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September 27, 2007

Overcharging outrageous

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank you for your coverage of the recent pipeline work that is being completed in Jasper. I am a bit late in responding to some of Jasper’s community concerns in regards to housing and possible eviction of renters in your community. 

I have come to Jasper, to be with my husband during the pipeline project. Meanwhile, I have had to return home to Vancouver Island, B.C., and assist my children with placement in educational studies. We now have two homes to pay for, and are separated from our family for a long period of time to acquire an income.

For some odd reason, individuals believe that all individuals who work on pipeline projects have a monetary advantage. In reality, this is an outdated fallacy that deserves a second consideration. Many individuals who work on pipeline projects are given living allowances that cover minimal expenses. Those offering services in housing and food services consume these allowances. The monies spent on these services, could benefit families in being able to spend time together when pipeline work has been completed. After being separated from your family for six months, it would be nice to enjoy a reunion, but this is not possible, because some members of the community feel that they can take advantage of workers income, with little realization that two household payments are being made during the period of time workers are way from home. If regular rent was charged to workers in your community, this would allow for workers to bring their families to come and visit them the odd time, further adding to prosperity of many businesses in Jasper. As the same applies in all situations of society, when there is the thought of money to be had, there will be the few that try to benefit. These individuals reside in your community, and you must be aware of who they are. Your community citizens will know who these individuals are, and quite honestly, they are not real citizens of your community, nor do they take your best interests to mind. If these citizens were dedicated to the community, they would be grateful for all of the monies being distributed in your community, right now. Homeowners who rent their premises should be aware, that there is nothing like acquiring a reputation as a poor renter in a small community, when all is said and done. I don’t believe that overcharging workers will pay your mortgage in six months. This would be a considerable feat, and how pathetic on their part! We all deserve a small laugh!


Susan Schmidt, Jasper/Vancouver Island


Department not in tune with populace

Dear Editor,

Albertans once again have defied the unflattering stereotype of uncultured rednecks. Stats Canada tells us that this province is the leader in Canada for spending on cultural pursuits. Albertans spend 75 per cent more on live performing arts than they do on live sports events. There is an estimated $12 return on every $1 spent by government organizations like the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. We can also boast of having one of the best art colleges in the country, the Alberta College of Art and Design.

Then why is it that the graduates of this college almost always leave the province to find opportunities elsewhere? Why don’t the governments of Alberta, both provincial and municipal, recognize the economic and social impacts the arts and cultural industries have on communities? The province has dropped their support of the arts by more than 27 percent during the ‘90s putting Alberta’s per-capita funding lower than the poorest of provinces including Newfoundland and PEI.

Jasper is a reflection of this. Cultural funding has never flowed from our Culture and Recreation Department whose mandate seems to focus on recreation. Our community, overwhelmingly based on the commerce of tourism, is comprised of several arts organizations — an artists’ guild, a performing arts association, dance clubs, theatrical producers, festival committees … all creating valuable products. This same community of commerce often brings up the word “Banff” and how we seem to envy their monetary success, their year-round success. If you have ever spent any time there you would have noticed the galleries, arts-related businesses and the Centre for the Arts with their year round programming that is recognized internationally. Kudos to our arts industry partners here in Jasper who push onward without the enviable results of a municipality supportive of their efforts. 

But maybe that’s being a little harsh on our Department of Culture and Recreation. If they don’t have the tools to administer vibrant cultural incentives and programs, can they really be blamed for the absence of such? Well, thank goodness for partnerships. In working within the province’s cultural industry a network was stumbled upon, a network of municipality professionals working to improve their cultural practices through collective information sharing and regular communications. The adoption of culture as an industry, and all of the social and economic benefits that go along with that, are now something tangible – something all municipal culture departments can share through the Creative City Network.

As a Centennial gift to the town of Jasper the Edmonton Arts Council has sponsored Jasper into this Network for 2007 and 2008. Edmonton was chosen as the Cultural Capital of Canada for 2007 and was awarded $2 million to spend on cultural programming. Jasper’s inclusion into the Creative City Network fits perfectly into their mandate of strengthening Alberta’s collective cultural voice. Along with that membership came some valuable tools offered by the Network for mapping and planning our community’s cultural resources. I know the arts industry partners in Jasper will benefit greatly from this new umbrella of information, the mapping tools, and the partnerships now available to our municipal office of culture. I do hope that the department will take this gift from Edmonton and put some cultural emphasis back into the department of recreation. Otherwise, it would be my preference that we see a department of culture created that is willing to work with, and for, Jasper’s cultural industry partners — a department that becomes accountable for the funding that they receive under the guise of culture.

Marianne Garrah, Jasper


Students take stance

Dear Editor,

The three Jasper Charlebois sisters (Carly, Kristen & Sabrina) are to be thanked for their excellent work in making signs used at last week’s BBQ in Hinton. MP Rob Merrifield hosted the event, which was attended by John Baird, the Federal Environment Minister, as well as local citizens who, concerned about proposed nuclear plants in Alberta, carried  Pro-Renewable Energy signs the Charlebois sisters helped create.

Also attending the BBQ was a group of young Edmonton Greenpeace participants who entertained the crowd with songs and skits about the environmental and ecological concerns people have regarding nuclear energy and its toxic waste.

Through their words and actions, youth from this province have demonstrated that the future health of all our people, as well as Alberta’s precious surroundings, are not to be held at risk for the nuclear industry to profit from. The message that youth care for a healthy future has been sent to all of us. Hopefully, adults and politicians alike will take a cue from these enlightened young people and stop this toxic nuclear industry from ever getting started in Alberta.

What can we all do? Please take the time to be proactive citizens of Jasper and of Alberta. Please follow the lead of our youth by informing yourself of the science which is easily researched. Please ask the question why Britain and Germany are decommissioning their nuclear plants while our officials take steps in the complete opposite direction.

Please discuss how nuclear waste, which is deadly and untreatable, affects the planet and all its life forms for millennium to come. 

Providing proactive leadership is expected from our elected officials and we as citizens must make them accountable if our concerns are not being met or even addressed.

For the sake of all our present children’s health, and for their children’s children, stopping this nuclear insanity is a must before Pandora’s box of toxic nuclear waste is ever opened in our province.

Art Jackson, Jasper

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