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spring/summer 2013 craigavon

ward eight news

forrest greens

foxboro

foxhaven

heritage hills

regency park

the ridge

Bike park keeps youth active in summer It all started in 2010. Florian Park in Foxboro was getting ready for development. Several piles of black dirt had been dumped on the site and within hours neighbourhood youth began using it for bike jumping, transforming the area into a makeshift bike park. The temporary bike park only lasted a couple of days, but it left a lasting impression on Ward 8 Councillor Jason Gariepy. “I could see the demand for a bike park during the long days of summer,” says Councillor Gariepy. As Strathcona County Bicycle Association (SCBA) President Paul Burgess adds, “A little more time on a bike and a little less time in front of a computer is good thing.” Unlike traditional organized sports, a bike park is a form of spontaneous recreation, allowing anyone to simply show up and use the facilities. They are always open and free-of-charge. Compared to brick and mortar Riders patiently wait for their turn to challenge the jumps, facilities, bike parks are relatively inexpensive to build and maintain. rocks, and logs at the Strathcona County BMX bike park. So, what exactly is a bike park? While there isn’t an exact description, the one in Sherwood Park, which is located near Broadview Road an Bethel Drive, includes natural obstacles such as rocks and logs, as well as imaginatively constructed features like teeters, ladder bridges and dirt jumps. Picture a skateboard park or snowboard park, but designed specifically for bikes. This particular bike park is designed for all ages and skill levels. It took nearly three years to secure funding, locate suitable land, hire a bike park designer, and construct the site. An official bike park opening is scheduled this summer on June 15. SCBA President Paul Burgess credits Strathcona County Councillor Jason Gariepy for helping the organization through the application process to obtain the proper permits to construct the park on the county-owned land. Councillor Gariepy is proud to have championed the project from its inception. “The best part of a bike park is that it attracts everyone from 5 years old and up. Lots of adults enjoy the thrill of jumping and challenging their athletic abilities,” says Councillor Gariepy. “Who knows, maybe the next Olympic mountain biking or BMX gold medalist will have gotten their start on dirt piles in Strathcona County.” Councillor Jason Gariepy, Paul Burgess and Kris Kasawski of the Strathcona County Bicycle Association stand with local riders to unveil the community’s BMX bike park.

councillor jason gariepy, ward eight, strathcona county phone: 780.464.8158 email: jason.gariepy@strathcona.ca


spring/summer 2013

Councillor viewpoints

Taxes can feel like death by a thousand cuts Taxes. It has to be the most contentious word in the English language (or any language, for that matter). Every year, Council must approve a budget that meets the financial requirements of the municipality based upon service levels. Determining a tax rate is one of the most stressful, time-consuming and difficult roles of an elected official. If the tax rate is too low, service levels may suffer. Conversely, if the tax rate is too high, taxpayers may revolt.

in this issue... Bike park keeps youth active in summer .............................................1 Councillor viewpoints .................. 2 Interview with Director of Tax and Assessment, Wayne Minke ........... 3 Building North America’s longest river valley trail system ............... 4 Police crack down on vandals and drug traffickers ...................... 4

As a father with a young family, I am deeply passionate about quality of life. I believe recreational opportunities and the arts, whether it is trails, aquatics, or festivals, define our community. This is one of the reasons why I have championed spray parks, trails, bike parks, arts festivals, and turf fields during my term. At the same time, as a family living on a single income, I am highly sensitive to tax increases. Every dollar that goes to the municipal, provincial, or federal government is one less dollar I can spend on activities for my family. I call the cost of living increases “death by a thousand cuts.” It is not that any one increase causes a significant burden on my family, but when you add increased taxes, higher prices for food, electricity, and gas, it is getting harder and harder to make ends meet. When revenues do not meet service level expectations, the County’s first reaction is to raise taxes. But there is another approach and it involves looking internally for efficiencies and different ways of doing business. Council has taken steps to ensure that raising taxes is a last resort as opposed to the first option when it comes to the budget process. Let me share a couple of examples:

RCMP releases 2012 statistical report ...................................................... 5

• A newly struck Finance Committee, involving public members and the Chamber of

Calling all athletes 55+ .................. 6

• Council has approved an intensive review of its budget planning process.

Cycling world comes to Strathcona County in September 2013 ...................................................... 6 New app connects residents to parks and recreation ........ 7 Community snapshots ................ 7 Community events 2013 ............ 8

Commerce, will advise Council on business planning and budgeting activities.

• Council is no longer “rubber stamping” Administration’s capital and human resources

budget requests. Projects, such as the multi-million dollar retrofit of County Hall, are being postponed. In addition, council is taking a closer look at the size of departments.

