Good Neighbour
July 16, 2024

As members of the Welcome Camrose committee who recently organized this year’s Good Neighbour Campaign, we would like to congratulate the Chrapko family for earning the 2024 Good Neighbour Award.

Thank you to all those who took the time to recognize their neighbours by submitting a nomination to the Good Neighbour Campaign. Without you, this campaign would not have been so successful.

Additionally, thank you to all the good neighbours who were nominated! You make Camrose such a warm, welcoming, and safe place to be. Some examples of good neighbouring included shovelling sidewalks in the winter, helping with yard work in the summer, offering rides to appointments or activities, checking on residences during vacations, sharing meals and treats, organizing neighbourhood activities, sharing and teaching skills, offering a kind and caring presence, and simply encouraging people on their street to connect through conversation or activities.

Lastly, we would like to thank The Camrose Booster for supporting the Good Neighbour Campaign again this year. Thank you for the fantastic article that ran in the May 7th edition of The Booster showcasing many more ways to be a good neighbour to those around you.

A photo of the Chrapko family accepting the 2024 Good Neighbour Award was featured in the June 25th edition of The Camrose Booster. Welcome Camrose is looking forward to next year’s Good Neighbour Campaign and to hear more stories of all the wonderful things Camrosians are doing to be great neighbours.

Welcome Camrose
Interesting times
July 9, 2024

“We are living in interesting times,” the Chinese curse suggests to us. That has never been as true as in our current situation. We have multiple wars, which history may tell us was the beginning of the Second World War. We have the climate crisis, which seems to be ignored by most people. We may have a potential food and energy crisis, and we certainly have a political crisis with good leaders seemingly totally absent in most of the world.

It is hard to believe that in the 21st century, with the technological advances we have made as a species, that state violence is still being used to try to change borders or regimes. We only have to look at Russia, Hamas and Israel where leaders of those bodies believe they can impose their values by force. I thought the wars of the twentieth century put “paid” to those ideas.

The crazy thing is, the leaders in the west seem to think on similar lines. The USA, our world’s leader and most influential power in history, has seemingly, gone insane. Its elected leader and his party prevented from governing by a Republican Party, which wants to do away with democracy, led by a convicted felon who appears to be stupid, but sly, and possibly demented. The other party is just about as bad as it lacks the courage to meet the danger head on because it too is controlled by the wealthy greedy elite.

A couple examples to support my point. The Republican party claims to be the party of “Law and Order,” but it’s okay to attempt to overturn the election by force and attack the legal system by appointing corrupt judges and election officials and by attacking the constitution they try to uphold, etc. The democrats are almost as bad, by not facing the danger of a Russian victory in Ukraine by tying the hands of the Ukrainian army by limiting their ability to attack Russia, and by, apparently putting no limits on Israel’s use of heavy weapons supplied by the USA, and, seemingly, to the over reaction to Hamas’ attack on innocent civilians in Gaza.

The other example is the reluctance of the authorities to deal with “right wing violence” in the same manner as they seem to treat university students who they deem left wing in anti-Israeli demonstrations. In my day it was accepted that universities were places to protest the hypocrisy of the ruling elites.

Harry Gaede,
Camrose
Prayer in council
July 9, 2024

Regarding the recent editorial and item about prayer in council meetings in Alberta, my interest was tweaked as this subject relates to the separation of Church and State.

The perspective I have acquired on this matter is one that considers the value of democracy in government to be paramount. It was the totalitarian regime of the Church in the dark and middle ages that was opposed by Martin Luther beginning with his Ninety-five Theses that he nailed to the door of the church at Wittenburg on October 31, 1517, and continuing with his translations of the Scriptures in 1521 with the objective of enabling the common people to read and study for themselves the Bible that had only been read to be interpreted by the Church hierarchy in incomprehensible Latin.

It was the principles found in Scriptures that made the insights given to common people so important in their contribution to the formation of the Church, the Body of Christ. The engagement and exercise of parliamentary procedure via Robert’s Rule of Order in the business meetings of the church membership is meant to facilitate and safeguard the participation of every member in discussion and voting.

When the electorate chooses leaders that exemplify godliness and integrity–the acknowledgement of moral principles not conjured by self-deceiving human minds, how is democracy maintained by denying those leaders the means to jointly humble themselves before God, if they so choose, and ask for his wisdom and integrity in the policy decisions they must make?

There are many at the present time who not only deny the existence of God, they also believe the world would be a better place if everyone were to deny the existence of God. Their efforts to make the world a better place would strip democracy of all reference to God. What that entails is a reverse image–a photographic negative in which white is black and black is white–of true democracy, and a totalitarian ban on godliness in government. This has given us denial of the sanctity of life, of marriage, of exercising faith and conscience in public service, and freedom of expression for those who do not comply.

When the relationship between Church and State is not found through the democratic process, but by the means for which separation was first deemed necessary, that is a negative image of democracy.

Don Berg,
Killam
Riding won
July 9, 2024

I was so excited to see the Liberals lose on June 24 by-election in the riding of Toronto- St. Paul’s.

The day before this by-election, deputy prime minister Freeman stated that the voters who vote for the Conservatives are cold, cruel and small. Today after their unexpected loss, the Liberals are now saying that they want to listen to all Canadians.

