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Tuesday June 26th, 2012  
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Lindsay Goss photo
Mayor Decoux at Thursday's Town Hall meeting at Elks Hall.
 
A fiery discussion took place at the Elks Hall in Blairmore, as Crowsnest Pass Municipal Council held its second Town Hall meeting, and Council tried to extinguish the rumors that have been dispersed in and around the municipality of the Crowsnest Pass and discuss the changes the communities will soon be facing.
All Councillors were present with the exception of Councillor Siegbert Gail and hosted close to 200 audience members.
Following a brief PowerPoint presentation by CAO Myron Thompson, that briefly outlined some updates and changes made to the municipality, specifically regarding the Governance and Management Plan, Councillor Brian Gallant, addressed some of the rumors that have been heard around the municipality.
Some rumors that have been heard around the communities that are not true are: a personal appearance bylaw, a clean vehicle bylaw, a permit needed for enclosed fire pits on private residential properties, a permit needed for garage sales, estate taxes existing in the municipality, council’s approval to millions of dollars spent on the municipal office, the municipality hiring dozens of new staff members, and the municipality hiring a professional gopher hunter.
Next, the floor was opened to questions, comments and concerns of the audience.
Thunder in the Valley was the first issue brought to council’s attention. Mayor Decoux explained that, despite concerns that people from surrounding towns and cities might not have received the message that Thunder in the Valley has been cancelled and still might make the trip out to the Crowsnest Pass for the show, advertising regarding cancelation has been sent out. Cities including Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge have been notified of the cancellation of Thunder in the Valley. Revised camping will be set up, and a plan has been put in place as to where the municipality will need police during the weekend.
A young man stood up to ask why people weren’t informed that a park in Coleman was torn down. Councillor Jerry Lonsbury explained that the park did not meet safety standards, and the equipment was hazardous.
Audience Ken Rosner asked council why instead of taking all the equipment out of the park, they did not just update it.
“Occasionally things fall through the cracks,” said Mayor Decoux.
Near the halfway point of the town hall meeting, a man from the audience stood up, spoke out of turn, and accused council of “making Crowsnest Pass look bad to the rest of Alberta,” while using mild profanity, and ending his comment in a threat to the mayor.
 

He was escorted out of the building by police.
It was suggested by an audience member that counsel increases taxes to “weekenders.” These people are also known as the people who own property in the municipality, but only use it as a temporary house, and live elsewhere. This suggestion has heavily argued by other audience members, and questioned by Lonsbury.
“Weekenders spend a lot of money in our municipality, said Lonsbury. They come into our businesses and spend money.”
Perhaps what generated the most positive excitement from the audience was the announcement that council is making plans to help develop a 75 room hotel, following the demolition of the old hospital, and put in the same location. This hotel is planned to have a convention room, and to serve a continental breakfast.
“Something like this could ultimately accelerate the movement on Highway 3,” Mayor Decoux said. “Good things will soon be happening here.”
Other operations that are being planned in the 6.25 acre space that will be vacant once the hospital is torn down will be a truck stop area, a dog run area, a park space, a fast food outlet, an area for quading and snowmobiling, and a franchise restaurant.
Mayor Decoux reminded audience to take what he is announcing with a grain of salt.
“We’re at that stage where things look good, but we’re not getting excited yet.”
A question that was brought up numerous times during the four hour meeting was why taxes are increasing in the municipality.
“We realize it’s a problem,” said Mayor Decoux. “We need to make the community look well, while staying on budget,” he said.
Mayor Decoux explained to audience members that there is a jurisdiction nearby the Crowsnest Pass that has taxes seven times greater than the taxes of the Crowsnest Pass. The population of the jurisdiction is about 80 people.
The Crowsnest Pass municipality is reaching out to the jurisdiction, also known as Ranchmans, and is trying to create a plan to work with them. Counsel is currently waiting for a response.
“We’re going to try to improve things,” said Mayor Decoux. “We don’t know how successful we’ll be, but if we don’t know, then we’ll never know. And we are going to try.”
More information on counsel, and issues around the municipality, can be found in counsel’s newsletter, their Facebook page, and their website: town.crowsnestpass.ab.ca
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