Fort loses honourary station masterNEWS/Entries/2019/1/9_Fort_loses_honourary_station_master.html
Big load for local mega projectNEWS/Entries/2019/1/9_Big_load_for_local_mega_project.html
Gibbons incident ends peacefullyNEWS/Entries/2019/1/9_Gibbons_incident_ends_peacefully.html
Christmas campaign big successNEWS/Entries/2019/1/9_Christmas_campaign_big_success.html

Volume 24, Number 1, Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Snow storm targets Fort Sask

I support the call for a review of City of Fort Saskatchewan recreation and other user fees. It was made clear during the annual budget debate that our fees are all over the place and we don't seem to know the real cost of operating our facilities.

Fort Saskatchewan used to have a policy of charging users approximately half the actual cost of operation. That's only possible if we know those costs.

I strongly support getting a better handle on these numbers, but I don't necessarily support a return to the old policy.

A lot of facilities cost far more than any user could afford. Harbour Pool, for example, loses more than $1 million per year. On the other hand, others are much less expensive — the Shell Theatre appears to pay for itself.

A move to simply charge every user based entirely on the cost of operating each facility will likely mean some major fee increases in some areas, and big reductions in others.

Increasing fees might also lead to less use, which would actually reduce income. Charge too much to swim at Harbour Pool and I'd bet you'll see a big reduction in use of that facility.

There is also the question of what our facilities are for, except to be used, after all. Moreover, doesn't everyone deserve to use the facilities we build?

Several Council members talked this year about making users pay, but charging too much will mean many local residents won't be able to afford swim lessons or hockey league play.

This problem is already all too true of hockey. Advocates  warn that we are in danger of it being a sport only for the rich.

Our facilities are built with tax dollars from everyone, and grants that belong to the entire community, not just the wealthy.

Local user fees must be affordable, but still fair. That will vary from facility to facility, depending on cost and use.

In the end, I hope that a study of all facilities and user fees will allow us to establish a fairer system for everyone. A system of fees that encourages the use of our facilities and provides direction on the best facilities to build next: Facilities that are both well-used and cost effective.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Christmas film underway in areaNEWS/Entries/2019/1/9_Christmas_film_underway_in_area.html

Fort user fees deserve a review

Fort residents were asked to stay off roads unless absolutely necessary after a heavy snowfall Friday, Jan. 4.

City officials issued the request after about 14 cm of snow fell on town between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. that day, causing collisions and delays.

The Highway 15 bridge was closed for several hours following a crash shortly after noon, forcing the commuter bus and many other vehicles to use Highway 21.

Another crash on Highway 21 south of Partridge Hill road caused further delay during the afternoon rush hour.

The storm hit areas north, east and west of Fort Saskatchewan as well, but mostly missed the City of Edmonton and Sherwood Park, which saw only a small amount of snow.

City plows worked through the weekend clearing streets. Friday garbage collection was also delayed.

Residential street snow clearing begins Thursday, Jan. 10, in the older part of Westpark and continues every day until Tuesday, Jan. 15.

Signs will be placed on streets to be cleared and residents are advised to pay close attention, as police have been aggressively ticketing vehicles parked on designated streets any time on the appointed day.

Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019