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News: August 14, 2017

41st Annual Gold Dust Daze best ever

by Miranda L'Hirondelle
The 41st Annual Gold Dust Daze was held at the McLeod Valley Recreation Grounds August 5 to 7. Many volunteers stepped up to ensure things were running smoothly over the weekend.
This year they had an even a wider range of events available. “I think it was the best Gold Dust Daze ever,” said Patricia Millard, Director with the Peers Ag Society and representative for the Peers Handicraft Association.
The event was to kick off with an outdoor movie hosted by Yellowhead County on August 3 but had to be cancelled. "We did not end up being able to show the movie due to inclement weather," said Jina Materi, Recreation Coodinator with Yellowhead County.
Friday started things off with Slo Pitch on Friday night and a Mini Broncs Meet and Greet. Saturday the annual parade was spectacular with lots of work being put into each entry for spectators to enjoy.
The variety of events on Saturday included Slo Pitch, Show and Shine, Kidz Daze, Horse Shoes, Mini Broncs, and a Steak Fry followed by a dance.
Youth activities at the event included horseshoes, mini broncs, gold panning, face painting, crafts, a slip and slide, a bouncy castle, a petting zoo, and Slo Pitch games.
Sunday morning the River Raft Race was held with rafts gathering near the Rosevear Bridge to begin the 5 plus hour float to Peers. Although there were less entries than previous years, it was an enthusiastic group of adventurers.
The Raft Race was won by the River Pirates with a finishing time of two hours and 49 minutes.
Events continued throughout the day ending with fireworks planned for dusk. Monday the Slo Pitch finals were held, along with canoe races, Horse Pulls, Tube Races, and the final wrap up.
The winning team in the Slo Pitch A event was the Scrotum Poles. A total of 11 tubes entered the Tube Race and everyone was a winner.
 Winners of the Canoe Race were Barry Los and Mike VanMeetelen with a finishing time of one hour and 50 minutes. The Kayak Race was won by Ian Grometza with a time of two hours.   
A winner for the Show and Shine 1942 and older category was Stan Munro with his 1932 Buick. The winner for the 1943 to 1965 category was won by Dieter with his 1951 Ford F-150. The category for 1966 and newer was won by Louis Roersma with his 1970 Chevelle SS. 
“This is my 16th Gold Dust Daze as the Parade Marshal and I love every moment,” said Millard.
Gold Dust Daze began in 1977. Events of that first year included a family casino, Prospectors' Hoedown in the curling rink, raft race from Rosevear Ferry to the bridge, baseball games, steak fry, gold panning championship, and smaller events such as a pie eating contest. Co-founders, Beth Bowd and Sheila Eaton started Gold Dust Daze as a means of further uniting the community beyond the curling season.


Kinsmen Slo Pitch Tournament cancelled

by Dana McArthur

  After 37 years of successfully running what became known as Canada's largest slo-pitch tournament the Kinsmen Club of Edson has thrown in the towel and cancelled this year's event.
  With only days before registered teams arrived for the August long weekend the Edson Kinsmen Club announced on July 31 that the tournament would be cancelled. "Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, we have been forced to cancel this year's tournament" it stated on the Kinsmen tournament website.
  The local Kinsmen Club has been under a financial burden since it took on the construction of the Kinsmen Spay Park. "Building the Spray Park put us into financial trouble," said Kinsmen member Greg Pasychny, Treasurer for the Club.
  President of the Kinsmen Club of Edson, Don Biggar, announced the club was suspended after failing to submit society corporate returns for the past two years.   Pasychny said, "We have been struck from Corporate Registries for failure to file. In years past we have had situations where we failed to file and had no problem getting a liquor license. But, bureaucracies change and we were unable to pull a liquor permit."
  "We held the decision to cancel until Monday because we were asking, begging and pleading other local organizations to give us a hand with pulling a liquor permit. But in the end AGLC [Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission] said if there was a new name on the permit, it could take weeks to process," said Pasychny. "We did everything we could."
  "Without a liquor permit, we couldn't have the beer gardens. It wasn't just about breaking even. Without the beer gardens there was a high probability we would lose money. We have debts and we simply don't have money to cover any potential losses," said Pasychny.
  Costs to run the tournament, which attracted as many as 272 teams in the past, were escalating year to year "Security costs us $22,000. Umpiring costs are $35,000 and bussing costs are nearly $10,000 —just to list a few," said Pasychny. "There is liability insurance, permits, and a lot of the costs smaller tournaments don't bother with. In a manner of speaking, we became a victim of our own success. It seemed everyone wanted a bigger piece of the pie."
  "Yes, we made some mistakes and we take full responsibility for that. We tried cutting where we could to make this tournament a go, so we could pay people back some of the money we owe," said Pasychny.
  The Kinsmen Club does not own the Kinsmen Slopitch grounds. They are owned by the Town of Edson and leased to the Kinsmen for a token sum. "The town took over the park operation this spring because the club doesn't have the money to operate it," said Pasychny. "The league money has gone to the town this year."
  Other contributing factors to the decline over the past few years includes the many new August long weekend tournaments throughout the province and into B.C. "There were no big tournaments August long weekend, we were the only one," said Pasychny. "Now there are tons everywhere, and big ones. Leduc, Pine Lake, and even Revelstoke that has a 128 team tournament and they are closer to Calgary than Edson."
  The Kinsmen Club of Edson stated they will refund the 90 teams that registered for the event. The Edson Rotary Club that operates the adjacent campground will also be refunding deposits and any pre-paid campsites.
  When asked what was in the future for the Edson Kinsmen Club, in a brief moment of irony Pasychny stated, "Technically speaking we are dissolved as we were sent a certificate of dissolution."  But he added, "We have to get together next week and figure out what debts have to get paid and figure out the future of the club."
  "We have lots of volunteers for the days of the tournament. But it takes a toll on the two to five members we typically have trying to organize a tournament this size. We just don't have enough members," said Pasychny. "Jobs and family have a way of taking priority and there just aren't any new volunteers stepping up."

