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June 17, 2019Current issue


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News: June 17, 2019 issue

Edson Landfill fire update presented to Council

Expert considers fire “extinguished” based on current evidence

by Cassie Kushniruk

During the June 11 Committee of the Whole meeting, Town Council received an update with regards to the landfill recovery operation in response to the sub-surface fire that originated in one of the dry cells at the Edson Landfill in December last year.
Since March 8, there have been no signs of smoke or steam emissions originating from the fire zone. Sub-surface fires continue to be monitored by gas probes with daily testing and results show a significant decrease in combustion.
Surface cover is also being monitored for subsidence and cracking and although some minor repairs were required in late April, the cover has been holding up well.
“We've had new monitors in place and sent those results off to our fire specialist,” said General Manager of Infrastructure and Planning Martino Verhaeghe. “The good news is that their assessment of that was initially very favorable and in fact we just got a draft of the report that states that they would consider the fire to be extinguished based on the evidence we have.” However, daily monitoring continues to ensure the integrity of the fire cover.
The location for a new landfill cell has been discussed with Alberta Environment (AE). “In looking at the new cell, there were complications with going with our previous plan —expanding to the south— due to changes within the Wetland Policy,” said Verhaeghe. “The suggestion …was to look at a vertical expansion north of the site within our current footprint.”
Currently, the Town continues to operate a waste transfer site, which may be required for the remainder of 2019 with a cell constructed in the 2020 season. “[The waste transfer site] does require more staff time to manage the bins and we do have our own set of issues we're dealing with there, however, it's been relatively successful.”
Councillor Janet Wilkinson asked if the Town will be running their annual cleanup program this year with regards to the state of the landfill.
“If Council would like us to, we can proceed with that,” Verhaeghe replied, mentioning the additional costs associated with transferring the waste to Hinton.
Councillor Trevor Bevan asked how much land is designated for the Edson Landfill and when it will run out of space to expand.
Verhaeghe replied, “We have close to a half section in that area. Unfortunately not all of it has the appropriate work. It's not necessarily all useful to us for a landfill.”
“If we look at the area to the east, it's actually under agricultural production right now,” Verhaeghe continued. “To the west there's some oil and gas interest. We're running into— both the west and the south of the current cell— wetlands issues. It has a different assessment by the government. It's not that we can't, it's that it will take quite a while. That was one of our approaches to moving back into our existing footprint.”
The next update concerning the condition of the landfill is scheduled for late July or August, at which time information regarding the summary of the fire condition assessment, outcomes of the approval consultation with AE, the costs associated with operating at the transfer station, and the next steps in the recovery project will be presented to Council.

News: June 10, 2019 issue

Volunteers pitch in to build Austin MacDougall Memorial Bike Trail

by Deanna Mitchener
The first work bee of 2019 for the Edson Cycling Association took place on June 1 at Willmore Park.
Members of the Cycling Association and volunteers meet up to spend the day working on the new Cst. Austin MacDougall Memorial Trail.
Some volunteers came out for the full day and others made it out to help for a couple of hours, which was great as every little bit helps. Mike Stoner-Walker with Edson Cycling Association said, "Anyone wanting to come out and help with the trail is always more than welcome."
"We had some super motivated volunteers that completed over 400 meters of tread. Some RCMP officers and staff came out to help as well, as this trail is a celebration of Austin's passions, cycling and the RCMP. It was wonderful to see both sides coming together," said Mike.
"A big thanks to everyone who came out and a huge thanks to some awesome local sponsors. Without the support of local businesses our projects would not be possible, so thank you all very much," said Mike.
"After we clear the corridor we leave the pin-flags up so you can get a good feel of the trail. We want to ensure it will suit runners and cyclists going at higher speeds. This trail is considered a green beginner trail, where you can go fast and not have to worry to much about using the brakes. It compliments nicely with the blue intermediate difficult trail of route 66 just south of here," said Mike.
Breana Burton a member of the RCMP said, "This is the first time I have ever come out to help build on any of the trails. Obviously the trail is in memory of Austin, but it is also for everyone else to come out and enjoy time on the trail systems."
Cst. Topolnitsky said, "It is so nice that the Edson Cycling Association is doing this to help support one of Austin's passions. He was very passionate about a lot of things, his work with us as an RCMP, and cycling was a huge thing for him so to have a trail named after him helps his memory live on."
Sandra Nicolaisen said, "I'm out helping on the trails because we use them for running and biking and my brother is always telling me to come and help. Once I get out here, it leaves a good feeling knowing you have helped with such an amazing activity for so many to enjoy for years to come."
The next work bees are scheduled for June 6, 13, 20, and 27 all Thursday nights starting at 7 p.m. All volunteers are welcome even if you can only help out for a short time.

