Letters to the Editor

Dear editor,
The accusations against members of municipal councils and their staff are nothing more than a drive by smear, and the fact that the Wild Rose Alliance (WRA) has fooled the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) into recycling their inaccurate personal attacks is disgusting.
First of all, anyone that hasn’t taken a personal call or sent a personal e-mail or text during working hours, please take a bow. I expect if you start a club, the meetings will be very small. The fact that the WRA made FOIP requests for any contributions to PC functions and e-mail exchanges between myself, employees and council members from all local rural and many urban municipalities should be telling in itself.
Here is another fact. Elections investigations for the last three years found one, yes one, contribution from the Town of Oyen for just over $200 and it had been refunded by the constituency association, before any accusations had been made.
This witch hunt has cost many thousands of dollars and found nothing. The fact that many of those leveling these accusations were card carrying PC members when these donations were supposed to have taken place is also telling.
That practice changed long before the last election and I expect that all parties accepted donations from groups that were at least in part publicly funded. That’s history and what I think your readers will find more interesting is what these dedicated local community leaders and their staff have been doing since funding from public bodies was discontinued.
As an example, I will point out a wonderful young community member who was targeted in the posted article, Shawna Benson, whose background includes recipient of Premier Ralph Klein’s 4H member award of excellence. This amazing young lady was a dedicated volunteer for our last three years of fund raising events. What we raised during all of these years, by partnering with local societies, helped many young people in our communities.
The last fundraiser, raised $10,000 for the Heartland Youth Centre in Stettler. Heartland does great work with after school programs for local youth as well as many other programs.  The year before that we were able to raise close to $17,000 for Drumheller area Special Olympic Athletes.
These wonderful young people helped us with putting contests and made the day great for all of our guests. The year before that we raised $10,000 for Kid Sport in Hanna to help under privileged youth take part in sports. These donations were not publicized, because our volunteers were not doing it for the glory, they were doing it for the community. No one released that in formation, did they?
The article also stated that as Municipal Affairs Minister I was expected to favour local municipalities because of their donations.
First of all, I was never Municipal Affairs Minister, and secondly I have tried to use the influence I had as an elected representative to positively influence decisions for my local municipalities for over 20 years. I thought that was the point, not to attack them and their employees for political gain.
The crime is not the young and older people that are getting involved in the democratic process; it’s the ones that don’t get involved.  I just want to thank the many dedicated community members that worked with me over the years to support these wonderful organizations. They taught these young people that bullying is wrong, for any reason, including politics. They also worked very hard with me over the years to secure funding for everything from seniors lodges, schools, recreation centers and hospitals to new Fire Halls.  Thank you. You have made your communities a better place to live, work and raise your families.

Jack Hayden, former MLA, Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Infrastructure and Tourism Parks and Recreation.


Dear editor,
The Valley Ski Club ski hill, located just south of the town of Alliance, is in crisis.
The number one problem is that the hill has been slipping away for the last 20 years or so and it is in critical condition now. The side of the hill will be collapsed to the point of no return if not fixed within the next three to five years, and it is affecting the lift line. The lift line is the heart of the hill and without it we cannot function. It’s also affecting the underground waterlines that run up the hill to make snow.
For over 15 years the hill has relied on volunteers and local community members to donate, or for very little cost help fix the hill with heavy equipment by pushing parts of the dirt back up into place. This is needed again this year to even start the season.
It takes at least 120 hours in a Hi-Ho and a Cat to complete this mission and volunteers and equipment are desperately needed as soon as possible.
The hill is scheduled to have a more permanent fix completed next year and preparations are already being made to try to accomplish this daunting task.
What is needed is to line up equipment (Hi-Ho’s, Cat’s and possibly packing equipment), operators, a project coordinator, dirt , lime stone (two foot stones shipped from Rocky Mountain House or Nordegg via truck or train) and money in place to pay all expenses.
The hill is over seen by a volunteer operated board of directors and there aren’t a lot of funds. The hill provides a service to the surrounding communities and school’s but with staff wages, daily operating costs and growing cost to fix the hill it gets tougher and tougher everyday to keep it running.
The second problem we are facing this year is no staff. We haven’t had even one quarter of the applications as per usual and there are positions available in every area of operation. We need snowmakers, lift attendants, rental shop attendants and office staff. We also will be purchasing the rental shop this year as it was privately owned until now and needs to be purchased by the hill.
If you or someone you know can help us out in any way please contact the hill via email at valleyskihill@xplornet.com, phone at 7803854126 (Velma) or Facebook at Valley Ski Hill.

Michelle Hebert
Director of the Board of the Valley ski Club and Valley Freestlye Club

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