Friday, January 22, 2010

The Unique Sports of the Arctic Winter Games

The Arctic Winter Games are really a very, very, unique event. Unfortunately I think a lot of people who haven't been involved with these games before just don't have a good concept of just how different they really are.

Of course there are all the traditional winter sports that you might expect like Hockey, Curling and Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding, there's also the indoor sports like Basketball, Volleyball, and Table Tennis. Of course those are all exciting but it's the traditional Arctic, Dene and other northern events that are unlike anything in any other games.

So with that in mind I've been doing a little snooping on youtube and I've found clips from some of the sports that make these games different from anything you've seen before.

First up is the Two Foot High Kick where the competitor has to jump up and kick a small stuffed "seal" hanging down from a string. They have to touch the seal with both feet at the same time and maintain their balance when they land. I think the winning kick at the Yellowknife games was at about 8 foot, 4 inches!:

I'll post more clips as I find them.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Look Back - "The Last Frontier, At Least In Canada"

Clete Roberts is back in Grande Prairie. In this clip he speaks with a local farmer about the richness of the farmland in the area. Mentioned in the video is Herman Trelle from the Wembley area who was known as the "Wheat King of the World". Herman is also mentioned in this TIME Magazine article from the December, 1927.

Maybe now you'll think of Mr. Trelle whenever you listen to The Hip.

By the way, is "potentiality" a word? ... yes, it appears it is. We may have to start putting that one back in to use!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Responding to a Concern About Snow Removal

I received a note on Facebook yesterday, my friend wanted to bring to my attention a discussion that was going on in a group called "Better Snow Removal for Grande Prairie".

I didn't jump into the conversation on the group but I did choose to contact one of the people directly. After getting some more details from her about what area of the city she lived in I sent along this response. I think it might answer questions other people in the city might be asking so I thought I'd share it here:

Thanks for the info!

I'll pass on the concern about the slippery intersection to see if we can get a little extra ice control there.

Just so you know when we talk about bus routes we're talking about the streets that city transit buses go on. We make these streets our second highest priority.

The first priority after a snow fall are the "Major Arterial" roads like 100 St, 84 Ave, 68 Ave, Resources Rd, Hwy 40 - Wapiti Road, etc. These are obviously the streets that have to carry the most traffic in the city.

After all the streets that fall in to the group above are done we move on to Priority 2 streets. This is where the city Transit Bus Routes are and also includes "Major Collector" Roadways that may or may not be part of a bus route; Crystal Lake Drive, Mission Heights Drive, Poplar Drive, Royal Oaks Drive, etc.

The idea is that if we can get the #1 & #2 streets cleaned quickly the majority of traffic can move pretty well through the city and important for emergency services like the police, fire and ambulances can get where they need to go.

After all that has been taken care of we move on to the residential roads as our #3 priority. This would include your street. Here, the City provides dedicated Snow and Ice Control on local roads & lanes in residential areas. Weekday mornings in North side Neighbourhoods (North of 100 Ave) and weekday afternoons in Southside Neighbourhoods (South of 100 Ave.)

Over all, our budget for snow removal is just over $4 million dollars per year ($4.035m in '09 to be exact and slightly more in '10). If we don't spend all the money in one year we put it in the bank and save it to help out in years where there is excessive snow and the budgeted amount won't cover the added costs.

You can find more information about what neighbourhoods the city crews are working on each day here:

(Check out the "Getting to Your Street" part)

Also, I had a chance to read the post on the group wall and you said "I would really like to see snow removal be paid for out of the City's pcket, not mine..."

It's important to remember that property taxes, like the ones you pay on your home, are how the city gets the majority of it's budget and it pays for much more than the bus you see in front of your house and the garbage collection.

Whenever council chooses to improve a service or build something new it will be reflected in your taxes. We try to be as efficient as we can when we spend your dollars but every police officer we add, or extra snow removal crew
we put on duty, or new recreation program we offer has to be paid for.