News: June 3, 2019 issue

Editorial: Foresight and preparation...

by Dana McArthur

This week we tip our hats to Yellowhead County's Fire Department and Protective Services for their quick and decisive response to protect life and property during the wildfire that broke out near Marlboro on May 19.
With a great deal of foresight the County Fire Department and Protective Services spearheaded their first ever mock evacuation at Brule on October 11 last year. Earlier this year they also requisitioned through Council two new sprinkler trailers capable of protecting 55 homes each.
With the Marlboro fire just 800 metres from the hamlet, County Protective Services and RCMP began to evacuate residents and nearby homes. County moved in quickly to assist and set up their sprinkler protection trailers to soak down rooftops to suppress sparks and prevent the spread of the fire.
It was through this foresight and quick reaction, and the rapid response of Alberta Wildfire crews, that the situation was contained with no loss of life or property.
We also tip our hats to the Town of Edson who stood ready to assist with the efforts, and the many volunteers, including the Edson Legion, who stepped up to offer their support to the evacuees in their time of need. This was an astounding example of the whole community pulling together in a crisis.
This event is also a reminder, however, for everyone to have a 72-hour emergency preparation kit handy at all times. Items should include at least three days of non-perishable food, water, and medications. It's also important to pack identification, emergency contacts, toiletries, spare keys, cash, radio, clothing, and pet supplies.
For a detailed emergency preparation kit list and a livestock evacuation preparation list go to www.yellowheadcounty.ab.ca/evacprep.
Unfortunately, despite the fire and OHV ban in place, the Edson Forest Region is faced with another wildfire developing south-east of Carrot Creek.
Wildfire EWF043 is currently burning out of control. The fire was detected on May 29th and is located approximately 40 km south east of Edson and 29 km west of Cynthia. The fire is currently moving towards the south west this morning and is estimated to be 205 hectares in size.
(We will post developments on our FB page. See AB Wildfire website for updates.)

News: May 27, 2019 issue

Scott FireFit set for June 1 and 2 in Edson

by Natalie Rau
Are you ready for the Toughest 2 Minutes in Sports?
It’s called the “toughest two minutes in sports” because of the muscle-demanding, explosive cardio it takes to finish the five obstacle course in about 120 seconds. Edson Fire Chief Tyler Robinson says, “ It’s one of the most difficult, physically and mentally demanding things you can do. When you’re done your legs are like jello and it feels like you’re breathing through a straw.”
This highly challenging and entertaining competition will be held at the Edson Boys and Girls Club parking lot and with firefighters from across western Canada, and featuring your own local Firefighters. The competitors will be racing for the right to represent their department at the Canadian National FireFit Championships in Oshawa, Ontario this fall.
In August 1994 the first Canadian National FireFit Competition held at the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver, BC. The popularity of the FireFit Competition has grown and grown over the past 25 years and visits every province of Canada. Competitors come from all over Canada to compete as well as Australia, New Zealand, Germany, USA and the Middle East.*(www.firefit.com)
When asked why the Edson Fire Department decided to compete and host the competition Chief Robinson said, “2011 was our Centennial year and the Fire Department was looking for a major event to showcase this time period. Hosting an event locally provides the general public an opportunity to see their local firefighters performing tasks which mimic those actually performed during emergency incidents.” He goes on to state, “There are several benefits to participating in Firefit, including the comradery amongst firefighters from across Western Canada and promoting physical health and fitness”.
Chief Robinson has participated in approximately 50 competitions since 1996, his best time was 1 minute, 55 seconds at the Canadian Nationals in Kitchener, Ontario in 2016. Edson will have about 10 – 15 members participating in this years’ event. Members of the department also travel to different Regions to complete, sometimes 3 or 4 times a year. Edson firefighters have represented the Town of Edson very well, winning medals at both Regional and Canadian National events every year since they started. The Over 40 relay team won Gold at the Canadian Nationals in Kitchener, ON in 2016, the team consisted of Al Schram, Duane Woodhouse, Tyler Robinson and Ian Carroll.
In addition to the firefighter competition, Edson will be hosting the Top Cop Challenge and Paramedic First on Scene competition, which will include local law enforcement and EMS personnel.
The family friendly event starts at 10:30am on both June 1 & 2, food vendors will be on site, so come outand cheer on your local firefighters!

