Transitioning Emergency Medical Services

Cardston transitioning Emergency Medical Services to Alberta Health Services

CARDSTON/CARDSTON COUNTY — Alberta Health Services (AHS) will become responsible for providing Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to the Town and County as of January 1, 2012.

EMS has been provided by Cardston County Emergency Services in a combined service since 2000. The request to divest service was made earlier this year by Cardston/Cardston County in the belief that an AHS direct delivery model will greatly benefit the community. After a careful analysis, AHS determined that direct delivery was an appropriate avenue to pursue.

“I’m optimistic that the change will provide many opportunities to staff that in the past may not have been offered as we were limited to our own service. With AHS, there are and will be more options for our staff,” said Greg Erickson, Chief of Emergency Services, Cardston.

AHS has been working closely with Erickson to ensure the transition is seamless. AHS is committed to maintaining the same level of advanced life support service currently offered.

“AHS will be taking over the ambulance, however, there will be no disruption of service and I don’t believe citizens will even notice the difference as it will be the same faces they know and trust,” said Erickson.

“I am so proud of what we have built in Cardston. I have been blessed to work with many great people over the years and look forward to the rest of this journey.”

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For media inquiries, contact:
Greg Erickson Holly Budd Chief of Emergency Services AHS Communications 403-653-1333 780-498-0707

A Thank you Letter from Town and Council

Re: Moses Lake and Lee Creek clean up.

Town of Cardston Mayor and Council wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to all of you who participated in the Moses Lake Clean Up this past Saturday, May 7th, 2011. You demonstrated the spirit of voluntarism at work and the results of your team work are most visible and pleasant to see. We want to commend you all for your great efforts in this worthwhile endeavour.

We also would like to thank our Blood Tribe Liaison Officer, Horton Weasel Fat, and our Town Peace Officer, Lloyd Stewart, who spearheaded the clean up of Lee Creek’s banks between 3rd and 5th Avenue with a group of Blood Tribe members. Bags of rubbish were removed from our Town by this hard working team.

Thank you to our Town Staff and Transfer Station Staff as who worked diligently to make the 2011 Clean-up Day a great success.

Mayor and Council

Chickens (letter to the editor)

There has been a lot of excitement lately as some members of the community have requested the Town Council to consider a new by-law allowing chickens (4 well-kept hens max per residence or 1/4acre. No roosters.) in town. I'll leave extolling the many virtues of these marvelous egg producers to others, and for now I'll try and address some of the concerns having chickens in town may raise. Most of my information comes from,  created by a group that worked for 18 months to bring chickens into their city. They have a wealth of research and information that is worth checking into if my brief summaries don't answer your questions:

Noise? If you were to pop your head into a chicken coop while the hens were laying eggs, not only would you get a few weird looks from the hens, you'd experience a cacophonous noise. However, once you are out of the coop and the birds are in your next-door neighbour's yard, the sounds you hear are quieter than the sounds from the other birds you usually find outside. They are also much less intrusive then the sounds from your neighbour's outdoor radio, air-conditioner, motorbike, and barking dog.

Health concerns? Salmonella is easily prevented by hand washing. The Center for Disease Control "flags fourteen separate diseases that can move from cats to people, and fifteen separate diseases that can move from dogs to people. It is for this reason (the fact that all pets carry health risks) that public health experts do not flag chickens as posing any greater risk than other pets.” How about Avian flu? "Avian flu" is a misleading name, “the influenza A (H5N1) virus has [also] been found in pigs, domestic cats, and dogs.” If an unlikely outbreak was to happen, ALL responsible pet owners would need to take precautions to keep their pets and community safe.

Poop and smell? 4 chickens produce less poop than an average dog (and it is much more useful to gardeners).

Predators? While I can find no evidence for predator population increasing with the keeping of hens in cities, four hens will not feed a population of skunks for very long, and certainly not as well as the easy to access garbage left on back steps. I hope it goes without saying that chicken owners will take all necessary steps to protect the hens.

