Tag: Blairmore

Firefighter gear hanging on fire hall wall

Hillcrest fire station to remain open

Historic buildings play an important role in the cultural identity of a community. As buildings age and their initial uses get transferred to modern facilities, however, rising maintenance costs can bring up questions about how much maintaining cultural identity is worth.

Such was the conversation about Hillcrest’s Fire Station 4 during Crowsnest Pass council’s Oct. 18 regular meeting. Administration brought the topic forward with the recommendation that council close the firehall due to the facility not meeting current fire protection standards, specifically in equipment requirements and staffing levels.

Only two volunteers man the station. One works a mining shift schedule and the other is in their late 70s and has reduced work function. The Fire Underwriters Survey, a fire insurance statistical group, states the minimum staff level for a station to be recognized is 10 personnel.

On top of requiring considerable upkeep and operating costs, the aging hall also is unable to house a front-line fire engine. Currently, the only firefighting truck is a 2001 Ford Type 6 brush/wildland truck that is past its end of life.

Emergency services calls to Hillcrest are serviced from Station 3 in Bellevue. Closing the Hillcrest station would not affect Hillcrest’s emergency or fire protection.

Closing the hall, said CAO Patrick Thomas, would allow the municipality to utilize the building and the respective funds in a more meaningful way, but would in no way be meant as a slight against the legacy of the facility.

“First and foremost, no one wants to go and put forth that there is not an immense appreciation for the years of service that have come out of that hall,” he said.

“That is not the intent, to try and put any slight against that. This is more looking at it from a business sense. It’s essentially just running as a hall on paper and nothing more.”

Though recognizing the financial commitment to the hall did not result in any additional advantages to the municipality’s fire response, Coun. Lisa Sygutek said keeping the hall open would carry a deeper meaning than monetary value could communicate.

“Sometimes there’s things you just do because it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

“It shouldn’t have a cost price attached to it. This is a community that has nothing left in it — it has the Hillcrest Fish and Game, it’s got the Miners Club, and it’s got a facility that matters to them. It matters to them for their perceived safety.”

“Even if we don’t feel that it matters to their safety, for them, it matters for their safety,” Sygtuek continued.

“There’s right things to do and wrong things to do, in my opinion, and in this situation we are removing so many things from the community in such a short period of time, I’m just not willing to do this one.”

Coun. Vicki Kubik agreed.

“As it is, I get the financial part of it, but I also understand the connection that people have that gives them that sense of community, and a fire hall can be an important part of that,” she said.

“The general consensus when I meet with the constituents in that area is they would be really offended to have the firehall closed. They perceive it to be something that speaks to their safety.”

“I wonder if they just don’t even know that there’s nothing in that hall that would service them,” Kubik added.

“There is a lot of concern expressed about the railroad tracks and how long it would take for them to receive service if they needed it. Just on principle alone, given what the constituents in that area have told me, I can’t in good conscience vote in favour of closing the Hillcrest firehall either.”

Although still reliant on Bellevue, Coun. Doreen Glavin said, previous experience showed a station in Hillcrest could make a difference when a life was on the line.

“I know in one instance they didn’t do that [wait for help from Bellevue] and they went and helped with a heart attack patient. And whether it be medical or even a vehicle accident, I would feel better with having it closed if the personnel that live in that community can respond without having to go to the fire station first before they acted on whatever the emergency situation would be,” she said.

“I’m really concerned, we see it all the time with CP Rail, [where] that train is stuck on the tracks.”

Sentiments aside, however, the fact remained: the station did not have enough staff or the right equipment to provide an acceptable level of emergency service.

“Maybe what administration needs to do is to put it out to the public and say, ‘Hey look, these are the options: if we can’t get volunteers from this community to be members of the fire department, we are going to be forced to close this hall,’ ” said Mayor Blair Painter. “Lay it out in black and white and see if anybody steps forward.”

Apart from volunteers, the major issue was lack of equipment, said Coun. Dave Filipuzzi.

“Even if you recruited six people in the Hillcrest area — what are they going to do? There’s not going to be no equipment there,” he said. “You’re still going to have to go to either Bellevue or Blairmore.”

