Page 1 | March 30, 2017 | SINGLE COPY FREE


Museum posts $44,000 deficit


Council debates expanding parking lot


Jasper seeks 24/7 mental health service

Cost to renovate activity centre pegged at $13.4 million

The cost to repair and in some cases replace parts of the Jasper Activity Centre could cost taxpayers $13.4 million, more than double what administration estimated in December.

The new price tag includes a long list of renovations for the arena, aquatic centre, curling rink and multipurpose hall, all of which are beginning to show their age. In December, Yvonne McNabb, director of culture and recreation, estimated it could cost $6.63 million to complete the renovations, however she cautioned the price would likely fluctuate as consultants finalized their cost estimates. Group2, an architecture and interior design firm, completed its assessment of the facility in the fall and presented its findings to council on March 21. It will still be months before a decision is made, if any, however, McNabb told council she would like some of the renovations to begin by next winter. “The intent of the report was to evaluate the facility and provide an assessment of the immediate and longterm improvements and upgrades that should be contemplated,” said Mike Ryan, intern architect with Group2. To pay for the project the municipality would have to pass a borrowing bylaw and go into debt. Currently the municipality has a total debt of about $4 million and can legally borrow another $17 million. In 2015, the municipality paid about $800,000 from its $16.5 million budget to repay its debt, including interest. Doug Ramsey, principal architect for Group2, acknowledged that the municipality may not have the budget to complete the entire scope of the project at the same time, which is why the assessment includes a list of priorities. At the top of the priority list are health and safety concerns, such as replacing and relocating the refrigeration plant to the other side of the arena. It is currently located beside the main entrance of the

building and across from the Wildflower Childcare Centre. According to the report, it would cost approximately $2.35 million to relocate and replace the refrigeration plant. Other safety concerns include applying fire retardant spray to portions of the structure holding up the main

out include the chlorination system, the hockey boards and the Zamboni room. In 2016 the municipality spent $135,000 to renovate and expand the Zamboni Room to make space for the municipality’s new Zamboni. “Right now it fits, but it doesn’t fit well,” said Ryan.

floor, addressing corrosion around the steel columns in the pool area, replacing the waterslide and upgrading the air exchange system in the commercial kitchen. Many of the electrical and mechanical systems are also cause for concern. “The majority of the main floor is not properly protected from fire,” said Ryan. “If there was a fire in the basement these members would experience weakening because of the heat and may collapse.” According to the building code, the structure holding up the main floor must be protected with fire retardant spray so that in the event there’s a fire the structure could theoretically support the weight of the floor for up to an hour. The report also highlighted more than a dozen items that are necessary to replace because they are currently failing or could fail in the near future, such as the refrigerated slabs in the arena and the curling rink. Other items singled

According to the drawings provided in the report, the consultants would like to relocate the Zamboni room so it can directly access Bonhomme Street. The consultants would also like to build four new change rooms, two on each side of the Zamboni room. The estimated cost to relocate the Zamboni room and add four new change rooms is just over $2 million. According to McNabb, the arena would likely be closed from mid-April to mid-September, during the off-season, to replace the arena’s refrigerated slab and the hockey boards. The remaining renovations, such as the change rooms, could take longer. The assessment also provide a list of items to improve or enhance the operation of the building, such as upgrading the flooring in the multipurpose hall, adding more space for meetings and conferences, increasing accessibility to all areas of the facility and expanding the main entrance.

“These are things that the user and the operators of the facility have identified to us that they’d like to see changed in order to make sure that they can continue providing programs and services and expand those services in the future,” said Ryan. In order to make the facility more accessible, the consultants have proposed installing an elevator so people with mobility challenges can access the basement and the lounge above the curling rink. They also proposed creating an accessible area in the arena. If council approves moving the refrigeration plant to the other side of the arena, it will free up space to expand the main entrance of the arena, making it brighter and more inviting. During the meeting the consultants also presented two options to expand the pool’s change rooms: either keep the change rooms segregated or create one large gender-neutral room that would incorporate single-user change rooms for privacy. Both options would include relocating the entrance of the change rooms so users can’t enter the pool directly from the change rooms. According to Ryan, the current entrance poses an operational challenge since lifeguards are required to be on duty until the pool deck can be secured from the public and this can’t happen until after the family change rooms are empty. Gender-neutral change rooms are the consultant’s preferred choice. During the discussion Mayor Richard Ireland asked whether it would be more sensible to renovate the entire facility or tear it down. “Theoretically if you go into an arena that has an existing structure we should be able to bring it up to today’s standards, but is it going to give you the life-cycle costs that you had before? No, because your structure is still there, you still have some of the limitations of the design that was done in the 1960s and the 1970s,” said Ramsey.

Paul Clarke

Charging station remains unplugged An electric vehicle charging station that was built at the Municipal Library and Cultural Centre has yet to charge a single car, nearly nine months after the facility opened.

Contracted out to a company called PEP, the charging station was suppose to be part of network of electric vehicle charging stations located throughout Jasper. But over the course of building the library, which took five-and-a-half years to complete, the company went bankrupt. Now the municipality is trying to figure out a way to get the charging station up and running in time for summer. “During the time that the library was under construction the equipment was bought for the charging station, but prior to the installation and initializing the software the company went bellyup and disappeared,” said Mark Fercho, the town’s chief administrative officer. He said the municipality is currently in discussions with Delnor, the contractor responsible for building the library, to find a solution. “Right now the contractor is trying to resolve this at their expense,” said Fercho. “Where this ends up


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remains to be seen, but at this time they are currently still working on it.” If Delnor can’t find a way to resolve the issue, he said it’s likely the municipality will find another company. The municipality has been trying to reach a negotiated settlement with Delnor and Stantec, the architect and consultant on the project, since the library opened in June. The library opened three-and-a-half years behind schedule due to construction blunders and was $1.5 million over budget. In December, Fercho said he was close to reaching a settlement with Delnor, but not Stantec. On March 24 he said things hadn’t changed. Currently there are four charging stations at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and two at the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre. There is also a charging station at Jasper Junior/Senior High School, but that station is for staff only. For a map of charging stations across Canada go to:

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Paul Clarke

This cement block was supposed to be an electric vehicle charging station, but the company responsible for installing it went bankrupt before it could be completed. | P. Clarke photo

Museum posts $44,000 deficit The Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives continues to lose money, recording a $44,000 budget deficit for 2016.