No matter who they voted for. Why should we believe them now? It is time for this party to be shown the door and for someone else to take over the leadership of this country.

Freeman also stated that the leader of the opposition was wearing more make up than she was.   What sort of sicko would say such weird style of inappropriate speeches.  How long will this out of touch government be allowed to stay in power?
 
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose
Emergency hospital
June 25, 2024

My health had hit absolute rock bottom when I admitted myself at 7:30 a.m. June 7 (I somehow held out a day to observe June 6 D-Day coverage). From that moment to my discharge late that evening, I was in awe of the care and compassion I received. The emergency staff, no, the emergency team, were always a step ahead of my needs. Who knew?

After agonizing weeks of little or no food, sleep, energy, bodily movements, constant pain, anxiety, etc., between testing I discovered peaceful rest (I even heard my stomach growl). In my career, I was accustomed to professionalism, teamwork, pride, organization, confidence, care, compassion, attitude, creativity, skill–but not all at once. Until now. Who knew?

We may not appreciate how much effort and time goes into inputting all our testing results, medical applications and opinions, recovery vitals, into our electronic history–all necessary for future reference by our family doctor for prognosis before focusing on treatment. Our doctor face to face is just a fraction of the demands on their time and resources. No wonder our doctors begin their day at a horse race pace.

A higher spirit would be able to offer proper wording of thanks. I do not possess that wisdom. I can say, had this been my last day on this planet, I would not have wanted to spend it anywhere else.

Neil Leeson,
Camrose
Jubilee Park
June 18, 2024

Last week I had a chance to take a walk through Jubilee Park and was shocked and disappointed with the condition it was in.
Dandelions have completely taken over part of the park, and untrimmed grass around hedges and trees made this former gem of a park look very run down.

In comparison, as I drove past Camrose Composite High School, the front lawn looked immaculate. I didn’t see the south lawn of the school, but I’m assuming it looks as good as the north side.
A video I watched online advertising Camrose certainly did not show that weeds have taken over the park. A visitor would be in for a shock if they used that video as a guide.

Why has the City allowed Jubilee Park to deteriorate to such a sorry state?

I’m wondering if council members and City administrators allow their own properties to look this bad. If they do, I’m sure their neighbours are not impressed.

Brian McLeod,
Camrose
Wentland retires
June 4, 2024

The Reverend Pastor Craig Wentland this June intends to complete his latest, and last, multi-cycle four-year contract as Chaplain of the University of Alberta Augustana Campus (Camrose).

Craig is a Christian whom I experience as being deeply rooted in his Lutheran spiritual heritage and who constantly strives to honour God, in all endeavours and in all peoples.

His unpretentious pastoral ministry and keen intellect, always had room for others of different faiths …and for those whose core human values had a totally secular foundation.

Augustana’s liturgical leadership of its magnificent Easter Vigil service had once been a near exclusive Lutheran monopoly. Craig courageously and without any fanfare shattered that tempered glass ceiling. (And, I have it on good authority that he even let Anglicans in!)

Craig serves tasty handcrafted pizza from his outdoor wood-fired oven. He crafted ice cream of outlandish flavours. It is a significant loss that my palate will never sample a possible asparagus vanilla Craig Gelato with a drizzle of Tabasco.

Craig taught me a great deal without speaking much.  He authentically models integrity, compassion and a gentle fortitude which sustains truth and invites inclusivity.

Craig, thank you. See you at OleO’s…my treat.
 
Jacques deG. Vaillancourt,
Camrose
Welcome Camrose
June 4, 2024

On behalf of Welcome Camrose, we wanted to say a special thank you to both of you and The Booster for your excellent coverage of the Good Neighbour Campaign.

We appreciate your flexibility, the article, the front page and working with our group to let the community know about this initiative.

 Lyndel Kasa,
Camrose FCSS 
Hard times
June 4, 2024

These last few years have been getting harder and harder to pay the bills. I now average working 70 hours a week just to keep above the water.

I recently read a letter in the Edmonton Sun that Prime Minister Trudeau only has 16 months left along with the NDP support to ruin our economy.

For the past eight years, the cost of living has greatly increased.  Many people are going to food banks just to feed their families. My wife and I go to soup kitchens just to afford to eat. We always have to borrow just to pay the rent, consolidation loan, car payment, phone bills and utilities. I sure do hope that when the federal election is over, we will not have Trudeau as Prime Minister. This insanity has to end before this nation is destroyed for good.

Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose
D-Day heroes
June 4, 2024

Death struck deeply into those who waded ashore on June 6, 1944, struggling to quickly move from their landing craft to the sand of Normandy beach.

Burdened by the heavy weight of their equipment and the sights and sounds around them, before them lay a terrifying array of obstacles waiting to trap, maim and destroy anyone who attempted to challenge the terrible might of the Nazi occupation of France.

Service men and women came from all across Canada. Local militia units like the South Alberta Regiment, South Alberta Light Horse and the Calgary Highlanders were mobilized for active war service. These part-time “Saturday Night” soldiers were busy in their armouries and drill halls, recruiting and training new members. Some would find themselves storming Juno Beach on June 6, while others arrived sometime later, joining the 3rd Canadian Division as they consolidated their foothold on the Normandy coast.

