Tuesday, December 29, 2009  
   Volume 79 - Issue 52 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Year
“I’m proud to be from Crowsnest Pass, and I want everyone else to be proud.”
- Joey Ambrosi  
- on receiving the Order of   
Crowsnest Pass   
October 22, 2009


A Fragile Lens- Nathen GallagherFor my final column of the year, I'm going to do something new –– my own personal Crowsnest Pass bricks and bouquets for the 2009 calendar year.
BOUQUETS to council (you didn't see that one coming, did you?) for finishing the 2010 municipal budget before 2010 actually arrives, instead of dragging it out until March or April as they have done in previous years.
I've criticized councils in the past for this practice of taking far, far too long to finish the budget, delaying the municipality's business because of it, so it's only right that I give them a thumbs up for actually doing it on time this year. Maybe I shouldn't commend council for simply doing the job it was elected to do, but I myself have said that I didn't think they could do it. They proved me wrong, and I commend them for it.
BRICKS to council for the way they've handled the Crowsnest Centre matter. Council's constant interference in its operations hamstrung the facility's ability to function, chasing away renters, and they are now bringing legal action against Lethbridge College to force the Educational Consortium to leave the building. Where this will lead is still unknown. Revenue in the facility is down, the volunteer board is being removed from running the building, and currently the municipality is planning to operate the facility itself in 2010, unless a contractor comes forward who is willing to take it on.
The budget for the municipality to run the Centre in 2010 has been set at $140,000. This is more than the municipality ever paid to have the Centre Society run the facility, and at the same time all of this has caused less revenue to come into the community. Is this the best way to run a community during an economic downturn?
BOUQUETS to community groups who found ways to struggle through hard times. The Boys and Girls Club was hit by an unexpected and sudden financial crisis that closed their doors and threatened to be the end of the organization. I myself had to resign from the board in order to do my job of reporting on the situation. The board members who remained, along with new ones who joined on to help save the situation and the other community partners who put in work on the club's behalf, have begun to salvage matters, and with any luck the club will be operational again in the near future.
The Crowsnest Pass Food Bank was forced unwillingly out of the Crowsnest Centre after council's decision to close the old wing. The Food Bank was shut down for three months before they were able to find a new place to stay, at greater cost and a lot of effort. The community has once again been generous to help them out with donations this Christmas season.
Countless other volunteer-based groups have struggled through hard times in 2009, working with fewer funds and fewer people to continue their efforts in the Pass.
BRICKS to mother nature for a weird weather year. (Or perhaps bricks to humanity for screwing mother nature up.) The winter lasted much longer than it should have, with cold weather and snow stretching through the spring. The summer was filled with rain. September was very nice, October was snowy and cold, and then November was quite nice again. December brought freezing temperatures, as low as any I've seen since I was a child in B.C. Come on, nature, make up your mind.
BOUQUETS to everyone who helped support the Pass Herald in 2009. Economic downturns are hard on newspapers as well, because businesses large and small find reasons not to advertise –– even though it could be argued that a recession is the best time to advertise and try to get more business. Newspapers the world over have been hit hard, and for a small, independent, local operation like the Herald to survive, the community's support is necessary.
This last year was made even tougher for local newspapers due to council's decision to tender the municipal advertising. Both papers took a hit, one worse than the other, due to this decision, and they will both continue to take hits for as long as this tendering policy continues. I criticized the decision before the first contract was awarded in the summer, I criticized the decision after the Herald won that first contract, and I continue to criticize the decision now that the Herald has lost the 2010 bid. Both papers lose when they have to fight with each other over prices, and readers lose too.
But for those of you who helped us get through the year all right, and for those of you who will, I hope, continue to support us in 2010, my sincere thanks.
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   Volume 79 - Issue 52 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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