The museum’s deficit is about $14,000 more than what was projected in November, however the statement of operations presented on March 23 now includes nearly $27,000 in amortization. It also includes just over $2,000 in revenue from investments. Neither of those line items were included in the three-year budget plan presented to council in November. At the time Warren Waxer, president of the Yellowhead Historical Society, told council the museum would return to a balanced budget in 2017, however there was no mention of balancing the books during the museum’s annual general meeting March 23. “We struggle to get by and we’re dipping into our reserves every year,” said Waxer. Despite cutting its expenses by approximately $25,000 from the previous year, the museum’s revenue also fell sharply by about $23,000 after the museum did not receive a $20,000 grant from the Alberta Museum Association. Complicating matters, the society’s board has been without a treasurer since September and it has yet to ratify its 2016 financial statement, raising the possibility that the figures could still change. “Financial stability is elusive at best, but the potential of our empty lot and upcoming corporate fundraising campaign offers some great hope,” Waxer said, as he tried to find some positive news.

The Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives recorded a $44,000 deficit in 2016. | file photo

In November, Waxer asked council to continue to support the museum by allocating $49,000 in the 2017 budget. Council has yet to approve the budget. In an effort to cut costs, the museum initially said it would cut back on wages and benefits and reduce the manager to a part-time position, however after struggling to attract candidates for the job the museum opted to sweeten the pot. A new manager is expected to join the museum in April. “In search for our new manager we have had to increase personnel expenses from what was originally budgeted. This will hopefully be tempered by a corporate sponsorship and fundraising campaign that was not budgeted for, in an attempt

to keep our revenue predictions as conservative as possible,” Waxer wrote in a follow up email to the Fitzhugh. Other possible ideas that are being explored to stop the bleeding include the possibility of selling the plot of land beside the museum or moving the museum entirely. There is also discussion about attracting another public institution to draw more people to the area. “The task of investigating relocation or the use of our spare lot has been on hold for decades,” said Waxer. “While there is no urgency we must eventually address whether or not our location at the back of town is a hindrance to increased visitation and financial viability.” He said another major problem

facing the museum is that a lot of what it does, such as archiving and preserving artifacts, doesn’t translate into revenue. “We know we’re a valuable service to the community, we’re supported by the taxpayers, but half our operation is somewhat invisible and we’ll never make money at that end of the operation and it must be supported,” said Waxer. On a positive note the museum continues to do well with fundraising, collecting approximately $42,000 in each of the last two years and memberships are also on the rise. The museum now has 139 paying members. The museum also has plans for two new projects this year. The first one will be the official unveiling of Kookum, the bronze statue that was installed in the museum’s garden in September. The project was executed in partnership with the Aseniwuche Winewak First Nations, Parks Canada and Conoco Phillips. The board intends to celebrate Jasper’s first bronze statue sometime this summer. The second project will be the development of a new geological exhibit. The project was made possibly by a donation from the late Eric Mountjoy, a prominent Canadian geologist. This project will include a permanent exhibit in the gallery on the history of mining and geological surveying in Jasper National Park as well as a geological interpretive display and outdoor rock garden.

Paul Clarke

Council debates expanding parking lot

The municipality would like to expand a parking lot on Patricia Street to accommodate up to 14 more vehicles. The change would help alleviate parking congestion in the downtown core and could help the Jasper Downtown Hostel meet its parking requirements.

The proposal was brought forward during a committee-of-the-whole meeting on March 28. While 14 parking stalls might not sound like a lot, according to the proposal, 14 cars parked on Patricia Street would stretch from Coco’s Café to Earls. “It’s over half a block of on-street parking, when you park cars from nose to tail,” said CAO Mark Fercho. If approved, the project is expected to cost approximately $210,000, which will come from the parking authority’s restricted reserve fund. Currently there is about $251,000 in the fund. “When Parks Canada approves development and the onsite parking requirements can’t be met there are two ways to deal with it, either the development isn’t approved or the developer will pay into the parking authority, with the intent being that at some point enough money pools in the fund that the municipality can create parking,” said Fercho. According to the municipality’s parking bylaw, it currently costs a proponent $7,700 per parking stall. The last parking stalls that were created with the fund were in the RV parking lot next to Home Hardware. One of the main reasons the proposal was brought forward was to help the Jasper Downtown Hostel meet its parking requirements. The hostel is currently adding 30 new beds to its facility and will have a total of 60 beds once construction is complete. To accommodate its extra guests, the hostel is required to have 12 additional parking stalls, including three onsite spots, however the municipality did not approve the hostel’s plan to create three parking stalls in front of the building because it would have required cars

The municipal parking lot located on Patricia Street between the old fire hall and Source for Sports could be expanded to accommodate up to 14 more vehicles. This image is a concept drawing and is not to scale.

to frequently cross the sidewalk. “They could have met the requirements onsite but we don’t think cars should be crossing sidewalks in high density walking areas,” Fercho told council. In order to try and resolve the problem, he recommended designating three parking stalls in the expanded lot exclusively for the hostel. The proposed price for the three stalls would be $30,000 for a designated period of time and require a signed agreement between the municipality and the hostel. “If this doesn’t go through, they will then have to pay for three spots at the old rate back into the pooled fund,” explained Fercho. Several councillors balked at the idea of designating spots exclusively for a business describing it as a “slippery slope.” “My concern is what it does to the rest of the business community that wants to designate a stall and buy it,” said Coun. Gilbert Wall. “If we open that door there are

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a lot of businesses that will walk through it.” Coun. Helen Kelleher-Empey said she also had concerns about the proposal. “If we’re going to do it I think it has to be open to other businesses and it has to be at a prime cost,” said Kelleher-Empey. Besides the financial implications, at least four mature trees located beside Source for Sports will have to be cut down to make room for the additional stalls. “We’ll be replacing the trees with the formula by Parks Canada for tree removal and replacement and parking lot itself follows the architecture motif that’s required,” said Fercho. The proposal will come back to council for notice on April 4, before returning for a final decision on April 18.