News: May 20, 2019 issue

Tax impact of new Multiplex presented at Open House

“This is about building a facility for future generations”: Mayor Zahara
by Cassie Kushniruk
During an open house at the Galloway Station Museum on May 9, tax implications for Edson residents relating to the Town and Yellowhead County’s joint $70 million Multi-Use Recreation Facility were presented. 
The capital cost for this project is being shared 50-50 between the Town and the County, with a 60-40 Town-County operational split.
The Town of Edson will be using a combination of $20 million in savings, as well as $15 million in borrowed money to cover their half of the expenses. Meanwhile, the County will be delaying capital projects in order to cover their expenses without borrowing money. County Mayor Gerald Soroka clarified, "The County typically budgets 40 to 50 million dollars for capital projects yearly with higher priority projects coming first. Will this delay some less urgent projects? Absolutely." County recently approved their 2019 budget with no municipal operations increase.
Based on today’s borrowing rates and expected operational costs, Edson taxpayers can expect to see an estimated $130 increase in taxes yearly per $100,000 in assessment. For an average household of $350,000, this will equate to an estimated increase of $450 per year, roughly $38 per month.
 “I’ve talked to families in our community that stopped by today and they said they are comfortable with [the tax increase] for what they’re going to get,” said Town of Edson Mayor Kevin Zahara. “There’s obviously people who are struggling and maybe are on a lower income and it’s going to have an impact on them, but there’s a lot of things that we build and supply that not everybody uses; that’s the type of society we’re living in.”
“At the end of the day, we either have to invest in our existing infrastructure at multi-million dollars or look at something new, and the best return on investment is looking at something new that is going to serve our community for the next 50 years like our current facility has served us,” Zahara continued.
“I try to remind people that why we’re here today is because of the feedback we received through two studies: the 2006 CONRAD report and the 2017 facilities study,” said Zahara. “The 2017 study had over 800 respondents. They provided the feedback that they did not want us investing in existing infrastructure; they wanted us to look at something new that would bring everything into one building, would be energy efficient, and would allow them to do multiple activities and have additional programming.”
Zahara mentioned that residents can visit the Town of Edson website to put in their property assessment to see exactly how much the capital cost and the increased operational cost will impact them.
“One of the reasons we have decided to delay the project a year or two is so we can put those financial plans in place to limit those impacts,” explained Zahara, adding that the Town will continue looking into grant opportunities in order to limit tax increases by borrowing as little money as possible. 
Yellowhead County Mayor Gerald Soroka added, “We’re not really limiting the construction by that much because we have no detailed design work and no geotechnical work done yet, so by the time we complete this, we’ll be looking at a minimum of two years just for that. We’re giving ourselves that extra time frame of a year to make sure that we’ve got it down perfectly and that we’re not rushed for the construction.”
One of the biggest challenges associated with the current site selected for the Multi-Use Recreation Facility is the fact that the land is currently occupied by the Edson and District Boys and Girls Club. “The Boys and Girls Club are currently in a facility owned by the Town of Edson and we’ve provided that facility since the 80s,” said Zahara.“Obviously that is one of the biggest challenges with this site because the Boys and Girls Club do provide a valuable service in our community.”
“We’ve already communicated to them that they are going to have to find a new home,” Zahara continued. “Even if they were included in the new building, they would still have to find space because of the construction.”
Soroka added that some other concerns regarding the site location include the types of soil on the site or the location itself. “I think some people are a little concerned about change because they figure that the facility is at the perfect site that it’s currently at,” he said.
It has also been made known that once the new Multi-Use Recreation Facility is constructed, Repsol Place will be torn down as the Town will not be able to afford the operational costs associated with both facilities. “I know there had been some discussion about just keeping that facility operating, but we just can’t afford to unless we want the taxes going up that much more,” Zahara said. “There could be opportunities that present themselves at that time and we’ll have to look at that at that point.”
Soroka added, “We have to understand that the operational costs are significantly higher because of the size of the building.”
In response to comments that the new facility will not be centrally located, Zahara said, “It is more central than where the curling rink was. It is connected to our trail system. It also allows us to be within the corridor with the Galloway Station Museum, Centennial Park, and the Skateboard Park where our residents can utilize all these facilities within a close distant. So for things like Canada Day, that’s going to be amazing for our community because we can leverage all our facilities.” 
Soroka said, “I think it’s a much needed facility for keeping our community an active community, whether it’s for recreational needs or making sure we have people that want to come live and work in this community.”
“So far we’ve had a great relationship with the Town of Edson,” Soroka said. “I know this is a hit financially to the County, so I can appreciate the commitment that the Town is making.”
Zahara closed, “This is a historic project for our community and we really appreciate the cooperation and partnership we have with the Yellowhead County on this. We continue to look forward to working together and building a stronger community for all the residents. This is about building a facility for future generations.”

