Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Proposed “Ark” development project holds public forum

Great project Ark Volunteers. Think BIG

Listen to your hearts.

Great project good luck.


By Jarrett Crowe

paNOW Staff

The Wesley United Church wants public input on their proposed affordable housing project known as the Ark.
The church hosted a public presentation and forum for community members on Nov. 13 to make suggestions and comments on the project.
Gil Streeton, Ark committee chairman, said the feedback from the public is important to the advancement of the project.
“We wanted to try and increase the number of people providing input to us, so we could get new ideas and new suggestions,” he said.
Streeton said nothing is finalized, as it still will need to be approved by the congregation at the next annual general assembly.
“In December, we’ll be making a recommendation to the church council but they won’t be making a decision," he said. "The decision will be made next March when we reach the church’s annual meeting. Then the congregation will have to make a decision.” 
The Ark Project is a proposed community development that could include a church, a chapel, residential towers, a senior’s community centre, and a daycare. Streeton said some people had suggested the current preliminary design, however is not big enough.
“I found it interesting when we first started this was supposed to be just a little project… (Some people have suggested) you should be looking at building this in conjunction to a huge commercial enterprise where you got food stores and clothing stores,” he said.
About four acres will be needed for the core facility and about 7.5 acres for the expanded design as shown in a preliminary development computer design. The final development could change depending on the input provided by the public or if church moves forward with a different design.
“So all of a sudden this isn’t big enough anymore, so that’s one of the things that came out today. we have to keep thinking bigger and bigger,” Streeton said.
The church currently does not have a set location to build, instead they are waiting for further input and approval before finalizing a location.
Streeton added however if the development moves forward, it will not be restricted to church members but will be open and available to everyone regardless of their beliefs.
“A lot of people are saying PA needs something like this. The fact that it’s going to be wide open, it isn’t simply meant for United Church people, it’s meant for everybody,” he said.
On Twitter: @JarrettCrowe

PANow - Dionne presents mandate of change

PANow talks about the new mayor and council

By Andrew de Souza

paNOW Staff

Newly sworn in Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne is hoping to ring in his new position by making changes to the way the city does business.
“I was surprised and pleased with such a mandate that I got for change,” he said. “And that’s what today is about, change. I’ve promoted and I will continue to promote for the next four years team work.”
Perhaps more importantly he pointed out that as a new mayor with a new council there was no way to avoid a tax increase.
“I can’t see getting around an increase at this point. We’re just too close to it, we have to proceed with our budget,” he said, though he didn’t define how much the increase would be.
Dionne did say however he would lead by example and cut costs where he could. He said one of his first orders of business would be to remove one of the two secretaries the mayor’s office has and reallocate the position to a department in greater need.
“The last mayor had two secretaries for the first time in the city’s history and I am taking it back to one,” he said. “I’m going to lead by example and effective tomorrow there is one secretary in the mayor’s office."
Dionne said a major change he wanted to enact was the rearrangement of the Prince Albert Board of Police Commissioners, a committee at arm’s length to city administration that oversees the Prince Albert Police Service’s operations.
“When we’re done remodeling the police commission it will go from a mayor, two councillors and two civilians to three members of council and four civilians with the chair being a civilian” he said. “That’s what I call a community police.”
Dionne said another important thing he wanted to change was the way service agreements are made with neighbouring rural municipalities. He said without a change, the city simply couldn’t afford it's own amenities and everyone in the community would suffer.
“Our community can no longer burden the taxes and the capital costs of the facilities we have without our region kicking in,” he said.
Dionne also said he wouldn’t allow funding to outside agencies unless they provided not only financial statements, but business plans to ensure taxpayer dollars were spent prudently.
“We have asked for years for our departments to cut staff, costs and waste to save the city taxpayers. We’ve never asked this to agencies that we fund,” he said. “The taxpayers of Prince Albert can no longer afford tax increases.”
Council swears in
Dionne’s promises were made during Tuesday night’s swearing-in ceremony for those elected in last month’s civic election.
Rookie councillors Rick Orr, Tim Scharkowski and Mark Tweidt, joined the ranks of veteran councillors Lee Atkinson, Don Cody, Charlene Miller, Martin Ring and Ted Zurakowski and Mayor Dionne to make up the new city council.
All swore an oath in front of Provincial Judge Maher to uphold good governance.
In addition to being sworn in, councillors were appointed to various committees.
After councillors were sworn in, the first official council meeting took place with regular scheduled meetings set for the near future.