Paul Clarke

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Community and Family Services recently signed a three-year funding agreement to create a new position that will advocate for newcomers and help foster a welcoming and inclusive community. | P. Clarke photo

Enhancing our Emergency Management Program to Protect our Communities We have been working alongside Parks Canada, the municipality of Jasper DQGLWV¿UVWUHVSRQGHUVWR gather local knowledge and expertise, which is valuable for developing Jamie Kereliuk, Director of the best Geographic Emergency Management, Trans Mountain Expansion Project Response Plan possible, and ultimately, enabling us Our top priority is the safety of the communities to respond faster and where our Trans Mountain more effectively. pipeline system operates. And in recognizing Jasper We understand communities along as a community located the pipeline corridor within a unique ecoare concerned about system, our dedicated emergencies and response Emergency Management team understands the most capabilities. Regular training and exercises are critical and responsible integral to our safety and emergency management emergency preparedness strategy is to prevent an program. We conduct incident from occurring more than 20 emergency at all. response exercises, However, in the rare case equipment deployment drills and training of an emergency, we opportunities each year. have detailed emergency response procedures and We also have response trained professionals who are fully prepared to equipment available in Jasper including an Oil quickly respond to any type of incident anywhere Spill Containment and along the pipeline system. Response (OSCAR) trailer, a boom trailer, a As part of our ongoing commitment to safety and winter response trailer 17034OK0 and a response boat. With emergency preparedness, the availability of this our Emergency local equipment, trained Pesponse Plans are personnel and regular continually reviewed, emergency exercises, like revised, practiced and the one we conducted FRPPXQLFDWHGZLWK¿UVW on Moose Lake last fall, responders all along ZHDUHFRQ¿GHQWLQRXU the pipeline system. We experience to quickly continually assess new respond to these and emerging practices to ensure we are applying rare events. best available technologies Our Emergency to protect our pipeline Management team is and terminals. working hard to ensure When the Government of when the expansion goes into operation, the Canada granted approval for the Expansion Project enhanced EM Program in December 2016, it was will meet the needs of the twinned system. I am subject to 157 required conditions from the NEB; proud of the program we have in place today, and including conditions to I take pride in the team enhance our Emergency planning the future of Response Plans. These our Emergency enhanced plans will Management Program. put a greater focus on geographic response planning and we have been Our goal is to operate, engaging and getting input manage and protect the pipeline system so that from local public safety our Emergency Response agencies, municipalities Plans are never used, and Aboriginal groups to while being fully prepared support this effort. for any type of incident. 6LWHVSHFL¿F*HRJUDSKLF For more information Response Plans are visit, being developed along emergency-response. the pipeline, including in Jasper National Park.

Jasper secures three-year immigration partnership

Adjusting to life in Jasper as a new immigrant can be difficult.

To help make the transition easier, Community and Family Services recently signed a three-year funding agreement to create a new position that will advocate for newcomers and help foster a welcoming and inclusive community. Known as a Local Immigration Partnership (LIP), the position does not deliver services directly to newcomers. Instead the new position will support community-level research and strategic planning as well as improve accessibility and coordinate services to help immigrants settle and integrate into the community. “The local immigration partnership is similar to the collaborative action team that brings stakeholders in the




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paul clarke

Jasper Interconnection Project OPEN HOUSE ATCO is hosting an Open House on the Detailed Impacts Analysis for the Jasper Interconnection Project. Attendance at the information session will provide you with an opportunity to meet the members of our Team, learn more about the Project and have your questions answered. We welcome open discussion including any comments or concerns you may have. Your feedback plays a critical role in our projects and we look forward to meeting you. The Detailed Impacts Analysis can be found on ATCO Project website: April 6th, 2017 | 4 pm - 8 pm Sawridge Inn and Conference Center Jasper - Chief Paul Ballroom 76 Connaught Dr.; Jasper, Alberta T0E 1E0 For more information contact: Landon Bawol, ATCO 10035-105 Street, Edmonton Alberta, T5J 2V6 Phone toll-free: 1-855-420-5775 Fax: 780-420-5030

community together to address challenges to welcome newcomers to Canada,” said Kathleen Waxer, director of Community and Family Services. She said the goal is to make sure newcomers don’t become “invisible” and that their needs are kept at the forefront of any community decisions. “I’m really happy and proud that will have this new position because it’s a project I’ve been working on for three or four years,” Waxer said, adding it’s another step towards fostering a welcoming and inclusive community. The position officially begins on April 1 and will be located in the Community Outreach Services office located at 627 Patricia Street. For more information call 780-852-2100.


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community seeks 24/7 mental health service

When it comes to accessing mental health services in Jasper you had better hope you don’t need it after hours, otherwise you might be out of luck.

