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News: September 16, 2019 issue

Writ is dropped... and federal election campaign is underway

EDITORIAL/COMMENT

Canada's 2019 federal election campaign is now officially underway.
On Wednesday morning of September 11, the Governor General of Canada Julie Payette accepted Trudeau's request to dissolve the 42nd Parliament, thus launching Canada's 43rd federal election race.
Federal candidates running in the Yellowhead electoral district include Conservative Party, Gerald Soroka from Yellowhead County; Liberal Party, Jeremy Hoefsloot from Edmonton; Green Party, Angelena Satdeo from Edmonton; People's Party of Canada Douglas Galavan from Drayton Valley; Libertarian Party of Canada Cory Lystang from Mayerthorpe; and the New Democrats have yet to name a candidate as of Sept. 12.
In a recent Nanos Research poll*, the numbers show that the Liberals have a slight lead heading into the campaign, but there is no clear majority government and the leadership of the country is now in the hands of voters.
Currently the Liberals hold 177 seats, the Conservatives hold 95, the NDP has 39, the Bloc Quebecois has 10, the Green Party has two seats, and there are eight sitting as independents. A party needs to win 170 seats to win a majority government.
The Liberals have been working hard to minimize public attention on the SNC-Lavalin scandal, when last month the Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion found that Trudeau had violated the Conflict of Interest Act by trying to urge Wilson-Raybould to overrule a decision regarding the Quebec-based engineering firm.
And on Tuesday before the writ was dropped, the Globe & Mail reported that the RCMP's probe into possible obstruction of justice in the SNC-Lavalin affair has been stymied because the federal government won't lift cabinet confidentiality for all of the witnesses.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer took aim at this latest development, "Over the next five weeks or so, we're going to be outlining our vision for the country to put more money back in the pockets of Canadians. But what today shows is that you cannot trust Justin Trudeau, he will say anything to cover up the scandals, and he'll say anything to get re-elected."
Trudeau's Liberal election campaign kicked off with the statement, "This fall Canadians once again get to vote for the kind of Canada they want to live in."
Let's hope that Canadians decided that 'the kind of Canada they want to live in' is one that doesn't pit East against West, and one that doesn't pit Western provinces against each other

News: September 9, 2019 issue

Federal Court allows six Trans Mountain appeals

In a recent decision, the Federal Court of Appeal states it will hear six challenges of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
The Trudeau government bought the Trans Mountain pipeline and the stalled expansion project for $4.5 billion last year, with promises to get it past the political and environmental opposition that Kinder Morgan faced.
Three environmental groups, eight First Nations, and the City of Vancouver sought leave to appeal. With claims including inadequate consultations, the court has allowed requests to appeal from the Coldwater Indian Band, Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Upper Nicola Band, the Stk'emlupsemc te Secwepemc, and a First Nations coalition in the Fraser Valley.
"Many of the Indigenous and First Nation applicants now allege that the poor quality and hurried nature of this further consultation rendered it inadequate," says Justice David Stratas in the decision.
Stratas said that short and strict deadlines for litigation will be set, directing the parties to file notices of application for review within seven days.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) released a statement on the federal court's decision to grant leave for appeal.
"The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is disappointed with the federal court's decision to grant leave for appeal. The Trans Mountain expansion project (TMEP) is critical to connecting sustainably produced Canadian oil and natural gas to developing economies with high growth markets.
We support meaningful engagement with Indigenous Peoples for the responsible development of our energy resources. Canada has an opportunity to provide the world with its sustainably produced oil and natural gas to help reduce net global emissions and to meet growing global energy demand.
The TMEP has already undergone a lengthy, thorough and extensive regulatory review process, including extensive consultation with all stakeholders. It has been deemed to be in the best interests of all Canadians.
Despite this setback, CAPP fully expects construction on the TMEP to begin in September," states Tim McMillan, President and CEO, CAPP.