The liberation campaign slowly progressed mile by bloody mile across France until Paris was freed on August 25, 1944. In its wake were left countless dead and injured, destroyed towns and cities. Names of places became etched into the memories of the soldiers who fought in battles like Bourguébus Ridge, Carpiquet Airport, Caen, the Falaise “Gap,” Vaucelles, and Verrières Ridge. The campaign to liberate France from its occupiers would end up taking the lives of 5,021 Canadian soldiers.

The number of war veterans who fought in the liberation campaign has steadily declined as the years have passed. Fortunately, some of these remarkable old soldiers are still living. They are resilient people who followed a path of duty, endured hardship, faced danger and experienced things we could never imagine. Through the National Order of the Legion of Honour medal program, the Embassy of France in Canada continues to bestow their nation’s highest medal to our veterans who are proudly known as the liberators of France.

Guy Black,
recipient of the Minister of Veterans
Affairs Commendation
Carbon tax
May 21, 2024

Carbon tax–I’m confused–help.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax was introduced in October 2019 at $20/tonne of emissions penalty charge on most necessities of life. As of April 1, this tax had morphed into $80/tonne of emissions and scheduled to increase by $15/tonne of emissions each year thereafter. Okay.

Intent of Trudeau carbon tax is to reduce the rate of global emissions that contribute to climate change (i.e. severe draught, catastrophic  hurricane seasons, record setting rainfall, etc.). As a proverbial pinprick in total global emissions, I wish Canada luck in bringing about measureable climate change unless the big emitters buy in.

But here at home, recent outbreaks in Alberta wildfires has prompted the usual NDP complaints against the UCP government for being unprepared and short on firefighting resources.

Last year, I recall both Alberta and Nova Scotia governments strongly indicated as much as 50 per cent of wildfires are attributed to intentional and unintentional human behaviour.

Here is my confusion. Should not a portion of carbon tax proceeds be allocated to tracking down, charging and imprisoning culprits? Reducing forest fires through the courts just might be better odds of saving the planet (or at least Canada) than a tax considering the lasting and harmful smoke impact, resource destruction and disruption of the lives of thousands–shouldn’t Canadian CSIS and RCMP security have the incentive and duty to employ all their resources to apprehend and arrest.

Ever since the Slave Lake fire of 10 years ago, Fort McMurray fire of eight years ago and Shelburne, Nova Scotia fire of last year, suspects were reported to be on the radar. As the saying goes, where there is smoke, there is fire. To my knowledge there hasn’t been a single arrest. Correct me if I’m wrong. Set a precedent by imposing the law with harsh penalties. Whether fires are set by carelessness or devious motives, one must know there will be a huge price to pay.
 
Neil Leeson,
Camrose
Modern protests
May 14, 2024

Arnold Malone’s guest editorial regarding university protests reflects a picture of activism during softer, gentler times in the ’60s and ’70s. However, university activism in the 21st century is substantially different than when “we” were in university some 60 years ago.

During the intervening years, several factors have become an integral part of the university fabric; namely, (i) the impact of social media, (ii) university students are more ethnically diverse and (iii) universities have adopted Diversity, Equality and Inclusiveness (DEI) mandates to pander to woke and cancel culture narratives.

While recognizing there are benefits to social media; for many users, social media has had the effect of polarizing politics and suppressing critical thinking as users begin to operate in “group think” mode as they share common ideas with their social media friends. Many of these common ideas are based upon mis/dis information to advance the narrative of vested interest groups without significant fact checking by readers.

While university students represent a wonderful cross section of the ethnic mosaic of our country; I would argue that their closest friendships are formed with “like” fellow students and the diversity is of secondary value.

In recent times, Canadian universities have succumbed to pressure to cancel culture, woke and DEI initiatives that force conformity of thought resulting in the suppression of free speech on campus. Witness firings (Dr. Frances Widdowson) at Mount Royal University, forced resignations (Dr. Claudine Gay) at Harvard and questionable hirings at countless universities.

Many recent studies in Europe in the business/industry sector and university sector have concluded that the vast expenditures on DEI mandates have not worked; in fact, they have become counterproductive due to the backlash. The major conclusion…universities are funded by the public to educate the next generation through exposure to diverse ideas. This won’t work if ideological screening is part of the hiring process.

In an era of reduced public funding and creeping “corporatization” i.e. far too many university administrations are quick to put reputation and risk management and the appeasement of students, donors and politicians ahead of their commitment to academic freedom. A sad commentary indeed.

Lynn Clark,
Camrose
Common sense
May 14, 2024

Where has the common sense gone? We were shut down for almost two years because of our health care system. Have we built a hospital since then?

We’ve always had immigration, now the Prime Minister is bringing in one million people a year. How does the health care system take on that kind of increase?

There was a housing crunch for years, now what is happening? It leads the news daily. The Prime Minister is going to build a million new homes in a few years. Now how do you build a new home without using fossil fuels? Where are they getting the lumber, concrete, etc.

Do we produce anything here in Canada? We bring it in from all over in container ships to say we are green. What do container ships at minimum do to the oceans?

So now what about the water shortage? Solar should have been part of the building code years ago.

We have to start looking at reality instead of your newest phone. How did they build your phone, where do you get materials for batteries?

