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Alison Redford sworn-in as Alberta’s 14th Premier

Alison Redford sworn-in as Alberta’s 14th Premier

New premier pledges immediate action on Albertans’ priorities: health, education and fiscal discipline
Edmonton… Alison M. Redford Q.C. was sworn-in as Alberta’s 14th Premier on October 7 in a ceremony at the Alberta Legislature.

Alberta’s Lieutenant Governor, His Honour, Colonel (Retired) the Honourable Donald S. Ethell administered the oath of office in front of an audience that included grade six classes from two Edmonton schools, Kensington Elementary and Aurora Charter. Redford replaces Ed Stelmach as Alberta’s premier.

During the ceremony, Premier Redford thanked her family and Albertans for their support and pledged to take immediate action on their priorities.

“During the campaign, I heard from thousands of Albertans in all corners of this province, and their concerns were overwhelming about the same things: better access to health care, better education for our children, and the need for a more disciplined approach to our spending priorities,” Redford said.

“In the coming days, I look forward to naming a new cabinet – and taking action on these priorities will be our first order of business.”

County Council Highlites September 19, 2011

Evergreen Centre for Resource Excellence & Innovation – Doug Kulba and Mike Head outlined the Centre for Council. Established in 2009, the Centre is a partnership between the private and public sector to develop innovative resource solutions to showcase best practices. The training, demonstration and research centre is located on a 14 acre plot in the west end of Evergreen Park. Council made a motion to nominate this project for the Emerald Awards.
Renovations to Council Chambers – Project Coordinator John Keating, Workun Garrick Partnership, presented Council with 3 options. Council made a motion to proceed with the recommended option and directed the committee to continue with developing the concept.
Highway 40X and Range Road 51 Bypass – Council made a motion to write a letter to Alberta Transportation requesting they fund a detailed design study for the proposed project located on Highway 40X to Highway 43 near RR 51 (connector from Highway 40 to Highway 43 south east of the City of Grande Prairie).
Range Road 85 – Council approved partnering with 3 local companies to surface this gravel access road from Secondary Highway 672 to their facilities. Public Works will include $441,200 in the 2012 budget to fund 50% of this project.

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Alberta landscape conservation highlighted in Montana

Edmonton… Sustainable Resource Development parliamentary assistant Evan Berger will participate in a panel discussion about landscape conservation in the Crown of the Continent ecosystem, September 22-23 in Polson, Montana.

Berger will join a variety of public and private interests charged with the stewardship of the Crown of the Continent, an ecosystem covering about 44,000 square kilometres, from Alberta’s Kananaskis Country to northern Montana.

“It is important to take advantage of opportunities to update our partners in the Crown about Alberta’s ongoing conservation work through the Land-use Framework and other initiatives,” said Berger.

Berger will appear on a panel with representatives of the U.S. National Park Service and the Montana department of Natural Resources and Conservation, among others, to provide an update about the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan and offer insights about how to link regional and national policy initiatives to the Crown.

Berger has represented Alberta at previous Crown of the Continent events.

The estimated cost of the trip, including travel, accommodation and meals, is $1,100.

The Alberta government is working to build a better Alberta by fostering economic growth, strengthening our health and education systems, investing in infrastructure, supporting safe and strong communities and ensuring a clean and healthy environment.

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No charges laid after ASIRT investigation into High Level incident

Edmonton… RCMP members in High Level will not face charges after a man died from a head injury in September 2010.

The man was arrested for public drunkenness on September 12, 2010, and taken to an RCMP holding cell where he subsequently became unresponsive to members. He was transported to a High Level Hospital, and then to a hospital in Edmonton, where he died on September 25, 2010.

ASIRT was assigned to investigate the incident on September 24, 2010.

“There is no evidence that any member of the RCMP committed a criminal offence in this tragic incident,” said Clif Purvis, executive director of ASIRT. “The man died as a result of a head injury sustained at some undetermined point prior to his admission to hospital.”

The investigation was unable to determine when or how the fatal injury was sustained.

“The finding in no way diminishes this tragedy,” said Purvis. “On behalf of ASIRT, I offer sympathy and condolences to the friends and family of the deceased.”