News: September 2, 2019 issue

Partial opening of Bike Skills Park at Willmore

by Deanna Mitchener
The opening of the new Bike Skills Park at Willmore Park is something many people have been waiting for. Unfortunately, due to the rainfall this season the opening has been delayed.
The good news is parts of the park will be open to the public starting on September 8. The Mountain Skills Zone, JayCee Flow Zone, Rotary Pump Tracks, and the North Shore Skills Zone will be open to enjoy.
In an interview with The Weekly Anchor, President of the Edson Cycling Association Mike Stoner-Walker, said, "We are opening portions of the bike skills park to the public on September 8th starting at 10 a.m. At this time there will not be any special events other than opening it to the use of the community and surrounding areas. There will not be a ribbon cutting or events taking place. Four of the seven zones will be opened for use until the snow flies."
"Once the Hoots crew is back we will then gauge if certain areas need to be closed while the crew is back working, for safety concerns," said Stoner-Walker.
Come on out on September 8 to enjoy the newly opened areas of the bike skills park. The park is located 6 kms south of Edson. When traveling west through town turn left on 63rd Street, cross the eastbound highway, and continue south 4 km along the gravel secondary road (R.R #174). Turn left on Twp. Rd 525A and travel two km to the Willmore Park gate, continue into main park area and watch for signage for bike park area. If traveling east into town along Highway 16, look for the Willmore Park sign. Camping is also available.

News: August 26, 2019 issue

Repurposing Marlboro Fire Hall as Indigenous Education Centre proposed

by Dana McArthur

Yellowhead Councillor Dawn Mitchell asked about the repurposing of the old Marlboro Fire Hall to use an Indigenous Education Centre for the community, during the County's Governance and Priorities meeting on August 20.
"As council is aware we have closed down the Marlboro Fire Hall and the building is now sitting empty. I would really like council to consider this space for an Indigenous Education Centre. We do not have enough space at the Marlboro Hall and a repurposed fire hall would be helpful to provide teachings and healing practices like smudging. The Elders really want to be involved with the community and they need a space in order to teach the younger generations."
CAO Jack Ramme said, "We have our architect and structural people on site right now looking at the soundness of the building. We planted the seed of what Councillor Mitchell wanted and they will do an assessment that includes if the build is suitable to repurpose."
Councillor Sandra Cherniawsky said, "I really like this idea and it is very much needed. But as this is Indigenous would there be provincial grants or funding available?” Mitchell responded, "There are a ton of grants available for programming, what they need is for County to help provide a building."
Councillor Lavone Olson said, "I totally agree with this. However, when the County has provided a hall in other communities there is an association that looks after it, and I don't think this one should be different." Mitchell responded that the Kid Wolf Memorial Society would be responsible as they are the Elder society in Marlboro.
Mayor Soroka said, “My concern is that a lot of times when you repurpose a building it is not cost effective and you don't get what you actually want." Mitchell responded that the community would appreciate the repurposed building.
Councillor David Russell added, "By repurposing this building it would provide an opportunity for the community to display their time and effort for this idea. Given the utilisation rate, it would then give us time to build something very special."
Mitchell added, "If we are able to help a community bring back their traditions, and teach a new generation, I think that would be a great thing for Yellowhead County to be a part of."
Mayor Soroka concluded, "I recommend we wait for the building assessment to be done then we can have more discussions and engage the community in what they want."