Sheila Faulkner,
Donalda 
Be committed
May 14, 2024

For future community wide sales, could it be mandatory that people add dates and times to their submitted addresses? It was a very frustrating time and waste of gas for anyone planning a trip into Camrose for the event (a lot of people do). We drove around and around looking for open sales until we said “to heck with it, we are not wasting gas on this.” Too many addresses not open, a few open, it took the fun out of it.

We actually heard others talking about the same thing when we were at a couple of the sales.

This event draws shoppers to Camrose, not just for garage sales. Hopefully changes can be made to make it a better experience.
 
Vivian Hupé,
 Camrose
Sunny side
May 14, 2024

Most people choose to live on the sunny side of the mountain. An author of a recent letter to The Booster seems to live on the dark side.

He states, “In the USA, they have convinced almost half of the population that voting in an idiot as a dictator will be better for them than maintaining a democracy, flawed as it may be. We in Alberta seem to be on the same track.”

This comment seems to be a reference to Donald trump and our own Alberta Premier Danielle Smith. If so, I make the following observations, Trump was the president of the USA for four years. What policies did he produce that were idiotic or smattered of a dictator? He used the resources available to protect their southern border–Biden removed those measures and allowed millions of people, seeking freedom offered by one of the world’s great democracies, to illegally enter the country, the overflow of which may affect our own country. Biden refused to enforce the very laws designed to protect the security of his nation. So, in this case alone, who reflects more the attributes an idiot or dictator, Biden or Trump?

In Alberta, we have for the first time in recent memory, a Premier who has the courage to use the province’s constitutional rights and power to deny the federal government from their constant incursion into areas outside of their jurisdiction.

It is not the responsibility of the federal government to project the rights of the provinces. That is the responsibility of the premiers of the provinces and the Canadian constitution grants them that power. Premier Smith is protecting our rights by exercising  those powers and is to be commended for doing so.

The greatest threat to the economic well-being of the individual and family is the unlimited power of the three levels of government (federal, provincial and municipal) to tax away our wealth, represented in part by the carbon tax.

And finally, the statement, “An uninformed poorly educated and fairly comfortable population is not going to expend too much energy on thinking and we are easily led by charlatans” elitist in nature and demeaning to the population whose vote grants, and rescinds political power.
 
Jack Ramsay,
Camrose
Working democracy
April 30, 2024

I call on you even though I know most of you disagree with me politically. Like most people in a working democracy and I include myself, we have become too comfortable.  Studies show that most of us vote against our own interests all too often.

Our politics have fractured. There are two basic positions. Since the mid ‘70s we have been fed propaganda to the effect that making the rich richer will be better than sharing limited world resources more fairly. We now have almost 50 years of evidence that this is absolutely false, but the super wealthy are now so powerful that they own most world governments.

In the USA, they have convinced almost half the population that voting in an idiot as a dictator will be better for them than maintaining a democracy, flawed as it may be. We in Alberta seem to be on the same track.

During the last 50 years we have seen another experiment in how to govern, the Scandinavian countries, where the country’s wealth is shared more equably. It’s not perfect. They also have millionaires, but they are among the happiest and wealthiest people on the planet.

The Scandinavian countries are among the highest taxed in the world, but that is how they pay for their much better education, health care and safety nets for their most vulnerable citizens. Let’s also talk about carbon tax.

Carbon taxes are not going to solve the climate change question. However there is no question among the experts that making a resource like oil more expensive will reduce its use by most people. As oil resources deplete they become more expensive anyway so we need to learn how to substitute. But we must do much more. Will we? I’m not holding my breath.

A word on capitalism. Properly regulated, it has its place. Unregulated it guarantees extreme inequality, that has in the past always led to revolution, although not always successful, it does guarantee the death of significant numbers.

A word on democracy. Democracy requires an informed educated population to work well. An uninformed poorly educated and fairly comfortable population is not going to expend too much energy on thinking and are easily led by charlatans. Deep thinking uses up to 40 per cent of the bodies energy resources so we have developed short cuts, like letting someone else do the thinking. Enough for now.

Harry Gaede,
Camrose
Acts of kindness
April 23, 2024

On April 7, while driving home from Armena on Highway 616, I got a flat tire. I felt helpless and uncertain as to what to do as I am a senior woman.

I pulled into a laneway and walked out to the highway waving my arms. Two vehicles passed and a black truck braked, backed up and three young fellows proceeded to jump out of the truck.
All were cheerful, kind and without hesitation began to change my tire.

It was Gerard M. who owns an oil well servicing business, along with his two helpers Joshua and Jackson. I’m so grateful for their generosity.
Pam Symons,
Millet
Acts of kindness
April 23, 2024

On April 7, while driving home from Armena on Highway 616, I got a flat tire. I felt helpless and uncertain as to what to do as I am a senior woman.

I pulled into a laneway and walked out to the highway waving my arms. Two vehicles passed and a black truck braked, backed up and three young fellows proceeded to jump out of the truck.
All were cheerful, kind and without hesitation began to change my tire.