News: May 13, 2019 issue

Volunteers desperately needed for Food Drive

by Deanna Mitchener
The Edson Food Bank is in desperate need of volunteers to help with the upcoming Food Drive on May  15.
Luella Wells, who organizes the Food Drive, said, “This year we are in dire need of volunteers. As of May 7 we have only nine confirmed volunteers. If anyone would like to help out please call the Food Bank at 780-723-1350. We could surely use all the help we can get.”
 The Food Dive takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with the town sectioned off into 22 different areas for collections. Each of the areas need three people including a driver and two others to go door to door gathering food donations. That's a total of at least 66 volunteers needed for two hours. 
 “We only have one Food Drive a year and usually brings in a lot. But if we don’t have the help going door to door the Food Bank is really going to suffer. We also count on the generosity of families to help make the Drive a success. Our Food Bank's success depends on your donations,” said Wells. 
If you will be away from home between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. during the Food Drive on May 15 please consider leaving a bag or box of items just outside your door. Mark it for the "Food Bank" that way the people gathering items will know to take it. 

News: May 6, 2019 issue

Multi Use Recreation Facility moves forward

by Deanna Mitchener 
The community has been buzzing with great news about the plans moving forward with the New Multi Use Recreation Facility.
The Weekly Anchor had the opportunity to interview the Town of Edson Chief Administration Officer Mike Derricott on April 26, just prior to the Edson and District Chamber of Commerce Trade Show getting underway.
 “We have a conceptual design developed which has identified the core elements of what will be in the building. Basically it is two ice rinks, four sheets of curling ice, an aquatics pool facility, and a large gymnasium/fieldhouse component, along with a walking and running track and a fitness area. This will somewhat be the core of the new project,” said CAO Derricott.
 “The site that has been identified at this point is the Griffiths Park location. Some may know this area as the Boys and Girls Club or where Vanier School is located. There were a couple of key elements that made that site the most visible. One of those being its size. It allows us some flexibility in terms of design, parking, and accessibility. We also expect this facility to become a community hub. This area also offers potential for adding future elements to it down the road. We are very excited about that opportunity,” said Derricott.
“We did also review the current Repsol site. The biggest challenge with that location other than its size was the fact that it would require a phased approach. The loss of services for a period of time while we build was not appealing. We also heard from Stantec that we would be looking at an added 15% cost to do a phase build that adds onto an existing facility, as well as adding an additional year to the timeline. All those elements were certainly considered,” said Derricott. 
 “The timeline has been identified for the next phase of the process, which would be detailed design work. For a project of this magnitude it will take at least a year to complete," said Derricott.
"So that’s looking like it will be scheduled for late 2019, into all of 2020, and maybe a little bit more. With a scheduled start of construction in late fall of 2020. Then the construction time is a minimal of two years, so we are looking for a opening of late 2024 as things stand right now. That is our targeted timeline,” added Derricott.
 “We are anticipating getting lots of questions during the Trade Show. I think the most important thing to do if you have questions is please come to the Town, check out our website, and seek information. We do have some information available so if anyone hears something that is concerning or not sure about, come and talk to us and we can probably provide information that will at least address their concern. They may not always be satisfied with the information, but at least the information will be accurate," said Derricott.
"As always, we are just really thrilled with the collaborative partnership that we have taken with Yellowhead County. We are further along in this project than we have ever been. I know the community has been waiting a long time for a facility like this, and the fact that the County has come to the table ready to engage this project, has been really fantastic,” said Derricott. 
   When asked what will become of the present facility after the new one opens, Derricott response, “As of right now this facility would be slated for demolition once the new facility is completed and operational. I don’t have anything that would lead me to believe there would be another outcome."
"One of the reasons we are designing and building a new facility the way we are, is for efficiency of operation, getting more of our activities happening in one place. That will allow us more efficiencies with staff, operational costs like utilities, and those types of things," stated the CAO. 
"We do not have a specific outcome in mind for the land itself, that’s something that can be determined at a later date. It would be something with the highest and best need identified at that time. It is certainly unique to have a piece of property like that become available in the community at any given time. We will definitely put a lot of thought into what might take place on that property in the future,” said Derricott.