News: August 19, 2019 issue

Edson to host family-friendly slo-pitch tournament

More registrations needed: “We are hoping to have around 20 teams," Schram
 
by Cassie Kushniruk
 
With intent to provide quality ball and to aid in reinvigorating slo-pitch tournaments within the community, the Town of Edson will be hosting a new family-friendly slo-pitch tournament at Edson’s ‘world-class’Vision Park Facility on September 7 and 8.
In 2017, Edson’s annual Kinsmen Slo-Pitch event, which was known to be one of Canada’s largest slo-pitch tournaments, was cancelled after 37 years due to various issues with the Kinsmen Club of Edson. Although the Rotary Club of Edson attempted to revive the beloved tournament the following year, the tournament was cancelled again due to low registration.
Dubbed ‘Eddie’s Fall Classic’, this new slo-pitch tournament hosted by the Town of Edson will feature a ‘back to ball’ attitude, although it is not intended to replace the former Kinsmen Slo-Pitch tournament. “I don’t think we will ever replace the Kinsmen Slo-Pitch tournament,” said Director of Protective Services Alan Schram. “Slo-pitch has and is still very strong in our community. Eddie’s Fall Classic is just another opportunity to provide ball for our local teams and to showcase Edson to out-of-town teams.”
Eddie’s Fall Classic Slo-Pitch tournament will also act as a fundraising opportunity for the Vision Park Facility, as future plans for the facility include upgrading a few diamonds for fastball, fixing drainage issues in the lower diamonds, adding a permanent washroom facility, replacing some fencing, and other regular maintenance.
In order to promote community inclusivity, it was important to the Town to make this tournament a family-friendly event for families to get out of the house and be active together. Throughout the weekend, a kid’s zone will be set up while ball is underway where kids can enjoy a bouncy castle, games, and more.
As there were already a significant number of local events taking place during August long-weekend, the Town decided it would be best to host Eddie’s Fall Classic on an alternate weekend in order to spread out all the activities. “The timing for this year was a little tight as well,” Schram added. “Also, with less competing events, it may help increase registration.”
Currently, only three teams have registered for Eddie’s Fall Classic. “We are hoping to have around 20 teams for the first year, however, we need a minimum of eight to have the tournament go ahead,” said Schram.
Eddie’s Fall Classic is a 6:4 tournament and teams are guaranteed to play at least 4 games. Teams will be charged a $450 entry fee, plus an additional $50 per team fee if they choose to camp on site. Although this is an adult tournament, youth ages 16 and 17 can apply to play with parental consent and a signed waiver form.
On the Sunday, carded umpires will be in attendance for the knockout round and there will be some great cash prize payouts. Throughout the weekend, concession trucks will also be available while ball is underway.
Registration for Eddie’s Fall Classic Slo-Pitch tournament can be completed at Repsol Place or online at www.edson.ca/ball.

News: August 12, 2019 issue

Public Safety Information Session planned in Edson

  Crime is a continuing concern throughout communities in rural Alberta.
The Town of Edson and Edson Citizens on Patrol have partnered to host a free Public Safety Information Session at the Galloway Station Museum and Travel Centre on August 19 from 7pm to 8:30pm.
Edson RCMP Staff Sergeant Peter King will cover a variety of topics including current community crime trends and statistics, policing priorities, and how residents can protect themselves from becoming victims of crime.
Mayor Kevin Zahara stated, "One of the biggest concerns from residents as of late is the amount of petty theft that has been occurring.  Unfortunately, Canadian courts are not taking this issue seriously enough and it has become a revolving door of theft, arrest, and release."
 "There are strategies that the public can take to protect themselves as theft is often a crime of opportunity.  Staff Sergeant King will have some information regarding that and we will also speak about some changes the Town of Edson is making to the Peace Officer Program which will give the municipality some additional resources when it comes to Public Safety issues," added Mayor Zahara.
There will be an opportunity during the presentation for the public to ask some general questions regarding policing and crime in the community. 
Town of Edson Community Peace Officers are also expected to be in attendance and refreshments will be available. 

