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Year in Review 2018

Posted on December 31, 2018 by Taber Times
TIMES FILE PHOTO

As we now close out 2018 and our topsy-turvy globe begins to spin for another 365 days, editorial staff at The Taber Times takes a look back at all the news that was news in our region of southern Alberta.

January 3: The Municipal District of Taber has made decisions on some of their capital equipment for 2018. During their regular meeting on Dec. 12, M.D. councillors were given public works recommendations for decisions for a number of new machines that will be added to the fleet.

A new member of the Taber/Vauxhall RCMP detachment is hoping to utilize her skills to maximize the potential of the local squad. Cst. Corinne Oliver is a few months into her new assignment, this will be the third stop of her RCMP career.

January 10: Town council is advancing plans to repave 50th Avenue to 2018 while choosing to postpone to 2020 a planned asphalt overlay on 64th Avenue. During 2018-2020 draft capital budget deliberations at council’s Dec. 18 regular meeting, discussion focused on the need to repave 64th Avenue from Highway 36 to 50th Street which was currently budgeted $1,016,000 for 2018.

With a busy fall session of the legislature now concluded, Cardston-Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter looked back at some of the key issues that were before the house in late 2017. The fall sitting started Oct. 30 and wrapped up on Dec. 13, with the Notley NDP government continuing its focus on jobs, affordability and strengthening the public services. During the fall session, the government introduced 15 bills.

January 17: Taber lost a respected member of the municipal community in early January with the passing of former mayor Dave Duggan, who helmed the town from 2001 to 2004. “He was very approachable, and a very committed individual when he was here,” said Mayor Andrew Prokop. “I think he quite enjoyed that, and seemed to be very well received by the public during that time.”

The first baby born in Taber for 2018 has been said to be lucky for life, that’s good news for Kelsey Schalk and Kevin MacMurchy who just received their new baby boy to add to their growing family as Taber’s New Year’s Baby. Lenix Leo MacMurchy is the name given to the newborn boy with a life of luck to look forward to. Luck indeed did have some play in the birth of Lenix, as he was scheduled to be born two days later on Jan. 12, which would of cost him the title of New Year’s Baby.

January 24: In an effort to ensure the Taber Police Service is meeting the needs of groups of diversity within the community, a Diversity SWOT Analysis was recently completed gathering feedback from representatives of various groups. The two-day focus group workshop was conducted on Nov. 6-7, 2017, and included individuals from the Taber Equality Alliance, Filipino Society of Taber, the First Nations-Metis-Inuit (FNMI) community, and the Low German Mennonite community.

The Town of Taber is beefing up its waste and recycling bylaw with the addition of new fines for violations that involve the town’s three-cart solid waste collection system. “We’ve just had quite a few offenders that have been warned with stickers — we’ve issued about 1,757 stickers on the carts since we started — so we only have about 22 five to 10 time repeat offenders,” said public works clerk Lisa DeBona at town council’s Jan. 8 regular meeting.

January 31: Although the door is being left open for a potential cannabis retail business in Taber in a post-legal environment, town council is opting for a level of restriction that will not make the process a simple one for entrepreneurs and will prohibit any use of the substance outside a private residence.

Town council has moved to deny the Taber Equality Alliance’s request to fly the Pride flag for their 2018 celebrations, and has ordered the Confederation Park flag pole removed as the designated Community Flag Pole. At council’s Nov. 27 regular meeting, the Taber Equality Alliance (TEA) had attended as a delegation to request that the Pride flag be flown on the Community Flag Pole for the month of June as part of their 2nd annual Pride event on June 2.

February 7: Citizens are being invited to voice their opinion about the future of the town’s fire hall infrastructure at an Emergency Services Building Open House on Tuesday, Feb. 13. The evening will feature a presentation on the background work completed to date, and council and administration will be available following the presentation for questions and answers and to receive feedback from residents.

