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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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Avalanche death a wake up call

As the world said goodbye to 2016, backcountry enthusiasts got a sober reminder about the dangers of playing in the mountains. On Dec. 30 a snowmobiler got caught in an avalanche in the Clemina Creek recreational area about 20 kilometres southeast of Valemount. According to media reports, Robson Valley search and rescue were notified of the accident after someone on scene activated a SPOT beacon, which send ...

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Be careful with our taxes

When it comes to spending money few people are as good at it as the municipal government. Next year the municipality is poised to increase municipal taxes by 3.01 per cent. If the budget is approved, municipal taxes will have increased by more than 20 per cent since 2012, far outpacing the consumer price index (CPI). According to Statistics Canada, CPI has increased by 5.5 per cent since 2012 and as of Octo ...

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Not the right time for Tour of Alberta

There’s a time and a place for everything and given the surge of visitors Jasper National Park is expecting in 2017–when admission to the park is free–hosting the Tour of Alberta next summer is simply bad timing. In recent weeks it was revealed that Jasper was interested in hosting a stage of the international bike race on Sept. 1 2017, the Friday before the September long weekend. In 2015 Jasper National P ...

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2017 – The year of the tax

Brace yourself and your wallet because 2017 is shaping up to be an expensive year. From paying more for everyday household items, to shelling out more in municipal taxes, next year is going to hurt. On Jan. 1 the first phase of the province’s carbon tax will come into effect raising the price of gasoline by 4.5 cents per litre, diesel fuel by 5.35 cents and hike the cost of natural gas by more than $1 per g ...

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Parks should embrace technology, not fight it

In an era of smart phones, mobile apps and big data it appears Parks Canada still has a lot to learn. News this week that Parks Canada asked the Jasper Park Cycling Association (JPCA) to temporarily remove data from a mobile app highlights the agency’s outdated policies and archaic attitude towards new technologies. In late spring Parks Canada asked the JPCA to remove more than a dozen wild land trails from ...

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