News: July 31, 2017

Third Annual Charity Ball Tournament

by Deanna Mitchener

 Edson's third annual Charity Ball Tournament is set for August 18, 19 and 20 at Vision Park.

The event is turning into a well-loved tournament that is growing each year.

What started off as a ball team looking for more game time for the love of the sport, but not really wanting to travel out of town, has blossomed into charity tournament that benefits the whole community.

Chris Valliere- Kowalchuk says, "How this all came about and inspired us was my sister in-law Laura Kowalchuk and I were talking about wanting to play more ball. We were talking about getting out of town to play in more tournaments because Edson didn't have as many tournaments as there are elsewhere in the province."

"Of course trying to get your team ready to travel to Leduc and other communities was always difficult, and we realized instead of pack up a whole team and go elsewhere, we could just have another small tournament right here in Edson," said Chris. "There seemed to be much more need for one around here as there is only the Kinsmen ball tournament, a men's and ladies' in the fall, a men's and ladies' in the summer, and the Peers ones."

Chad and Tasha then said, "Let's make it even better and do it as a charity tournament so we can make sure we are putting money back into the community."

"So that's how it all started, we wanted to make sure that all the money that was raised through this tournament stayed local. We didn't want to see any money we raised going to big corporations but staying right here in our own community," said Chris.

See the July 3, 2017 issue of the Weekly Anchor for more details


News: July 24, 2017

Peers Area Structural Plan reviewed

Deficiencies in cell, internet, and seniors housing identified

by Dana McArthur
The Area Structural Plan for Peers was discussed at the Yellowhead County's Committee of the Whole meeting opened up on July 18.
There have been three Steering Committee meetings held along with an Open House on January 11 of this year that was attended by 30 people.
County Planning and Development Manager Brent Shepherd presented the review. "The next Open House is scheduled for August 17 at 7 p.m. in Peers."
The plan provides a framework for the long-term growth and development of the lands in the hamlet of Peers. The overall goal of the plan is to establish policies that identity and encourage new residential and non-residential development. Identify opportunities to existing spaces and improve the quality of life for residents and visitors.
Flood and soil studies were done as part of the planning process. "Further vacant lands could be developed in the hamlet. There are 55 residences in the area with eight of these vacant. There are two multi-family dwelling, and currently no designated seniors housing," said  Shepherd.
"There are currently a number of commercial businesses in the hamlet primarily located around 50th Street. Industrial uses include Brisco Manufacturing with 42 employees," said Shepherd.
"When we looked at the opportunities and constraints we found there were some low service cost lots available which could easily be subdivided to create residential lots. We also have opportunities to create high density housing," said Shepherd.
Shepherd asked if council would consider incentives to encourage construction. Mayor Soroka responded, "In the past we have never given incentives and we have lost development. But how far do you go when you start giving incentives?"
Councillor Dawn Mitchell said, "We encourage growth and development by keeping taxes low and I think we do that, and it's fair across the board."
"Would something be considered for deferring costs to the developer in the areas that have water and sewer to their properties?" said Shepherd.
Councillor Shawn Berry said, "If developers wants to make the profit then they should pay the bills. However, I want to encourage development particularly in Peers. But if it's the developer or the property owner, I think it has to be paid and not come out of the county pocket."
CAO Ramme said, "Would it be fair to say that that if there is water and sewer going by it we may consider an incentive?" Council concurred that given this situation, it would be considered.
The needs for low cost rental in the Peers area was also an issue brought up in the study as well as senior's independent living accommodations. Also the poor internet and cell service in the hamlet.
"We are still missing coverage in Peers. We believe we can put a 100 foot tower within the hamlet which would give the ability for high speed internet, but it does not solve the cell phone issue," said Ramme. "It may take some funding from us to move this forward."
Councillor Fred Priestley-Wright said, " It does make people think twice about living in Peers." Mayor Soroka added, "If my phone rings in Peers and I can talk, I'm amazed. It is so hit and miss."
Brent Shepherd then addressed the issue of seniors independent living housing in Peers. "This was brought up by local residents at the last Open House." Councillor David Russell added, "This is a hot button topic in Peers."
Mayor Soroka said, "Speaking with Edson Mayor Pasychny, the Chair of the Evergreens Foundation, in their long range plan they are looking more at Yellowhead County. They are looking at more of a hybrid model of assisted housing and seniors apartments. This way a senior could transition through the same facility if they required assisted living. Maybe there is potential to partner with Evergreens on this type of housing."
Priestley-Wright, who is on the board of Evergreens, said, "This type of facility seems to be working well and there are lots of good examples out there."
Ramme said, "If you are looking at a combined facility it's not going to happen in Peers, no one is going to fund that. The county may have to focus on bringing in 10 granny suites for rent as opposed to selling them. That way you control them as the landowner and when a senior decides to move to the next phase of assisted living, that unit becomes available."
"I agree with you and I think it's worth a try. It's definitely needed. Evergreens is very good at managing seniors facilities, but they are not developers," said Priestley-Wright.
Mayor Soroka said, "Whatever we are doing in Peers there are other hamlets we have to look at and it has to be functional. If the County takes the lead on this then we have to look at more than a 10 unit facility, when a network of facilities would be more cost effective for staffing and management."
Several Council members including Mayor Soroka expressed concerns that a private facility could become neglected over time. Jack Ramme said, "I am hearing concerns from council that public/private partnering may become more profit driven than senior driven."
Council agreed to remove the wording mentioning public/private partnering in that section of the area structural plan.

