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NEWS: September 26, 2016

Speed decrease for Bickerdike Road

by Dana McArthur

A speed reduction for Bickerdike Road was the topic of debate at the Yellowhead County Committee of the Whole meeting held in Wildwood on September 19.
Councillor Dawn Mitchell made a request to Council for a policy exemption so a portion of Bickerdike Road could be reduced to 60 kph from the standard 80 kph limit.
Administration has reviewed the road and noted that it is properly signed for all the curves and enforcement services supports leaving the speed limit as signed.
"All of Bickerdike Road should be considered for a speed reduction but the straight stretch is a hazard for the children living along the road," said Mitchell, indicating a blind hill along that section.
Chief Administrative Officer Jack Ramme said, "For Administration, we are comfortable the way it is. It has all the precautionary signs in place for the corners."
Councillor Anthony Giezen said, "I wouldn't like to see a reduction. I think people driving that road need to drive for the conditions."
Mitchell agreed with Giezen but added, "I think you have to trust the people living on the road that someone's going to get hurt and if all it takes is a sign then that's the responsible thing to do."
Mayor Gerald Soroko cautioned that speed reduction exemptions have been tired in the County. "People soon realize that it takes a lot longer to travel the road. And when the peace officers enforce it it's the local residents living on the road getting the tickets and calling their Councillor to complain."
Ramme added that it is also speed inconsistencies that cause a lot of feedback from residents.
Giezen asked, "Is there a possibility for added enforcement to keep people to the 80 kph limit?" Mitchell replied, "I am telling you 80 kph on that road is not safe at all."
Councillor Shawn Berry said, "Why anyone would speed through that area is beyond me. I agree a reduced speed could help but I don't think it will help because these are reckless drivers. We have to change habits, not speed."
Councillor Fred Priestly-Wright said, "I don't know how you could cover this with a policy that will make everyone happy."
Council David Russell said, "Put the limit to 60 kph and try it for a year. If it brings too many complaints then change it back."
Council asked Administration to bring back a bylaw change for 60 kph along the road for review.

NEWS: September 19, 2016

County approves joint purchase of

plow/sweeper for Edson Airport

  During the Yellowhead County Council meeting on September 13 council discussed the approval of an unbudgeted capital expenditure for the Edson Airport.
The Town and County are 50/50 partners in the operation and maintenance of the facility.
Chief Administrative Officer Jack Ramme said that he had recently taken a tour of the Edson Airport and was given an overview of the state of repair of the current maintenance equipment in use. "The equipment is very old and parts have become difficult to find. It is the joint opinion of both administrations that this equipment should be replaced as soon as possible."
The proposed machine, a Schmidt Compact Jet Sweeper is a plow, sweeper, and blower combination. As a demo machine the price of $504,162.00 was well below the list price of a new machine. County's share would be $252,081.00.
"This is a non-budgeted item and should it be approved it will need to come from our general capital reserve fund," said Ramme.
Council Dawn Mitchell made the motion asking council to support the purchase as described.
Councilor Fred Priestley-Wright asked if there was any other equipment that would have to be replaced in the near future. The only thing being looked at was a pickup truck that may need replacing in a year or two stated Ramme.
Councilor Jack Williams asked, "Wouldn't it be advantageous to have this equipment on a lifecycle so we can budget for it?" Ramme answered, "I agree. With their new operations manager they are trying to look ahead. On a go forward basis I think you will see they will have a plan put in place."
Mayor Gerald Soroka asked how many hours were on the machine as it is a demo unit. Ramme stated there was about 500 hours. "Typically this machine is in the million dollar range," said Ramme. The typical lifespan of this type of machine would exceed 7,500 hours council heard.
The motion to move ahead with the purchase was carried.

NEWS: September 12, 2016

Help name Edson’s new School

Trustees discussed the naming process for the new K to 5 replacement school that is currently under construction in Edson.
Names for the new school will be forwarded to a School Naming Committee with members including school representatives, local trustees, administration and school council representatives who will forward three names in order of preference to the Board for their consideration.
The selection of the final name will be approved by the Board at the Public Board Meeting on December 14, 2016. More information on how to submit a name will be available by September 26 and the deadline for name submissions is Monday, October 31.
“We are looking forward to engaging with the Edson community on selecting a name for our new elementary school and hope that the Naming Committee receives a large number of submissions for them to review,” commented Vice-Chair and local Edson Trustee Joan Zaporosky. “This is a wonderful opportunity for community members to have an active role in recognizing local history with others in nominating a name for a facility that future generations will enjoy.”

