Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ken Taylor Passes

I was both shocked and saddened when I heard that former Ambassador Ken Taylor passed away the other day in New York City.  You'll remember that Ken was the Canadian Ambassador to Iran when the Country was taken over by religious extremists.

The terrorists took over the American Embassy and held hostage over 200 Americans.  Six embassy staff members escaped capture and sought refuge in the Canadian Embassy.   Ken and his staff housed the six Americans and with the help of the CIA managed a plan to get them out of Iran safely.

The plan worked!  The six Americans escaped Iran, safely disguised as Canadians.   Ken was awarded the American Congressional Gold Medal for his efforts.  A highly fictitious account of that escape was the plot of the movie Argo.

Ken was an alumnus of mine.  We both attended Crescent Heights High School in Calgary.  Ken graduated a little over a decade ahead of me.  We knew of Ken Taylor when I was in high school, and he came to speak to us once.  I was always impressed with his ease of conversation, his sense of humor and his genuine interest in those around him.

He spoke to us again last spring at Crescent's hundredth anniversary.  He spoke of his years growing up in Calgary and attending Crescent.  He said a few things which I have used when talking to young people.  Ken was indeed one of my personal heroes.

Rest in peace Ken.  You are one Canadian who did make a difference in the world!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Beiseker Fire Department Receives new (to us) Water Truck!

Yesterday. I had the privilege of visiting the Rocky View Fire Department fire hall in Balzac, where Fire Chief Ursu and I were presented with the keys to our new tanker/tender truck.

Actually, it's not new.  Rocky View County was able to upgrade some of its older fire fighting equipment and this truck was declared surplus.  It still has years of service left in it, so the County offered it to our incredible volunteer fire department here in Beiseker.

Beiseker itself is serviced by a network of fire hydrants, but when our firefighters tend to a fire outside the village, they'll now be able to haul more than 10 000 litres of water with them.  This will be particularly good for highway responses and grass fires.

Thank you so much Rocky View County! Good on ya!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Boil Water Notice Lifted in Beiseker

As of 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 7 our Boil Water Notice for Beiseker has been lifted!  Alberta Health is asking us to flush our own lines before we drink the water.  That simply means we are supposed to run our taps for up to five minutes before we drink. 

We did good.  Our community pulled through and we survived this calamity with flying colours!  Well done Beiseker!  Thanks again for your help and patience.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Verbal Abuse of Village Staff

While keeping Beiseker residents informed about our water main break last week, I felt I had to include a statement on my blog that verbal abuse over the telephone would not be tolerated.  Some of you have asked me why I included that statement.

Unfortunately, it's because a few Beiseker citizens decided to take out their frustration on having no water out on our village staff!  Swearing and name calling directed at our office staff did not help fix the water line.   This was totally uncalled for and totally out of line!

Everyone on staff was working hard to make the impact of have no running water as little as possible.  Most got little or no sleep that night as they desperately tried to have water pressure in the village by Friday morning.  They succeeded!  But they did not need to hear a slurry of profanity from a few residents!  It wasn't their fault!

It is unlikely that those few verbal abusers will apologize for their behavior, so I'll do it for them!

To the Beiseker Village staff;  I do apologize for the behavior of a few Beiseker residents.  I realize the village staff was working as hard as they could to make better the situation.  It was out-of-line and I hope it does not happen again.  Sorry!

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Niqab 'Issue'

I'm wading into this one with eyes wide open.  Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi has gone eye to eye with Jason Kenney - Multiculturalism Minister in Stephen Harper's cabinet and Conservative candidate in Calgary-Mindapore - over the issue of a very, very few Muslim women refusing to remove their face veil (niqab) during their citizenship ceremony.

The feds are taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court; what a waste of time and bucks!

May I suggest a simple solution to this whole issue?  I firmly believe that no one should be allowed to cover their face while taking the oath of Canadian citizenship, whether it be ceremonial or not. 

The women have already agreed to remove their niqab in private to prove their identity.  My solution is have them take the ceremonial oath at that time, in private, where they've already agreed to uncover their faces.  They've already met every other condition to become a Canadian, why not allow them the right to have a private ceremony where they can remove their niqab comfortably? 

