February '12 Newsletter

Town Council News

February 2012                                                                                                                          Volume 7, Issue 1

There is a vacant seat on Council, soon to be filled when residents take to the polls on Feb. 6.  Current councillors include (l-r) Mayor Roger Morrill, Lionel Cherniwchan and Richard Verhaeghe.  Not shown are Councillors Paula Evans, George Hawryluk and Tim Verhaeghe.


By-Election 2012, Town of Athabasca

Interested parties in and around the community will soon know the name of the Town of Athabasca’s newest Town Councillor.

Residents of the town will have an opportunity to cast their ballots on February 6 and vote for their choice of one of four candidates in the running to fill the seat vacated by former Councillor Christine Nelson. Christine resigned from Council in November 2011 to relocate out of town.

The names of the By-Election 2012 candidates were announced after they submitted their nomination papers on January 9 and their eligibility was confirmed. The candidates are:

        Barbara Bell

        Angela Betts

        Joanne Peckham

        Colleen Powell

An advance poll will take place on Saturday, January 28 between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. at the Town Office.

Election Day will take place on Monday, February 6 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. at the Town Office.

A person is eligible to vote in the by-election if they are at least 18 years old, are a Canadian citizen, and have resided in Alberta for the six consecutive months immediately preceding Election Day and their place of residence is located in the Town of Athabasca on Election Day.

After the polls close on February 6, the ballots will be tallied by authorized election officials. Only the candidates or their scrutineers are allowed to remain in the building to observe the process.

Once completed, the unofficial results will be posted on the Town Office door for public view.

Individuals who want a recount have until 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 7 to make that request.

Unless a recount is required, the results will become official at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, February 10.

If a recount is required, the election officials have until 4:00 p.m. on February 10 to conduct the recount, and then the process of announcing the results begins again.

The Campaign Trail

Provincial guidelines allow candidates to campaign in a manner suitable to their municipality, their personality and their resources. This may include talking to people, distributing brochures and posters, and advertising in local media.

Complete guidelines for campaigning can be found in Running for Municipal Office in Alberta, A Candidate’s Guide.

Local media has given each candidate some coverage, and unofficial discussion and commentary has been occurring on the Facebook social media site.

Questions regarding Town of Athabasca By-Election 2012 can be directed to the Town Office.

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Kathy Wright, Community Development and Tourism


New focus on Community Development in Athabasca

Kathy Wright is a people person – she enjoys working with people. And once the details of her new responsibilities with Community Development and Tourism for the Town of Athabasca get worked out, she is ready to hit the ground running and become more involved in all aspects of the community.

Until recently, Kathy had been serving as tourism coordinator, representing both the Town and Athabasca County. Then, in December, changes to the tourism funding agreement between the two municipalities meant a parting of the ways and a disbanding of the related tourism coordinator position.

This opened the way for the Town to offer to Kathy the newly created Community Development and Tourism position, which she accepted with enthusiasm.

“I am excited about the job,” she affirms. “It is an excellent position for the town.”

The exact job description and position expectations are still being finalized, but Kathy officially began her duties at the beginning of January and has been looking at other communities for some ideas and insight into what might be expected of her.

“Everyone sees community development as something different,” she notes. “The direction I take will be decided by Town Council, but my initial thoughts are to work on developing certain events and attractions, like the Farmers Market, promoting the town’s heritage, creating excitement and appeal and helping to make things happen to help grow the community.”

Kathy sees potential in the Farmers Market to add vitality to the Riverfront through the summer months.

“We would like to get it down on the Riverfront every Saturday in July and August, weather permitting,” she explains. “It will create some nice activity and perhaps draw other attractions and more people.”

The business community in general is another area of community development that Kathy is looking forward to becoming more involved with.

“I would like to work with the Athabasca Chamber of Commerce, work on drawing people to the downtown business district,” she says. “I am excited to get to know more of that side of the town.”

Past experience managing the Chetwynd, BC, Chamber of Commerce and the information centre there has given Kathy some good background in community development. Among other things, she was involved in community events, trade shows and business directories.

“Chetwynd has attracted the attention of Tim Horton’s and they are moving in to the town,” says Kathy. An impressive achievement, considering Chetwynd is comparable in population to Athabasca.

Previous to Chetwynd, she was involved in the banking industry for a number of years.

Every community has its features and attractions. Kathy sees Athabasca as having a variety of qualities that make it a great place to work and represent.

“I appreciate the heritage and history of the town,” she says, “and it’s a beautiful community to drive into, one of the most beautiful in the province. We are fortunate to live here.”

Beyond the natural features, there are the people who breathe life into the community.

“People in Athabasca take pride in their community and I appreciate that. It makes it very easy to work with people who have that sense of pride,” says Kathy. “I really like to work with people.”

Kathy has ideas and potential projects in mind to promote the town, both locally and provincially, and to stimulate more activity and excitement, but they will have to wait until her role and responsibilities in Community Development and Tourism are finalized and confirmed.

“I am very excited to sit down with members of Town Council and hear their thoughts,” she says. “I look forward to my new role.”


Results of Campground RFP under review

Late in December, the Town of Athabasca issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the construction, operation and maintenance of a campground on Town property on the north bank of the Athabasca River, just west of the Athabasca Bridge.

The deadline to submit proposals was January 20. Council is evaluating the response to the Campground RFP and will announce whether or not a suitable proponent has been found once that information is available.

The site of the proposed campground was reconditioned in 2011 to serve as a temporary camping area after the Town’s main camping area, Riverside Campground, was closed to accommodate the needs of the new Highway 55/813 interchange redesign project, currently in progress.

Riverside Campground was located on the south side of the Athabasca River, at the mouth of the Tawatinaw River. The proposed camping area on the north side of the river had been kept in reserve for a number of years as potential overflow to supplement Riverside Campground.

The Campground RFP includes the option for the successful proponent to potentially lease or purchase the lands or work out a combination thereof in partnership with the Town.

Information requested in the RFP included the proposed number of camp stalls, the amenities provided at each stall and other amenities provided beyond the camp stalls, including the provision of washroom, bathroom and trailer dump facilities.

Details were also required regarding internal and external signage, the anticipated seasonal opening and closing dates, the level of site supervision and security to be provided, the proposed rental rates and the estimated start date for the operation.

The RFP states, in part, that the Town reserves the right to accept or reject any and all proposals, not necessarily accept the lowest proposal, and not accept any proposal that it may consider is not in the Town’s best interest. This allows the Town to make the choice and establish an agreement that is most beneficial to the Town and the community.

If an agreement results from this RFP, the Town will then work with the successful proponent to move the project forward and get the campground operational at the earliest possible date. As details and timelines come available, they will be passed along to the public.

Click here for an aerial view of the proposed campground site

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