Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Slippery Slope!

I have been hearing about some very disturbing trends in municipal governments around the province.  More and more municipal governments are instituting restrictive “codes of conduct” or "communications policies" for their elected officials!  Elected officials in areas where these codes exist are no longer able to exercise their right of free speech by voicing a concern about something their fellow councillors have decided to do!

These policies stipulate that once the motion is passed (or defeated) in the meeting, all debate must cease.  The reasoning is that opponents had their chances to voice their opposing views during the meeting.  Elected officials in opposition will not be able to voice their concerns about the decision made without possible “punishment” from their council.  In my opinion, this is a very dangerous direction for municipal governments to go!

It is true that once the decision is made democratically, all councillors must uphold that decision and employees of the municipality must carry out the wishes of council.  That is part of the Municipal Governance Act (MGA) and it is one of the cornerstones of our democratic process.

But verbal opposition from the elected officials to that decision must not be muffled!   It is important that electors understand why their elected official opposed the decision made.  That may not have been made clear in the minutes of the meeting and not every elector can attend every council meeting in person.   

Supporters of these “gag orders” say that their codes of conduct are designed to eliminate false or erroneous information being spread by the rumour mills through Facebook, blogs, Twitter, forums and other parts of this huge world called social media.  I say that false information which can be easily rebutted and/or clarified is better that no information at all, save a sanitized announcement from the municipal office!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Water Line Repairs Completed!

All repairs to our water line have been deemed successful!  Over the next few hours the system will be returned to normal operation.  Our Public Works Foreman has cancelled further water hauling to Beiseker.  This afternoon, once the water starts flowing into our reservoir, tests will be done. We do not anticipate any problems with those tests. 

On occassion, the turning on and off  a water line stirs up fine particles which have settled in the line over the years.  This MAY result in slightly cloudy water for the first little while.  We will be double checking and letting you know if this might happen. 

Thank you all very much for your cooperation over the past few days.  This whole repair job turned out to be a very smooth operation thanks to all of you!

UPDATED:  I spoke to our water line supervisor an hour or so ago as he was doing the tests on the water coming into the Beiseker reservoir. The water is very slightly more turpid than it is usually. It's safe, nothing to worry about. You may notice this very, very slight color in your water over the next few days.

If anything changes we will let you know immediately, but we don't expect anything.

Our water supply issue is now officially over!

May 25th Water Line Repairs Update

I got good news this morning!  The line has been excavated and a leak has been found and repaired! 

So far we don't think the valve was faulty.  The leak was in the pipe next to the valve.  Now we have to pressure up the system to make sure that the repair was successful.  If the repairs are successful, that portion of the line will be flushed and tested.  We could be ahead of schedule at this time! 

Congratulations to all who are working so hard to get this problem behind us.  Well done!  Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 24th Water Line Repairs Update

The plug to stop the line from draining completely has been installed and it is working.  The work on the defective valve has started.

Beiseker started hauling water today.  We want to keep our reservoir up as high as we can during this shut-off time.  Water consumption is down!  Good going, thank you all!

A couple of you remarked that you thought the automatic tree irrigation system on Main Street was still operating. Thank you for that observation and report.  I'll check into that and let everyone know what's happening there.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 23rd Water Line Repairs Update

The main water line was shut off this morning and repairs are proceeding.  Our Public Works Foreman went to the site this morning so we are definitely in the information loop! 

We'll see how the water level in our reservoir is doing Thursday morning and we may start trucking water then.  This bit of rain will help our water conservation efforts, too!  

"Thank you" to everyone for reducing your water consumption over the next few days.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Water line repairs and Lam family luncheon

In case you haven't heard, we were given an extra day with water on.  The Aqua 7 water line will be shut off tonight.  I hope you all got your notice from the Village Office.  There are a number of suggestions there on how you might conserve water over the next few days.  I'll keep you posted on how the repairs are coming.

On Monday I attended a most enjoyable luncheon at the Golden Years Club.  The Lam family came out to visit again.  The Lams were from Viet Nam.  They were forced to leave their homeland and immigrate to Canada in April of 1980. 

They were sponsored by a group from Beiseker and their first Canadian home was here in our village!  They have since moved into the city, but they still have fond memories of their first encounter with us Canadians.  They still talk about this very positive smiling lady in a red outfit from Beiseker (Mrs. Vera Schmaltz) making them feel like they were coming home! I was fortunate to meet them back then, too.  Their kids came to Beiseker Community School.  I'm sure they were all in culture shock!    Those kids are all grown up now with kids of their own, three generations of them! 

They are all truly Canadians.   It was wonderful to see them all again.  They promised to come back next year around this same time.  I'm already looking forward to it!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Beiseker Clean-up

Beiseker's annual clean-up had to be scrubbed because of weather.  Snow, rain, and probably many other meteorological events made our clean-up day a bit soggy, so it was cancelled!

So this weekend (May 19th & 20th) we're going to do it - to it!  We're doing it independently.  Please tidy up the public areas around your property at your own pace.  Place the trash collected in bags where Public Works can gather them on Tuesday, May 22.  They'll leave bags to replace the ones you used. 