It was Gerard M. who owns an oil well servicing business, along with his two helpers Joshua and Jackson. I’m so grateful for their generosity.
Pam Symons,
Millet
Moments matter
April 16, 2024

Camrose and area is a lovely place to live. As I reflect on what makes this community so special, I feel the dedication of volunteers is a key component.

April 14 to 20 is National Volunteer Week. It is a time to celebrate and thank Canada’s 24 million volunteers. The theme of this week is Every Moment Matters. Every moment that volunteers spend helping in their communities matters.

Organizations such as The Bailey Theatre Society count on our volunteers. You may see them at our events, taking tickets, ushering, selling 50/50 tickets and making you feel welcome. There are also a number of volunteers working behind the scenes: working on the board of directors and committees, making popcorn, helping with recycling and doing changeovers between shows.

I’m grateful for their efforts and commitment. They are unsung heroes and every moment they spend in service to our organization matters. Thank you, Bailey volunteers.

Please take time to thank volunteers you encounter this week.

Colleen Nelson president,
Bailey Theatre Society
Sense of loss
April 9, 2024

I feel a sense of loss that Jaywalkers’ Jamboree is moving from a street festival to a multi-use space.

This proposal reminds me of one Thanksgiving many years ago:
Our family decided to break its longstanding tradition of a homecooked feast at my in-laws to celebrate that holiday at our favourite restaurant.

Thanksgiving had always been a time when relatives and friends jammed in the family home until it almost burst at the seams.  It lasted hours, with lots of teasing and laughter. We all looked forward to such chaotic closeness!

This new transition to a restaurant, with its promise of no prep nor clean up, did provide a savoury meal, but it lacked the traditional vibe of the holiday. It didn’t have that “at home” feel, like usual (not to mention, there were no leftovers to share later).
The proposed change is, for me, an echo of that Thanksgiving Day.
With respect to keeping Jaywalkers’ downtown, could some of the larger parking lots be rented for carnival rides? (The Brick? CityLights Church?)

Can additional side streets be closed to traffic to accommodate more rides?

The name says it all. Jaywalkers’ belongs on the crowded Main Street, where we can saunter close to our shared community, close to home, with shops to browse, where we can shop local–thus, continuing a very happy annual tradition.

Jacques Vaillancourt,
Camrose
In defence
April 2, 2024

I would first like to address frustrations regarding the prospects of Jaywalkers’ Jamboree moving locations. The Chamber explains the relocation to be the result of their intentions for the largest Jaywalkers’ Jamboree in history. Our downtown space was designed over a century ago, likely without large scale amusement park rides in mind.

While I understand downtown business owners being unhappy with the Chamber, many people are behaving as though the downtown Camrose business association was never dissolved. Further, we need to acknowledge that West Coast Amusements, the company which provides the rides, has a monopoly over events such as this one. It is not as though the Chamber can just up and select a new, more accommodating company, especially when we consider that Jaywalkers’ planning is a year round affair.
Finally, I find this overarching attitude of Jaywalkers’ moving being the end of our community to be ridiculous. A community does not revolve around the material events that take place, it is a combination of smaller groups making the choice to interact and exist as one. Many of those complaining do not seem to be offering any fixes–if we really believe our community is dying, what are we going to do about it?
 
Lynda Baker,
Camrose
Disappointing move
April 2, 2024

I was so disappointed when I read of the decision to move Jaywalkers’ to the CRE. The reason why it was called Jaywalkers’ was because Main Street would be closed down and people would have to jaywalk to get to the various booths.

This is the only time of year when jaywalking would be legal. The rides were a nice touch, but it was not just about the rides. People were able to get out and enjoy the different booths which were set up by the different organizations and places on main street.

I do believe those in charge have forgotten why this was set up in the first place–to promote the down town. I do personally believe this was a very bad move.
 
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose
Carbon tax
April 2, 2024

Recently, some politicians have been making a lot of noise about the federal carbon tax. Let’s cut through the noise. The German broadcaster Deutsche Welle studied the 32 countries that have a national carbon tax and concluded that a carbon tax is the most cost effective way to lower greenhouse gas emissions although it can put a burden on lower income people.

DW did centre out Canada though, pointing out that our rebate eliminates the burden on our lower and middle income earners. You can go onto the Ecofiscal Institute website for a short video explaining why economists agree that a carbon tax is good for Canada’s economy. Perrin Beatty, former Conservative cabinet minister and head of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has long maintained that our carbon tax is good for Canadian business. Conservative Stephen Harper was the first Prime Minister to say we need a carbon tax.  During the 2021 election, the Conservative Party said we needed a carbon tax.

The Liberals point out that the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) concluded that 80 per cent of Canadians get more in rebate than they pay in carbon tax and no one disputes that. The Conservatives point out that the PBO also concluded that the carbon tax is a slight brake on the economy and no one disputes that. Whether most of us are better off with or without the carbon tax is open for debate. A person with a low income, who lives in an apartment and has no car pays little in carbon tax but gets the rebate. Therefore all low income people will definitely find life less affordable if the carbon tax is removed. In contrast, wealthy people like our politicians will personally benefit if the carbon tax is removed. For most of us in the middle it makes almost no difference.

However, the PBO also makes clear that if the carbon tax is simply removed with nothing to replace it, that will cost us more than having the carbon tax. And the PBO is clear that anything we could replace the carbon tax with will cost us more and no one disputes that. So, if politicians tell you they would “axe the tax” we can assume that they have decided that in the short term it will get them votes, because what they are not telling us is that they intend to make our life more expensive.
 
