January 29th, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 4
Ratepayer meeting update
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
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Pass Herald Staff
The Ratepayers Association held their first meeting of the year on Thursday, January 23rd at the Hillcrest Miners Club.

Issues brought up in the meeting included the resignation of the Public Works Superintendent, using Municipal vehicles for personal use, signage, fire departments and the state of buildings in the area.

One of the hot topics for discussion was the state of municipal buildings in the Crowsnest Pass. Strembicki noted that council did an inventory of the building and some were in deplorable state. One building in particular is the Albert Stella Memorial Arena. “It needs a new roof. It’s leaking onto an electrical panel that been covered with plastic to re-direct the water”. Stembicki went on to say, “it’s a two bit fix that’s not acceptable”.

Milo Marcial, who was instrumental in the construction of the arena in 1961 spoke up regarding the building. “I helped in the construction of the building. The former mining company in Blairmore, West Canadian Collieries, gave me permission to use their CAT to load all the gravel from Burmis to make the concrete bases for the laminated beams”.

Marcial feels that the building started to deteriorate around 4-5 years ago. He thinks the main part of the building, which only consists of the ice surface and stands, is in good shape. In his opinion it’s the additions to the building, including the dressing rooms, curling surface and the lobby, which are in worse disrepair. “If you just put in a bit of work, you can have it functioning.”

Bill Kovach, who was in the crowd as a member of the public noted that the Blairmore Arena is, “indeed a marvelous facility, but it’s gotten so bad that even municipal workers will not go on the roof to clear the snow”.

It was noted that the Coleman Complex is in good shape, however, the MDM facility is in need of a new roof as well.

Another issue brought forth involved the fire department and the procedures used during a fire. Strembicki asked, “why does the Blairmore Fire Department have to attend all fire calls, even ones in Coleman”. He noted that the new policy of, “everyone going to a fire must cost the town a lot of money and it’s really inefficient”. They also questioned why there is a Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chief. The group also made mention that if there was a fire and all 17 fire personnel were there, what would happen if a fire broke out in another part of town?

Marcial again responded, “I spent 40 years on the Fire Department, five of those years as a Chief. The old system couldn’t be beat. It couldn’t be touched. We always had a back up in case a second fire started.”

A second person in the group asked the Ratepayers to petition council to have the Hillcrest Fire Hall re-opened.

It was noted that the fire chief has been qualified with the Safety Codes Officer Fire Discipline as of January 14th, 2014.

When asked, CAO Sheldon Steinke, told the Pass Herald that the issue is under review with council and administration and the Fire Chief and will be brought forth at a later date.

The executive again brought up the issue of signage. Kovach stated to the group, “Let it go, the last council already spent the money. We have way bigger issues to deal with in this community. It’s done. They are only signs.”

Executive member Mike Hardy noted, “I want to acknowledge the CAO and how much he has helped our organization and the community. He answers his phones, returns calls and provides information to council in an efficient way”.
January 29th ~ Vol. 84 No. 4
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