Let's get Beiseker looking all spiffy for our annual Country Fair coming up in a few weeks!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Water Line Repairs to Start May 22nd

Over the next day or so every Beiseker resident should be receiving a notice about the coming water line repair. 

It is slated to begin on May 22 and will affect us for between three and six days.  You will still have water service at your residence and place of business, but are asking everyone in the Village to use far less water during those days.  We are asking for everyone's cooperation. 

Please refrain from watering lawns and gardens or washing cars or walkways on those days.  Our notice has included other strategies on how one might lower one's water consumption for those few days.  I will be bringing you up to date on the repairs each day on this blog and on my Facebook

We are looking to an easy and quick repair so normal water service can begin again as quickly as possible.

Electing a Mayor and Deputy Mayor

At last Monday's Beiseker Council Meeting, we ran into a most interesting problem.  According to the Municipal Governance Act (MGA) we had to elect a mayor to take the place of former Mayor and now MLA Bruce Rowe. I had been acting mayor up to that point.  I turned the meeting over to our Assistant Chief Administrative Officer who called for nominations and an election of Mayor. 

I was most honoured to be elected as your mayor.  I resumed as chair of the meeting and called for nominations for deputy mayor.  Two councillors were nominated. 

There became the interesting problem.  Because there are only four of us, a tie vote was a certainty.  We could find nothing in the MGA as guidelines for this situation so we decided to hold off on the vote until we get clarification from Municipal Affairs as to how to proceed. 

I've heard of some municipal councils in this province having to badger and coerce their councillors to assume the executive roles so this is a good problem to have.  I just want to be sure our election of a Deputy Mayor is absolutely fair.  Stay tuned on this one!

Saturday, May 12, 2012


I was most disappointed when I went out to start up my old truck for this year's work.  I keep my old truck for spring and summer work.  It sits behind my house waiting for the warm weather.  This year when I went out to start it I found someone had siphoned the gas from its tank, slashed two of my tires and cracked my windshield!  The tires are not repairable!  I will have to pay a good portion of my small truck budget to buy new ones!

I don't know who or why someone would decide to damage my old truck.  I reported it to the authorities but there is very little they can do now. 
If you find damage to your property or to public property please report it to the police (403-947-3496) or at least call Crime Stoppers at 1-877-222-8477!  We must get a curb on this senseless property damage in Beiseker!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pathways to Success

I was recently brought up to date on a facinating study and action program called the Pathways to Success Coalition.  This international study examines a country's program to prepare their youngest citizens (ages birth to six years) for their life ahead.  They look at the child's physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and thinking skills, and communication skills and general knowledge.  Thousands of kids have been tested around the world.  The results have been posted in the form of a report card. 

Those results are rather alarming for Canadians.

Canada scored a disappointing 24th among the nations of the world!  Sweden scored the highest!  Iceland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Belgium, Hungary, New  Zealand, Slovenia, Austria, Netherlands, U.K., Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, South Korea, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, U.S.A. and Australia all came ahead of Canada!

That means that the young kids (0-6 years old) in all those countries have a better chance of success than the kids in Canada!  Maybe Canadian kids catch up when the enter grade school.  That's possible.  But I think parents would want to make sure their kids have the best opportunity for success as early as possible!

At present, we're not sure on how we address this concern.  More information will be presented in the weeks to come.  As a former educator, this whole process facinates me.  We need to make sure that young Canadian parents have all the tools and strategies available to make sure their kids are successful in the future.  Stay tuned, there's more coming!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Volunteer Awards in Airdrie

Tonight, I had the privledge of accompanying my wife to the Airdrie 10th Anniversary Volunteer of the Year Awards dinner. 

My wife is an Income Tax Volunteer in this area.  She volunteers her time to prepare the income tax returns for low income individuals and families.  She and her colleagues (eight in all) completed dozens of income tax forms and logged more than 200 hours time!  The group was nominated for an award, hence the invite.

What a fantastic program.  More than a dozen individuals and groups were nominated and honored over the course of the evening.  I think they're all winners for making their city (Airdrie mostly) a better community.

Congratulations to;
  • David Lindsay, the high school student who won the 2012 Leader of Tomorrow Award
  • The Airdie Food Bank, the volunteer group who won the 2012 Volunteer Advocate Award
  • Linda & Lawrence Ray, the couple who won the 2012 Airdrie Ambassador Award
  • Rob Van Biesen who won the Soul of Airdrie Award
During the ceremony and presentations, my mind wandered for a moment back to Beiseker.  Beiseker has the same kind of volunteer spirit as Airdrie, except perhaps just on a smaller scale.  The volunteers who help at the Arena, the skate park, the ball diamonds, the school, the soccer fields, the Country Fair, the Clean Up this Saturday, and the myriad of other volunteers around here are all working hard at making our Village that much better! 

But we don't acknowledge them much at all!  Why is that?

Village Clean-up This Saturday

This Saturday the annual Village of Beiseker Clean-up will begin at 10:00 am at the Village Office.  I hope you can donate a couple of hours to help clean up the Village!

To RVSP through Facebook, check out the Events listing on the Village of Beiseker's page!