The 2013 budget is a sign that the County is headed in the right direction. The 2.6% tax increase is one of the smallest in the region, if not the province. In short, Strathcona County is doing business differently. Budgets are being frozen if departments and agencies cannot detail basic performance measures and results. If the agencies and departments cannot provide better service levels, more drastic actions may be taken in the future. While I enjoy living in a community that offers so many amenities, it is even more important to keep our community affordable for families and individuals who live on fixed incomes. There are no quick solutions to resolving the tension between service levels and taxes, but through the steps outlined above residents will see a more financially responsible County and a more economically sustainable community moving forward.

Jason Gariepy Councillor, Ward 8 Strathcona County

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ward eight news craigavon

forrest greens

foxboro

foxhaven

heritage hills

regency park

the ridge

Interview with Director of Tax and Assessment, Wayne Minke What is the number one concern you hear from taxpayers regarding their tax assessment? ‘My taxes have increased over last year….and I don’t understand why?’ Firstly, an increased budget requirement for municipal, education, library, and the Heartland Housing Foundation will cause a property tax increase for all properties. For 2013, Council has approved a 2.60% municipal budget increase; when the other three tax rates are also considered, the estimated total budget increase is approximately 3.50%. Secondly, if your property assessment (market value estimate) has increased more than the average, this will create a ‘tax redistribution effect’ and a tax increase greater than 3.50%. If a resident has concern regarding their assessment, what should they do?

Wayne Minke is Strathcona County’s Director of Tax and Assessment.

Assessment & Tax notices are scheduled to be sent in May 2013, with a payment due date of June 28, 2013. Your property characteristics are measured against other similar properties that have sold to calculate a market value estimate (as of July 1, 2012). You can confirm your property characteristics or compare to other properties by using our new Property Assessment Mapping tool at www.strathcona.ca/assessmentandtax. Alternatively, an Assessor is available to answer your questions at 780-464-8196. If, after having discussed your assessment with an Assessor, you are still of the opinion that your assessment is incorrect, you may file a written complaint to the Assessment Review Board. Why are municipal property and provincial educational taxes on the same bill? Does it mean the municipality keeps all of the money? The County is obligated through provincial legislation to collect education taxes on behalf of the Government of Alberta. Of every total residential property tax dollar we collect, 37% is for education taxes. If you have a question regarding education taxes, please contact 780-422-7125. What percentage of residential taxes covers the cost of municipal operations? Where does the other revenue come from? County taxpayers benefit from a significant industrial tax base; only 37% of total municipal property tax revenues are from residential taxes. When other revenue sources are considered (i.e. fees, fines, grants), residential taxes only comprise 26% of all municipal operations revenues.

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spring/summer 2013

Building North America’s longest river valley trail system Imagine a trail system in your own backyard that would rival any river valley in North America. That is the dream behind the River Valley Alliance, a government partnership that aspires to develop a continuous river valley park system from Devon through Parkland County, Leduc County, Edmonton, Strathcona County, and Sturgeon County to Fort Saskatchewan. Councillor Jason Gariepy, who represents Strathcona County on the River Valley Alliance Board, says that “this project has the potential to be the greatest legacy any of us could leave behind for future generations.” As part of the $90-million capital plan, specific projects will be built in Devon, Parkland County, Strathcona County, Fort Saskatchewan, and Councillor Jason Gariepy represents Strathcona County Sturgeon County. A total of 13 initiatives will be funded from the capital on the River Valley Alliance Board. plan, including 74 km of new recreation trails, six boat launches, a new pedestrian footbridge, and various upgrades to existing river valley access points, such as Rafters Landing in Edmonton. To view a detailed copy of the River Valley Alliance Capital Project Plan 2012-16, visit: http://www.rivervalley.ab.ca/projects/capital-project

Police crack down on vandals and drug traffickers Whether it is on a private property fence or the side of a school, it is easy to spot graffiti activity. When properties are “tagged” or vandalized, it is the community, homeowner, and business owner who assume the cost of cleanup. It is expensive, time consuming, and unnecessary. In Ward 8, graffiti activity was reported at Bev Facey High School and in the Craigavon neighbourhood. Fortunately, the police arrested the individual allegedly responsible when responding to a complaint involving a suspicious person in the Fountain Creek area. RCMP recommend that residents follow the three “Rs” in managing instances of graffiti management: Record (take a photograph), Report (to RCMP), and Remove (promptly). The last point is the most important Anti-graffiti wraps on utility boxes are deterring vandals as it denies the vandal satisfaction and bragging rights for their illegal from spray painting. activity. Graffiti Removal Kits are available from Strathcona County Parks and Recreation. For more information, contact recreation@strathcona.ca or 780.467.2211. One of the ways Strathcona County is reducing the number of possible graffiti targets is by covering utility boxes with an anti-graffiti wrap. Nearly 40 utility boxes have been covered and there have been no reports of graffiti on any of the boxes that were covered in 2012.

did you know? The median income for all types of family income in Strathcona County is one of the highest in the province at $95,937.