The Town of Taber council faced a backlash last week after voting to deny a request from a Taber LGBTQ advocacy group to fly a Pride flag on a public flag pole as part of 2018 Pride Week celebrations. On Jan. 22, council voted 5-1 to deny the request from the Taber Equality Alliance to fly a Pride Flag on the Community Flag Pole located in Confederation Park in June. Jayce Wilson, a member of TEA, said she was not surprised by the town’s decision. “I wondered if this was going to be a situation we were going to be in when this council was elected,” she said. “But we’re going to push forward as best we can and try to work through the situation.”

February 14: An Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench decision from 2016 that allows energy companies to abandon wells during bankruptcy proceedings without having to clean up the sites is being challenged tomorrow in the Supreme Court of Canada. Appearing as an intervener in the appeal, representatives of the Action Surface Rights Association (ASRA) are hopeful the court reverses a decision that has had serious impacts for landowners and Alberta’s oil and gas industry.

With a full-scale inter-provincial trade war now brewing between B.C. and Alberta over the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Bow River MP Martin Shields believes it is imperative that the federal government intervene before further battle lines are drawn. Tensions around the construction of the controversial $7.4 billion Kinder Morgan expansion reached a white-hot pitch earlier this month when the B.C. government announced plans for more consultations on oil spill readiness and placed a limit on increased diluted bitumen shipments until it is satisfied with response measures.

February 21: A sizable crowd of Taberites attended the Town of Taber’s Emergency Services Building Open House on Feb. 13 to hear the town’s pitch for the facility and voice their opinions on the need for a relocation. The evening commenced with a presentation from town administration regarding the business case for the facility’s relocation and an emphasis on its implications for town growth and housing development.

Sports and leisure are a year-round pursuit to go along with the nutrition and mindset needed to power it. Perhaps no event encompasses sports mind and soul of athletic pursuits more than the current Winter Olympics that are in full swing in South Korea. The Taber Times and its sister papers wanted to pay homage to all thing sports, fitness and health related, in a group magazine special that is the first of its kind for the Alta Newspaper Group. The first issue of Insight magazine rolls out this week featuring stories from the Taber, Vauxhall, Coaldale, Bow Island/Cypress County, and Raymond/Magrath areas.

February 28: The Municipal District of Taber has decisions to make in relation to designated industrial property assessment after changes to the Modernized Municipal Government Act and Regulations. During the M.D.’s regular meeting on Feb. 13, councillors were informed of the two options moving forward from their assessment team and administration. The M.D. has been given a DIP contract they can either accept and opt in or simply say no but neither option presents a clear cut choice.

Rising capital cost estimates and an analysis of potential annual operating revenue for a proposed Performing Arts Centre suggest such a facility would come with a significant price tag for Taber taxpayers. At town council’s Feb. 12 regular meeting, Stephen Rogers of MNP LLP headed a delegation presenting the Performing Arts Centre Feasibility and Viability Study.

March 7: Cardston-Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter has apologized after coming under fire for comparing the NDP’s 2015 election victory to the 2004 southeast Asian tsunami that killed thousands. “I in no way meant to trivialize the human suffering of the 2004 tsunami,” Hunter said in a statement to Alta Newspaper Group. “If my statement came across that way, I sincerely apologize.” The comments came during his Feb. 26 announcement that he will seek the nomination for the new Taber-Warner riding, which includes Bow Island, Foremost, Taber, Coaldale, Raymond and Stirling.

With a continued focus on environmental impact, Lantic Sugar is preparing to cut some of their emissions but first they wanted to allow the public to get their say in. The staff at Lantic Sugar was looking to hear opinions and concerns from the Taber community as they apply for a Certificate of Variance (COV) to operate their pulp driers for the 2018 and 2019 processing campaigns.