Currently Jasper has two mental health therapists, one who works full-time and another who works parttime, however both work regular hours leaving a gap when there is a mental health crisis in the evening or on the weekend. A second full-time therapist is slated to begin work on April 3, however the new therapist will focus on children in the community and work with the schools to provide targeted programming. To address the gap, Jasper’s collaborative action teams recently drafted a letter asking Alberta Health Services (AHS) to make Mental Health Urgent Care available in the community. The provincial program, which is currently offered at hospitals in Banff and Canmore, provides 24/7 care for people who are suffering from a mental health crisis. According to Nicole Veerman, a communications specialist for Community and Family Services (CFS), the issue was first brought up by several employers in town who have seen a rise in the number of mental health issues with their staff. As a result, CFS penned a letter on behalf of Jasper’s collaborative action teams advocating for more mental health services after hours. “The point of collaborative action teams is to identify emerging trends in the community and work together to come up with solutions,” said Kathleen Waxer, director of CFS. “Resort communities are often perceived to be paradise where there are no issues, but in fact the type of employment that is here will often draw people who are looking for respite from the bigger cities.” According to the letter, there is evidence people with vulnerabilities are attracted to resort communities due to the continual demand for unskilled labour. For vulnerable, unskilled individuals, year-round employment opportunities are limited, but many still decide to stay

because of an addiction, poor mental health, a history of criminality, limited education or a disability. If the service is provided in Jasper, the hope is that a team of trained people will be able respond to a mental health crisis 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The team will be made up of psychologists, registered nurses and social workers. “It’s a team of people who are available in those after hours situations where you don’t have time to make an appointment to see a mental health therapist, but you’re in a situation where you’re in a crisis and you need support immediately,” Veerman explained. AHS acknowledged the concern raised in the letter, but said demand for after-hours service in Jasper has been low. “Evening and weekend support has been offered in the past, however the demand for this after hours service had been low (three to five call-outs per year). We continue to monitor and will reassess if needs or demand changes,” wrote Kerry Williamson, communications director for the AHS North Zone. “It is important to know that there is no wait time for urgent or emergent mental health care in Jasper. Anyone with urgent or emergent mental health needs are seen immediately.” He went on to state that with the addition of a fulltime mental health therapist on April 3, wait times in Jasper will be reduced. He also pointed out that there is a part-time addictions counselor in Jasper and telepsychiatry services are available for mental health clients at the hospital. The draft version of the letter has since been circulated to various organizations in town, such as the J9 Sparkle Foundation, which will then decide whether to send it onwards to Alberta Health Services. “Our role in this was to facilitate the meeting and write the letter on behalf of the members of the collaborative action teams,” said Veerman. “It’s now up to them if they feel that this something they want.”

paul clarke

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History at a gl ance

As the municipality sets its sights on its next multimillion dollar foray to renovate the Jasper Activity Centre, it’s hard not to wonder whether history will end up repeating itself. For those who may have forgotten, here’s a refresher. In November 2011 construction got under way to renovate and expand the Library and Cultural Centre. At the time council budgeted $7.5 million and was told it would be completed by the winter of 2013. As we now know, that never happened. Almost as soon as construction got underway contractors began to find surprise after surprise in the old library building, pushing the project more than $1 million over budget within the first year. As costs began to spiral out of control, former town manager Peter Waterworth told council experts were “shocked” by what they found once they started to renovate the building, but it didn’t stop there. Over the course of the next four years the contractor had to replace the building’s roof, walls, floors, stairs, windows and mechanical system after they were all improperly installed. In the process deadlines came and went and people started to point the finger. The end result was a library that was three-and-a-half years behind schedule and $1.5 million over budget. If all of this sound like a bad dream, it isn’t. It actually happened and it could happen again if the municipality is not careful. Last week council got its first look at a $13.4-million proposal to renovate the activity centre. On the surface just about everyone can agree that the activity centre is starting to show its age and will need some upgrades and repairs, but there are a lot of lingering questions that need to be answered. The first question is how the municipality is going to ensure there is enough oversight to avoid cost overruns and blown deadlines? After the library debacle, the public deserves some sort of guarantee that the same sort of issues that plagued the library won’t happen again. Can you imagine if the arena was closed for five-anda-half years what that would do to Jasper’s minor sports teams? It’s unthinkable, yet worthy of discussion given what happened in the past. Adding fuel to the fire, the estimated cost of the project has already jumped from $6.63 million in December to $13.4 million in March, raising serious questions about the cost of the project before it has even gotten underway. To make matters worse, that doesn’t account for the amount of money the municipality has already spent renovating the facility over the past few years, only to turn around to renovate it again. The best example is the Zamboni room, which cost $135,000 to renovate and expand in 2016. The proposal now suggests it should be relocated to the other side of the arena along side four new change rooms for an estimated cost of just over $2 million. If that’s not enough to give you pause, to date nothing has been said about public consultations. That in itself should be a red flag. With so much at stake lets hope the municipality is prepared to answer these questions and has learned from its past so we don’t have to find out if history will end up repeating itself.


A story about Canada Day published on March 16 provided incorrect times for the barbeque at Centennial Field. The barbecue runs from 11 a.m. to the end of the day. HOJA, a Canadian acappella group, will not be performing this year. The Fitzhugh regrets the errors.

q u es t i on o f t h e w ee k Would you like the municipality to spend $13.4 million to renovate the activity centre? a) Yes b) No

History at a Glance is bought to you by the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum & Archives. The photos are selected by the editor. Online: Twitter @jaspermuse

Library debacle offers cautionary tale

The bottom of the sky tram at Whistlers Mountain in 1969.

L et ter t o t he edi t or

Living in Jasper is a privilege, not a right Dear editor,

I just read your article in the March 23 edition of the Fitzhugh concerning Daniel Gallant and Monika Schaefer. I’m delighted to see Daniel Gallant’s court challenge against Schaefer, and congratulate the Fitzhugh for excellent and responsible reporting. Until recently, there has been an understandable tendency in Jasper to overlook or downplay the Schaefer story. The vast majority of Jasper residents are tolerant, peaceful, and responsible citizens, who don’t harbour and publicly promote radically hostile, extremist viewpoints. Everyone is entitled to their own private beliefs and opinions, but not to shove them in other people’s faces like Schaefer has done.

