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Tuesday March 20th, 2012  
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Quote of the Week
"If you have no training or experience, now is a good time to be very conservative."
- Shannon Werner  
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Story
Kimberley Massey photo
Crowsnest Pass Municipal Councillor Emile Saindon speaks to Chamber of Commerce members at the luncheon on Wednesday, March 14th at the Blairmore Lions Pride hall.
 
Controversy was on the menu at the monthly Crowsnest Pass Chamber of Commerce luncheon which was held last Wednesday, March 14th, when Councillor Emile Saindon spoke with Chamber members regarding Muncipal Council’s decision to defer the 2012 Thunder in the Valley fireworks show.
Councillor Saindon began by providing an overview of what led to the decision to defer the event, noting that the decision was based heavily on consultation with the RCMP and the need for increased policing costs.
Councillor Saindon told members that the RCMP originally made note of issues with the event in 2007, and that the costs for policing of the event have been steadily increasing since as the event has continued to grow and attract more and more people to the community.
He said the RCMP contended that in its current state, the event was flawed, no longer safe or sustainable, and creates unnecessary risk to the public.
Last year, 34 additional RCMP shifts were worked over the course of the weekend - with officers coming from as far away as Fort McMurray - with an associated cost of $37,079.
Officers received 66 calls for service on Saturday alone, arresting 20 people and issuing 23 liquor violation tickets.
When discussions regarding this year’s event began, the Municipality was informed they would be required to enter into an Enhanced Policing Agreement (EPA) valued at $40,000 before the RCMP would agree to providing additional members.
Councillor Saindon added that the RCMP indicated that even if the funds were provided, the Municipality would still need to look into alternate planning and hosting the event at a different venue before an EPA could be entered into.
“We voted to defer the event in order to give us that extra 12 months to put a plan together and revisit the reincorporation of Thunder in the Valley,” said Councillor Saindon.
Chamber members voiced their disappointment over the decision, due to its potential for lost revenue for several local businesses, as well as the impact on local tourism.
 

“This was a difficult decision to make,” said Councillor Saindon. “It was not made lightly.”
Another Chamber member asked, in the event that Thunder in the Valley returns to the Rum Runner Days celebrations next year, if it will be the focus of the event for years going forward.
Councillor Saindon said that Thunder in the Valley is not and should not be the main focus of the event, rather that it is one of the many events which take place over the course of the weekend and should be treated as such.
The sentiment was echoed by other members of Council and the Rum Runner Days Organizing Committee who were present.
“There is so much more to the Crowsnest Pass than fireworks, and we have to promote that,” said Councillor Brian Gallant.
Councillor Saindon said the community needs to do a better job of promoting local tourism and that it cannot rely solely on any one event.
“We haven’t done a good job of promoting our community the way we should,” said Councillor Saindon.
“We really need to step up when it comes to how we portray this community.”
Councillor Saindon also asked that Chamber members consider getting involved in the planning process in order to ensure the event is successful, adding that the outcome may have been different if there had been more involvement from the local business community from the get-go.
“I’m not being critical, I’m just asking for you to revisit your involvement,” said Councillor Saindon.
“The Chamber should work to ensure the success of its membership.”
Chamber of Commerce President Rick Breakenridge noted that the Chamber executive did in fact attend an initial meeting of the organizing committee, but agreed that continued involvement on the part of local businesses is important.
“If you support this event and you want to see it go forward and succeed, you should get involved,” said Breakenridge.
Following Councillor Saindon’s presentation, Breakenridge informed Chamber members that spaces are still available for the annual Trade Show and Exhibition, which takes place on April 13th and 14th, but spaces are selling out quickly.
Anyone interested in booking a space for the Trade Show is encouraged to contact the Chamber of Commerce at 403-562-7108.
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