Our challenge is trying to balance having affordable taxes with providing the services that people want in our community. It's not always easy.

If you have any other thoughts or questions feel free to give me a call (780-814-0518, my cell) or send me a note here on Facebook.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Games Will Leave a Legacy of Service in GP

One of the legacies that the 2010 Arctic Winter Games host society hopes to leave the city with is an increased sense of community and better customer service. How would hosting something like the games do that for Grande Prairie? The answer is through training for it's volunteers.

In a pretty unique program the host society is working to provide free customer service training to all games volunteers. Check out the information below:

Training by the Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association is provided free of charge toall volunteers of the 2010 Arctic Winter Games. The ‘Super STAR Service’ program provides customer service training to help improve the quality of service provided by staff & volunteers from the inside-out. All Games volunteers are required to attend one of these sessions.

Pre-registration is not necessary, just drop by the session that best fits your schedule. All sessions are being held in the Rotary Community Room at the Montrose Cultural Centre in Grande Prairie:

Saturday, January 16 – 9:00am - 12:00pm & 1:30pm - 4:30pm

Sunday, January 17 – 1:00pm - 4:00pm

Wednesday, January 20 – 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Saturday, January 23 – 9:00am - 12:00pm

Wednesday, January 27 – 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Saturday, January 30 – 9:00am - 12:00pm & 1:30pm - 4:30pm

Sunday, January 31 – 1:00pm - 4:00pm

Monday, February 1 – 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Wednesday, February 3 – 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Friday, February 5 – 1:00pm - 4:00pm & 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Saturday, February 6 – 9:00am - 12:00pm & 1:30pm – 4:30pm

Sunday, February 7 – 1:00pm - 4:00pm

Monday, February 8 – 9:00am - 12:00pm

Tuesday, February 9 – 1:00pm - 4:00pm

Wednesday, February 10 – 6:30pm - 9:00pm

Saturday, February 13 – 9:00am - 5:00pm

Sunday, February 14 – 1:00pm - 4:00pm

Wednesday, February 17 – 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Saturday, February 20 – 9:00am - 12:00pm & 1:00pm-4:00pm

Don’t miss your chance to be trained in ‘Super STAR Service’ – complete your registration at the Games’ FINAL Volunteer Rally.

That’s right – time is running out! Visit the Games Crew this Saturday (January 23rd) from 10:00am-3:00pm at Montrose Cultural Centre to:

- Register as a Volunteer
- Complete Your Security Clearance Form
- Get Your Accreditation Photo
- Choose Jobs and Shifts

There are LESS THAN 50 days until Grande Prairie hosts the circumpolar north - RISE UP! Volunteer today.

How's that for making it easy? There are a load of times available so the training should be able to fit in to anyone's schedule!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Look Back - Good Times In the Pub

Even a hard working World Reporter like Clete Roberts likes to kick back and relax now and then - just like the rest of us. Check out what happens when he sits down for a cold one in the Grande Prairie of the 50s.

Seems like a pretty good rule.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Look Back - Visitors from the East

In this instalment of World Report Celte Roberts conducts a coffee shop interview with another visitor to Grande Prairie. This "Jaunty Alouette" from Montreal seems to have a pretty good opinion of Grande Prairie but Celte finds out that he might need to fork out a bit more than he expected when he offered to buy the coffee!

Interesting that even back in the 50s there were people coming out to see just "what's going on here". I love the comment "...because the Easterners don't know the Westerners very well."

Monday, January 11, 2010

GGS Committee Agenda for January 13th, 2010

It's going to be a loooooong meeting!

