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2023 at a glance for Cypress

Posted on January 11, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

August

Despite the high temperatures over the July 22-23 weekend, the Hilda Centennial Committee was thrilled to see all of their work bear fruit.

“We are feeling very happy and relieved that it’s over. And just amazed by how everybody responded and how everyone pitched in and helped. It was just really a blessing to see everyone take ownership of what happened,” said Linda Anderst, a member of the centennial committee.

Harvest season is underway and looking to come and go within the next couple of weeks. In it’s wake, Cypress County anticipates a sweep of development permits from landowners, as they work on a review of the Municipal Development Plan.

The review was prompted when matters regarding a feedlot operation came before council, said planning supervisor Kaylene Brown, to evaluate some of the setback distances in documents pertaining to similar operations.

The Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta (CFSEA) is looking for voices from every part of this corner to ask one very important question: what does your community need?

VitalSigns is a program that, for over 20 years now, strives to measure the vitality of communities across Canada. 

“We use local knowledge to measure the vitality of the community and support action towards improving quality of life. And we just want to spark conversation is our main goal for this program,” said Lauren Freisen, Rural Community Liaison and Communications Specialist for the CFSEA.

The UCP’s initiative to start a provincial police force that would replace the RCMP in certain rural locations will continue to undergo review. Either way, Medicine Hat and Redcliff will not be greatly affected by this action.

“I’m glad that they’re taking a break on it,” says Redcliff Mayor Dwight Kilpatrick. “I think leveller heads have to look at it, not just this urge to break away.”

September

With a record 62 cars present for their Car Show, the Dunmore Community Association was thrilled with the turnout for their Aug. 26 Dunmore Days Celebration.

“We are extremely pleased with the events and turnout at Dunmore Days this year,” said Jody Phillips, DCA Secretary. Roughly 150 people showed up for the pancake breakfast, hosted by Cypress County, as well as all of the cars and their owners for the show.

The DCA hosted a mini-market with a number of vendors for the first time, and the Silent Auction raised $8042 that will go directly towards community events and continuing to outfit the new EDF Outdoor Recreation Centre. Fifty-six businesses contributed to the silent auction, and a further 20 businesses donated door prize draws for the car show participants, said Phillips. 

With summer officially behind us, Cypress County is looking over the past harvest season and into the future.

At Cypress County Council’s Sept. 6 meeting, it was noted in the CAO’s report that the Cypress Sunset Scamper Race has submitted their request to have a reprise of the race on April 6, 2024. Provided all conditions are met, there should be no issues moving forward in allowing the race to happen. 

Councillors were quite busy in the past few weeks, between several attending the Dunmore Days pancake breakfast, to meeting in Irvine to look over the progress at the Community Resource Centre; work is being done on the drywall and interior, and they expect to be installing playground equipment later this month.

A plan to place thousands of solar panels on dry farmland south of Medicine Hat is advancing with semi-formal talks between the developer, Aura Power, and the only registered opponent, Cypress County.

The two sides met Sept. 6 in Dunmore at county council’s regular meeting to discuss the “Peace Butte” Solar project ahead of an October deadline when Alberta power regulators could take up the issue.

The already unusual circumstances of pre-hearing discussions taking place are made even stranger by an evolving moratorium on new green energy approvals across the province.

A fittingly sunny day marked the opening of the Chappice Lake Solar and Storage project in Cypress County on Sept. 21.

A partnership between Elemental and Cold Lake First Nations, it is the first utility scale solar and storage project in Alberta to use a flow battery, addressing some of the more common concerns in regards to large scale use of solar and other renewables on the grid.

October

The Ranchland Teepee Rest Area, 17 kilometres west of Brooks, now features a memorial for the life, and sacrifice, of Corporal Stephen Gibson, following a dedication ceremony on Sept. 26.

“Today we have the privilege of being here along with 1 MP Regiment to pay tribute to Corporal Gibson, Steven Gibson, who died 20 years ago today on his first day of military policing duty after having graduated from our military police academy,” said Colonel Vanessa Hanrahan.

This year saw several improvements to the Cypress County Welcome Centre in Walsh, with this being their first year open five days a week. 