March 14: With an ailing Taber Agri-Plex suffering from a deteriorating roof and outdated bathrooms, the Taber Exhibition Association (TEA) has secured a $350,000 debenture from the Town of Taber to upgrade the aging facility. TEA president Frank Kast, vice-president Josh Iwan, and office manager Amanda Valgardson headed a delegation to town council’s Feb. 26 regular meeting requesting council’s consideration of assistance with a roof and bathroom project in 2018.

While council may have been in agreement about purchasing a new LED sign for the community during 2018 capital budget deliberations, just where they wanted the sign to go turned out to be a different question entirely. Following back-to-back split votes over the issue of location at town council’s Feb. 26 regular meeting, council finally settled on the current Taber Community Centre sign location (the ‘Coca-Cola’ sign) on 50th Street, but not before lengthy debate over the merits of several other locations.

March 21: Town council has passed first reading of a code of conduct for elected officials that sets down stringent protocols that must be adhered to as part of a new provision of the recently-updated Municipal Government Act (MGA). Council Code of Conduct Bylaw 1-2018 was developed with these provisions of the MGA in mind, which came into force on Oct. 26, 2017.

Taberite Forrest Lester is taking a petition to the streets to try to force the town’s hand over a potential relocation of the current fire hall. Lester, who has lived in the community for over 25 years, began door knocking last week and has received a positive response so far from other citizens that are less than enthusiastic about the town’s proposal. “What I’m hoping to achieve is to make the council realize that the rest of the citizens — or the taxpayers of Taber — do not have to fund the construction of other people,” Lester told the Times last week before commencing his petition campaign. “They’re delusional about if we build low cost housing, industry is coming to Taber. What we’re saying is that council should reconsider their decision to move the fire hall.”

March 28: Potential cannabis retail locations in the community will only be subject to official separation distances from schools and hospitals — not churches, daycares or residential areas — following a split 4-3 vote by town council. On Feb. 16, the provincial government released further legislation on cannabis which provided additional direction to town administration in terms of preparing amendments to the necessary bylaws based on council’s direction.

Emerging from a field of 350 entrants province wide, a W.R. Myers student’s artistic flair has got her recognized by Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD). Grade 11 student Portia Miller was crowned the overall winner of the third annual SADD Alberta Liquor Bag Design contest. The design will be featured on one million brown paper liquor bags, and distributed to liquor stores throughout the province, starting on the May long weekend.

April 4: As door knocking efforts continue, organizers report only a handful of citizens contacted have declined to sign a petition against the potential relocation of the town’s fire hall. “The response to the petition has been unreal,” said co-organizer Forrest Lester. “With only four of us going door to door, we have already gotten over 600 signatures (732 as of Monday evening). We could have gotten more but every home you stop at, the resident had a lot to say about the building of a new fire hall.”

Rising flood waters on Taber’s south side threatened the community’s water treatment plant last week, prompting the town to declare a local state of emergency on Wednesday evening. Overland flooding is affecting areas south of the water treatment plant (5100 40th Avenue), with water moving north towards the plant. There is potential for impact to the plant, however, no damage has occurred at this time and town crews remained on scene in the area addressing and monitoring water levels.

April 11: Taber Police Service is pressuring the police commission to endorse further restrictions on the public use of tobacco and e-cigarettes in the community. Prepared by the TPS, the Community Standards Bylaw – Proposed Amendments E-Cigarettes and Tobacco Use Report came as a result of school resource officer Cst. Dave Gyepesi being “approached by stakeholders in our community to address the need for some controls around public ecigarette and tobacco use in the community.”

The town has exercised an option to buy out a used rental truck for garbage collection which will be employed as a back-up when needed. At their March 26 regular meeting, council voted unanimously to direct administration to purchase a used hand-automated garbage collection truck for $47,117, exclusive of GST, with funds to be allocated from capital reserves.

April 18: Just short of 1,000 citizens signed a petition requesting town council reconsider its decision or hold a plebiscite regarding plans to relocate the town’s fire hall. Organizer Forrest Lester began door knocking in mid-March, and presented the petition to town council as a delegation at their April 9 regular meeting. Lester’s petition summary stated, “a new fire hall will increase taxes with no added benefit to the citizens of Taber. The existing fire hall is adequate to protect the citizens of Taber from the threat of house fires.” The petition also asked that “our town leaders… hold a plebiscite on building a new fire hall.”

