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Tag: Recreation

Pincher Creek town councillors and administration sit at chambers table and one is on-screen, attending virtually. Four have hands raised, voting in favour of new curling rink plan.

Pincher Creek to build new curling rink, pending borrowing bylaw

The motion, tabled by Coun. Mark Barber, triggered a lengthy deliberation at chambers Monday, drawing input from all six councillors and Mayor Don Anderberg as they weighed the project against the town’s acute, chronic housing shortage, the potential tax increase to pay for the build, and the state of the existing facilities at the CRC. 

Council several times acknowledged the long-running contributions by the local curling club, which has long operated the current curling rink at 837 Main Street at its own expense. 

Council set aside $1.25 million of the estimated $4 million build in its 2023 capital budget. The remaining $2.75 million will be funded by a long-term loan, pending council’s upcoming vote on a borrowing bylaw, which will be the subject of a public hearing. 

Speaking in favour of Barber’s motion, Mayor Anderberg said that, in a worst-case scenario, council could pay for the project with a three per cent municipal tax increase. Council will apply for a federal grant that would cover up to 60 per cent of construction costs, provided the build goes ahead on a “net-zero” carbon footing, he told the public audience. 

 

Ad for Aurora Eggert Coaching in Beaver Mines

 

Coun. Gary Clelland cast the vote as an “11th-hour” decision that would determine the curling club’s future.

“This is the time for us to take a positive step forward in our community, and say, ‘We want hundreds of people involved in this (curling) centre that for 100 years paid their way, have been leaders in the community … paid taxes in the community for 100 years, and still do today,” he said.  

Coun. Sahra Nodge objected that the long-term borrowing costs and subsequent maintenance of the rink would overly burden taxpayers, adding that the CRC’s gym and bowling alley are approaching their end of life.

“My role on council is to make sure that the monies that are spent by the town are done so responsibly, and with the due diligence and transparency that our community expects,” she said. 

Echoing Nodge, Coun. Brian Wright asked council, “How do we not bring a tax increase in order to get this to move forward?” 

 

Aerial view of the Cowley Lions Campground on the Castle River in southwestern Alberta

 

Anderberg noted that residents surveyed in Pincher Creek’s March 2021 master recreation plan identified an upgrade to the curling rink as a top priority for indoor recreation.

“If our community tells us that a new curling facility is high on their list of priorities, I’ll follow their direction,” he said. 

Coun. David Green said housing solutions should take priority over the proposed curling rink. 

The town’s population has marginally shrunk in the past 15 years. Its housing vacancy rate was less than 1.5 per cent in 2017, when most of the town’s and neighbouring village of Cowley’s housing stock was close to 40 years old, according to a 2018 housing-needs assessment commissioned by council. 

“The lack of adequate and affordable housing for low-income families is a barrier to the economic growth and stability of (Pincher Creek) communities,” the assessment found.

 

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Coun. Wayne Oliver, who attended the meeting remotely due to illness, said he trusted Anderberg’s business savvy. 

“Yes, housing is extremely important. But, I think we could work parallel on housing while building a new curling rink facility,” Oliver said. 

Barber’s motion passed 4-3 after Anderberg called the question, with Couns. Barber, Clelland and Oliver in favour, and Couns. Nodge, Green and Wright against. 

Council then unanimously passed Barber’s motions to apply for the federal grant and to tack $2.75 million onto 2023’s operating budget. 

Council must now decide whether to authorize a $4-million loan through a borrowing bylaw. The loan would  cover construction costs not already budgeted for if council’s grant application fails, but Anderberg said the town probably wouldn’t spend the full amount.

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Community priorities: Open letter to Pincher Creek council

Curling arena concerns: Open letter to Pincher Creek council

Pincher Creek celebrated as Alberta’s sturling hotbed

Town council considers renos and rebuilding

Short-term rental bylaw amendment deferred

 

 

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Safe adventuring

As the weather gets warmer, there is typically a spike in the number of calls reporting missing hikers, bikers and campers, says Cpl. Mark  Amatto, who estimates that the detachment typically gets around 20 to 30 calls from mid summer to mid autumn.

Amatto says missing individuals can be located quickly as long as concerned friends and relatives take immediate action.

“We have a very good track record of getting to the people that we need for a recovery,” he states.

For this reason, a call to report a missing person should be made sooner rather than later.

“There is no such thing as waiting 24 hours to call the police,” he says. “If you’ve got a bad feeling or if somebody’s supposed to have checked in and they’ve overshot the expected time frame, call.”

The caller should provide descriptive details about the missing person, he explains, including the clothing they were last wearing, the route they were taking, the vehicle they were driving along with the licence plate, and any medical conditions they have and medications they could be taking.

Hikers, bikers and campers should tell friends and relatives where they are going prior to the trip, he adds. That way, if something happens, a specific location can be narrowed down for a search party.

Too many trekkers rely solely on their phone to get them out of a bad situation, says Amatto, which can be problematic, as many remote areas have no cell service.  

“There’s quite a few people who will count on Google Maps to help them out of backcountry, until they realize they have no map and don’t know where they’re going, and they’re not dressed appropriately or they don’t have the right footwear, and if they fall down and hurt themselves, we don’t know where to send crews to help them,” he explains.

All outdoors persons should carry a usable GPS unit with built-in search-and-rescue technology, he says, and have bear spray close at hand. When camping, all valuables should be locked up or hidden to make a tent less appealing to thieves.

In the event someone does become lost, they should activate the SOS feature on their GPS device and wait for a rescue team, says Amatto.

If they have a physical map and feel confident enough to self-rescue, they should do so, he adds, making sure to leave sticks or rocks in the shape of a big arrow to mark the direction they are heading and to follow a river or body of running water in order to locate the nearest community.

If they are completely lost and disorientated, they can start blowing an emergency whistle in groups of three bursts or make smoke signals with a controlled fire.

Following the proper protocol not only keeps outdoor explorers safe, Amatto says, but also removes a burden from police and rescue teams, making search operations less time-intensive and costly.