Medicine Hat Media

Posts Tagged ‘City Council’

Medicine Hat’s Volunteer Centre will likely close it’s doors after Christmas. The organization that has been a staple in our community since 1991 was overlooked for FCSS funding and can no longer operate. Program funding was a decision made by our current city council. The same council that has recently allotted funds to Slave Lake, Haiti and the Horn of Africa. Irregardless of the fact that our generosity extends beyond our borders, times are tough and we cannot fund a twenty year old organization providing services to the local community. If you are wondering why, here are some people you can ask:

Mayor Normand Boucher
Alderman Graham Kelly
Alderman Wayne Craven
Alderman Les Pearson
Alderman Phil Turnbull
Alderman Ted Clugston
Alderman Jeremy Thompson
Alderman John Hamill

Engineering, project management firms selected for unique project

City Council passed a motion regarding the selection of vendors for engineering and project management of the City’s concentrating solar thermal energy project at their Council meeting on Monday, June 20.

The decisions mark one of the first steps in the project, which will produce energy mined from the sun’s rays, converted into steam, and then connected to the City’s existing electrical generation system. It will produce approximately one megawatt of electricity. The project is the first of its kind in Canada.

International company Worley Parsons was selected as the engineering firm. Cascade Management of Saskatoon was chosen to handle project management.

“There are many steps to go to bring this project to fruition, however, these firms are experienced and specialized, making us confident they will guide the City successfully through the process,” said Gerry Labas, Chief Operating Officer of the City of Medicine Hat’s Energy Division.

Worley Parsons has experience handling these types of initiatives, including working with the Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Florida, which is one of the few worldwide that connects the technology with a gas-fired power plant, as will be the case in Medicine Hat.

Project management firm Cascade Management has experience with the City of Medicine Hat’s electrical generation system as they oversaw the purchase and installation of the LM6000 electric generators to the City’s power plant. The firm also assisted with funding applications and project plans for the City’s solar thermal initiative during the research and approval phases.

The concentrating solar thermal project was announced in November 2010 as a partnership between the City of Medicine Hat, the Government of Alberta and Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC). Each partner contributed $3 million to the $9 million project.

As of April 1st this year, Service Alberta is charging alot more for their services. Your driver’s license, land titles and corporate registeries are seeing a jump in cost.  But that’s not what is going to hit your wallet the hardest.

What will be a more significant cost to you is a brand spanky new fee for every photo radar, red-light camera or parking ticket written. Whether you get a ticket or not.  Fifteen dollars for every one of those pesky buggers.

Why fifteen dollars?  What exactly does Service Alberta have to do in processing these tickets?  I don’t know, but it must be fifteen dollars worth of effort or they wouldn’t be charging it… all of a sudden… out of the blue.

The new fees will cost municipalities across Alberta, millions of dollars.  Calgary is looking at losing police staff because of the costs, St. Albert Councillors are discussing a tax increase, while Red Deer and other municipalities are lobbying for a delay in the implementation.

Medicine Hat City council was glowing a month ago over a budget that balanced with a 0% tax increase for this year.  However now, with Service Alberta collecting over a half million dollars from our city’s piggy bank… it translates to a tax increase of 1 percent.

Which leads one to wonder why there is such a shortfall with this Provincial Department?  I don’t know how Service Alberta ended up with such a strained budget, but WE are certainly going to feel it.

Medicine Hat College approached the City of Medicine Hat last year with a proposal to gain full use of the Cultural Centre for the expansion of the Visual Communications Program. The City agreed to work with the College and key stakeholders to look at viable solutions to relocate the current City supported user groups, but City Council has determined it is not financially feasible for the City to relocate the groups from the Cultural Centre.

“The College has been notified of the City’s decision and operation of the Cultural Centre will continue to be a shared responsibility of the City and the College,” said Ray Barnard, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Medicine Hat.

The Cultural Centre opened in 1983 as a shared project of the City and the College and will continue to be a place for Arts and Culture to thrive in the Medicine Hat Community.

“Our goal has been to find an affordable way of serving the needs of our students, and I offer my thanks to the City for the energy and time they committed to their evaluation,” said Dr. Ralph Weeks, President & CEO of Medicine Hat College. “Our motivation to steward resources intended for post-secondary education, and provide appropriate space for our students, continues.”

Awhile back, we posted an article from the city entitled “Council Identifies Top Five Priorities for 2011” which discussed the top priorities set out by the council for the year. What I want to figure out is, between the three contending topics, which in your opinion is the most important? Let’s see what the Medicine Hat Media readers (the most important group of people) think.