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Paul Brooke North Vancouver, B.C.


v ol u me 1 2 , i ss u e 2 1 P u bl i s h e r & a d v e r t i s i n g s a les Craig

editor Paul

g r a p h i c d es i g ne r Melissa The Fitzhugh is available free of charge at over 60 locations in Jasper and the surrounding area, limited to one copy per reader. We are funded solely through the support of our advertisers. The Fitzhugh is a division of Aberdeen Publishing LP (Robert W. Doull, President) and is published every Thursday. The Fitzhugh may be distributed only by its authorized contractors and employees. No person may, without the prior written permission of The Fitzhugh, take more than one copy of each issue of The Fitzhugh. The content is protected by copyright. Reproduction by any means is prohibited except with the permission of the publisher.

Go to to cast your votes. Results will be published in next week’s newspaper.


Her carefully crafted image as “just a peaceful little old lady who wants freedom of speech” simply doesn’t accord with the known facts. Her public association with known extremists, antiSemitic websites and international neo-Nazi groups is evident to anyone who takes the time to look. Schaefer has drawn negative international attention to herself and the town of Jasper, tarnishing the image of a truly great community by her presence. She seems to relish her self-imposed status as a persecuted martyr of historical revisionism and the extremist alternate right. She doesn’t seem to get the fact that living in Jasper is a privilege, not a right.

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The Fitzhugh welcomes complaints, praise, damnation and any other form of response to what you read in our newspaper. Diverse and varied opinions are welcome. Letters can be submitted by email, fax, snail mail or in person to our offices at 626 Connaught Drive. The Fitzhugh reserves the right to accept or refuse any or all material submitted for publication and maintains the right to exercise discretion in these matters. The Fitzhugh reserves the right to edit all submissions for libel, length, content and style. Please limit letters to 400 words. Letters must include your name and phone number or email, for verification purposes. We do not publish Anonymous Letters nor do we publish letters of Thanks, Gratitude or Congratulations to individuals or organizations as Letters to the Editor.

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qu ot e o f t h e w eek

“Resort communities are often perceived to be paradise where there are no issues, but in fact the type of employment that is here will often draw people who are looking for respite from the bigger cities.”

Man pleads not guilty in connection to cyber-bullying incident A local man who allegedly accosted his daughter’s bully, pled not guilty to assault and uttering threats in Jasper Provincial Court, March 23.

According to the RCMP, Kristin Beeby was arrested on March 4 after allegedly approaching one of the students from Jasper Elementary School that he thought was responsible for bullying his daughter. The victim was not injured. The accused previously told the Fitzhugh that he went to the Jasper Arena and put his arm around the alleged bully and walked him into another room where he verbally scolded the child. He maintains that he was never alone with the alleged bully.

Following the incident, the RCMP were called to the arena where they arrested him without incident. Police contacted JES to advise the school about the online bullying and that an adult male had also been arrested. The school is investigating the incident and is working with students and parents to address the issue. A publication ban was issued to protect the identity of the complainant who is under 18 years of age. Beeby’s next court appearance is set for July 13 in Jasper.

Paul Clarke

Pit bull attack leads to $300 fine

A local woman was fined $300 after her off-leash pit bull attacked another dog near Lake Edith earlier this year.

According to the Crown, on Jan. 22 Linda Meints was walking four dogs in the area when a pit-bull ran out of the woods and leaped onto one of the dogs. The pit-bull started biting her 13-year-old black Labrador around the neck, pinning it to the ground. To stop the attack, a male friend that was with Meints was forced to kick the attacking dog. Following the attack, the pit-bull returned to its owner, which was approximately 200 metres across the lake. According to the Crown, Meints followed the dog and confronted the owner who she recognized as Jenny Young.

According to Young, she kept her dog on-leash while walking it on the lake, but decided to let it offleash as she made her way back to her car. She admitted her dog attacked the black lab, but did not recall being confronted by Meints. Instead, Young said she showed up in her truck afterwards and apologized. The Crown asked for a $300 fine noting that it is illegal to have dogs off leash in the park and that there were aggravating circumstances. Judge V. Myers acknowledged that people tend to let their dogs off leash just before they get to the car, but described it as a “bad policy.” He agreed with the Crown and fined Young $300.

Paul Clarke

Kathleen Waxer, director of Community and Family Services. Pg. 5

In Brief Marmot Basin extends its season

Skiers and snowboarders rejoice–Marmot Basin has extended its season to May 7. With more than 150 cm of snow in March and a season total of 395 cm, Marmot Basin confidently announced on March 28 that it would extend its season by an extra week. With all that snow, the ski hill said it expects to exceed its previous record set in 2006 when it recorded 150 cm of snow in March.

Council approves proclamation

After two weeks of discussion and debate municipal council unanimously approved a proclamation to create a fostering and inclusive community, March 21. The proclamation was revised several times after councillors debated which language to include and raised concerns that it could be misconstrued and used against the town. The final version of the document reflects most of what was found in the original draft, however it no longer includes specific qualifiers, such as ethnicity, culture or religion.

Daily childcare meals begin April 3

Parents who send their children to Wildflower Childcare will have one less thing to worry about thanks to a new childcare meal service. Starting on April 3 the local childcare centre will begin providing children with a daily lunch and snacks. The issue was first brought up nearly six years ago, but only gained traction a few months ago when Kathleen Waxer, director of Community and Family Services, pitched the idea to council. To pay for the new program, parents will have to fork out an additional $115 per month or $5.48 per day and will be not be able to opt out of the program. Parents with infants will not be required to pay. It currently costs between $900 and $1,100 per month for full-time childcare, depending on a child’s age.