More Alberta News

Students learn about safe cycling on Traffic Safety Day

Students learn about safe cycling on Traffic Safety Day

Edmonton … Alberta students learned about bicycle safety from a Canadian Olympian and Tour de France competitor as part of Traffic Safety Day, an annual event held to increase awareness of traffic safety.

Alex Stieda, the first North American to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, an Olympic competitor and a Commonwealth Games medalist, spoke to Grade Two and Three students from St. Pius X Catholic Elementary School.

“This event provides us with an opportunity to teach students some simple but important traffic safety rules. This knowledge will help to keep them safe when cycling, walking or riding the school bus,” said Minister of Transportation Luke Ouellette. “The event also enables us to increase awareness of the importance of traffic safety among drivers, especially with children back in school and school buses on the road.”

Law enforcement officers led 45 students through four stations to teach the students how to ride a bicycle safely and wear a bicycle helmet properly, how to cross a street safely and how to get on and off a school bus safely as well as teach them about the role of a school patrol. The stations were hosted by Alberta Health Services, the Alberta Motor Association’s School Safety Patrol and Alberta Transportation’s driver education specialists.

The students were also given activity books from the Street Safe program, which teach children in Kindergarten to Grade Three about traffic safety concepts. The materials were designed with input from teachers, the Alberta Motor Association and Kidsafe Alberta, and include sequenced lessons that build from grade to grade and characters that age with students. Activity books and teacher resource guides are provided free-of-charge to schools in Alberta. For more information about the Street Safe program, please visit:  www.saferoads.alberta.ca.

The Alberta government is working to build a better Alberta by fostering economic growth, strengthening our health and education systems, investing in infrastructure, supporting safe and strong communities and ensuring a clean and healthy environment.

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FCSSAA Resolution – County of Grande Prairie

FCSSAA Resolution –  County of Grande Prairie

Council moved to take a resolution to the FCSSAA Annual General Meeting in November that requests each municipality maintain their local autonomy. This is in advance of a review of the FCSS regulations which expire in 2013. The joint submission by the County and City of Grande Prairie FCSS departments emphasizes the need for municipalities to maintain local autonomy to decide their own priorities and how funding should be allocated to best meet the needs of their community.

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Alberta fulfills commitment to support 11,000 housing units

Alberta fulfills commitment to support 11,000 housing units.

Funding for 764 more homes puts province ahead of schedule
Calgary… More than 22,000 Albertans will have a place to call home, thanks to the province exceeding its goal to support 11,000 affordable housing units by 2012.

“Our government has achieved and exceeded the ambitious goal of supporting 11,000 affordable housing units by 2012,” said Premier Ed Stelmach. “Helping Albertans in need has been a top priority, and increasing the supply of affordable housing across this province is building a better Alberta for today, tomorrow, and generations to come.”

In 2007, Premier Stelmach called for the creation of a task force to recommend how to make affordable housing, both rented and owned, more available and accessible, and to have a positive impact on Alberta’s competitiveness. The target of developing 11,000 housing units was set in response to recommendations from the Alberta Affordable Housing Task Force.

With funding from previous years and the 764 housing units announced today, the number of housing units to be developed is over 11,600. In total, the province has committed approximately $1 billion to the housing units, with partners contributing an estimated $1 billion more through cost-sharing agreements. Albertans living in the units include lower-income families, seniors, individuals with special needs, and people who were homeless.

“Our cost-conscious approach with our partners—including the private sector—has saved taxpayers $1.05 billion while helping to meet the housing needs of lower-income Albertans in 62 communities,” said Jonathan Denis, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs.

The nearly $74 million in capital grants for the 764 housing units announced today will provide homes to about 1,500 Albertans in 15 housing projects in six communities when completed. The grants are through the 2011-12 Housing Capital Initiatives program, which supports housing partnerships that leverage the resources and expertise of municipalities, the federal government, non-profit organizations, local housing management bodies, and the private sector.

The remaining grant recipients of the 2011-12 Housing Capital Initiatives program will be announced in the coming months.

The Alberta government is working to build a better Alberta by fostering economic growth, strengthening our health and education systems, investing in infrastructure, supporting safe and strong communities, and ensuring a clean and healthy environment. The Housing Capital Initiatives program supports these goals.

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New supports help victims of abuse gain confidence, self-esteem .

New supports help victims of abuse gain confidence, self-esteem .