Rob Hill,
Camrose
Questions abound
March 26, 2024

The board of the Chamber of Commerce decided to move Jaywalkers’ to the CRE. The more I listen to the reasons for the decision, the more confused I get and the more questions I have.
When a decision is to be made, you need to ask yourself a simple question…is it right or is it wrong, and there is no right way to do something that is wrong. To me, what I have heard has led me to believe this decision is wrong.

I will start with what I believe to be fact:

1. Jaywalkers’ dates back to the early agricultural heritage of Camrose. Since 1958, the event has been held the first weekend in June to celebrate the farmers’ completion of seeding.

2. The festival owes its existence to the visionary founding fathers of Camrose, who designed the downtown core with wide streets, meant to provide room for festivities during the Jamboree.

3. Jaywalkers’ is Alberta’s oldest outdoor fair, Alberta’s largest sidewalk sale, and one of the largest street festivals in Alberta.

4. Jaywalkers’ celebrates community with a street fest that invites you to jaywalk through the shops, arts and culture of Camrose, but it is much more than that.

5. Vibrant downtown space reflects the spirit of the City and plays a crucial role in its overall well-being and prosperity.

A number of reasons for the board’s decision to move the site have been provided, however, all appear solvable, especially when so much is at stake.

I am left to wonder: Why was this decision made by the Chamber board without consulting its around 350 members?

How does bringing in additional vendors from outside Camrose help the Camrose business community? In fact, do they not take business away?

Is West Coast Amusements dictating this move? Are the midway rides more important than all the other reasons to keep the current location?

The Chamber’s strength lies in the hands of the members who lead and govern the Chamber. They are committed to promoting Camrose as a vibrant and dynamic community–a place to visit, live, work, shop, play, and invest. In chaos is opportunity…we have a tremendous opportunity to work together to unify our community and maintain one of the greatest, most iconic and historic celebrations in Alberta, while honouring and respecting our rich history. Let’s get back to the joy this event was intended to bring.

Ron Baier,
Camrose
Senior friendly
March 26, 2024

Is Camrose no longer senior friendly? As a citizen of Camrose for close to half a century, I currently am confused about who is making the decisions for our City: City council or the trash collectors. City council is responsible to make decisions in the best interest of the citizens. The trash collector makes decisions that will make them the most money.

We have been told that the City of Camrose signed a five-year deal for garbage pickup one year ago. We have also been advised that the garbage collectors have purchased a new, longer and heavier truck, therefore, they have trouble navigating the back alleys.
They requested that the citizens now move their heavy garbage containers to the front street for pickup. I am confused how the contractors making a purchase of a truck that prevents them from fulfilling their contractual obligations is the problem of the citizens. They should ensure that they have the proper equipment to carry out the contract that they signed. It is not the duty of the citizens to accommodate them. Rather, it is their obligation to figure out how to deal with their unwise purchase.

The current truck the trash collector is using in our area appears to have been purchased from a museum. While it is big, there are senior citizens in our area who drive larger RVs and navigate the back alleys without difficulties. I am not sure how old the driver of the garbage truck is, but the mess left behind by him indicates that he has little to no experience. If the trash could be collected in the alley for over 50 years without complaint, it confuses me as to why there is a sudden problem and why it is my issue.

There are many senior citizens in the area who are unable to carry heavy garbage cans from the back of their property to the street, through the snow, upstairs, etc. Their only option is to haul the empty can to the front, where it will sit permanently.

Currently, homeowners have no right to restrict others from parking in front of their homes, thus the trucks will be frequently unable to collect garbage, which will then pile up, turning our beautiful neighbourhood into a garbage dump. This may be a factor forcing the elderly out of their homes.

A dissatisfied senior.

Joan Petruk,
Camrose
Jaywalkers’ decision
March 26, 2024

We’re reaching out to provide you with an update on the latest developments concerning Jaywalkers’ Jamboree. First and foremost, we want you to know that we’ve been listening closely to your feedback. Your response to the news of Jaywalkers’ moving to the CRE has resonated deeply with the board of directors, and we truly appreciate your input.

In light of this, we’ve taken a step back to assess the situation carefully. We’re currently engaged in collaborative discussions with multiple partners to explore all available options for hosting Jaywalkers’. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be diligently working on the details in partnership with these stakeholders. Our aim is to determine the most suitable path forward that ensures the event’s safety, enjoyment for all attendees, and continued support for the local businesses in Camrose.

We’re committed to keeping you informed every step of the way and we eagerly anticipate sharing updates with you as soon as possible regarding our next course of action.

Camrose and District Chamber of Commerce
Board of Directors
No communication
March 19, 2024

While I have no financial interest in either the downtown or the Chamber of Commerce, it was always my perception that the Chamber represented the downtown merchants and was mainly comprised of them. This Jaywalkers’ change seems to have been made without any communication with the downtown merchants. What a pity.