News: April 29, 2019 issue

Grow Yellowhead to connect consumers with locally grown food

by Cassie Kushniruk
“There’s quite a surge in popularity of people wanting to learn more about their food,” said Community Futures West Yellowhead Community Liaison Jax Delisle.
In partnership with Yellowhead County, and with additional funding from Hinton Cares and the provincial CARES grant, Community Futures West Yellowhead recently launched Grow Yellowhead; a website dedicated to connecting consumers with locally grown food in the region in one click.
On April 9, Community Futures held an open house in Edson —along with four other communities— to raise awareness for the website while providing the opportunity for community members to ask questions and provide feedback. “It was really different in each community,” Delisle recalled. “It was interesting listening to all their different needs and requests, but mainly people were just interested in finding local food options.”
“One of the big things that people were looking for was honey and local eggs,” said Delisle. “We’ve got a number of farms that sell beef, poultry, pork and all kinds of stuff; pretty much everything you’re looking for.”
While not knowing what kind of turnout to expect at these open houses, Delisle was pleased with the 15-20 people who showed up at each open house in the different communities. “I’m really glad that so many people came out and that so many people are interested in local food,” she said.“I think some people came out not sure what to expect and were pleasantly surprised when they realized they could take this database home with them and be connected with food in their area.”
In preparation for last year’s Alberta Open Farm Days’ farm-to-table dinner, Delisle visited a U-Pick registered on Grow Yellowhead and was shocked at how inexpensive the food was. “For pretty much the same price as a grocery store you can go and support a small business in your community, which is really important,” she said.“I would so much rather support a local farmer myself and I know that consumers feel the same way.”
Over the summer, Delisle mentioned that she visited over 13 farms and her “eyes were opened” after realizing the abundance of locally grown food in the region. “I think that it’s really important for people to buy locally and to realize you actually can buy a lot of food locally,” she said.“I think it’s really important that we’re putting this information out there for consumers.”
Delisle added, “You can know exactly what’s in the food and you can talk to the farmer about what they use on their products. It’s just a really good experience and is so important for the County.”
While Grow Yellowhead currently has 20 farms registered in its database, Delisle hopes to bump the number of registrants up to 50.“Even if you’re not a farmer yourself and you know of a farm that should be on that database, send me a message and I will connect with that farmer to see if they’re comfortable being on the database,” said Delisle.
The Grow Yellowhead website can be reached at https://growyellowhead.wordpress.com/.If interested in registering your farm or suggesting a farm for registration, contact Delisle at jaxdelisle@gmail.com or 780-865-1224.

News: April 22, 2019 issue

Opportunity for youth to ‘Make Your Mark’

by Shaylyn Thornton
Taking something that may be rundown, and making it look brand new again is a rewarding experience. With the ‘Make Your Mark’ project, the Town of Edson is inviting youth to help them do exactly that.
The project involves a team of youth that identify areas in Edson that could use a spruce up, and the group then works to recreate the area in question. A previous undertaking of the group was the Scout Shack in Kinsmen Park, which was completely transformed last summer.
Community Development Coordinator Diana Inscho said that the project allows youth to “come up with ideas and help create a sense of place” for areas of Edson that need a little TLC.
“They want to make the community a more vibrant place,” Inscho said. “The goal is to create art that makes people want to stop and look.”
The team they have is enthusiastic, and all display a clear drive to make Edson a little more beautiful.
Artist Jayme Rauch said, “I love being able to be artistic, and being involved in remaking something in a creative way.”
Her teammate, artist Dylan Cooper, was glad he took the opportunity to join the project. “I heard it over the announcements at school, and decided to give it a try,” he said. “I really like getting to be a part of recreating things around town.”
The project was started in 2018, after Madison Sharman, lead artist, reached out to the Town of Edson with the goal of doing a mural on the Scout Shack. After speaking to Community Development Coordinator Ali Broda, the mural idea expanded to become the ‘Make Your Mark’ project.
The team has room for youth who would like to get involved and make a mark of their own. For more information, contact Diana Inscho at 780-723-8107 or by calling the Town of Edson.