It would be a compromise, to be sure, but isn't that what Canada is all about?  We can come to a satisfactory agreement on these kind of things!

We compromised when the Sikh RCMP officers were finally allowed to wear their turbans.  I don't believe the sanctity of the RCMP was affected in any way and it helped those officers in the performance of their duties.   So; come on Mr. Kenney, sit down and talk to these two women who are involved and get a deal!

Water Main Break - Final Report

I have just returned from the site of our major water main break.  All repairs have been successfully accomplished and they are now filling in the hole.  I imagine that the barriers will remain up around the site over the weekend, to allow the fill material to settle.

Albert and our Public Works Team will finish the road repairs next week.  The water is ON!

The boil water advisory has been extended until Tuesday, October 6, 2015 by Alberta Environment and Alberta Health.  This is a precaution we are happy to abide by. 

You may notice a slight increase in the chlorine smell of your tap water over the next couple of days.  Again this is a precaution to make sure our water stays safe.

A few huge thank-yous need to be mentioned.  Thank you to:
  • Albert and his Public Works Team for working so hard over the past 18 hours.
  • The hydro vac truck and the track hoe operator for working there all night.
  • The residents in those homes around 9th Street and 4th Avenue who had to put up with all that noise all night long.
  • The Village Office staff who fielded all those calls from concerned residents.
  • The residents who handled this inconvenience in stride and with so much patience.
We'll be doing a de-brief over the next while to make sure we'll be able to handle the next incident like this (when and if it comes) even better.

Water Main Break - Good Morning!

Good Morning!  It's about 6:45 Friday morning, October 2,2015 and we still don't have water pressure in the village!

My predictions earlier this morning were overly optimistic.  Leaks were detected, so the water remains off.  The crews remain on site awaiting new parts to fix the leaks.  I'm not making new predictions about when we'll have water again.   I'll let you know if we'll have non-potable water available again this morning. 

Some folks are using their rain barrel water to pour into the toilets which is good.  Remember the Boil Water advisory if you are planning to drink or cook with non-potable water.

There is more information on the Village of Beiseker Facebook page.  Stay tuned!

Water Main Break - Update

Friday, October 2, 2015, 2:00 a.m.  I have just returned from the site of Beiseker's water main break.  Work is still proceeding.  The dedicated crews will stay on site until the problem is solved.  As I suspected parts had to be brought out from Calgary to do some of the repairs.

As I was leaving the site a few minutes ago, the main water line had been repaired and the water was being slowly turned back on to check for leaks.  If no leaks are detected, the surrounding lines will be also checked for leaks.

If all is OK the trench will be backfilled and the site tidied up.  If all goes well we should have water pressure in the morning.  Thank you all for your patience.  If you see a member of our Public Works Team around town over the next few days, make sure you thank them for a job well done.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Water Main Break in Beiseker

I am writing this at 4:45 pm Thursday, October 1, 2015.  We have experienced a major water main break outside our main pump house at Reservoir #2.  That is at the corner of 9th St. and 4th Ave .  It appears to be a major break so we've shut the water off throughout the village.  Attempts to isolate the break have failed so the water will remain off.

There is a supply of NON-POTABLE water available at the corner of 4th Ave and 8th Street for your convenience.  This water is from Reservoir #1 so it is untreated and unchlorinated.   If you plan to drink or cook with it, you must first bring it to a rolling boil for at least five minutes. 

The equipment is in place and repairs to the line are being made as I write this.  First the line must be uncovered and then the problem ascertained.  Once they determine what's wrong they will repair it.  Repair time depends on the availability of parts.  It could be as short as a couple of hours from now or all evening.  Our Public Works team and the various contractors are working as fast and as diligently as they can on the problem.  Please be patient.

Once repaired the water line will be pressured up again and flushed.  As an extra precaution, a mandatory BOIL WATER NOTICE will be in affect for twenty four hours after the water service has resumed.  

If you have any other questions, please phone the Village Office at 403-947-3774, or myself directly at 403-947-3759