General Government Services Agenda January 13, 2010

1. Delegation
1.1. Grande Prairie Public Library, re: 2010 Budget and Update

2.Branding Exercise Recommendations (attached)
D. Olinger, Marketing Communications Manager

3.Grande Prairie Airport 2010 Business Plan (attached)
K. Anderson, Corporate Services Director

4. Aquatera Utilities Inc. Request for City Waiver of Dividends (attached)
B. Manz, Manager, Aquatera Utilities Inc.

5. Bylaw C-1139F, To Amend the Aquatera Utilities Inc. Schedule “G” of the Utility Bylaw (attached)
Council Referral Dec 14/09

6. Public Members on Committee Resignation Procedure (attached)
Environment CommitteeReferral Jan 4/10

7. Honorariums for Council Committee Public Members (attached)
L. Ramirez, Municipal Intern

8. Community Futures Annual Report (to be distributed)
B. Glavin, Economic Development Specialist

9. 2009 Tax Sale (attached)
K. Stephenson, Property Tax Coordinator

10. Review of Financial Indicator Graphs from Municipal Affairs (attached)
D. Sauve, Senior Financial Analyst

11. Grande Spirit Foundation Request for Land (attached)
A. Cerny, Deputy Legislative Services Manager

12. Grande Prairie Airport Commission Articles of Association (attached)
A. Cerny, Deputy Legislative Services Manager

13. Strategic Priorities Chart (attached)
J. Ferguson, Legislative Services Manager

14. General Government Services Outstanding Items List (attached)
K. Anderson, Corporate Services Director

15. “In Camera” (land matter)

16. Correspondence

16.1. Grande Prairie Public Library, re: 2010 Operating Budget (attached)

16.2. Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, re: Key Initiatives Meeting (attached)

16.3. Northwest Corridor Development Corporation, re: Submissions to the Federally Appointed Rail Freight Service Review Panel (attached)

16.4. Alberta Municipal Affairs, re: 2010 Budget Update (attached)

16.5. Premier of Alberta, re: Electric Statutes Amendment Act, 2009, Formerly Bill 50 (attached)

16.6. Fletcher Mudryk & Co., re: 2009 Audit Plan (attached)

16.7. Legislative Assembly Alberta, Standing Committee on Community Services, re: Bill 202 Municipal Auditor General (attached)

17. Other Business

Council Agenda for January 11th, 2010


5.1 Ms. R. Gagnon, Resident, Re: Snow Removal/No Snow Parking Route
My note: I've received a lot of email about this change I mentioned on my blog previously. I think we need to re-look at the issue and see if there might be a better compromise position that balances the city's need to have these areas free of parked cars while crews remove snow and the needs of residents.

6.1 Reserve Disposal of Lot R (Reserve), Block 3, Plan 3680HW (attached)
6.1.1. Call To Order
6.1.2. Introduction by Administration:
For disposal of Municipal Reserve as requested by the Regional Authority of The Northwest Francophone Education Region No. 1, to enable them to complete a transfer of land.
6.1.3. Presentations/Submissions
6.1.4. Close Public Hearing
6.1.5. Business Arising from the Hearing Reserve Disposal of Lot R (Reserve), Block 3, Plan 3680HW
Council approve to remove the “R” Reserve designation from Plan 3780HW, Block 3, Lot R (Reserve), as identified on the attached “Schedule A” and to proceed with transfer of title back to the Regional Authority of the Northwest Francophone Education Region No. 1, as presented.

6.2 Bylaw C-1100-155, to Amend the Land Use Bylaw (attached) Bylaw C-1100-155, to amend the Land Use Bylaw text amendments regarding Dispatch Office.
6.2.1. Call To Order
6.2.2. Introduction by Administration
6.2.3. Business Arising from the Hearing
Council recess the Public Hearing of Bylaw C-1100-155 to Monday, February 8, 2010, at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers.

7.1 Bylaw C-1235 to Repeal Road Closure Bylaw C-456 (attached)
Council give Bylaw C-1235, to repeal Road Closure Bylaw C-456, second reading.
Council give Bylaw C-1235, to repeal Road Closure Bylaw C- 456, third reading.


9.1 Policy Review Committee – December 14, 2009
Council receive the minutes of the Policy Review Committee meeting held December 14, 2009.

