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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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An inclusive community should have limits

As Jasper celebrates another successful pride festival, our political leaders have been struggling to agree upon a proclamation that would designate Jasper as an “inclusive” community. At first this might seem like an odd thing to get hung up on, given the fact that Jasper already takes pride in being an inclusive community and is host to the third-largest pride festival in Alberta. However, the fear among ...

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Revenue problem is a spending problem

When it comes to Jasper’s fiscal health politicians and bureaucrats are always quick to frame the problem as a revenue issue, but that’s only half the problem. In order to have a revenue problem there are several factors that have to come into play, the least of which is the municipality’s propensity to spend more than it generates year after year. It would be one thing if the money it spent was necessary, ...

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Mayoral report doesn’t reflect the facts

There is an old adage that says what looks good on paper doesn’t always work in real life. Nowhere is this more often the case then in politics, where ideology and political tact often seem to supersede the facts. Take for example a report tabled earlier this week about whether Jasper should have a full-time or part-time mayor. Bernie Kreiner, the author of the report and former CAO of Hinton, concluded tha ...

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The localest Legion in the land

Normally forgetting to remove your headgear upon entering the clubhouse of any Royal Canadian Legion costs the offender a round for the room. That said, at most Legion halls these days getting caught on that rule is less and less dangerous because there’s nearly no one to buy a drink for. This is the case on any given day in faltering Legions across the country, struggling to connect with a society where ch ...

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Trans Mountain’s credibility on the line

Was it a sorely misinformed employee or a systemic failure to communicate? No one knows for certain, but what is certain is Kinder Morgan got its facts wrong—big time. Last week during a public forum about the company’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, a media relations employee stated there had never been an oil spill in Jasper National Park. Full stop. Within hours of publishing the story, the F ...

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Real news is in a state of crisis

What’s a community without news? That was the blunt and sobering question offered in an extensive report published last week about the role of journalism in Canada and the future of our democracy in the 21st century. In an era of fake news and alternative facts, the 110-page report outlined in detail the challenges facing traditional media sources, such as newspapers and TV broadcasters, and offered some bo ...

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Jasper needs a full-time mayor

From attending meetings to reading reports and lobbying higher levels of government, there’s a lot to do if you’re the mayor of Jasper. No one knows this better than Richard Ireland, who has been the town’s mayor since 2001, when Jasper officially became a municipality. That was 15 years ago and a lot has changed, especially the workload. Today the municipality employs 69 full-time and 16 part-time staff to ...

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Closing tobogganing hills the right decision

The rush of sliding down a hill on a wooden sled or a magic carpet has become a right of passage for generations of Canadians. It’s an activity that defines our winter habitation and reminds us of our carefree days as children. From shrieks of joy to gleeful smiles, tobogganing is a quintessential part of growing up and harkens back to a time when the most important decision was what toboggan you were going ...

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Is a tourist consumption levy the answer?

Whether it’s a park pass, a tourism levy or a destination marketing fee, organizations at the national, provincial and even private level seem to have managed to find ways to generate additional revenue. Yet when it comes to the municipal level, our local government has very few revenue tools at its disposal, beyond increasing property taxes and user fees. For most municipalities these revenue tools should ...

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