News Briefs – December 2, 2020

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Town of HP slow in billing

Big Lakes County council heard at its Nov. 25 meeting the Town of High Prairie is a little slow in invoicing the County for its services.
During the presentation of the cheque list, director of corporate services Heather Nanninga was asked why a cheque for $604,681.37 was issued to the Town of High Prairie.
Nanninga replied most of the fee included the Town’s recreation requisition, which included three of the last four quarters.
“They’re behind,” she said.

Pandemic halts HPSD awards

The long-service awards banquet usually held by High Prairie School Division will not be held this year.
It doesn’t mean recipients will not be recognized, however.
The HPSD board of trustees met Oct. 21 and decided to issue the recipients an acknowledgment letter and booklet. All names will also be published on the HPSD’s website for all to see.

Bylaw enforcement files dropping

The work of the bylaw enforcement officer is paying off, says Big Lakes County.
Judson Mayes started work in 2017 and has had 65 bylaw enforcement files average from 2018-20. In 2020, the number of files dropped to 37.
“It’s going the right direction – less files every year,” says director of community and protective services Brett Hawken at council’s Nov. 25 meeting.
Animal control files remain fairly similar with 56 files so far in 2020 [to the end of October] compared to the three-year average of 55.
Mayes began work at Big Lakes County May 15, 2017. His job includes maintaining all bylaws.

No extra money for food bank

Big Lakes County council declined a request at its Nov. 25 meeting from the High Prairie and District Food Bank to increase its grant from 2019.
Last year, the food bank received $2,500 but this year they asked for $3,000.
Council heard the food bank was asking for a little extra to assist with operations including utilities, waste removal and rent.
There was little discussion in keeping the money the same as last year. No councillor opposed the motion.

Nor is there for Kinuso

The Kinuso Community Association also requested a little more money in its request to Big Lakes County at the Nov. 25 meeting.
The association requested $200 in cemetery funding opposed to $1,000 last year, and $60,000 in recreation funding opposed to $569,826.65 last year. Money is granted under the cemetery and recreation grants respectively.
During budget 2020 debate, council decided due to COVID-19 and economic uncertainty, recreation grants would be scaled back 10 per cent.
Council unanimously refused the request but agreed to fund the association the budgeted amounts.

SR PC launches annual fundraiser

The Smoky River Palliative Care Society is launching its “Light up a Memory” fundraiser for 2020.
The campaign, which runs from Nov. 15 Jan. 1, 2021, offers a special way to remember loved ones and offers comfort to many people.
The campaign focuses on raising funding and awareness to support the purchase of necessary equipment, resource material, and supplies for palliative care patients to make their last days as comfortable as possible. It is a support to the families who wish to stay with their loved ones, and have access to the palliative care rooms in acute care to rest.
For more information about the society’s 2020 “Light up a Memory” fundraiser, please call Lucille Leclerc at [780] 837-2143 or Cecile Turcotte at [780] 925-2250.

Adopt-a-Grandparent begins in PR

The Town of Peace River is launching their Adopt-A-Grandparent program again this year, but the program has been retooled for safety during COVID-19.
Holiday gift bags will be delivered to seniors in Peace River, including those who live at Heritage Towers, Points West Living, and Sutherland Nursing Home.
Anyone who would like to help can pick up a gift bag at the Baytex Energy Centre starting Nov. 16 and fill it with unisex gifts.
A suggested value for gifts is between $25–50.
Filled bags have to returned to the Baytex Energy Centre by Dec. 14. FCSS staff, volunteers will deliver the gifts in time for the holidays.
Seniors living in care facilities will be referred by the facilities, and seniors living independently can be referred to this program by either family, friends, or support agencies by calling [780] 624-1000 ext. 1030. All referrals are kept confidential.

Santa’s Little Helper returns to HP

Young families and others less fortunate in High Prairie will be supported at Christmas with special vouchers offered by High Prairie and District Children’s Resource Council.
Santa’s Little Helpers will provide vouchers rather than Christmas hampers this holiday season.
Sponsorships and applications can all be accessed online or by appointment at the High Prairie Children’s Centre at 4709–51 Street.
Young families, adults and seniors are invited to apply for vouchers for groceries and gifts for young children and youth.
Deadline for applications and donations is Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. Vouchers will be delivered Dec. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, phone (780) 523-2715.

HP Palliative Care angels offered

The High Prairie and District Palliative Care Society is helping ease the pain by putting free vinyl angel cutouts on the windows of the hospital.
The new recognition replaces the one in past years, when names of deceased individuals were placed on the society’s Christmas trees included in the annual Festival of Trees at the hospital. It gives great comfort to many who remember their loved ones this time of year.
If you wish to have your lost loved one’s name put up, please submit your request with the person’s name, year of birth, and year of death to the society. Deadline to submit is Dec. 15.
If interested, please e-mail the society, text to [780] 536-8315, or mail to Box 2253 in High Prairie, T0G 1E0.

MP Viersen questions flight log

Peace River – Westlock MP Arnold Viersen has uncovered records which lead to questions regarding Liberal party member flights at taxpayers’ expense.
Nov. 18, Viersen rose in the House of Commons on a Question of Privilege regarding Order Paper Number Q-97, which was tabled Nov. 15.
Viersen’s question asked for details of flights on government aircraft for personal and non-governmental business elected Liberals and their staff.
Specifically, he questioned flights taken by Anna Gainey, then Liberal party president, which did not match the government’s own flight logs, which were released through Access to Information.
“It is vital…that information which is tabled in Parliament is accurate. False or misleading information should never be tabled in the House, and especially not in response to formal Questions on the Order Paper,” says Viersen.
He suggested the House of Commons was misled.
If the Speaker finds there was an attempt to mislead the House, Viersen would move a motion to send the issue to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affair for review.

NLC, Drayton Valley partner

The Town of Drayton Valley announced Nov. 17 a new education partnership with Northern Lakes College.
Starting in January 2021, NLC will be offering services to Drayton Valley. Students can study from home or work, or access their courses at the Drayton Valley Clean Energy Technology Centre.
“This is an exciting moment for the advancement of post-secondary education in Drayton Valley,” says Mayor Michael Doerksen.
“Increasing accessibility to education, especially in rural communities, is more important than ever.
“During these tough economic times, students experiencing barriers to education, including location, has grown in the last few years. NLC coming into Drayton Valley provides a ray of hope to many students and families who are looking to further their education or reskill themselves amid a changing economy,” he adds.
NLC thanks its college partner, NorQuest College, for its support of the partnership and for welcoming NLC into its service region.

PRSD celebrates Métis Week

Nov. 16-20, bustling activity occurred in many Peace River School Division schools during Métis Week celebrations.
PRSD schools participated in various activities to honour the annual celebration of Métis people, their history, culture and contributions.
Sharing Métis facts during announcements, virtual assemblies focused on the contributions of the Métis to Alberta, playing the Métis anthem, Métis jigging and outdoor fires with sharing circles and bannock on a stick, were a few activities planned.
Also, students at Peace Regional Outreach Campus raised the Métis flag in Peace River Nov. 16.
Métis Week is celebrated each year during the week of Nov. 16 in recognition of the anniversary of Louis Riel’s death. Riel is recognized in modern times as one of the fathers of Confederation and is widely admired by the Métis community for his dedication to Métis rights and culture.
“It is very important that Indigenous history is shared, honoured and respected in our schools and communities,” says board chair Darren Kuester.

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