9.2 Council Committee of the Whole – December 16, 2009
Council receive the minutes of the Council Committee of the Whole meeting held December 16, 2009.

9.2.1 Multiplex Theming RFP
Council: 1. award the amended Multiplex theming package to Studio Y Creations Inc. in the amount of $886,631, as the most qualified bidder meeting specifications, and,
2. direct Administration reduce the palm trees and one dinosaur at the Multiplex adult whirlpool, and further,
3. direct Administration include the trompe-l’oeil style mural for the Multiplex flow rider.

9.3 Environment Committee – January 4, 2010
Council receive the minutes of the Environment Committee meeting held January 4, 2010.

9.4 Protective Services Committee – January 5, 2010
Council receive the minutes of the Protective Services Committee meeting held January 5, 2010.

9.4.1 Dispatch Agreement Renewal for the MD of Big Lakes
Council approve the renewal of the contract with the Municipal District of Big Lakes to provide emergency fire dispatch services for a three year period in accordance with the fee schedule.

9.5 Community Development Committee – January 5, 2010
Council receive the minutes of the Community Development Committee meeting held January 5, 2010.

9.5.1 Tender T-39-434-09, Coca-Cola Centre Crawl Space Improvements Phase 1
Council award Tender T-39-434-09, in the amount of $118,500 (excluding GST), for the Coca-Cola Crawl Space Improvements Phase 1 to G & M Plumbing & Heating Ltd., as the lowest tender meeting specifications.


A Look Back - Child Rearing in Grande Prairie

I was going to wait a bit to post this but the feedback from everyone was so positive that I couldn't wait. I've got two more sections from this World Report that I've uploaded, I'll post them tonight. There's also another section that I still have to convert before I can upload it, I'll do that over the next week. So until then, here's another look back at Grande Prairie in the '50s:

In this instalment of World Report Celte Roberts interviews a Grande Prairie taxi driver, Chester Miller. Watch to hear the story of how the Miller Taxi company was involved parenting!

If you visit the Grande Prairie museum's Heritage Village you can the Miller Taxi building that Chester's company operated out of for years.

I don't think that would pass as parenting today.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Look Back - World Report Visits Grande Prairie

In the '50s Clete Roberts brought his World Report program to northern Alberta to have a look at a happenin' little town called Grande Prairie. Check out part one of Clete's visit to GP:

I'm a fan of the history of our community, I think it's cool to see how the city has changed over time. I also think it's important to know where we came from. I'll be posting more of the video over the next while as I'm able to upload it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Arrest Made In Connection with B.C. Pipeline Bombings

I just received the following media release which notes that there has been an arrest made in connection with the pipeline bombings in the Dawson Creek area. The Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune has more info here.

The RCMP release:

"Large Search Underway in Pipeline Bombing Investigation
Grande Prairie for E Division
Friday January 8, 2010

Hythe, Alberta: A significant development in the 15 month long investigation involving a series of bombings near Dawson Creek has lead to a search of a large rural farm and the arrest of one male.

RCMP members from E and K Divisions led by the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) are currently conducting a criminal code search warrant on a large rural property located near Hythe, Alberta to search for evidence relating to the Dawson Creek bombings. It is not known how long investigators will remain on the property.

"We cannot say what we are looking for specifically, or what information led us to the location, but we have followed a trail of evidence that ultimately led to the execution of the search warrant," said Supt. Lloyd Plante, Assistant Criminal Operations Officer for the RCMP's National Security Program in British Columbia.

One male associated with the property has been taken into custody. His name cannot be released since he has not been formally charged.

This investigation is far from over. Criminal charges have not been laid, and investigators have a significant amount of work ahead of them.

The $1,000,000 reward being offered by EnCana has not been claimed. Anyone with additional information is asked to call the dedicated tip line at 1-866-994-7473

Inspector Tim Shields is available to answer media questions at the scene. He can be reached through the RCMP E Division media line at 604-264-2929. Please monitor closely for any updates."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sprinkler System Failure Floods Museum

2009 ended badly for the GP Museum, there was a on December 29th that has forced the closure of the main exhibit area. It sounds like major trouble was averted and I hope none of the museum's collection was badly damaged.

