Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Fire Engine Woes

Last night, Beiseker Village Council started the process of temporarily halting repairs on our fire truck until we have a clearer picture of what the truck needs to become serviceable again.

photo by Bill Church, via Flickr
We have been renting a replacement truck until ours is back. You will recall that our truck was purchased a few years ago to provide Beiseker with a reliable fire engine for its hard working fire department.

It turns out that our new truck was built specifically to service auto racing tracks in the southern United States.  When it arrived here it had no block heater and no cab heater but it did have a huge air conditioner!

Fitting our new fire engine out to survive in our sometimes-less-than-hospitable weather has proven a challenge.  Fire engines pump water.  Water freezes!  Keeping water lines and the big pump serviceable during the winter months is very difficult.

What to do?  Some councilors want to cut our losses and sell our new truck and buy another one more suitable to our climate.  Others want to repair and continue to "winterize" our existing truck and keep it for a few more years, or until a suitable grant presents itself to replace it.

As a rate payer, what do you think we should do?  Let me, other councilors, and/or the Village Office know what you think should be done to solve our latest Fire  Engine Woes!

March 1/2017:  I've posted an update for this post, here - Clarifications on the Fire Engine.

Monday, February 27, 2017

MADD's Difficult Road

MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) are leading the push to stop drunk driving.  They are joined by police services and authorities across the country to convince those who drink to "take a cab or phone a BFF" instead of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  Here in Alberta we've all been stopped by a Check Stop as the authorities try to get drunk drivers off the road.

I think you'd be hard pressed to find any sober person who would say it's OK to drive while drunk!  The problem is, that reason and logic go out the window when those same folks have a few drinks!  How often have you heard, "Oh, I'm OK to drive" when you suspect the opposite is true?  Trying to convince those who have been drinking not to drive is the huge task presenting itself to MADD!

The campaign has been quite successful in reducing the number of drunk drivers on our roads but we still get many reports of vehicle accidents where drivers had a high blood-alcohol level.  A recent incident during the Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans brings the problem front and center once again.

I don't have a solution outright to this problem.  Maybe breathalyzers at exits to bars might help.  Maybe we could encourage the wider use of those devices fixed to a car's ignition switch which disables the vehicle it the proposed driver blows a specific blood alcohol level. Maybe a larger campaign to encourage people to declare a designated driver or leave the car at home if you plan to drink would help.

Whatever the answer, I applaud MADD for their work and wish them even more success in their fight against drunk drivers.  Their message is an important one and we need everyone to heed it!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Future of First Avenue

Beiseker village council has been pondering over what to do about the "back road" into the village.   The back road is an extension of First Avenue, south past the Public Works yard, and connecting with Range Road 261 after leaving the Village limits and entering Rocky View County.  The county's section of the road connects with Highway 9 south of the Village.

This road is a pothole breeding ground!  We've spent lots of money patching and re-patching that short stretch of road, running from the bridge to the CN rail tracks.  The County paved their portion of the road south of the railway tracks, but the village can't afford to do that.

It has been suggested that we remove the battered and pothole-ridden pavement and return the road to a gravel road.  I'm concerned about the dust blowing into town from a graveled road, but this may be our only option going forward.  Environmental concerns and rules prevent us from using many dust proofing products that we may have in the past.

We already have a dust problem along the extension of the Beacon Heights Road, south past the Grasslands entry.  Almost half of the complaints I receive are about the potholes on the back road and the dust along Beacon Heights Road.  It has been a hot topic at Town Hall meetings, too!

Quite frankly, I don't have a solution to the problem.  The back road is one of many entrances to the village.  Maybe we can live with one dusty one!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Things Happening Around Beiseker

I'm sorry that I haven't written here for a while.  Here's some catch-up:

Fire Chief Bob Ursu Retires

Council reluctantly accepted Chief Ursu's resignation at our January 23rd council meeting.  Bob has pulled our fire department together and made it a well oiled machine!

Our Fire Department is the envy of many municipalities.  I think I speak for all of Council when I say that we are very proud of Bob Ursu's work and our Fire Department.  In retirement, I hope Bob is able to spend more time with his family and doing other endeavors he enjoys.  Thank you for your service to the Village of Beiseker, Bob!

The Bassano Station Fiasco

I am again on the warpath regarding the burned-out Bassano Station.

It's been sitting there for two years with little or nothing done to it.  It's time for something to happen!  I don't know what that might be, but we can't leave it the way it is!

I've written to our Prime Minister because it was the Federal Government who gave the Centennial Railway Museum society almost $500,000 to simply restore the station building;  the building was actually moved to its current site by a moving company, free of charge!  More on this later.

New Fire Chief

John Martens, our new Fire Chief has assumed his duties in Beiseker.  We hope to see him at our next council meeting to give us his very first report.

Congratulations John!  We look forward to working with you in keeping the Beiseker Fire Department the envy of a large number of municipalities.

Irricana recreates its Economic Development and Tourism Committee 

I was pleased to read that Irricana has started taking steps to get its economic development and tourism committee going again.  This incentive will prove a bonus to that community.

We have seen the affects of Beiseker's economic development groups.  They have had a very positive influence on our business community!  We also have to remember that what's good for Irricana is also good for Beiseker!

Beiseker Village Council's Strategic Plan

Village council met to discuss plans for 2017 a couple of weeks ago.  No surprise that our plans concentrate on repairing our water valves and upgrading our streets.  We have limited funds available so we must be very careful we get the biggest "bang" for everyone's tax buck!  Stay tuned here, too.

Fargo continues on

I'd like to personally thank you all for being so patient and cooperative with the Fargo production team.  They busily turn Beiseker into Eden Valley - and then turn it back to Beiseker just as quickly when filming is completed for that time around!  Well done everyone!

That's all for right now.  I promise to write here more often!