With many regions of southern Alberta still gripped in a state of emergency due to overland flooding, fortunately for the Town of Taber the worst is hopefully behind them. The Town of Taber is winding down its emergency response to the high water levels that threatened Taber over the past few weeks. Crews worked to establish berms and pumping locations, thereby diverting the water threatening the town. As noted in a press release issued on Monday afternoon, the water levels are no longer considered a threat to infrastructure or homes within Taber.

April 25: With the continuous threat overland flooding has been presenting to the Municipal District of Taber, it has also had an effect on Horizon School Division. In order to give an update to the Horizon board, members of the M.D. staff were present to go through the process the M.D. has implemented with overland flooding. One of the biggest concerns the M.D. has been dealing with is the closure of roads throughout the region, with many of them impassable or in rough condition due to the surge of water around.

As the southern Alberta region continues to recover from overland flooding, so too have agricultural producers who have seen delays in their planting season from Old Man Winter who seems to have finally relented. Planting of the potato crop has been delayed, but if current weather patterns hold up, the delays should not be overly worrisome.“If this was the 20th of May I’d say we would be concerned. We’re later than what we have been the last couple, three years, but we are not overly delayed,” said Terence Hochstein, executive director of the Potato Growers of Alberta.

May 2: The Town of Taber has endorsed a collaborative relationship with a county in western Kenya to provide advice and support for development of water and wastewater treatment solutions in the African nation. The County Government of Siaya is keen on collaborating with Town of Taber administration in order to benefit from the practices developed within the town and foster long-term relations between the two administrations, including potential financial and technical assistance in agreed areas of operations.

As the Municipal District of Taber continues to deal with overland flooding and the effects of all the water, M.D. staff is formulating a game plan for moving forward. During council’s regular meeting on April 24, M.D. staff gave an update as to where they were with the restoration of infrastructure. “We’ve started to look at the data that we’ve collected out in the field and it’s quite a bit. As a matter of fact we have 724 logged concerns and issues. Right now we’re sorting through that data to look at the damages, quantify the damages, evaluate the damages and come forward with a solid plan of action for council to show what the damages are so we can make decisions on the timelines as well as if additional assistance is required,” said Craig Pittman, public works superintendent.

May 9: A former Municipal District of Taber councillor has raised some concerns with the new council.
During the M.D.’s annual general meeting held in Enchant on April 24, former Division 5 councillor, Bob Wallace, brought forward some issues he has with how current council has been running. “I want to address a policy that was put in place last year, it is ‘council code of conduct’ and maybe you guys can all grade yourselves on this one. We heard today the staff and what a wonderful job they did and the job they’ve done in the past and continue to do. I’m going to ask directly now, in terms of unsanctioned meetings and how they continue to happen and the conveyance of confidential information at unsanctioned meetings and how they continue to happen and how it’s going to addressed in the future. Brian (Brewin), you’re going to have to address it,” said Wallace.

Cpl. Brian Weisbrod has been enjoying his transition to rural policing in his new post at the Taber/Vauxhall RCMP detachment.
An 11-year veteran on the force, Weisbrod has been at the local detachment since the end of January. “It is something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a little kid. I’ve always liked the options. You can go all over the place, there are different fields you can get into and you are not always working inside and you’re not always working outside,” said Weisbrod of his love of law enforcement.

May 16: With the United Conservative Party’s founding convention now in the rear view mirror, Albertans have been given a snapshot of policies the party intends to stand behind in the upcoming 2019 provincial election. Cardston-Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter attended the convention in Red Deer over the May 5-6 weekend, and was impressed with the turnout of party members he witnessed. “It was great to see that we had 2,600 people come out. Previously it was thought there’d be a 1,000. The momentum keeps on growing, so it was amazing to see and feel the energy in the convention center. Lots of conservatives concerned with the direction Alberta is going.”