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ward eight news craigavon

forrest greens

foxboro

foxhaven

heritage hills

regency park

the ridge

Illegal drug activity continues to be a priority for the RCMP and Strathcona County. The community has one of the largest and most successful drug units in the province and recently laid a total of 92 charges involving the trafficking of illegal drugs throughout Strathcona County. While some of the illegal drugs have familiar names, such as heroin, crack cocaine, and cannabis, many of the drugs seized involve less familiar prescription medication, like Sandoz morphine SR, ratiooxycocet, Dexedrine, and para-methoxyethamphetamine. It is easy to pretend that the drug trade only affects major cities. While some drug dealers may be less willing to sell narcotics and illegal prescription drugs in Sherwood Park due to the presence of Police have reduced graffiti and drug trafficking activity undercover police officers, there is no question that the list of illegal in Sherwood Park. drugs one can find in the community is extensive. There is a market for illegal drugs in our community and the RCMP needs the public’s assistance to report suspicious activity to make it more difficult for drug dealers to do business. To report drug activity, call the RCMP at 780.467.7749 or contact Crime Stoppers.

RCMP releases 2012 statistical report Traffic Collisions The total number of vehicle collisions decreased by 1% in 2012, while collisions involving serious injuries dropped by 7%. Strathcona County averages 9.33 collisions per day. Drug Enforcement Drug enforcement has been extraordinarily successful. There was a large increase in the number of drug trafficking charges laid from 82 in 2011 to 127 in 2012. The drug unit targets traffickers dealing cocaine, oxycontin, methamphetamine, and heroin. Domestic Violence Reports of domestic violence have risen in each of the last six years. In 2012, complaints were up to 719, an increase of 32% since 2011. New resources have been added to the detachment to not only increase the quality of investigations, but to create partnerships with community stakeholders and agencies. Property Crimes Property crimes refer to offenses such as Break and Enter, Theft of Vehicles, and Thefts of Property Over and Under $5000, Possession of Stolen Goods, Fraud, Arson, and Mischief. In 2012, property crimes increased by 15%. This statistic is still significantly lower than the property crime data from 2010. The most notable increase in property crime is Break and Enters and Thefts over $5000, which are up by 30% and 50% respectively.

did you know? In 2011, Strathcona County’s population was 92,490 with 64,733 residents living in

Sherwood Park and 27,757 living in rural areas.

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spring/summer 2013

Calling all athletes 55+ Have you ever laced up your shoes in the Olympics or Commonwealth Games? If not, that’s OK. Your chance to compete is coming soon to Strathcona County as our community is set to host the Canada 55+ Games from August 27-30, 2014. This nation-wide program promotes physical, spiritual, and mental wellness among Canadians 55 years of age or older. The Games feature amateurs competing in various events ranging from a mini-marathon to Scrabble. There is something for everyone, and all skill levels are encouraged to participate. The Games will take place throughout Strathcona County at Millennium Place, Centennial Park, Sherwood Park 55+ Club, Ardrossan Recreation Complex, Ardrossan 55+ Club, Ardrossan Athletic Park, Sherwood Park Bowl, and Broadmoor Golf Course. The estimated economic benefit of hosting the Games is expected to be $4 million. The 55+ Games is a wonderful way to meet athletes from across County and to showcase what makes Strathcona County a great place to call home. Grab your shoes and start training today.

The Canada 55+ Games are coming to Strathcona County and consist of a combination of core optional activities for athletes of all skills.

Cycling world comes to Strathcona County in September 2013 The Tour of Alberta will be the province’s first major professional cycling race and the biggest stage race in Canada’s history. And the best part is the race is kicking off right here in Strathcona County on September 3, 2013. Cyclists from around the world will be competing in a race stretching more than 150 kilometers over six grueling days. Race organizer Duane Vienneau calls the race the “Tour de France in Alberta.” The event is expected to attract 300,000 spectators over the six days and will be broadcast live on Sportsnet for two hours each day, along with evening recaps. Event organizers are estimating that the global audience will be approximately 30 million viewers. For more information on the tour, contact 587-523-0280 or email at info@albertapeloton.ca.