My commitment to the citizens of Prince Albert

My thoughts delivered November 13th in the first council meeting Council Forum.

Thanks to my fellow councillors for your advice and stewardship leading up to this evenings first meeting. A special thanks to our city clerk Cliff Skauge and his staff for patience and dedication to our city governance.

I would like to thank the citizens of Ward 2 for their vote of confidence. I will work hard for you and all others in the city. To all the candidates that ran for office I wish you the best and thank you all on behalf of the citizens of Prince Albert for running. 

I won because of my campaign team - my wife Kathy she knocked doors, delivered flyers and provided good advise. I also want to thank my friends, relatives and my grand-girls for helping the weekend before the election and my especially PICK RICK PA Exhibition Parade Grandkids for travelling from Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatoon to help grandpa.

TO OUR Mayor and council - what our citizens told me is they feel disconnected and would like to be heard. I have suggested I would ask for community meetings that would bring council, administration and community policing to the table. Everyone’s voice would be heard and then council and admin could decide if they wanted to deal with what is bothering most people. We need to figure out quickly what are our priorities as we enter into the upcoming budget cycle. Also we have to figure out how to communicate better with our citizens.

People’s views were quite simple, they want sustainable taxes, safe neighbourhoods and basic infrastructure fixes, like the bridge, safe water, well maintained roadways and lanes along with a 2nd bridge. 

Mom’s and grandmothers are concerned about speeding, park inspections for needles and glass. In Hazeldell your neighbours tell me they would like more speed enforcement and potholes fixed and better dust control maintenance on 3rd Street & 4th Avenue N.W. 

Your Nordale neighbours tell me that most want basic things like potholes fixed especially as you come off the highway and the mailbox areas covered with an all weather covering. Many in Prince Albert don't realize Nordale citizens do not have city water or sewer hook ups. Nordale residents are worried because they may not have adequate fire protection because they don’t have hydrants or even a high pressure water line. 

People all over the city tell me they feel roads are left to deteriorate and that leads to unnecessary vehicle damaging and it may lead to accidents. Some say they have asked over and over for years for more police patrols. 

People want us to provide common sense and good thinking that is why they have put us here. We have a great city management team that are working hard on sustainable solutions to difficult issues like 100 year old infrastructure.

People say Get ‘er done! Less studies, less reports, less bureaucracy and empower our fantastic city workers to get out and fix the problems without all the red tape and fuss. That is how most think council and our city needs to get it done. Developers challenge us to streamline the intrusive system for development. We are in a competition with other municipalities Prince Albert must encourage investment and enterprise to move forward. 

Some challenged me that you will just be like the rest and say whatever it takes to get elected and then do nothing. I want to be upfront and let you know I will be your advocate and voice at council.  I will return my calls and emails and I will represent you to the best of my ability. 

As a new council we have four years to work together to make the City of Prince Albert the best it has ever been.

I look forward to getting started with our new council and team of dedicated civic workers.

I Thank you the citizens of Prince Albert for you confidence and guidance.

Thanks to all for your well wishes and support

Thanks to family, friends and citizens of Prince Albert for your encouragement and good wishes. I am ready to work with the new council and our terrific city staff to get the job started.

Kathy and Rick

Thanks Fern and Ed for your help and coming to be with us for the ceremony

Thanks Kurt - Notice the Chief is watching us

Proud moment - all the hard work made it a reality. Thanks Ward 2 voters.

Yep they let me in. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

E.A. Rawlinson Centre

Thanks for the great evening last night.

Kathy and I are grateful to Linda Jensen, marketing director for the E.A. Rawlinson Centre and GM Darren McCaffery for the wonderful evening last night. It started with a 30 minute concert by Brenda Baker and Sheldon Corbett and then followed by a 50 minute preview. Brenda and Sheldon are a Saskatchewan treasure powerful and inspirational.

What a terrific season coming up. Check it all out at :

Book tickets now:

Box Office - 765-1270 or 1-866-700-ARTS

My only regret others in the city did not decide to attend.

Great job volunteers we could not do it without you.

Thanks for the great jam - Charlie

On Saturday October 7th Northcote Manor and Charlie Squires put on a Jam Tasting and Craft Sale for the Diabetes Association. Man can Charlie make jam. We came home with $40 worth of crafts and jams. Thanks to many like Charlie and the others we are a community of HEROS.