Communications Coordinator Sean Rooney gave a report on his findings at the Oct. 3 Cypress County Council meeting, and the end results were clear: since the County had taken over the centre, they’ve continued to see growth in how much it is utilized and the service provided is a significant boon to travellers.

Some potential improvements to recreation are underway for residents of Redcliff, out of last week’s Town Council meeting on October 10th.

Council moved to install new sport flooring for the Arena, the flooring surrounding the ice that protects user’s skates when moving on and off of the actual surface. 

This project is projected to cost  $17,379.70, also covering the cost of adhesive, GST, and shipping. This comes on the heels of previous flooring needs earlier this year, and will likewise be installed in-house when the space is not in use.

Killer clowns, serial killers from the silver screen, and quite a few fog machines make their home in the Suntaira greenhouse for the Redcliff Youth Centre’s Glass House Haunting.

This year marks the fourth iteration of the event, said Janae Ulrich, Executive Director of the Redcliff Youth Centre, and is one of the many fundraisers that take place over the course of the year to make their programming possible.

In the tapestry of every school, there are rare threads that weave through multiple generations; a sentiment expressed at the retirement assembly for a longstanding part of Seven Persons’ School culture, Miss Marilyn Noga.

There was not a dry eye in the Seven Persons’ School Gymnasium on October 13, as both current and former students, colleagues, and parents gathered to congratulate Noga, who worked at the school as an education assistant, on taking the next step in her life after 42 years as part of the school’s vibrant culture. 

November

Faces from throughout the region piled into the Beveridge Building in Medicine Hat, to hear where the Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta has set their sights this year.

The event took place over lunch on October 30, treating guests from throughout the wide area CFSEA supports to sandwiches and illuminating conversation as they awaited the reveal of the 2023 Vital Signs.

The October 31 Cypress County Council meeting was certainly not lacking in events or colour, as council sat dressed as various spirits, ghouls and clever pothole puns for their usual business.

Administration was directed to enter a 2 Year Cycle Replacement Program with Palliser Sales for the Fendt tractor unit. This unit is noted to be the “silver bullet” of snow removal within the county, but does not currently have as many hours of use on it as one might expect.

The agreement would have the cost of the unit be instead paid at a rate by hours used, which was calculated by administration to be significantly lower than the current rate on payments on the unit, and would furthermore also result in the County continually having a unit that is under warranty.

The town of Redcliff is gearing up for their annual tree lighting, with the festivities set to get the town into the holiday spirit on November 24.

Redcliff Council received the details of the event for information as part of their November 14 regular council meeting, with no questions, comments, or concerns regarding the event.

The Town of Redcliff will host the annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Winter Celebration in Memorial Park, said the staff report on the subject, from 6–8 p.m. It is being held in partnership with various organizations throughout the town, including IF Cox School, Margaret Wooding School, and the Redcliff Youth Centre.

November 17–18 marked the second of the Redcliff Public Library’s two annual book sales, and this weekend was a resounding success, despite some scheduling mishaps.

The library has long since hosted their first annual book sale during the summer, opening their doors to those looking for used books, movies, and Blu-Rays during the height of Redcliff Days. 

However, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have also begun, “to host a second sale closer to the end of the year,” said Tracy Laturnus, library manager.

December

The Town of Redcliff hosted their town council meeting for the month on November 27, the second to last meeting for 2023.

Council moved to lease Unit #121, a tractor, to the Redcliff/Cypress Regional Waste Management Authority. It was noted that the Authority recently approved a Litter Picker in their 2024 Budget, which needs to be powered by a tractor unit with similar specifications to the unit in question.

An initial motion was put forward to loan the unit to the Landfill Authority, but was defeated, citing that the unit will depreciate over the year, even with the Landfill Authority being responsible for maintenance and repair.

December 5 marked the last meeting of Cypress County Council for 2023, with much on the mind of the council as they move into a brand new year.

Second and third reading were passed for the Municipal Development Plan. A public hearing was previously held on September 16. Discussion concerning the appropriate standard of public road infrastructure to be used in operations followed the public hearing, and previously, it had been moved to postpone decision.

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