News: August 5, 2019 issue

Black Bear trapped in Edson

by Deanna Mitchener
 
On July 27 a black bear was spotted around the Rotary Skateboard Park and the Cedars Trailer Court in Edson.
That bear was soon successfully captured in a bear trap and removed from the Edson area to a remote location.
Julianna Damert with Fish and Wildlife responded to The Weekly Anchor that the bear had been captured around 9:30 p.m. along the creek behind the Cedars Trailer Court on July 28.
Michael Bagnell, Fish and Wildlife officer for the Edson District, answered questions in regards to trapping bears. When asked when Fish and Wildlife Officers step in to trap a bear, Michael responded, "Public safety is always the first priority. If there is a risk to the public, an immediate response is required. This can include if the bear is habituated, causing property damage, feeding on unnatural attractants, sick or injured, has attacked, injured or killed pets or livestock, is present near populated areas, confined or exhibiting aggressive or defensive behaviour or has injured a human."
"On the other hand, if someone reports a bear sighting in a natural habitat, or the bear is non-aggressive or non-threatening behavior, or there are unconfirmed signs of a bear near an urban environment, monitoring the situation and waiting for the bear to move on may be a more appropriate action," explained officer Bagnell.
 "Bear traps are useful when a bear has become a potential risk to public safety. Fish and wildlife officers consult with biologists, specialists and other wildlife professionals when responding to bear complaints.  Some variables we consider include, what the bear is doing, whether there are other bears in the area, likelihood of an incidental catch, if it is a sow with cubs or whether there are other options such as removing attractants," said Bagnell.
"An officer or technician would speak to the complainant to gather all information available. The officer would then assess the surrounding area and choose a location with the highest probability to catch the bear and place the trap. Once a location is chosen, the trap is baited and set, and the area is closed to the public using closure tape and signage. Fish and wildlife officers will set cameras up to ensure the target bear is captured, gather information and put deterrents in place for anyone who may want to disturb the trap," said Bagnell.
"Once the bear has been caught, there are a number of factors that determine where a bear will be relocated to, such as the reasons why the bear was trapped in the first place. Sometimes a bear could be released an hour away and across one or two major waterways, other instances, bears could be relocated hundreds of kilometers to a remote area," explained said Bagnell.
When asked what the difference is when it comes to trapping a black bear compared to a grizzly bear, Bagnell responded, "There is usually a heightened response when dealing with grizzly bears as compared to black bears because they are a much larger animal. A 700lb grizzly requires more manpower than a 150lb black bear, but there is little difference in the way a trap is set up."
When asked if bears need to be sedated whenever they are trapped and relocated, Bagnell replied, "Not necessarily, if they are considered low risk. However, it is common to sedate and ear tag bears to effectively identify bears that have been caught more than once. The required dosage to sedate a bear is calculated by using the estimated weight of the animal. It could take from 10-30 minutes for the drug to set in.  Once the bear is sedated, it will remain asleep for about an hour before we administer a reversal drug."
If you would like more information about bears, another BearSmart information session will be taking place at Willmore Park on August 10 and August 21.
Fish and Wildlife officers will be there to answer any questions you have from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Special thanks to our Wildlife officers for their hard work on a daily basis and for taking time to come out to meet with the public to answer questions.

News: July 29, 2019 issue

County's tax receivables list grows to $5.4M

by Cassie Kushniruk
 
During the Yellowhead County Council meeting on July 23, a funding request was brought forward to Council to increase the provision for non-collectable taxes.
In the 2018 year-end financial statement, Yellowhead County reported outstanding taxes receivable in the amount of $2,187,200 offset by an allowance for non-collectable amounts in the amount of $1,248,503. Since that time, the 2019 tax levy has been processed with a due date of June 30, 2019.
After all payments were processed, the remaining outstanding balance of all tax accounts was $7,340,088, a figure considerably higher than prior years. “The total amount outstanding includes some amounts that are anticipated to be collected, such as monthly payment amounts and amounts under agreement, and after adjustments the outstanding tax receivables balance is estimated at $5,489,328,” said CAO Jack Ramme. “This amount consists of all categories of tax accounts however an estimated amount of $3,800,000 is attributed to oil and gas accounts.”
“The County is now in the position where tax receivables are approximately 5 times greater than this period last year with a number of tax account holders seeming to be under the impression that their taxes were going to be cancelled,” Ramme said. “In addition, penalties in the amount of 6% were applied to outstanding accounts as of June 30.”
Ramme stated that these difficulties combined with a number of bankruptcies and receivership actions means that the County must consider the balance in the allowance account for non-collectable taxes to determine if the allowance will cover the potential for future write off. “The current allowance of $1,248,503 is not sufficient and the allowance should be set at $4,065,740 meaning an increase of $2,817,237,” he said.“The only source of funding available for an item of this magnitude is the General Emergent Reserve which holds sufficient funds to cover it.” As two items have previously been approved from this reserve in 2019, and should the tax allowance amount also be approved, the reserve will be reduced to $3.6 million.
Councillor Sandra Cherniawsky made the motion to transfer the amount of $2,817,237 from the General Emergent Reserve to the Allowance for Non-collectable Taxes.
Councillor Anthony Giezen asked, “If this motion should pass and we transfer the money, what happens if the total amount is not needed or used? Would that go back to reserve fund?”Ramme replied, “Yes. It could be moved back by Council.”
Councillor David Russell asked what the eventual outcome is for the money that goes into the emergent reserve for the amount of uncollectable taxes.
 “That would be used to balance off your budget because we have expenditures that we have to cover,” Ramme replied.
Although Councillor Shawn Berry expressed his support for the motion, he also expressed concerns for the County’s financial future. “Fiscally, we have to be very responsible here,” he said.
Cherniawsky addressed Ramme, “Has this ever occurred before in all your years of doing this?”
Ramme replied, “There’s always years where you have non-collectable taxes for various reasons. To this magnitude, no.”
The motion to transfer the amount of $2,817,237 to the Allowance for Non-collectable Taxes from the County’s General Emergent Reserve was carried unanimously by Councillors. 

