plan study was presented. I didn't get to attend but was at the presentation of the draft plan back in June.

The report has confirmed what we believed waaaay back before the election when we told the county that we could not guarantee service beyond the current contract. We knew the local fire service was under sized for our region and that with out a significant investment we couldn't in good faith continue serving the areas outside the city. With the expansion of both the County and City there just were not the personnel or equipment to go on doing it.

Eventually we did come to an agreement with the county to renew the contract we had for service outside the city. This has seen an increase in the amount they contribute to the service (up to $1.6m in 2009 &$1.9m in 2010) and I think we'll see a move towards some kind of integrated regional fire service over the next two years.

But in the mean time (and knowing that we have additional money coming in) Council has approved expanding the city fire service over the next three years with a new hall somewhere on the west side of the city. This will give us halls in the north, south and west and good coverage across the region. This doesn't come cheap though - below is what is approved in the City's 2008 - 2010 budget for setting up that third fire hall. Thanks to Deputy Chief Lemieux for the concise data.

Capital Budget:
Third Hall Architectural Design (2009): $850,000
Third Hall Land Servicing (2009): $500,000
Third Hall Construction (2010): $8,500,000
Third Hall Pumper Truck (2010): $600,000
Third Hall Rescue Truck (2010): $150,000
Third Hall Tanker Truck (2010): $150,000
Third Hall Small Vehicle (2010): $40,000

Total Capital for Third Hall & Equipment: $10,790,000

2008 Operating Budget Increases due to new firefighters:
Six (6) firefighters hired in June 2008: $240,000
Gear & Equipment for new firefighters: $18,000

Impact of additional firefighters on 2008 operating budget: $258,000

2009 Operating Budget Increases due to new firefighters:
Full-year cost of the 6 firefighters from 2008 ($518,710) plus additional ten (10) firefighters hired in Jan 2009 ($764,640): $1,283,350
Gear & Equipment for new firefighters: $30,000

Impact of additional firefighters on 2009 operating budget: $1,313,350

2010 Operating Budget Increases due to new firefighters:
Full-year cost of the 6 firefighters from 2008 ($567,799), plus full-year cost of the 10 firefighters from 2009 ($946,332), plus additional eight (8) firefighters hired in July 2010 ($350,227): $1,864,358
Gear & Equipment for new firefighters: $24,000

Impact of additional firefighters on 2010 operating budget: $1,888,358

Friday, January 4, 2008

50th Anniversary Celebrations Coming Soon!

You may have noticed the addition of a new logo to the right hand side of the blog, 2008 is the 50th anniversary of Grande Prairie being a city. I am chairing a great committee of community members working plan the events and celebrations for the year... we've got some pretty exciting stuff planned - but you're going to have to wait for details.....

News Release
January 3, 2008

50TH Anniversary Officially Launches On Charter Delivery Date

Valentine’s Day is a special day to demonstrate affection to others. In Grande Prairie this year, it will also be a reason to embrace our community. Fifty years ago on that date, Grande Prairie received its charter, officially making it a city.

The 50th Anniversary committee will announce events it has funded on that date as well as details of other celebrations and contests.

The City’s charter arrived in Grande Prairie on Feb. 14, 1958 on horseback. Henry McCullough, a district guide and hunter, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, completed a nine-day trek from Edmonton with the document. He was met at the outskirts of the community by the RCMP and a 16-man cavalcade. The delivery of the charter attracted a crowd of 12,000 people and set off three days of celebrations.

“Marking the arrival of the charter and kicking off celebrations for the 50th is a natural,” says 50th Anniversary Committee Chair Bill Given. “We are excited about celebrating this milestone in grand fashion with great events and contests throughout the year.”

The City has set aside $40,000 to fund 50th anniversary events. The first application deadline was Nov. 23. A second application receipt deadline is Feb. 1.

“We are excited with the applications we have received and approved and look forward to announcing all the events that will be funded,” says Heritage Resources Manager Trenton Perrott. “We encourage other groups to come forward with their ideas before the next deadline.”

Media enquiries may be directed to:
Ald Bill Given Heritage Resources Manager Trenton Perrott
780-814-0518 780-532-5482


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