What should be the highest priority for 2011?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

The council voted against the city’s public services committees recommendation to host the 2015 Lieutenant Governer of Alberta Arts Awards, typically a 2-4 day celebration. This event would have coincided with the Esplanade’s 10th anniversary and promote Medicine Hat’s art community.

It’s an estimated cost of $100,000 which has been argued that it would not draw thousands of people to the city the way large sporting events do. However, there’s an opportunity for the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games, which they guess would draw thousands of people – but would also cost $1,000,000.

Ald. John Hamill said the birthday of the Esplanade is nothing to celebrate, as many people opposed building it in the first place and “Many people have never darkened its door, and they never will.” Ald. Graham Kelly said if they’re supporting sports they need to support the arts as well.

The art community in Medicine Hat has grown significantly over the years, and recently lost the Struck Gallery. Now there’s no support for the Esplanade, and despite having equal ratios (10 times the cost, 10 times the turn out)  they’re favoring the sporting event. I would just like to toss in that I, and other people I know, haven’t “darkened the door” of the arena, and when the events center is built I don’t plan on entering it either.

City Council met last night and today in sessions facilitated by the Local Government Leadership (LGL) Institute to find alignment on the Municipal Services priorities for the upcoming year.

“This was the first real opportunity that Council has had to sit down together as a whole to have some lengthy discussion about the priorities that all nine members are bringing to the table,” says Mayor Norm Boucher.

The sessions were not meant for decision making, but rather for City Council to bring their priorities to the table and work towards consensus to determine which require more immediate resolutions.

Over the course of the sessions two distinct themes emerged: Facilities and Fiscal Matters. From those two themes, the following issues were identified in no particular order:

  • The Glanville site
  • The Event Centre
  • The Cultural Centre
  • The Animal Shelter
  • Review of the Dividend Policy

“The sessions were definitely a success because we were able to come together on these five priorities,” said Boucher.

City Council will decide whether to proceed with project

Provincial regulators approved the Box Springs Wind Farm on December 14, marking the next step in the project.

With the approval by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC), City Council must now decide whether to move forward with the wind farm, which would carry an approximate cost of $25 million to the City.

The project consists of four, 2-megawatt (MW) wind turbines, which would generate enough electricity for about 3,000 Medicine Hat residences. It would be located on the east side of Box Springs Road near the City’s northern boundary.

“This is the next step in what has been an exhaustive process and now it’s up to council to decide whether or not it’s in the city’s best interest to proceed,” said Russell Smith, Manager of Energy Sustainability.

The application was sent to the AUC for approval by the city in February 2009. The AUC conducted a thorough study which assessed various aspects of the project including the proposed connection to the provincial electricity grid and environmental factors such as noise and the effects on birds, bats and plant life.

If City Council approves the project, the target date for the erection of the wind farm would be late 2012 or early 2013.

Full details of the decision are available on the AUC website at

Alderman and candidate for re-election Jeremy Thompson will be hosting a free family skate event on Saturday.

In order to encourage Hatters to get out and take an active part in this year’s election, Thompson rented the Encana Arena at the Family Leisure Centre and is hosting a meet and greet on the ice surface from 2:15-3:15 PM on October 2.

“I hope to see citizens from all walks of life at our family skate event,” Thompson said. “My hope is that not only will my current supporters come out, but also people whom I have not yet had a chance to meet or discuss my campaign with.”

Thompson played for the Medicine Hat Tigers before beginning his professional hockey career and also spent time on the ice coaching and directing hockey schools.

“This was a natural fit for a campaign event,” Thompson said. “Not only are we promoting physical activity, but we are encouraging and being involved in our community.”

The skate event immediately follows free family skate time. Patrons are invited to stay after the 1:00 – 2:00 PM public session ends to attend the skate session and meet and greet with Thompson and his family.

For more information, view Thompson’s website at

With less than a month to go before some Hatters could be faced with an empty Thanksgiving plate, Medicine Hat alderman and candidate for re-election Jeremy Thompson is hosting a fundraising barbecue on Saturday to benefit the Medicine Hat and District Food Bank.

All Hatters are invited to attend the come-and-go barbecue on Saturday from 12-3 PM in the Medicine Hat Lodge parking area. Cost for a hamburger or hot dog and a drink is $4.00, with proceeds donated to the food bank. Gluten free hamburgers will also be available.

“We are approaching an important time of year for organizations like the food bank,” Thompson said. “I hope that community members will take time to come out to our event on Saturday, lending the food bank some assistance along the way.” THE JUMP – Read the rest of this entry »



p include (TEMPLATEPATH . '/sidebar.php'); ?>