Red Deer… A new project in Red Deer will address the long-term treatment needs of adult female victims of family violence.

The Central Alberta Women’s Outreach Society will receive one-time grant funding of $75,000 for the Comprehensive Family Violence Treatment Program.

“Family violence touches far too many lives and preventing it is a shared responsibility. By investing in crime prevention projects like this one today, the Government of Alberta is building the foundation for a safe and secure future,” said Verlyn Olson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

This project, funded through Alberta’s Safe Communities initiative, targets female victims of spousal abuse and family violence. Women participating in the program will learn to develop a sense of autonomy and independence, improve their self esteem and confidence, as well as sustain a safe and fulfilling life free from abuse.

“I am pleased our community partners for this project are committed to supporting victims of abuse. With this partnership, both the victims and the broader community benefit,” said Cal Dallas, MLA for Red Deer-South.

The project’s objective is to reduce the risk of future victimization in intimate partner relationships. In doing so, the risk of generational cycle of family violence will also be reduced.

“Although many victims of intimate partner relationship violence underestimate the severity of their situation, this project will help victims develop skills and resources to make more informed plans for their safety and health. The outcome of this project is to assist individuals and families in our community to live a life free from violence,” said Barb Barber, Executive Director, Central Alberta Women’s Outreach Society.

The Alberta government is working to build a better Alberta by fostering economic growth, strengthening our health and education systems, investing in infrastructure, supporting safe and strong communities and ensuring a clean and healthy environment.

Distracted Driving Legislation (Bill 16)

Distracted Driving Legislation (Bill 16)

Distracted Driving Law in Effect
Now in Effect

Highlights:

  • Restricts drivers from:

    • using hand-held cell phones
    • texting or e-mailing
    • using electronic devices like laptop computers, video games, cameras, video entertainment displays and programming portable audio players (e.g., MP3 players)
    • entering information on GPS units
    • reading printed materials in the vehicle
    • writing, printing or sketching, and
    • personal grooming
  • Complements the current driving without due care and attention legislation
  • Applies to all vehicles as defined by the Traffic Safety Act, including bicycles
  • Applies to all roads in both urban and rural areas of the province
  • The fine for this new offence is $172

The most frequently asked question regarding the new law is whether pets are specifically addressed by the law. Here’s the answer! In situations where the driver becomes too involved with their pet, police could reasonably argue that the distraction is comparable to the specifically banned activities of reading, writing and grooming and lay a charge.

Also, existing legislation – Traffic Safety Act 115(2)(i) – allows police to charge a driver who permits anything, including a pet, to occupy the front seat of the vehicle such that it interferes with the driver’s access to the vehicle controls and the safe operation of the vehicle.  Further, Traffic Safety Act 115(2)(j) – allows police to charge a driver who permits anything, including a pet, to cause any obstruction to the driver’s clear vision in any direction. We encourage the continued use of these existing provisions.

If a driver violates a new distracted driving provision and an existing provision in the Traffic Safety Act it would be up to the discretion of the officer as to if one or both charges would apply.

For the safety of both pets and road users, it is best if pets are secured in an appropriate pet care.

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County Sportsplex Groundbreaking

Media Advisory– For Immediate Release Wednesday, August 31, 2011
County Sportsplex Groundbreaking

When: Tuesday, September 6, 2011
11:00 a.m.
Where: 1 mile west of the County Administration Building on 84 Ave., ½ mile south on 108 St. Site is located on east side of road.
Who: County of Grande Prairie No. 1
Reeve Everett McDonald, County of Grande Prairie
County of Grande Prairie Council members
Why: The public is invited to join the County of Grande Prairie at a groundbreaking ceremony celebrating the commencement of the construction of the County Sportsplex. The 176,043 square-foot regional facility will house two ice rinks and an indoor soccer pitch.

County Sportsplex Budget

Council approved the new budget for the guaranteed price of $29,192,359. The original budget was $26 million. Administration attributed the higher than anticipated tenders to the decision to expand the size of the indoor soccer facility to a full half pitch and running track. This was a 36% increase (47,173 sq. ft.) in the size of the facility. The cost per sq. ft. actually dropped from $189 in the original proposal to $175.54 after tendering. The funds will be taken from the Capital Reserve Fund.