Feral Chickens? Um, with no Roosters, even if hens managed to survive the other pets of Cardston, they certainly wouldn't be reproducing.

Appearances? We are a town and thus can't have chickens? That would be disregarding the fact that MANY large cities have chickens (New York City, Seattle, Portland, Victoria, Dallas and Vancouver. Etc, Etc....)

Chicken farms? The members of the community who are asking for chickens are not envisioning packed cages with poorly treated animals.  Rather, the vision is to keep well-loved, productive animals in ways that encourage industry, self-sufficiency, responsibility, and a healthy diet.

If you'd like to add your voice to the discussion, please join the Town of Cardston facebook discussion page. Topic: Chickens.

Letter to Citizens: Will my taxes go up this year?

Letter to Citizens: Will my taxes go up this year?

Last fall as Councillors met with citizens of the town on their campaign trails, a definite concern was identified by all in this town: “Why do my taxes keep on going up and up?, Curb the taxes!, Fix the budget!”. This letter is intended to shed some light on the matter of Property Taxation.

As you all know, taxes (and some provincial grants) are the source of revenues which allow us to enjoy paved roads, sidewalks, utilities infrastructure, water treatment plant, sewer plant, electrical distribution system, parks and recreation facilities, programs to support the elderly and families, town beautification and celebrations, safety and security services, pay the Town employees and many other things.

We as new Council diligently analyzed all aspects of the 2011 budget prepared by administration to toe the line on Town expenditures. Our mandate is to keep taxes at an affordable level to maintain an adequate level of services and to start building some reserve for foreseeable infrastructure replacement needs. In early February, Council passed a budget that was based on these premises. This budget will be reviewed in early spring prior to setting the 2011 mil rate (=total revenues needed to service the 2011 Budget requirements/ Total Town Property Assessments). Once the mil rate is set, individual property taxes can be calculated (=Assessment Value x mil rate) and tax bills are sent for collection.

Individual property taxes are calculated based on property assessment and on the application of the set mil rate for each type of property. We as new Council needed to be better informed to comprehend the complex process leading to our property tax rates. Our Town assessor from Benchmark Assessment Consultants Inc presented to Council and Administration the method by which assessments are established according to Provincial Legislation.
Provincial Legislation requires that your 2011 Property Assessment reflect the market value of your property in 2009-2010. Hence, the mandate of the tax assessor is to establish the market values of each property by using: a) comparative method based on actual sale of similar properties in our town or in comparable towns in Southern Alberta or; b) by conducting an actual inspection/survey of a property.

It is to be noted that all properties for which a building permit or a renovation permit was issued in 2010 will be inspected to establish their 2010 fair market value.

Because tax assessment is based on market value, it is possible that some types of properties see their 2011 assessment go up by as much as 10%. For example, in 2008- early 2009, while the economy was going strong, upper scale range homes were selling well in Southern Alberta and the assessment values of similar homes in Cardston went up significantly in 2010. In 2009-2010, the real estate market slowed down, but middle size range homes were still selling quite well in Southern Alberta and the movement in this market will affect the market value of similar type houses in town which will be reflected

in their 2011 tax assessment. Thus, it can be accurately said that property tax assessments and budget have a direct but different impact on individual property taxes.

Once the assessor’s report is approved by the Provincial Government and delivered to Town administration, Council will study the impact of property assessment on property taxes in 2011. We will also look at the mil rate and decide if it needs to be adjusted by revising the 2011 Budget.

We heard the concerns of the tax payers in this town. This new Council will stick to its goal of reasonable and affordable taxes for all taxpayers by: 1) managing the impact of tax assessment and 2) maximizing the return of each tax dollar to maintain adequate infrastructure, programs and services for the collective benefit of the citizens of this Town.

Mayor and Town Council

Open Letter from Council

Open Letter to the Citizens of Cardston from Mayor and Council : re Leasing of the Golf Course

This past fall, as Councillors campaigned and listened to the wishes and concerns of our citizens, a common theme echoed loud and clear. “Something needs to be done with the Golf Course”. Ideas were offered such as “Sell it” or “Lease it”. One thing was certain, that people in Cardston no longer accept tax payers’ money to be pumped in the Golf Course year after year.