News: July 22, 2019 issue

Edson prepares to celebrate 'Community Colours in the Park'

 by Cassie Kushniruk
 
As part of the Town of Edson’s Art in the Park summer series, ‘Community Colours in the Park’ on July 27 will celebrate the ‘colours’ of Edson and the surrounding area through a variety of local entertainment, art, and interactive fun. 
“The event is a way to celebrate the amazing talents and culture that our area has to offer and to help foster a spirit of community cohesion and a sense of pride and place,” said Town of Edson Community Development Coordinator Diana Inscho. 
From 2pm to 8pm, RCMP Centennial Park will play host to a variety of activities for those of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. “Rachel Ripkins will be telling some fun stories for the kids animated with balloons,” said Inscho. “Yellowhead Fiddlers and Edson Cabin Singers, as well as Isaac and Katherine Ahlf, will be playing for us as well.” Face painting, glitter tattoos, and balloon twisting will also be available throughout the day.
The Edson & District Boys and Girls Club will also be out with their food truck and will be providing cotton candy and sno-cones to attendants for free depending on the weather. “We will have popcorn served by our local ACES members,” Inscho added.
“After the disappointment of cancelling the National Indigenous People’s Day [on June 23], we are excited to have the opportunity to bring the Indigenous performers back,” Inscho mentioned. “Their art and culture is a perfect fit for our Community Colours theme.” Indigenous entertainers Tamarack Band, Mountain Cree Drummers, and Fox Creek Development Dancers will return to the park to dance, drum, and entertain.
To contribute to your own ‘colours’, Inscho encourages attendants to wear bright clothing to the event and to contribute to the Community Art Project headed up by local artist Maddy Sharman. “A Community Art project is a way for individuals to contribute their own flare to create a larger, public art piece,” Inscho explained. “Anyone who wants to take part will get to create their piece of the project at the park with the guidance of Sharman. All the pieces created will be added to the large art installation. By the end of the day we hope to have a beautiful piece of artwork to share in a public space in Town.” The Community Art Project will be revealed on the day of the event.  
“Though we’ve reduced the number of events this year, this Art in the Park will have more activities, music, art, and food than any Art in the Park celebrations to date,” said Inscho.“Please come and support our local Boys & Girls Club by purchasing some food from their food truck or some of our local artisans by purchasing their wares or cheering on our performers. All the activities, entertainment and snacks are free.”
If you are a local artisan, there is still space available to sell or show your goods at the event’s Artisan Market. Contact Inscho at dianai@edson.ca or call 780-723-4403 for more information.

