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Parks Canada more of a hindrance than a help

  It goes without saying that the number one issue facing Jasper is housing. Whether it’s finding a place for a seasonal employee, helping a senior find a smaller home or to ensure a young family can afford to live in Jasper, housing affects us all. Yet it seems Parks Canada, which controls land use planning and development, could care less. This week the Jasper Community Housing Corporation (JCHC) ann ...

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Why local matters

In an era where it’s often cheaper and in some cases more convenient to buy things online it’s easy to see why people are drawn to its appeal, but our choices can have unintended consequences. Take for instance news this week that 24 per cent of Jasper’s businesses said they were in a state of decline in 2016 compared to 13 per cent that were growing. The survey was based on interviews with 113 local busine ...

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Temporary staff housing a slap in the face

News that Parks Canada was building a temporary “work camp” to house some of its staff this summer caught a lot of people by surprise, especially the business community. For years businesses have been pushing the powers that be, including Parks Canada and the municipality, to come up with a solution to help ease Jasper’s housing crisis. So it was no surprise that businesses were shocked to see Parks Canada ...

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Residents win when council listens

It’s amazing what can happen in a matter of two weeks. After being criticized for regularly agreeing with one another and limiting public debate, municipal council has done a complete 180, rejecting three motions during the last two council meetings and instigating real debate. The sudden departure from their more predictable nature is a welcome sign and should be seen as a victory for local democracy, espe ...

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Recognizing Jasper’s volunteers

Jasper is often defined by its physical attributes, but when you get to know the real Jasper there’s a lot more to it than snow capped mountains and an abundance of wildlife. Just take a look at last week’s annual volunteer banquet. While it may have been short on individual awards and accolades, there was no shortage of appreciation as 180 people packed the Jasper Activity Centre to celebrate Jasper’s volu ...

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A glimmer of dissent?

For most people a news story about a parking lot generates a passive interest at best, but for those paying attention this week something of far greater importance took place – council voted against a motion. In most communities this wouldn’t even register or be a newsworthy event, but in Jasper it's such a rare occurrence these days that the newspaper couldn’t even remember the last time it happened. This ...

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Public consultations miss the mark

If it feels like you’ve been attending a lot of public consultations lately, you’re not alone. Over the past three months Jasper has hosted three different public engagement events for various infrastructure projects in Jasper National Park. The first event was held by Kinder Morgan on Jan. 26 to discuss the company’s plans to twin its Trans Mountain pipeline from Strathcona County, near Edmonton, to Burnab ...

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Minister should reject bike trail

Anyone who has lived in Jasper long enough knows by now that the number one priority for Parks Canada is to protect the ecological integrity of Canada’s national parks, yet time and time again it seems that this priority plays second fiddle to development. The latest example is the proposed Icefields Trail project. The project envisions building a paved bike trail from Jasper to the Columbia Icefield, cutti ...

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Library debacle offers cautionary tale

As the municipality sets its sights on its next multi-million 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 comp ...

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Infrastructure investment tops $376 million

For as long as Jasper has existed, blaming Parks Canada for the town’s woes has become part and parcel with living in our tiny mountain community. For many it’s as common as talking about the weather or discussing what you had for lunch. For others it’s become a right of passage, a signal that you are a local and that you’re in the know. While it’s healthy to be critical of those that govern us and hold the ...

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