News: July 17, 2017

Evansburg battered by hail storm

by Dana McArthur
During the sweltering heat on Sunday, July 9 a severe thunderstorm watch was in effect that included the Evansburg area in Yellowhead County. By late afternoon the storm struck battering homes and vehicles.
"The storm that came through produced hail the size of pool balls," said Sandra Cherniawsky, Yellowhead County Councillor for the area. "It was short lived so thankfully crop damage was minimal."
There was extensive vehicle damage including cracked windshields as well as some back windows completely destroyed.
Margo Stewart, with Lefty's Auto Glass in Evansburg, said, "We've been getting quite a few calls from people who got their windshields broken. People are still dealing with their insurance but we've had at least a dozen calls so far."
Most of the calls have been for windshields, "but we've had calls about car side windows too. A lot of the calls people have mentioned body damage to their cars as well," said Stewart. "I'm sure we'll be hearing from a lot more. It must have been scary for those caught outside in it."
Lynn Webster, manager of the Pembina Valley Golf Club in Evansburg, said, "We had some cart damage from the large hail stones we got. We also had damage to the greens on the course and are just out repairing them now."
"We've kept a few of the stones for insurance to see. But a lot of the cars that were out here that night sustained a lot of damage. It was unbelievable, it just hit so fast," said Webster. "Lots of blown out windshields and hood damage by the golf ball and pool ball size hail stones coming down."
The Club is in the process of sanding and reseeding some of the greens. "The greens took substantial damage. They looked like Swiss cheese. The greens were in such beautiful shape and its going to be a few weeks before we see a full recovery," said Webster.
Residents also experienced damage to their homes which included siding, shingles, backyard gazebos and greenhouses.
"I think we were very lucky that it was not a prolonged hail storm or we would have seen a lot more devastation," said Councillor Cherniawsky.

News: July 10, 2017

Edson RCMP investigate motor vehicle and cyclist collision

  On July 5, 2017, at approximately 9:00 p.m. RCMP responded to a complaint on Range Road 181, west of Edson, where a cyclist was struck by a motor vehicle. The cyclist was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The investigation is continuing with resources from Edson and Hinton Detachments as well as members of the Alberta RCMP Criminal Collision Investigation Team.
The Alberta RCMP confirmed that the victim of the Edson cyclist collision was an off-duty member of the RCMP with the Edson Detachment. The identity of the deceased has been confirmed as Constable Austin MacDougall, who came to Edson in 2016.
Justin Lyle Jensen, 35, of Yellowhead County was the driver of the motor vehicle involved in the collision and was arrested at the scene. Jensen has been charged with: Impaired driving causing death; Refuse to comply with demand of a peace officer.
Mr. Jensen has been released on bail with conditions to appear in Edson Provincial Court on July 18th 2017 at 10:00 am.
If you have information about this incident, please call the Edson RCMP at 780-723-8832 or call your local police. If you want to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), by internet at www.tipsubmit.com, or by SMS (check your local Crime Stoppers www.crimestoppers.ab.ca for instructions).