Ice safety reminder

Parks Canada is reminding the public to be aware of thin ice as the temperatures begin to rise. The thickness of natural ice can change from day to day and location to location and while one pond may be in good condition another one nearby may not be safe. Ice forms over shallow, still water first and is thinner over areas where the water is flowing. Be especially cautious around inflow and outflow areas. The Red Cross recommends an ice thickness of at least six inches for safety while skating or snowshoeing. Water vapour above the ice, or creaking and cracking noises, indicates weakness. For more tips visit

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DOUBLE 12 months a refugee

Just over a year after leaving Syria to start a new life in Jasper, Reham Al Azem shared her story about the events that led her family to flee her war-torn country and her first 12 months in Canada. It’s been one year since I arrived in Canada as a refugee from Syria. I have been reflecting a lot about the past 12 months wondering whether our decision to immigrate to Canada was the right thing to do. To answer that question it’s important to first understand what I left behind. Syria is a great country, but unfortunately Syria is not Syria anymore. It’s a place of war and corruption. The chaos and bloodshed forced us to leave everything behind and start from scratch. Like so many other families in Syria, we suffered a lot. There was a lack of jobs, electricity was limited, cooking gas was sparse and heat for our home was difficult to come by. A corrupt legal system became the norm, as did the arrests of innocent friends and family members, not to mention the fear of bombs. I remember the sound of rockets and knowing that when the sound ended, it meant people had died. In other words, it was a frog’s life; the frog which is slowly being boiled alive. If


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a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in cold water, which is then brought to a slow boil, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. That was our life in Syria. The moment I decided to stop being a frog was when I saw the blood on the face of the most valuable person in my life– my mother. In February 2015 my mother and I were eating in a café in the capital Damascus when a car crashed through the front window nearly killing her. It was terrible car accident in which one man was injured and almost lost his leg. It was a miracle my mother survived. The speeding driver immediately fled and despite many witnesses, he was never charged. In fact, the police accident report was changed and people said the patrolman was bribed. The governmentsupported militia also came to support the driver’s family. They told people not to reveal the identity of the driver. As Syrians we knew that whenever the militia were present, we must do what they say, regardless of the law or people’s rights. It was a classic example of the corruption and influence of the government militia in Syria at the time. As a lawyer and someone who was affected by the accident, I tried to sue

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Hassan El Azem (left), Omayea El Marawi (centre) and Reham Al Azem enjoyed a birthday cake to celebrate El Marawi’s first Canadian birthday. The cake was made by Nancy Addison to mark the special occasion. Submitted photo

in court and have the driver brought to justice. But I was not supported by the legal system nor the witnesses. While more than 30 people saw the accident no one agreed to come to court. They were afraid of the militia. The judge said that the only evidence he could use in his decision was the police report, which had been altered. My other options were equally unjust such as exaggerating the medical injuries to my mother, lying about what I had witnessed, or hiring a witness to lie for us. While these are very common tactics in Syria, especially during the chaos of the war, how could we put our hands on the Qur’an and lie in court, or cause someone else to perjure themselves? It seemed, in Syria, the sound of money was louder than the sound of human rights. Since then I have learned that a peaceful place is not where you have family or a job or own a house, peace is where you can defend your rights if there is threat to them. But that was no longer possible in Syria. Not only were we living in a war zone, we were also living with a corrupt justice system. From that

moment on, my parents and I decided to leave the country rather than wait and risk our lives. continued on page 9

In February 2015, Reham Al Azem and her mother, Omayea El Marawi, were sitting at a café in Damascus when this vehicle crashed into a café nearly killing El Marawi. The driver of the vehicle was never charged. Submitted photo

Refugee continued from page 8 But where to go? A new friend we met in Lebanon told me about organizations in Canada who were helping refugees. I sent emails to organizations in Ontario and Alberta, and asked them how we could come to Canada. My friend introduced me by email to Gail Millard, the refugee coordinator for the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton. Gail dedicates her life to helping refugees. I remember I told her that I wanted to get my parents to a safe place and needed support for our first year in Canada. I doubted I would receive any serious response until my inbox starting filling up with messages from Nancy Addison, a local Jasperite. For reasons unbeknownst to us, Addison chose us from a list of other refugees also seeking asylum. With limited resources, Jasper managed to raise enough money to sponsor two Syrian families, one of them being my family. It was as if we had won some sort of lottery. Addison organized the whole process to get us here. As a member of the Anglican Church in Jasper, she arranged meetings with people in the community to prepare all the government documents and a place to live. She also followed up with me frequently. Each email asked me if I needed anything and told me to be patient until we got the approval to come to Canada. We now know that Addison and Millard weren’t just helping us, they were helping others too. Our flight left Lebanon on February 22, 2016. We were part of 25,000 refugees Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had promised to resettle in Canada. I remember when I landed at Pearson International Airport in Toronto and

stepped into the hall. There were a lot officials standing beside each other, trying to pronounce “marhaba” which is “hello” in Arabic, to make the refugees feel welcome. I still have a letter from the premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, which was given to each refugee to welcome us to Canada.

Nancy Addison spear-headed the initiative to help Reham’s family to come to Canada. | Submitted photo

preparing our house and impatiently waiting for our arrival. To make our house as welcoming as possible she bought us a Qur’an and a prayer rug to create an Islamic atmosphere in our new home. It was a very kind gesture and I was impressed by how detail-oriented and welcoming she was of our religion. Two days later we arrived in Edmonton’s airport meeting our new Canadian friends. They had driven four hours from Jasper to welcome us with tears and flowers. The welcome we’ve received from Jasperites since then has been overwhelming. On one occasion I still remember a woman crying because she had never met people from a war zone. On another occasion I remember people knocking on our door and offering their help and support. Others volunteered to help teach us English more times than I can remember. I think the first

new Canadian expression I learned was “double-double.” I am still impressed by Canadians and how they treat others, so graciously and with honestly. Thinking back, February 2015 was when we survived the accident and February 2016 is when we came to Canada. Now we have passed February 2017, and our sponsorship period has ended. Over the past year I have never seen my parents as happy as they are now. Before we immigrated my mother asked me “what am I going to do in Canada as a 60-year-old with no Canadian experience and no English?” Now she is improving her English every day and she loves her job at the daycare. As I reflect on the past year the answer to my question is clear. Coming to Canada was the best decision we ever made.