Our downtown has remained a vibrant, vital part of Camrose and has not deteriorated like many other downtown areas in the west. Something is wrong someplace here. Camrose council needs to get involved in this unfair change of venue and straighten things out. We do not need some out of town midway company making decisions for our great little city.
Jim Orr,
Camrose
Jaywalkers’ downtown
March 19, 2024

I just read a sad news article about our cherished Jaywalkers’. We have been involved in celebrating Jaywalkers’ downtown with our kids and now our grandkids for many, many years. It has a unique atmosphere having blocked Main Street and you are able to “jaywalk” down town Camrose. We have friends and family who travel from the cities specifically for this unique jaywalking event. Moving it to the CRE grounds totally defeats the purpose.
Downtown was a great place for adults to shop great deals and the kids enjoyed the numerous rides. I think moving it is a huge mistake and hopefully the businesses downtown will continue on with a downtown celebration.
 
George Shostak,
Camrose

Caring words

March 19, 2024

As a retired mental health care professional, it concerns me greatly how the use of such words as “crazy,” “bonkers” and “nuts” are flippantly applied in everyday conversation. This is especially the case when such words are used as weapons against people for whom we may disagree with politically. This is also the case when such words are simply used to describe someone we may dislike.
Words such as these are damaging for those living with psychosis. It creates a hostile atmosphere and silences them and their lived experience. This can inflame symptoms and make vulnerable people more ill.

What is most shocking is that I have heard these words used in spaces, such as churches, which purport to be safe places for those we label as different. Creating inclusive places involves more than just installing chair lifts for those with mobility challenges. It involves using language that is truly inclusive so that all are welcomed.

Instead, I invite people to use more sophisticated and nuanced language to healthily express themselves. This is not “cancel culture.” It’s just showing compassion and love towards those living with psychosis and others who are different from ourselves.
 
      Sandra Nordstrom,
Camrose

No communication

March 19, 2024

Does the City really think we have forgotten that it was Waste Connections Canada, not Integrity, that accomplished the switch to automated collection six years ago?

Camrose never had semi-automated collection, we went straight from manual collection to ASL (automated side load). Nobody is arguing the decision to move to ASL; it is the trend and the right decision. The interview in the article makes it sound like the move to front street collection is a result of the switch to ASL, which is misleading and untrue. The ASL trucks are neither heavier or wider than the manual collection trucks they replaced. These dimensions are highly regulated  maximum width of 2.65m and maximum weight of 24,300kg. The grapple must be able to open completely and nest inside of the width of the truck and it does.

I would be shocked to see anyone from the City fall on their sword and take responsibility for this bad decision, or to do anything about it. I would however urge my fellow residents to remember this fumbling of a pretty important issue in the next municipal election cycle. Hopefully our woefully inadequate garbage and recycling strategy is an issue next time around.

Landon Lewsaw,
Camrose

Fading Community

March 19, 2024

Thanks for taking the time to express your opinion Carole Preston. But I must disagree with your position, if you expect the City council to spend tax dollars to provide community life support. I am of the opinion the taxes I now pay are enough.

Pat Barott,
Camrose

Good stuff

March 12, 2024

First the “good stuff.”

Many thanks to Geraint Osborne for his excellent article in the February 27, edition of The Booster on the value of community newspapers. If you haven’t read it, grab a copy and do so.
Within The Camrose Booster, we get a laugh-out-loud treat each week with the Booster Banter, Bonnie Hutchinson dishes up food for thought, and Murray Green and Lori Larsen are out and about highlighting events in the community. The “Booster Shot” selections are very applicable to daily life, and the “25 and 50 Years Ago” column is a reminder of just how fast that life is swishing by. And let’s not forget the “Just Sayin’” space that allows people like me to air an opinion, something that wouldn’t be allowed in some countries.

A super big congratulations to Bob Bailey on being one of five chosen from across Canada for the MusicCounts Teacher of the Year Award. With all of the research on how valuable music is in all areas of life, it’s amazing that parents aren’t lined up clamoring to get their children into band and choir. We wish you the best of luck, Bob. You deserve it.

There are many things to be thankful for here in Camrose. Here are just a few: Augustana University, two performing art venues, music opportunities, theatre groups, aquatic centre and other sports facilities. Feel free to add your favourites to the list.
And now for the “not so good stuff.”

We are quite fond of our black and green bins, but not so fond of what is happening with them. The present company has not been nearly as competent as the past company. There have been many complaints in The Booster and social media platforms concerning the treatment of the bins, the incompetency of the drivers, and the demands for bins to be placed out on the street. It’s time to rethink that decision.

And now it has been decided to move Jaywalkers’ Jamboree out to the CRE. Our first consideration needs to be for the businesses and citizens of Camrose and the history of the Jaywalkers’ Jamboree, not West Coast Amusements’ “carrot” of bigger and more rides. Jaywalkers’ Jamboree has been a highlight and delight of our downtown area for decades and not something we want to lose. Again, it’s time to rethink that decision, too.
 
Carolyn and Lloyd Olson, Camrose

Jaywalkers’ moving

March 12, 2024

My colleagues and I  were dumbfounded to read this. It seems to make no sense and I’ve already heard that many will not be able to attend, because of the problems of packing up children, strollers, diaper bags and loading all into the car...for a few hours of carnival. Adults go to shop local and bump into friends and families they don’t often see, some that are local and many who have returned home, specifically for the fun and familiar gathering of this long time event and tradition.

