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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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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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