Last Council received an offer to lease the course from Black Sands Management Group; a group composed of seven local businessmen and professionals who share the same passion for Golfing and whose interest was to keep the Golf Course as an asset for the Town of Cardston while stopping the drain of public funds. Past Council was very impressed with the concept but left it up to the new Council to make the decisions regarding this Town’s asset.

This present Council was faced at its first Council Meeting with the grim reality reflected in the less than impressive financial statement for the Golf Course. Bad weather all through the summer and too many closures of the golf course through the season did not help the bottom line. As of December 2010, $100,000 was expended by the town to balance the books.

The Town never succeeded in managing this beautiful facility without having to subsidize it at the rate of $50,000 to $80,000 per year. It could be argued that it was subsidized in the same way as other recreational facilities in town, but the golf course as a business was supposed to be self-sustaining and this never was the case.

Due to the continuous poor financial record of the Golf Course, selling this asset did not appear to be the wisest move at the present time. Leasing the course seemed to be the solution that could fulfill the desire of the citizens of this town to stop the drain of public funds. A discussion regarding the possibility to tender the leasing of the course was not supported by the majority of Council and a motion was passed in principle to support Black Sands Management Group with the leasing of the course.

Administration worked diligently with Black Sands Management Group, sought advice from legal counsel on numerous occasions and presented its findings to Council who discussed the various aspects of the lease. The task for Council was not easy and concessions had to be made to make this lease possible to this group.

This lease was designed to give a chance for Black Sands Management Group to be successful in managing the Golf Course and to preserve and beautify the Golf Course as a prime asset for the Town . Ultimately, the Town will benefit by eliminating its yearly losses while protecting a valuable asset.

We, as Council, believe that we have achieved these goals by ratifying the motion to accept the lease between Black Sands Management Group and the Town of Cardston.

Mayor & Council
Town of Cardston

Watch out for what you can not see!

With weather conditions the way they have been this past month, drivers and pedestrians need to be more aware of traffic around them.
The ice under the snow makes it very difficult for drivers to stop for every person who either wants to back out of a parking stall or cross the street even in a crosswalk and with a light.
I have noted several people jaywalking, mainly on Main Street and on 2nd Ave. West by the post office. We are concerned about the safety of all and encourage everyone to do their part in making our roads safe.
When approaching a stop light, stop sign or yield sign give yourself a little more time and distance to make your stop. Same thing when you are making a turn, take the corner a lot slower it will save you time from making an accident report.
Let’s continue to be considerate of others using the roads and give ourselves just a little more time to get to where we want to be.

Lloyd Stewart
Community Peace Officer

Cardstons Amazing Race

Join the Fun and Be Part of Cardston’s First Ever Amazing Race

Teams will race around Cardston and County on a quest to be the first to reach the Holy Grail (Ultimate Winner). You will visit various businesses, attractions and lifestyles in the area where teams will perform tasks and/or seek clues. Plus, you could win prizes! Teams will be chosen through an audition. We are seeking:
• Race Teams – teams must consist of three volunteer members who are between the ages of 18- 98yrs and reside within the Town or County of Cardston. Two designated racers and one videographer. (You must supply your own HD video camera and a memory card.) Come prepared to creatively tell/show us, in five minutes, why we should choose your team. Note: All three members of the team must attend the audition.
• Host – one host who is charismatic and has a great voice. You must be 18 yrs. or older. Please come prepared to tell us your past announcing experience, why we should choose you (5 min. time limit) and read a short script. (This position is volunteer and will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.)
• Sponsors – If you would like to be a part of this amazing event as a sponsor please contact us.

Teams and Host
Thursday, March 3rd
Cardston Civic Centre (Upstairs)
Starting at 6:30 pm
For more information contact: Larry Fisk 403-653-4850
Barb Nish 403-653-1121
Marsha Jensen 403-653-1848