 

News: July 15, 2019 issue

Residents recount Niton Junction/Carrot Creek flooding

by Cassie Kushniruk
 
As a result of the major flooding issues in the Niton Junction and Carrot Creek area on July 8, affected residents took to social media to share photos, videos, and descriptions of the severity of the flooding and consequences that ensued.
Marjorie Bencz, who owns a property in the Carrot Creek area, said that her fields were completely covered in water due to overflow from a creek that runs through the middle of her property. “It was up over fields and it was putting water and debris across the fields,” she said. “That ground and soil is completely saturated.”
Luckily, Bencz's field was the only part of her property that was damaged due to the flooding, as her house was high enough where the water could not reach.
Fortunately, Bencz and her husband were able to access the main roads from two different directions, whereas some residents were not able to access the roads at all. While her husband was driving to Edson on July 8, he noticed that the old highway road had been completely washed out at one point.
“The flooding displaces a lot of people and makes them a little leery because you don't know when it's going to stop,” said Bencz. “It does make people nervous.”
During an interview with The Weekly Anchor on July 9, Yellowhead County Mayor Gerald Soroka stated, “The old Hwy 16 near Carrot Creek is washed out and will take several weeks to repair but residents can go around the other way for the time being. The north of Niton where the museum is, it was under several feet of water so there is definitely going to be some destruction there.”
Over the past several years, Yellowhead County has experienced flooding issues in several area of the county due to extreme weather conditions that affected bridges and roads resulting in major repairs and replacement of bridges and culverts.
Carrot Creek resident David Delueew mentioned that the County's recent flooding was less extensive than the flood that occurred in the area in 1986. “I know it was worse because it took out a bridge at the highway,” he said. “It was probably another four feet higher.”
“It was more widespread as well,” Delueew added. “The McLeod was way higher and it wasn't just localized to Carrot Creek and Peers. A lot more people were affected by it.”
Delueew mentioned that even the 1986 flood was not as severe at the flood that occurred in 1954. “I wasn't around then but what I hear is that the river itself actually changed course,” he said.