“I mean you’re going to a hall that’s got nothing in it. Even if you got 20 people from Hillcrest, it’s still got no value,” Filipuzzi continued.

“Other than you know what, the value that it’s got, is that ‘Hey we still got the Hillcrest firehall. Even though it’s falling down around us, we’ve got a nice rock outside and we got a nice thing outside and this looks great.’ But the value of it — think of the value of it. Does it have value to the community? No, it don’t.”

Closing Station 4, he said, would mean the municipality could repurpose it to fulfil another need. “It’s not like we’re just going to go there and plow it over,” he said.

Keeping the hall open, added Mayor Painter, would mean ignoring the facts of the issue and the logical course of action for the municipality to take as a whole.

“You’re not thinking with your head, you’re thinking with your heart. And that’s not always in the best interest of the community,” he said.

Council eventually voted not to close Station 4.

At the request of Coun. Sygutek, a recorded vote was taken. Mayor Painter and Couns. Filipuzzi and Girhiny voted in favour of closing the hall, while Couns. Sygutek, Kubik, Glavin and Ward opposed its closure.

Monica Linda Primrose Obituary Blairmore

Obituary for Monica Linda Primrose

Monica was born in Blairmore on Aug. 4, 1951, to proud parents Albert and Helen Kropinak. Along with her brother, she was raised to work hard and to take care of those around her. She learned these lessons well, and her commitment to her family and to her community was evident in everything she did.

Whether raising her children alongside her husband, Russell, teaching or volunteering her time and energy to a good cause, Monica devoted herself completely to any task she undertook. Over the years, Monica served on the board of the Women’s Resource Centre, was president of the Polish Hall Society and was a 24-year member of Beta Sigma Phi.

In her leisure time, Monica enjoyed a variety of hobbies, including doll collecting and repair, sewing and gardening. She also loved to sing and was a past member of the Crowsnest Community Choir.
Monica was a wonderful person who could light up any room with her smile. The joy she brought to the world is a treasure that cannot be lost.

Left to mourn her passing and celebrate her life are her husband, Russell Primrose of Crowsnest Pass, Alta.; her son, Morgan Primrose; her daughter, Victoria Primrose, and fiancé Mike Mahony; her grandson, Skyler Van der Linden; her brother, Dale (Maxine) Kropinak; her nephew, Brad (Ivana) Kropinak, and their children, Cash and Taliyah; her niece, Rhonda (Will) Rosner, and their children, Luke and Lydia; her uncle, Bruno Michalsky; her aunt, Caara Tanner; many cousins and extended family; as well as countless friends.

She was predeceased by her parents, Helen and Albert Kropinak.
A celebration of Monica’s life will be held when Covid-19 restrictions allow. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations will be gratefully accepted by ddsdthe Crowsnest Pass SPCA (PO Box 725, Blairmore, AB, T0K 0E0), or by your local animal shelter.

Condolences may be registered at www.fantinsfuneralchapel.ca.

 

Funeral arrangements entrusted to Fantin’s Funeral Chapel

403-562-8555   www.fantinsfuneralchapel.ca

Marilynn Jenness Kofluk Obituary Blairmore

Obituary for Marilynn Jenness Kofluk

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Marilynn Jenness Kofluk on June 10, 2021, at the Crowsnest Pass Health Centre in Blairmore, Alta. She was 78 years of age.

Marilynn was born in Edmonton, Alta., on June 18, 1942. She was raised to cherish family and with a strong faith in her Lord, Jesus Christ. Throughout her entire life, she never wavered in her dedication to either.

On May 18, 1963, Marilynn married the love of her life, Paul Kofluk. The happy couple went on to be blessed with a beautiful family and countless wonderful memories over their 58-year marriage. In 2009, Marilynn and Paul relocated from Golden, B.C., to Crowsnest Pass, Alta., where they soon became integral members of their community.

Marilynn was an active person who had many interests and hobbies. She enjoyed reading, bird watching, dancing and playing golf. Her commitment to serving others was well demonstrated by her involvement with the Rebekahs (Independent Order of Odd Fellows).

The only thing that compared to Marilynn’s devotion to Jesus Christ was her devotion to her family. She never missed an opportunity to spend time with them and she treasured every moment. May we take comfort in precious memories and in the knowledge that she is now home with the Lord.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3: 5-6).