Many of the world’s greatest cyclists will be in Strathcona County for a grueling 150 km bike race.

did you know? The median age of Strathcona County’s population in 2011 was 39.1, compared to 37.8 in 2006.

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ward eight news craigavon

forrest greens

foxboro

foxhaven

heritage hills

regency park

the ridge

New app connects residents to parks and recreation Since being launched in December 2012, the new Drop-in Recreation Schedule mobile app is making it easier for residents to stay active and take advantage of active living programs. The app gives users the most up-to-date information with improved searchability for drop-in fitness classes, swimming, skating, shinny hockey, gym activities, indoor playgrounds, cross-country skiing and more. “The mobile app is a great tool, because one in four residents access Parks and Recreation information from a mobile device. The app makes it easier than ever, to stay active,” says Councillor Jason Gariepy.

About us

Drop-in Schedules

Swimming & Aquatic Fitness

Fitness

Skating & Shinny

Gymnasium & Playgrounds

X-Skiing & Snowshoeing

Facebook

Twitter

To download the app, visit http://guidebook.com/g/StrathconaRecreation And coming this spring, a new Parks and Recreation app is scheduled to launch. It will provide improved navigation to parks, playgrounds, sports fields, and outdoor festivals.

Community snapshots

Councillor Gariepy receiving a construction update on the Strathcona County Hospital. Gariepy says the Albetra Government’s decision to scrap funding for beds and surgical suites represents the “the single greatest broken promise in the community’s history.”

did you know?

According to the 2009 Municipal Census, over half (54%) of Strathcona County residents have lived in the County for ten or more years, while 17% lived in the community for five to ten years, 15% between two to less than five years, and 12% for less than two years.

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Community events 2013 April 9 Council Meeting & Public Hearings April 12-15 Great Canadian Trade Fair – Millennium Place April 21 Josephburg Presents Strathcona Heartland Fiddles and Opry (Smith Sisters and Daniel Gervais) – Josephburg Hall April 20, 21 Summit Productions Sport Collectible Show – Millennium Place April 23 Council Meeting & Public Hearings April 26-28 Feis in the Park Irish Dance Competition – Millennium Place April 27 Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts - Community Centre Agora May 3-4 Junior High Team Handball Provincials – Millennium Place May 4-31 Pitch-In – Clean and Green Community Clean-Up – Community Wide May 7 Council Meeting & Public Hearings May 10 Arbor Day – Broadmoor Lake Park May 11 Annual Ardrossan Lobster Dinner and Dance – Ardrossan Recreation Complex May 21 Council Meeting & Public Hearings May 24 Mayor’s School Walk / Run – Millennium Place May 24-26 Strathcona Horse Showcase – Strathcona Olympiette Centre May 25 Rural Living Days at Ardrossan June 1 Lacrosse Tournament – Sherwood Park Arena June 6 Talking Trees Children’s Tree Conference – Strathcona Wilderness Centre June 7 Relay for Life – Sherwood Park Arena and Broadmoor Lake Park June 10 Recreation for Life Golf Tournament – Broadmoor Public Golf Course June 11 Council Meeting & Public Hearings June 15 Ardrossan Community Parade and Picnic – Ardrossan Community June 15 Strathcona Wilderness Centre Nature Play Day June 25 Council Meeting & Public Hearings July 1 Canada Day Festival – Broadmoor Lake Park and area July 2 Council Meeting & Public Hearings July 16 Council Meeting & Public Hearings July 18 Broadmoor Lake Park Play Day July 31 Rural Play Day - Ardrossan August 12-23 Under the Big Top Festival – Festival Place August 24 Strathcona Celebrates (Celebrating Strathcona County history and culture) Councilllor Jason Gariepy and students at Brentwood Elementary Community Centre and other venues (TBD) School celebrate the opening of their new playground. August 14 Broadmoor Lake Park Play Day Aug 31- Sept 1 Vintage Tractor Pull - Bremner House September 4 Tour of Alberta Bike Race - Strathcona County

Contact information Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. I’d love to hear from you. Councillor Jason Gariepy Phone: 780.464.8158 jason.gariepy@strathcona.ca

Follow me on Twitter! @jasongariepy

To receive copy of this newsletter, emailat jason.gariepy@strathcona.ca To receive an e-mail copyanofelectronic this newsletter, e-mail me jason.gariepy@strathcona.ca All “Did You Know” facts taken from the 2011 Community Social Profile.

Ward 8 Spring-Summer 2013 Newsletter  

Councillor Gariepy's newsletter for Spring and Summer 2013.