As the Municipal District of Taber ramps up work on repairs to their infrastructure after this year’s overland flooding, council was presented with some of the numbers that have been rolling in. Since declaring a state of local emergency in March, M.D. council and staff have been working tirelessly to mitigate water from across the region. Now their focus has been shifted to repairs of M.D. infrastructure. “An evaluation of damages has been conducted and this information was all presented at the recent public works meeting. Extent of flood damage, 831 sites were logged, 465 sites had recorded damage, some sites had both culvert and road damage, 78 new culvert installs are required, 58 damaged culverts will require replacement, 424 roads damaged and approximately 155 sites have been repaired — this was from the morning of the public works meeting and that number has increased quite a bit,” said Derrick Krizsan, CAO for the M.D.

May 23: Hard on the heels of a petition being deemed insufficient, town council has extinguished debate on the fire hall issue through a split vote mandating the project move forward. Petition organizer Forrest Lester began door knocking in mid-March, and presented the petition to town council as a delegation at their April 9 regular meeting.

With June right around the corner, that means 2018’s Pride Fest is coming up. Taber’s 2018 Pride Fest will be held on June 2nd and it is sure to feature plenty of entertainment for all those who come to town for the event. One of the promised special celebrations has already been confirmed for the June event. Upon the Town of Taber council’s decision to not allow the Taber Equality Alliance to fly the Pride flag during the celebration, Minister of Infrastructure and Calgary-Northwest Sandra Jansen tweeted out “Dear Taber, Your 1st flag was stolen, 2nd burned. It would be an honour to fly your next Pride flag from the Taber prov building #ableg” which will indeed happen. “We are doing it in front of the provincial building and I do believe that Sandra Jansen, who okayed this, is coming to speak at it as well,” said Jayce Wilson, TEA secretary and chair for the Taber Pride planning committee.

May 30: Taking issue with the Alberta Liberal Party’s recent stance against a separate Catholic school system in the province, the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division board has forwarded a critical response to party leader David Khan. During an April 7 meeting of the Alberta Liberal Party, a resolution was passed mandating that an Alberta Liberal government would move to combine separate school districts into a unified public school system with the intention of re-investing all savings back into the public school system, while consulting with stakeholders in the current separate system to design a model of delivery “whereby Catholic education may be offered as an alternative program in the public stream.”

With marijuana legalization on the minds of many as the date nears, Bow River MP Martin Shields was in the region giving updates to where the respective bills were. As a delegation to Vauxhall council’s regular meeting on May 15, Shields was on a tour to a few local municipalities to give an update to several different issues including the legalization of marijuana in Canada. While the original introduction date of July 1 has been pushed back due to delays in the Senate and House of Commons, the belief is legalization won’t be too far behind that date. A major reason for the delay in dates comes from the bouncing back and forth of the two bills related to cannabis legalization and enforcement.

June 6: In a day filled with both politics and love and acceptance, Taber Equality Alliance held its second annual Pride Fest on Saturday at the Provincial Building and Confederation Park. Coming off the heels of last year’s celebration that saw the Pride Flag vandalized and burned, and town council voting in January not to allow the flag to be flown again this year at the park, opening ceremonies were moved to the Provincial Building, where the NDP government granted permission to fly the flag in front of their building.

June 13: The results are in, and The Taber Times has been recognized by the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association in various categories for 2017. At the AWNA annual general meeting in Edmonton earlier this month, the biggest feather in the cap was winning the Genome Alberta Best Agricultural Supplement. The previous year, The Taber Times took third in the category. “We had editorial and advertising contributing to the project from every single weekly in our southern Alberta newspaper chain. I’ve asked around to people who know the background of The Taber Times, and it was literally the largest supplement coming out of The Times office in its history. If we didn’t win top prize, I was going to be surprised,” said Greg Price, editor of The Taber Times and Vauxhall Advance.