NEWS: September 5, 2016

They're Back.... Editorial Comment

by Dana McArthur

With school supplies loaded into backpacks kids from all around the area will be riding, bussing, or hiking their way back to school, and marking end of summer vacation.
What also will come to an end, hopefully, is our summer habit of driving faster through school zones.
The Town of Edson puts the 30 km/h zone around schools into effect continuously from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on all school days.
Yellowhead County school zones run continuously from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on all school days. Zones include Niton School, Wildwood School, and the two schools in Evansburg.
When hundreds of students, vehicles, and various kid-powered transports converge onto one building, traffic can be a nightmare. And the risk to kids is increased exponentially.
Separating vehicles and children can be a real challenge for schools. The 30 km/h zones are a big part of getting kids to school safely. But they are not the only part.
According to safety experts, many of the traffic problems around schools are caused by us parents.
Sometimes we ignore safe pick-up zones, double-park, or block buses. One of the most dangerous practices is dropping children off on the wrong side of the street leaving them to jaywalk.
Traffic congestion usually gets worse in bad weather with more parents drive kids to school.
Young kids are unpredictable around traffic. They have not developed the skills to estimate how fast a vehicle is going and whether there's enough time to cross.
We all need to get somewhere, but planning for a few extra minutes is a small price to pay to keep kids safe.

NEWS: August 29, 2016

Wildwood Ag Fair boasts 77 years of community fun

by Callie Hermanson

Wildwood and area residents headed down to enjoy the fun inside the Fairgrounds at the Wildwood and District Agriculture Society's 77th Annual Fair, on August 19.
Between 500 and 600 people turned out at the Rodeo Grounds in Wildwood, where they participated in a parade, card-box car race, and other exciting events to keep children and adults entertained for the day.
The day was kicked off with a pancake breakfast at 8 am, which transitioned into the parade. The colourful parade was one of the highlights and featured floats from local businesses, the Yellowhead County Fire Department, and the Wildwood Legion.
One of the afternoon events was a chili cook-off, which fed the crowd and was a big hit.
The horse, beef, sheep, goat, poultry, and rabbit shows went smoothly and drew crowds throughout the day.
A bench show was hosted for owners to display their dogs' fashion senses. Other events included sheep herding, catch the greased pig event, watermelon eating contest, log sawing competition, and arm wrestling contests. Each of these events was met with great enthusiasm from the participants and cheering crowds.
The Successful Kids and Families Society provided one of the lunch concessions. Marsha Tetz who works with the society said they have been cooking lunch for the Fair for the past three years and the money that is raised is put towards the organization. The Fair serves as their main fundraiser.
“We have great volunteers and without them, this fair wouldn't be possible,” ten year Agriculture Society staff member, Wilma Swinkels said. She said there is always a great turnout for the event.

NEWS: August 22, 2016

County debates Edson bypass road

by Adrienne Tait

Yellowhead County council discussed the benefits and drawbacks of building a by-pass service road from Wilmore Park to the Golf Course road during their regular Committee of the Whole meeting on August 15.
Council included $100,000 in the 2016 budget for preliminary engineering for the proposed road. AMEC Foster Wheeler submitted a proposal for $124,312 for the preliminary engineering with an estimate of $5.7 million for the project construction cost.
Because the estimate came in at three times the anticipated cost, county administration brought the project back before council to see if (or how) they wished to proceed.
The proposed service road would follow along the same corridor as the by-pass proposed by Alberta Transportation.
Councillor Jack Williams asked if there was any indication from the provincial government as to when they plan to build the by-pass. With no project start date to that project Williams questioned the need for the service road and said, “Why do anything until they make a positive move? This could be 10 or 20 years down the road.”
Director Don O'Quinn told council that if they chose to wait until such time as the by-pass was being built they may be able to achieve lower construction costs by partnering at the time.
One of the reasons given for the high cost of construction was the soil type and possible challenges of building through muskeg. “If the soil is that soft will the road stand up?” asked Mayor Soroka who added, “It is a good project but the cost is substantial and the traffic volume does not warrant it yet.”
Council decided to delay the project.

NEWS: August 15, 2016

Tender awarded for new school in Edson

Grande Yellowhead Public School Division is pleased to announce that the recent tendering process for construction of the new replacement school in Edson has been completed and the successful tender has been awarded to United Construction Company Inc. for approximately $12 million.
The project is under the management of Alberta Infrastructure as a Design-Bid-Build approach with the construction drawings and specifications completed with input from local stakeholders.
The government issued the tender on June 8, 2016 and the closing date was extended until June 30th. During the tender period, building contractors reviewed the construction documents and prepared their bid price to complete the construction work. The qualified building contractor who submitted the lowest acceptable bid was awarded the contract to construct the facility.
In October of 2014, the Province announced the approved replacement of AH Dakin School. In December of 2015, trustees approved the final design for a replacement school facility in Edson that will be built on the current A.H. Dakin School site. After a review earlier in 2015 by provincial representatives, the replacement facility project was expanded to include the replacement of Evergreen School by adding space to the initial proposal to replace A.H. Dakin School. Instead of space to support only up to 200 elementary students, the combined facility with an opening capacity of 450 students with the permanent core sized to accommodate a fully built out availability up to 500 if needed.
The design plans were completed by the Workun Garrick Partnership Architecture and Interior Design Inc. in collaboration with Alberta Infrastructure, Alberta Education, along with parent and school staff representatives from both Evergreen and A.H. Dakin Schools, division representatives as well as local trustees were involved in the visioning, planning and designing during this phase of the project to ensure that the new facility met the needs of both school communities. Completion of the new school is scheduled for the fall of 2017