Kids go for the rides, many of us walk there, because we can and that’s part of the engagement with our community. Adults will go downtown to visit local businesses, bump into friends and cash in on sales, just as they always have for more than 50 years.

Our children will be the big losers here. They will not be able to walk to the safety of downtown for the carnival with their friends. This event is as much for our local business community as it is a family event – you’ve missed the mark on all points.
 
Barbara Anderson,
Camrose

Fading community

March 12, 2024

Our community is fading. It started with the closure of the Downtown Camrose Business Association. The loss is obvious in the comparison of the pre-2023 downtown market to the 2023 market experience. The market was everything that great public spaces should be: inviting naturally shaded spaces to linger and visit, food vendors, local onsight businesses spilling out onto the streets, kids playing with bubbles, farm fresh stalls, handicrafts and live music. It was fulsome as an event. The 2023 market was hot, unshaded, experienced a massive loss of quality vendors, had no connections to the businesses in place on Main Street and lost the feel of a welcome place to linger with friends. It was and is a massive loss for Camrose as a place to be.

The fading continues with the Chamber of Commerce decision to move Jaywalkers’ Jamboree to the CRE. Hosting Jaywalkers’ in our downtown core has a massive financial benefit to our local businesses and even more than that, creates a place to be, for community, for vibrancy, for keeping our downtown alive. Jaywalkers’ Jamboree is the atmosphere, the opportunities for connection, the shaded streets and the opportunity to check out small businesses and the rides. It’s also the only time that some Camrosians come downtown.  The event creates and maintains a vibrant community for all of Camrose not just the downtown core.

To pick up the losses, Love Local Camrose, a volunteer run effort, organized two well attended events.  Why should a community of our size have to rely on volunteers to organize vital events that create community and keep our community alive? Volunteerism is great for supporting events and community, but we cannot expect volunteers to provide community life support.

This is the responsibility of our City council, and our institutions like the Chamber of Commerce and the now defunct downtown business association.  These organizations and more have a responsibility beyond the interests of business owners. They are part of the social fabric that makes up our community. Our downtown is more than the businesses that are located there; it’s the people who live there, the people who visit and shop there, it’s the not-for-profits, it’s the church community and the public space for all. Don’t snuff out our remaining light. Chamber of Commerce, please reconsider.
 
Carole Preston,
Camrose

Garbage nonsense

March 5, 2024

On October 22 2023, City council, at the end of a very long agenda, when everyone was probably tired and wanting to get home, passed a proposal to change the garbage pickup routes in certain neighbourhoods, mine included. The proposed change was to start about one month ago.

However, no one gave any thought to notifying the affected citizens and a trial period of new pick-ups began without anyone affected being so advised. The change was to move pickup from the back alley to the front of our “keyhole” close adjoining Chester Ronning School. The alleged reasons for the change given by the City were false, at least in part.

I have lived in this home for 50 years and we have had garbage pickup in our reasonably wide alley all that time without any problems. Yet despite the fact garbage pickup continues in our alley immediately south of us, our garbage was not picked up. Neither I, nor my wife, can manipulate a full garbage bin from our back alley to the front of our crescent. The alleged trial period of three weeks was over one week after notice.

Of course we want to co-operate where we can and where it makes sense.  Our neighbourhoods were designed to be serviced  through the back alley, and keyhole close pickups from the front area are congested, especially with parked cars and young school children constantly in the area because of the adjoining school.
I would think that it would be more difficult to pick up there, rather than the usual way.  I realize not every neighbourhood has back alleys and presumably they were designed for front yard pickup. Our neighbourhood was designed for backyard pickup.
I would suggest that council’s first duty is to its citizens, not to the cheapest contractors it can hire. Changes like this should be done in consultation with affected citizens and not imposed retroactively.

I blame the management team for inundating councillors with much more information than can be reasonably dealt with at one meeting. The decision in this case was the last item on the agenda, based on an information package of 231 pages for that meeting. My own experience in civic politics is that management teams often try to overwhelm their political bosses with too much information so difficult decisions they want done are pushed to the end of long, often boring meetings.
 
Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Garbage mess

March 5, 2024

I am one of the many residents impacted by the changes in garbage collection requiring us to drag our bins to the front curb.
For the few people who have front driveways, this is not an huge issue, but for those of us who have 20-cm high steps leading from the street to the front of our homes, as we do, it is quite different.
In this season of snow accumulations, dragging the bin down the hill is not an option.

We are forced to drag our bin 50 m down the unpaved, unplowed side alley, compete with icy ruts. Eventually, this extra wear and tear is bound to damage the bins, which were not designed for this type of abuse, not to mention the safety risk for the senior trying to accomplish this unnecessary task.

Our neighbourhood was originally designed to accommodate garbage services in the rear laneways. The real problem here is that the City has awarded the contract for this essential service to a company that has neither the appropriate equipment, nor the expertise to fulfill their commitment.

This is hardly the solution to this relatively new problem. It should also be mentioned that one unintended consequence of this new policy will likely be a reduced use of green bins.

As people have to struggle to get bins to the curb, they will be more likely to place compostables in the black bin, rather than having to drag two bins out front.

Ruth A. Muzika,
Camrose