The City media release:

Museum Closed Due to Flooding

The Grande Prairie Museum main exhibit gallery is closed temporarily because of flooding that occurred December 29.

A rupture in the sprinkler system of one of the southwest storage trailers showered artifacts and storage trunks. Fortunately, an alarm alerted Security and Fire personnel, who notified Museum staff. The affected items were quickly removed and laid out to dry in the safety of the main gallery.

Damage is being assessed.

“This was such an unfortunate and potentially disastrous event,” said Heritage Resources Manager Trenton Perrott. “Thankfully, quick actions were taken to aggressively reduce the amount of damage.”

Clean-up and renovations to the storage area are expected to take several weeks and the exhibit gallery will remain closed until the end of January. The archives, rental area and reception are unaffected by the flooding and will maintain regular hours.

Media enquiries may be directed to:
Trenton Perrott
Heritage Resources Manager

Monday, January 4, 2010

Two Ideas to Start The New Year

At this afternoon's Environment Committee meeting (pdf agenda) I'll be brining forward two ideas that I'd like to see tried in Grande Prairie. One is a water saving idea and the second could help keep a lid on over flowing trash bins that dirty our city. Both products come from a company I first encountered at the AUMA convention tradeshow.

Water Saving - I love the hanging flower baskets down town in the summer. They add a lot of life to our streetscape and I look forward to them going up every year. One thing I've noticed though is that maintaining them takes a huge amount of time and seems to waste a lot of water. Each day a city truck drives around to spray each basket with water. Unfortunately not all the water makes into the baskets and ends up watering the sidewalk below, quite a bit drains through the mossy bottom of the basket. I kept thinking that there has to be a better way that would take less time and waste less water. Turns out there might just be...
These planters from ALFA have a solid bottom and a built in water reservoir that eliminates the need for daily watering. I imagine that the savings in staff time of not having to water every day could pay for the planters in just a couple of seasons - and we'd stop wasting water!

Litter Bins - There are some spots in the city where regular litter bins just aren't cutting it. The two situations I'm thinking of are were bins are in remote locations and not picked up very often (like on the trails in Muskoseepi) and in places where there is a lot of pedestrian traffic that generates a lot of litter. In either situation the bins fill up to over flowing before being emptied out and after that excess trash gets blown around and makes a mess of the city. Some spots are particularly bad for this, the first that comes to mind is the west parking lot at the leisure centre.

This In-Ground Waste system is basically a 6 or 7 foot tall litter bin, where the majority is buried below ground. Being as big as they are they can handle a lot of trash before needing to be emptied. In remote locations maybe they'd only need to be emptied once or twice a year and in the high volume locations they could probably make it a week or two.

This afternoon I'll be making a motion at the environment committee to ask staff to evaluate at each system. I'd like to see staff provide a report evaluating potential cost savings and a plan on how we could run test projects for each idea.

What do you think - good ideas?

Welcome to TwentyTen!

Happy New Year, after a little of a holiday hiatus I'm back at the keyboard.

First things first, lets start this year, and decade off right by getting our pronunciation straight from day one.

Now that we've got that out of the way I wanted to point out a couple of additions to the site:

First, We have a new Grande Prairie based blog ... welcome Bungalow 56! The writer attended a Blogging for Beginners course I put on a the library in November and since then her blog has exploded with great posts and great pictures. You'll find Bungalow 56 in the Worthwhile Blogs at the bottom right of the site.

Second, I've added a new feature that automatically generates recommendations on related posts. I hope this will encourage readers to check back in to the three hundred and twenty odd posts I've done over the last three years. I think this is a helpful addition, you'll see it pop up at the bottom of each post. (Thanks to Bungalow 56 for the idea!)


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