Reham Al Azem special to the fitzhugh

After that the official in the airport told us “you will receive your permanent resident card in four to six weeks.” I was surprised and I thought that I had not understood him correctly and asked him if he meant we would be permanent residents after that period. He answered me “No ma’am, you are a permanent resident from this moment and your rights in Canada are the same as my rights, except for voting.” I thought he was kidding! We also received an apology that the hotel might not meet our expectations. However, when we arrived at the hotel it was very comfortable, clean and cosy. They had even prepared halal food for us. While we were waiting in Toronto for our next flight, Addison was busy

Municipality of Jasper

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SkyTram seeks to capitalize on Canada 150 with early opening

Brad, Shirley and Roger Roy with ‘Flat Susan’ at the Jasper SkyTram, March 23.| C. Gilbert photo

Flat Susan had already been to Italy, Spain, Ireland, and Hinton, but there was one place on her list that she didn’t want to miss: the Jasper SkyTram. The 12-inch paper cut out was spotted having a gander at Pyramid Mountain on March 23 with Roger and Shirley Roy. Had the Hinton couple visited the Whistlers Mountain attraction 24 hours later, they could have snapped a selfie with their great-niece from Tisdale, Sask., who sent the cutout to them as part of a social studies project, from the summit instead of the base. Unfortunately, that wasn’t in the cards. On March 24, the SkyTram, which take visitors to the peak of Whistlers Mountain, opened its gates to the public, the earliest opening on record. A day earlier as Flat Susan was packing up and heading back to Chez Roy in Hinton, members of the media and officials with the SkyTram and its parent company, Marmot Basin, hopped on the first flight of

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the year to the top of the mountain. From there, it was into a set of snowshoes, available for rent at the top, out to the boardwalk and beyond the snow sculptures to Whistlers’ false summit. The jaunt was a light one, friendly to visiting reporters with varying levels of alpine experience, however visitors looking to push their limits also have the option to venture further afield to avoid the mucky stage the valley bottoms go through in spring. “It’s an activity you don’t really get to do in the alpine very often,” marketing executive Erin Reade said. “It takes a lot of effort to get into the alpine if you’re a good snowshoer and here, that’s where you get to start.” Jasper SkyTram general manager Todd Noble said the snowshoes give hikers the confidence to reach the true summit at 2,463 m above sea level even in the shifting conditions during the transition between winter and spring in the alpine. “There are extra markings, bamboo, we put up to

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TICKET SALES: The Old Grind and Hinton Municipal Library

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MEAL SPONSOR: Freson Bros., Hinton Hill VENUE SPONSOR: Royal Canadian Legion Branch 249 DESSERT TABLE SPONSOR: Unifor Local 855 POSTER DESIGN: The Hinton Voice


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EMCEE: Jacqui Currie ENTERTAINMENT: Kara Lazorek DOOR PRIZE: M & M Food Market

A huge thank you to Beryl Whitney and her team of volunteers that helped out in the kitchen preparing the meal, serving and cleaning up. Thank you to all the businesses who displayed our posters. Also, thank you to the Spaghetti Dinner Planning Committee, the set up and teardown help including board, staff and volunteers.

help you find the summit and stay on course, and there’s a summit marker,” he said. “As the snow disappears later in the season, a lot of people will start to use the trails from the upper station to access the Tonquin.”

craig gilbert

spo r t s

Jasper well represented at freestyle championships Thirteen freestyle skiers from Jasper put it all on the line for the final competition of the season–the Alberta Provincial Championships, March 23-26.

The athletes competed in three different events including slope style, moguls and dual moguls in Calgary. Capping off her best season to-date, Alison Brown finished first overall in both the moguls and dual mogul competitions. Not to be forgotten, Demi Sparrow

also had a solid outing finishing 14th overall in the moguls, while Kate Jehn finished 20th. In the slopestyle event, Melissa Urton threw down for Jasper placing third overall and second in her age group. She also finished 23rd in the moguls. Her teammate, Jada Boychuk also had a solid performance finishing third for her age group in the slopestyle competition. On the men’s side, Tyson Bashforth, a former Jasper athlete who now competes with the provincial team, placed first overall in dual moguls and second

overall in the moguls. Ezra Jenkins, who also skis for the provincial team, placed fifth overall in the moguls and second in the dual moguls. Theron Boyer, Tommy Hladun, Eli Erb Beauchamp and Hunter Boyer finished 11th, 22nd, 32nd and 35th respectively. Noah Garby placed 29th overall in the moguls and 54th in the slopestyle competition after crashing on both his runs. Jericho Garby also posted promising results finishing 41st overall in the

moguls and 45th overall in the slopestyle competition. It was his first provincial competition since returning from a broken arm.

Paul Clarke

c a r ee r s

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e tt e z u S t u o g n i Sound art s & cult ure

From Jasper’s Métis homestead heritage to the world wide web, the thread binding the latest art installation in town could not have been spun from a more random spool.

British Columbia artist Kristi Bridgeman and artisan Lisa Shepherd were perfect strangers until homesteader Suzette (Chalifoux) Swift was revealed as a common connection. Bridgeman, who paints watercolours and Shepherd, a beadworker, were each under the impression they were Swift’s sole living descendant. The illusion was shattered when Bridgeman posted a painting based on her greatgrandmother Suzette’s work and Shepherd recognized the style. If channeling a homesteader sounds like a bit of a reach even for a coastal artist, then consider the fact that Bridgeman was raised by her grandmother, who in turn spent some time under Swift’s care as a child. “My grandmother would describe the wildflowers at the Palisades (the site of the Swift homestead), so what I painted is the memory of those descriptions,” Bridgeman said. “Each piece is based on a plant or a story that is related to us. We’re combining our stories, our memories of her.” Shepherd said it was a “bold move”