June 20: Taber is a One Horse Town and Molson Coors is hoping Taberites and surrounding communities are damn proud of it. Taber has been selected as one of six finalists of the Coors Banquet One Horse Town contest. Coors Banquet One Horse Town is a national search for Canada’s proudest small town with a big passion for country music. The winning town will bring home the biggest country music concert event of the summer — headlining Canadian superstars Dallas Smith, Tim Hicks, and Kira Isabella.

June 27: Taber Fire Department’s new ladder truck was officially unveiled at a ceremony outside the fire hall last week. “It is a privilege to speak before you here tonight. This project has been two years in the making. We are 111 years of service to this date. This is an incredible feat for this to work out all the way around,” said Andrew Prokop, Mayor of the Town of Taber. “We have gone from what was a 24-foot ladder truck capability, to a 110-foot with what you see before us which is nothing short of incredible. Thanks for all the past members’ service and the current members service as well. Ultimate safety to all for all calls going forward.”

July 4: With recreational cannabis legalization slated for roll-out this October, the Municipal District of Taber is continuing discussions on where they will allow retail stores to be located throughout the region. During council’s policy meeting on June 18, councillors were updated on the process of moving forward with retail recreational marijuana. “Where we started, as you’re aware, the federal government is going to legalize cannabis and there is going to be a whole bunch of amendments and bylaws. Municipalities can adopt site and location for retail stores for cannabis and that’s what we’ve been focusing on, from a land use perspective,” said Bonnie Brunner, senior planner with Oldman River Regional Services Commission (ORRSC).

July 11: The final touches are being made on the massive, nearly $7 million investment by the M.D. of Taber into its new operations and maintenance facility, dubbed a ‘100-year’ building in its life expectancy. The building is now nearing completion, with only minor items to be finished within the contract work. M.D. construction forces plan to complete the civil portion of the site this summer, and become operational shortly thereafter.

July 18: The Municipal District of Taber is exploring ways of correcting several examples of farming on municipally-owned land across the region. While the problem reaches far behind any of the councillor’s time on council, they have started discussing how best to go about enforcing their unlawful use of municipal land bylaw. “I think all of us have been acutely aware of the farming that has been going on into the borrow pits, some right up to the road,” said Coun. Tamara Miyanaga at M.D. council’s policy meeting last month. “I don’t want to see our roads ruined by guys who are taking advantage by farming land that is not theirs.”

July 25: The Town of Taber is headed back to the drawing board on cannabis land use amendments after town council defeated the bylaw at second reading following a tie 3-3 vote. On May 14, council had passed first reading of Cannabis Land Use Amendment Bylaw 13-2018, which would have made cannabis-related uses discretionary in certain districts, requiring a development permit that would be granted or refused at the discretion of the Municipal Planning Commission on a case-by-case basis.

August 1: Although town administration was able to clarify some issues for frustrated residents of Westview Estates, forcing a private land owner to comply with some of the wants and desires of area citizens often lies beyond the pale of town authority. On June 25, concerns had been brought forward to town council by a delegation of residents from Westview Estates, specifically targeting the condition of the Westview Estates Pond to the north and south, as well as the path around the pond. The delegation identified a number of items and requested further information or updates as to their status.

August 8: The finishing touches are still to be made for the M.D. of Taber’s new operations and maintenance building. But nevertheless, spectators got a sneak peek into the impressive building, with 300 attendees at an open house last week. Planning for the facility was initiated back in 2013, with a condition and functionality assessment of existing buildings in 2014. “There were four main buildings that were being utilized. The oldest was constructed when Louis St. Laurent was prime minister in 1954. There was another facility constructed in the 1970s and then a few in the early 80s and then early 2000s there was the chem shed and the welding bay,” said Derrick Krizsan, CAO for the Municipal District of Taber.

