December '09 Newsletter

Town Council News

December  2009                                                                Volume 4, Issue 5





Athabasca Mayor Colleen Powell greets newest member on Town Council, local dentist Roger Morrill, prior to the start of the regular meeting, December 1.


Roger Morrill becomes Town

Council’s newest member




New Councillor Roger Morrill entered the arena of municipal politics for the first time in November, 2009, after winning a by-election to fill a vacant seat on Athabasca Town Council.

Although new to Council, Roger has many years of experience serving the Athabasca community and listening to the cares of local and area residents: a dentist by profession, Roger began his practice in Athabasca 30 years ago.

“My first location was in the Old Brick School,” recalls the new Councillor. “It was space provided by the Town Council of that time. They were very cooperative and helpful.”

After about two-and-a-half years in that location, Roger purchased a lot on 48 Street and built the building where he and his team continue to provide dentistry services to this day.

A resident of the Athabasca region all of his life, Roger’s roots are in agriculture.

“We have always lived here,” he says. “We started farming in the Rochester area.”

As a youth, Roger attended Rochester School before attending Edwin Parr Composite School in Athabasca where he completed his last two years. From there, he went on to the University of Alberta to eventually graduate and start his dental practice in Athabasca.

A resident of the Town Of Athabasca since 2006, Roger enjoys cycling and cross country skiing and is an active member of the Wa-no Kaze Kai Karate Club where he is working towards his third degree black belt.

Roger’s goal on Town Council is to become familiar with the responsibilities of municipal government and to contribute in a meaningful way.

“I want to try to give back to the community,” he explains. “The Town helped me in coming here 30 years ago; it’s time to see what it’s like on the other side of the desk and try to help with the decision-making process.”

Since a full municipal election is held every three years and the next scheduled election is in the fall of 2010, Roger’s first term on Council will be short. Still, he considers it to be a good opportunity to gain some valuable insight and experience.

“A one year term is good,” he says. “It allows me to give it a sincere try and see how it goes. I came in with no expectations other than to be open-minded and to try to help with the process.”

Roger fills the Council seat vacated in September by former councillor Hugh O’Farrell who resigned for health reasons.


Season’s Greetings from

Mayor Colleen Powell


I bring season’s greetings to the community from Town Council and the Town staff.

Our Town has always emphasized the spirit of working together and sharing good fortune and this is what the holiday season is about.

We thank those who have volunteered with the many groups, committees and activities that serve Athabasca. I think about children’s sports teams, the Ladies Auxiliary, the volunteers who deliver Meals on Wheels, the Library Board, the Arts Alliance, the Athabasca Native Friendship Centre – the list is endless and covers just about every kind of activity a thriving community like ours engages in.

We must also acknowledge those who work and serve in our business community and thank them for their contribution; we acknowledge the educational community and their contribution to our well being; and the healthcare community for fixing us up when we need it.

We have a wonderful town because of the people who live and work here. All of us, in some way, make a contribution and throughout this season, let’s celebrate that.

Over the holiday season many of us will be with our family and friends, sharing good food, good conversation and happy memories. Let us not forget those among us who may not be able to celebrate; please leave a donation for Santa’s Anonymous, the Good Samaritan Mission and any other group who is collecting this season.

On behalf of Town Council and Town staff, I wish you the best this holiday season.





Athabasca Centennial Celebration

to span the generations


A small group of local leaders are continuing with efforts to inspire more residents to get involved in the planning for the Town of Athabasca 2011 Centennial celebrations. Many ideas have been proposed and planning for some projects is underway.

Members of the Centennial Committee are hoping to see community members come forth with a wide variety of events that will be of interest and lasting value to both young and old in the community.

“We want to make Athabasca’s Centennial year memorable for the school children of today, for they are our future,” notes Joan Veenstra, currently the acting chair for the Centennial Committee. Seniors are to be honoured as well, she says, because they paved the way to make a positive future possible.

While the Committee is still in the process of crystallizing the vision and ideas expressed by community members at earlier meetings, one all-encompassing vision does stand out for 2011—to see events spread throughout the entire year and to encourage groups, organizations and individuals to use the centennial theme wherever possible in their activities. It is hoped that if everybody does their part, the theme will become obvious everywhere in the community.

“Throughout 2011, if you come to Athabasca or live in Athabasca, you will know that it is our centennial year because we will have reminders all over town,” says Joan.

One idea being researched to help promote the centennial theme is the possibility of having various items of clothing imprinted with the centennial logo, as well as logo pins and crests for clubs, organizations and sports teams to display on their uniforms or jackets.

A sample of the logo, designed by Kenton Boswick, can be found online at the Athabasca 2011 Centennial Celebration website. The Committee is looking into making other file formats for the logo available as well.

Plans are also underway to tie the centennial theme in with the Magnificent River Rats Festival in 2011. This festival is typically held around the beginning of July and has become a popular annual tradition in the community.

“We want to have a presence at the 2011 Magnificent River Rats Festival, to make their parade a centennial-themed parade and have historic displays on the festival grounds that weekend,” Joan explains.

Another “must have” event will be a Town of Athabasca birthday party, to be held around the end of July or beginning of August, 2011.

“It might include a pit barbeque and party on the Town Common as well as a formal dinner,” says Joan. “We want to showcase the community that weekend, bring people back home and invite family members of some of the early pioneers and businessmen that shaped Athabasca.”

Although 2011 is a full year away, some events need to be planned well in advance and do need to be decided on and scheduled soon. Input from the community is still very much encouraged and appreciated.

“We’re still talking to the community,” Joan confirms. “Lots of ideas are circulating. Big events, like a snow carnival or a rodeo weekend; sports events, like cross country skiing, marathons, canoe races, dog races and bonspiels; community events like a 100th anniversary play; fun events, like a cake decorating contest and time capsules; and lasting impressions, like quilting projects, murals, art projects and stories.”

Joan notes that some local groups have already expressed their intentions, for example the Athabasca Garden Club is planning the flowers for the Centennial dinner and have already started growing trees for their part of the new riverfront; the Town of Athabasca is working to get more of the riverfront finished in time for centennial celebrations; and the Athabasca Chamber of Commerce is looking at ideas to spruce up the downtown business district.

More input and advice from the community is encouraged. The next scheduled meeting of the Centennial Committee is January 20, 5:00 p.m., in the lower floor of the Town Office. All interested parties are welcome to attend.

Visit the Athabasca 2011 Centennial Celebration website for more information and links to the Centennial Committee email address and the Athabasca Centennial Public Forum where you can post ideas and suggestions and ask questions. Share these links with others in your group, organization or local social network.


Text-Size: AAA