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for her to reach out to a stranger online but something about Bridgeman’s work grabbed her attention. That was no small feat for a woman who admits she is “new” to her Métis heritage; Shepherd by comparison describes herself as a Métis artisan. “It was super-cool to get to know her and find the parallels,” Shepherd said. “From Kristi I heard a lot of family stories I was familiar with.” They travelled across the wilds of the province to visit each other and stayed connected the rest of the time on the phone or online while they capitalized on the juggernaut of creative potential between the two of them. The process itself harkened back to the homestead days, with two women over a table planning their conquest of the world, according to Bridgeman. The final product, the Forget Me Not, Métis Rose exhibition will be on display at the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives from April 12 to May 22. A reception is planned for April 13 at 7 p.m. “By no means do either of us think this is finished,” Shepherd said. “It’s like watching a tree grow from down below, our story reaches out and connects to the roots of others. Jasper is a fascinating place.”

craig gilbert

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Lisa Shepherd (top right) and Kristi Bridgeman (bottom left) were complete strangers until they realized they shared a common connection through their art work and homesteader Suzette (Chalifoux) Swift. To learn more about their work the pair will be in Jasper on April 13 to host a reception at the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives at 7 p.m.

art s & cult ure

Fiddle and Fitz

The Fitzgerald family boasts a myriad of talents, including – but not limited to – the skill of living and working together every day, a handful of Canadian Grand Master Fiddle Championships, and a high-energy, highly-talented band: Everything Fitz.

learning tunes from all different parts of the world. “We listened to a lot of CDs as well and learned by ear, so we had a lot of musical influences growing up so we were able to blend these different styles together to achieve a unique sound.” The Fitzgerald children, Julie, Tom Having toured Canada and the US and Kerry, say they like to mix pop riffs for the last 10 years, the family of six has with Celtic melodies. “Tom and I both went to Humber a lot of experience between them and it College for music, and were exposed to shows. endless musical genres, as well as classes “Originally we started playing on writing, arranging, theory, for local fundraiser shows, and recording techniques,” and eventually started said Julie. travelling further and April 6 When it comes to further away,” said Julie 9 p.m. seeing each other almost Fitzgerald, fiddler jasper Royal 24/7, the Fitzgeralds extraordinaire. The band is wellCanadian Legion have found a balance that allows them to do known for its unique Tickets $15 what they love with the blend of traditional people they love. fiddle classics and a more “A lot of people think that modern sound, using their combined musical talents to it’s a difficult thing to perform and blend the two worlds seamlessly. work as a family, but we get along really “We grew up playing old-time fiddle well and love what we do.” music, and competed at a lot of fiddle/ “Of course we are a normal family in step dance competitions in Ontario,” that we will have the odd disagreement, said Julie. “After the competitions were but we are good team players and realize over, we would stay up late playing and regardless of who you are performing

with, it takes a lot of communication and teamwork to be in a band.” And the best part? “We get to tour around and see the world as a family. It’s like a whole bunch of family vacations.” She said the band also recognizes the importance of taking time to relax, and before a show you can often find Everything Fitz running around outside playing frisbee and cranking tunes. When the band rolls into town on

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• t hu r s d ay, m a r c h 30 , 201 7


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March 27 - 31,27 2017 March - 31,is 2017 is

J a sper , A B

GET BACK ON TRACK! Bad credit? Bills? Unemployed? Need Money? We Lend! If you own your own home - you qualify. Pioneer Acceptance Corp. Member BBB. 1-877-987-1420.

LOG HOME & EQUESTRIAN FACILITY - Lacombe, Alberta. Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Unreserved Auction, April 26, 2017 in Edmonton. 4879+/- sq. ft. log home with 65,850 +/- sq. ft. equestrian facility. 158+/title acres - $6260+/- surface lease revenue. Jerry Hodge: 780-706-6652. Broker: All West Realty Ltd.;

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1 PARCEL OF FARMLAND - Sangudo, Alberta. Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Unreserved Auction, April 26 in Edmonton. 160.96 +/- title acres. 135 +/- cultivated acres. Jerry Hodge: 780-706-6652. Brokerage: All West Realty Ltd.;

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3 QUARTERS OF FARMLAND - Boyle, Alberta. Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Unreserved Auction, April 26 in Edmonton. 480 +/title acres. 180 +/- cultivated acres. Jerry Hodge: 780-706-6652. Brokerage: All West Realty Ltd.;

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David R. Sagan

BA, CFP, CLU, CH.F.C. Investment & Insurance Advisor • By appointment only


P. 780-852-2121 2nd floor, (beside physio.) F. 780-423-3883 622 Connaught Dr.

Individual & Family erapist MICHELLE CHERNIAWSKY, MSW, RSW

780-852-7232. 610 Connaught Dr. Jasper, Alberta


HINTON OPTOMETRY CLINIC Dr. Monika Braun & Dr. Jennifer Langfield


Bill & Doris Sinclair Niton Junction, AB T0E 1S0 780-795-3765 •

158 Athabasca Avenue, Hinton Office Hours: Mon., Tues., & Wed. 8 am - 5 pm Thurs. 9 am - 6 pm; Fri. 8 am - 4 pm

Offers you AB Inspected Grass Fed Angus Beef, Pork, Chicken, & Lamb. Naturally raised, no added hormones, premium quality.


Eyewear & sunglasses also available at: Rocky Mountain Eye Wear • Parks West Mall • 780-865-3011


780-931-2241 • 780-883-0362 DR. MEAGAN HAWKSHAW, BSC, OD OPTOMETRIST Seton Hospital 518 Robson St, Jasper Phone: (780)-723- 2700 1-888-MegHawk (634-4295) |

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‘Dogs Cho ice’ Raw Pet Fo od

Toll-free: 1-888-852-5929


Rick & Laurie Buck, CTC

Shop & book on our website




Drywall, Plastering, Painting All Flooring, Framing, Finish Carpentry

Derek Helfrick • 780-883-2350 JASPER, AB

All work is 100% guaranteed and done by a Jasper resident with 35 years of experience. Licensed, registered and insured, call Sven for reliable, friendly service at 604-740-1175.


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The Jasper Fitzhugh - Thursday, March 30, 2017  
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