Left to mourn her passing and celebrate her life are her husband, Paul Kofluk of Coleman, Alta.; her sons, Mark (Jen) Kofluk and Matthew Kofluk; her daughter, Jenness (Dave) Shortreed; her grandchildren, Teslan, Derek, Connor, Aden, Tianna, Kloe, Cierra, Kennedy (Jeff), David (Maddison) and Trenan; her great-grandchildren, Beau, Saylor and Jude; her brother, Bud (Penny) Cartwright; her sister, Anne Alfano; as well as her extended family and many friends.

She was predeceased by her parents, Myrtle and George Cartwright; her brother-in-law, Hubert Alfano; her nephew, David Alfano; and her niece, Brenda Sharhon.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations will be gratefully accepted by the Crowsnest Pass Food Bank (PO Box 675, Blairmore, AB, T0K 0E0). Condolences may be registered at www.fantinsfuneralchapel.ca.

 

Funeral arrangements entrusted to Fantin’s Funeral Chapel

403-562-8555   www.fantinsfuneralchapel.ca

Helen Suca Obituary Crowsnest Pass

Obituary for Helen Suca

Helen is survived by her extended family in Slovakia and the many friends she had made throughout her lifetime. She was predeceased by her parents, Joe and Mary Suca, and her sister Mary.

Helen was born on April 5, 1924, in Kluknava, Gelnici, Slovakia, to parents Joseph and Mary Suca. Together with her sister Mary, the family immigrated to Canada in 1929 and settled in the Burmis area of Alberta, where Helen spent her childhood. As a young adult, Helen’s family moved to the Bellevue Dairy Road area. Later life would see a move to Coleman and then to Blairmore.

Helen enjoyed being an elementary school teacher, with the Maple Leaf and M.D. McEachern schools in Bellevue being the last two schools of her teaching career. At the age of 53, Helen retired from teaching.

With retirement, her sister Mary and she continued their love of travelling with trips to Australia, New Zealand, the Mediterranean, Morocco, Slovakia, Florida and central Europe. Favourite day trips were to Waterton Park and Lundbreck Falls, and going to visit friends.

Hiking and walking in the hills and mountains in the Crowsnest Pass area was another of Helen’s passions. Being physically fit was important to Helen and until her mid 70s she continued mowing her lawn using a reel mower. She also enjoyed ice skating and skated until her 70s.

Retirement gave Helen and her sister the opportunity to cultivate many more friendships with neighbours and their families, and as neighbours moved away those friendships were maintained and friendships were cultivated with the new neighbours. In retirement, Helen’s enjoyment of youth extended to the children and grandchildren of her friends.

Helen’s friendships were very important to her and there are too many friends to name, but know that Helen appreciated your visits to her home and your willingness to help her with tasks, especially since Mary’s passing in 2014. Mary and Helen had been inseparable. With the advent of Covid-19 restrictions, and the inability of most friends to visit with her, Helen appreciated the phone calls, letters and cards from all.

It gave Helen great pleasure when a former student would stop and talk to her in a store or other venues to tell her their name and when she had taught them. It is fair to say that the elementary students once taught by Helen are now in their mid 50s and older, so names were required as facial recognition was not possible with most! Once told the name, Helen usually remembered the student and their attributes and it so brightened her day.

In her younger adult years, Helen enjoyed playing softball and badminton, and square dancing. Some of Helen’s students may remember being taught square dancing in gym class by Helen and Mary. Many will remember watching the women’s softball team play at the Bellevue ball diamond. Others will remember Helen sharing details of her travels with her students.

Helen was able to stay in her home until recently and so appreciated the care provided by home-care staff. Thank you to the nurses at the Crowsnest Pass hospital and Dr. Kara Powell for the care given to her in her final days.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Crowsnest Community Library. Upon retirement, Helen spent many hours volunteering at the Bellevue library and it was one of her favourite hobbies.

At the request of the deceased, no service will be held. Condolences may be registered at www.fantinsfuneralchapel.ca.

 

Funeral arrangements entrusted to Fantin’s Funeral Chapel

403-562-8555   www.fantinsfuneralchapel.ca

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