Town of Bashaw financials receive auditor’s nod

Bashaw, Alberta
Written by Stu Salkeld

The Town of Bashaw’s 2022 financial statements received a passing grade from the municipality’s official auditor at the April 26 regular meeting of council.

Councillors heard a detailed presentation from Scott St. Arnaud representing Gitzel & Company, an accounting firm from Stettler with extensive experience auditing municipalities.

St. Arnaud noted auditors examined the documents provided to them by town staff and then provide an opinion on that information.

He said his opinion of the 2022 financial statements is that they accurately portray the town’s financial situation for the period in question.

During his presentation, he made note of a few stand-out details, including that the golf club loan was paid off and that a legal claim has been made against the town, and because of that the auditor was not able to speculate about the town’s risk situation.

Councillors unanimously approved the 2022 audited financial statements.

Level playing field?
Councillors accepted as information a letter from Town of Tofield Mayor Debora Dueck, pointing out problems caused for the newspaper industry by the provincial government’s extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation, which came into effect in 2022.

“(Newspapers) are essential to the lifeblood of Alberta,” stated Mayor Dueck. “Newspapers provide a traditional sense and source of information to our residents. In what has become ever-consistent in social media and internet-based forms of news, newspapers rely on facts, sourcing their stories and identifying truths.

“The newspaper industry has already looked at ways to reduce costs and become more efficient and compliant, such as reducing paper thickness, which has come at a cost. This cost is not only monetary but also content based.

“By expecting newspapers to have the same level of compliance with the EPR program as plastics seems short-sighted and unrealistic. The provincial government needs to recognize the importance of newspapers to Albertans and stand to make the same move as the Ontario government. Please exempt newspapers from the revised EPR program,” added Deuck.

Giving back to Bashaw
Councillors will investigate a request from Alberta recording artist Gord Bamford to upgrade dugouts at Bashaw’s best baseball diamond.

“We would like to request your approval to upgrade the dugouts located at Diamond 3 of the Bashaw baseball diamonds,” stated Bamford’s letter dated April 13.

“The funding for the dugouts will be potentially provided by the Gord Bamford Foundation and Eagle Builders. We don’t have any specific info on the dimensions and materials as of yet, however, could figure all that out once approved.

“We are hoping to have a team in place to play in the junior league next season which would bring high-end competitive baseball to the Town of Bashaw.”
It was noted the outfield fence would have to be altered.

Councillors heard a similar project by Bamford’s foundation was completed in the Town of Lacombe and it’s estimated the new dugouts will be 30 feet by 8 feet.

Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller stated some investigation was needed to see what effect this construction, if approved, would have on other users of that ball diamond, including the Bashaw Ag Society. She also said project plans for the dugouts should be submitted to the town.

It was noted at the meeting the Public Works department had no concerns about the request.

Councillors decided to accept the letter as information while the town discusses this proposal with other ball diamond users.

Bottoms up
Mayor Rob McDonald declared June 17 to be “Lemonade Day” in the Town of Bashaw. Councillors read a letter of request from Bashaw Chamber of Commerce President Stacey Trombley noting the organization partnered with Parkland Community Futures on this community-wide event for youth that will feature prize ribbons, prize money, and of course lots of delicious lemonade.

The event proposes to give youth from kindergarten to high school a realistic business experience as they run their own lemonade operation.

Trombley asked if the town would be willing to pitch in by making space available for “lemonade university,” accommodate the declaration and provide some councillors to act as judges.

All requests were granted by council.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.