August 15: A dream seven years in the making, the Taber and District Handi-Bus Association’s new bus has arrived to help the elderly and those with mobility issues. “We were at the point that we were saturated with ridership and it became apparent that we would be needing a new bus,” said Paul Primeau, president of the Taber and District Handi-Bus Association, in explaining a bit of the history of the association’s quest. When the service first started in the area seven years ago, there were 700 rides taken in a year. Now, there is 13,000 rides for the association’s old eight-seater bus.

August 22: Taber’s festival event of the season begins tomorrow, and is sure to be one to remember for locals and visitors alike. If there’s anywhere to be in southern Alberta in late August, Cornfest certainly ranks front and centre. “The whole community comes together and does a volunteer event that’s free for all people around southern Alberta,” said Rick Popadynetz, president of the Taber and District Chamber of Commerce.

August 29: There will be no smoky public celebrations permitted in the community in relation to cannabis legalization on Oct. 17, as town council recently moved to finalize a strict prohibition on public use of the substance. Community Standards Bylaw 15-2018, Part 6 – Smoking and Electronic Devices, Sec. 23 (A), prohibits carrying or possessing a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe, and burning tobacco or any other substance in a public premises, workplace or public vehicle. Five meter setbacks for use near any playground, waterpark or spray park, skate park or sports field have also been included, as well as entrances or exits to a public premises. Sampling is being permitted inside an enclosed premises where the “primary function… is the sale of electronic smoking devices.”

September 5: In what has proved to be a divisive issue for residents since it was first proposed, following several meetings of closed session discussion over the summer town council has selected a location for a new emergency services building. Following in camera discussion on Aug. 20, council has directed administration to move forward with the purchase of three properties, which currently includes Taber Church of Christ property and two residences — 5303 50th Street (Plan 8811336, Block 44, Lot 46), 5219 50th Street (Plan 266JK, Block 44, Lot 24), and 5215 50th Street (Plan 266JK, Block 44, Lot 25). The motion was put forward by Coun. Carly Firth and passed unanimously by council.

September 12: Starting in 2019, local citizens will be able to livestream town council meetings following the approval of a camera system installed in council’s newly-renovated chambers. Part of council’s Strategic Plan is to to develop a strategy to open council meetings to the public, with one option being livestreaming. Costs for the installation are associated with the recent renovation budget for town council chambers. Following closed session discussion on June 25, council had voted unanimously to undertake renovations to the council chambers with a $200,000 upset limit, utilizing funds from the 2018 capital budget to complete the work. “With the renovations currently being done to the council chamber, administration was seeking council’s direction on whether we should install a camera at this point in order to be able to livestream those meetings,” said CAO Cory Armfelt at council’s Aug. 20 regular meeting.

September 19: Although already in its fourth year of existence, Taber winning the chance to host this past Saturday’s Coors Banquet One Horse Town Concert has made some impressive history. Nearly 4,000 people descended on Confederation Park on Saturday, including fans, volunteers and concert support crew to enjoy the country stylings of Canadian artists Dallas Smith, Tim Hicks and Kira Isabella. Despite Taber being the smallest town to win the contest, it released the most tickets to the local public thanks to the wide-open and centralized venue being offered to the outdoor concert in Confederation Park.

September 26: While contrarian opinions have been quick to arise, Chief Steve Munshaw of the Taber Fire Department defended town council’s recent decision on a new fire hall location while celebrating the potential to reduce department response times by an estimated five minutes. Following closed session discussion on Aug. 20, council directed administration to move forward with the purchase of three properties including Taber Church of Christ-owned property and two residences — 5303 50th Street, 5219 50th Street, and 5215 50th Street. “The location at 50th Street and 52nd Avenue is one of the nice components,” said Munshaw. “It’s an arterial road within the community, it’s one of two main primary roads. The other thing is it’s geographically centered to the actual community itself, for future expansion both north and south, which will allow the community to give multiple directions.”

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