News: July 1, 2019 issue

Recycling Society hosts Reductions Strategies workshop

EPR, single-use plastic alternatives, plastic bag fee and more discussed
 
by Cassie Kushniruk
 
With the federal government’s recent announcement to ban harmful single-use plastics as early as 2021, the Edson and District Recycling Society thought it was an opportune time to educate community members on single-use plastics and reduction strategies through a double workshop on June 20.
During the afternoon, municipal councillors, West Yellowhead Landfill Authority members, and business owners were invited to the Galloway Station Museum for the first workshop of the day, followed by an evening workshop directed to the general population. Each workshop featured presentations from organizations that have made efforts in addressing the harmful impacts of single-use items in their communities.
Recycling Council of Alberta (RCA) Executive Director Christina Seidel began the workshop by explaining the faults of single-use plastics, “Plastic is the type of material that is very durable; it lasts a long time and yet half of the plastic that is produced in the world is designed to be used once and then thrown away. If you look at the type of plastic [waste] we have in places like beaches, 80% of that is single-use plastic.”
In October of 2009, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) approved a Canada-wide Action Plan for Extended Producer Responsibility (CAP-EPR) in order to create a ‘harmonized approach’ to EPR.
EPR is defined as a ‘policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle’. “Traditionally, while a customer is responsible for getting rid of waste, under EPR the manufacturer would be responsible for properly managing the item at the end of its life,” Seidel explained.
Under the terms of CAP-EPR, it is stated that Canadian jurisdictions would work towards the development of EPR framework legislation and/or regulations to allow for action on identified priority products and materials. “Essentially every province in Canada except for Alberta has done that,” Seidel said. “There are no regulated EPR programs in Alberta. This is an area where we really fall short.”
Sean Stepchuk, co-founder of Waste Free Edmonton —a grassroots organization founded in 2018 working to significantly reduce the amount of waste produced in Edmonton— continued the workshop by highlighting some false solutions in regards to combating single-use plastic waste, such as recycling.
“People think we can just recycle our way out of this,” Stepchuk began. “When it comes to plastic, it’s different than, let’s say, an aluminum can. Aluminum you melt and make a new can and you can do that over and over because of the chemical properties of the can. Plastic doesn’t work that way. You have a bunch of plastic bottles and you recycle them and maybe make a bench or a children’s toy. But what happens with that then? That is now no longer recyclable. You’re extending it a bit but you’re not extending it into the future indefinitely.”
According to recent studies, only 9% of plastic ends up getting recycled in Canada. “There’s lots of reasons for this and one of them is there’s only so many markets out there and it’s expensive,” Stepchuk said. “Plus, a lot of things don’t make it into the recycling stream anyway; they just end up as litter or in the landfill.”
Another false solution, according to Stepchuk, is with regards to plastic single-use item alternatives, such as items labelled plant-based, biodegradable, compostable, etc. “People think as long as we have something that’s made of something better [than plastic], that’s going to be better for us,” he said. “If you throw [a biodegradable/plant-based/compostable, etc. cup] in your recycling …the people who are sorting everything will think it looks like plastic, but it’s not actually plastic so it’s not recyclable.”
“The whole point behind this is… single use items are just the tip of the iceberg and it’s all part of our disposable society,” Stepchuk said, encouraging attendants to focus on reducing rather than recycling.
Owner of Earth’s General Store, Michael Kalmanovich, took over the workshop to inform attendants of his reduced waste grocery store in Edmonton. “What we do is we want to encourage people to not use plastics,” Kalmanovich said. “You have to bring your own bags and containers.”
As there is no service like this available in Edson, Kalmanovich encouraged attendants to use their voice to lobby for less packaging and more sustainable products in local stores.“When you say ‘I don’t like this over-packaged’, they’ll do something about it if enough people say that,” he said. “Those are the people we have to change because that’s where the majority of people do their shopping.”
Lindsay Seidel-Wassenaar with RCA led the next presentation, which looked at statistics surrounding the success of plastic bag fees versus plastic bag bans in municipalities across the world. 
In 2011, the Northwest Territories introduced a 25 cent plastic bag fee for both plastic and paper bags. “The 25 cents that they charge does go back to the territorial government and that goes into an environmental fund,” Seidel-Wassenaar mentioned.
Seidel-Wassenaar added that this policy includes some exemptions, including paper bags in hardware stores and produce bags in grocery stores. “This is very common,” she said. “Almost all municipal reduction programs that I’ve seen do have exemption like that for certain bags.”
Through the introduction of this plastic bag fee, in 2018 the Northwest Territories accounted for 80 bag free businesses and 30 million plastic bags avoided with a 75% reduction rate in terms of plastic bag use.
One attendant of the workshop expressed concerns for implementing a plastic bag fee in Edson, as it gives people the option to continue to use plastic bags. “There are many people that will keep taking the easy way out and pay the five or ten cents and never change their habits.”
Seidel-Wassenaar replied that plastic bag fees have proven to make a difference in a variety of municipalities. “If you want to develop a program with industry alongside supporting you, fees are the way to go,” she said.
Another attendant commented, “We have a transient community here with the oil and gas and everything else. Has there been a study done on a town like this with the transient population?”
Seidel replied that larger cities face a similar population with regards to multi-family residences. “They have a really hard time getting performance out of them,” she said. “You have to have different types of programs for the different parts of the population and you also need to recognize that even if we get 90% performance, you’re still going to have 10%.”
Edson Recycling Depot Manager Anne Auriat said, “There was two questions asked this afternoon; one is the incentive of giving people discounts for bringing their own bag in. Does that work?”
Seidel replied, “No. If you charge people for something, it will change their behavior. If you give them a financial reward, it will not change their behavior. Nobody understands why.”
Auriat then asked if a municipality should consider a plastic bag ban or a fee.  
“Around bags, definitely do a fee,” Seidel replied. “It’s going to have just as much success and you’re going to have a lot less pushback.”
Seidel added, “If you put a ban in, you’re going to end up in court; everybody has.”
Auriat concluded the workshop by thanking the Recycling Society Board for putting the work into this event and the summer students for their volunteering efforts.
“If you think of a topic or you see something that you would really like to get information on, let us know because that’s what we really want to do is the education and promotion within the community,” Auriat said.