2014 Newsmakers of the Year
Tuesday, Dec 30, 2014 06:00 am
1. Airdrie Mom’s Facebook group
The women behind the Airdrie Moms Facebook group said they never set out to be newsmakers.
“We’re realizing the impact the group can have in the community so we want to have it be a positive place,” said one of the group’s five administrators, Mandi Carter.
The Airdrie Moms group has figured prominently in a number of the news stories covered within the pages of the Airdrie City View in 2014, prompting their recognition as Newsmaker of the Year. For instance, the group found itself at the centre of stories including the sudden closure of a daycare, Positive Post-It Day and calls for increased RCMP patrols around the city’s schools.
Original group founder Jenn Pole started the group simply as a way to meet other moms in Airdrie, according to Carter.
“There were only about 20 members and it was a meet up group,” Carter said. “It was a way to meet up for play dates.”
Carter along with co-administrators Tayona Wheler, Tanya Cole, Heather Heninger and Chelsea Hill now share the responsibility of monitoring the group. Carter has been an administrator the longest – about a year and a half – and Pole is no longer involved in that aspect of the group. The group moved to being a closed forum about a year ago.
“We started getting a lot of spammers,” she said.
“The reason we started asking women if they were moms is because it was becoming hard to monitor the group because the number (of members) was growing so quickly.”
The group now includes approximately 3,700 members. To join, members must be a mother from Airdrie or the surrounding areas, according to Cole.
The group’s growth hasn’t come without problems, as the administrators are well aware. Monitoring the various posts on the timeline is a big job, which is why there are now five administrators.
“The main thing about the group growing so big is that you then have so many more opinions, so many more personality types,” Carter said.
Those differing opinions have sometimes led the group administrators to walk a fine line, and Carter said they are investigating how to protect themselves.
“There are some changes coming because the group is growing so much,” Cole said. “Because we feel a sense of responsibility to our members and to the community, and to our families, we’re going to look into things like how to protect ourselves from charges of libel or slander.”
Members are given the group rules from the outset. Things that can get a member removed from the group include negative comments about the admins, public figures or other members. The topics of vaccinations, pro-life/pro-choice, and car seat safety are also off-limits.
“These are called the ‘hot topics’ and we don’t allow them,” Cole said.
“People have complained about us not allowing certain topics, about not allowing fighting. They accuse us of censoring. But the reason we have rules is because it’s our group and we do get to choose. We want it to be a supportive place and that’s it,” Carter said.
Cole, Carter and Wheler said they have occasionally had to remove or ban someone from the group.
“There’s a difference between banning and removing someone from the group,” Carter said. “Some people we’ve removed because they’ve tried to sell on the group multiple times, even though we’ve told them not to. If someone personally attacks an admin or a member of the group, we will ban them if we feel they are very out of line.”
The administrators said they don’t allow bashing of local businesses, either.
In the case of the Cubs and Kittens Educational Centre, that closed suddenly in October 2014, leaving parents — many of them single mothers — struggling to find child care, Carter said the Airdrie Moms group tried to find a fair solution.
“We were fair because we saw the issues it was causing in peoples’ lives and saw it was a very real problem,” Carter said. “We just asked them to keep it off of our group and to private message each other. They could not actually post on our wall.”
“We facilitated them forming their own group,” Cole added. “I spoke to one of the ladies and told her as Airdrie Moms we supported these moms needing something, they needed support and they needed help, just our group wasn’t the place for it.”
The administrators said they are working to come up with ways to use their influence in positive ways.
“We’ve started discussing having an events committee,” Cole said. “All the admins at the time last year were involved in Kudos to Kiddos (at Nose Creek Park in June). We raised almost $10,000 for the Alberta Children’s Hospital. This year we’re going to team up with the Agricultural Society and we’re going to put on an event during their Fall Fair. We’re looking at different charities to support.” “Our members are amazing moms and strong women with the power to change the world,” Cole said. “They have two choices: they can rant and be negative about their life or they can be positive and bring all of us together and make change and help others.”
2. Caitlin Haacke
Grade 11 George McDougall High School student Caitlin Haacke attempted to spread a positive message on Oct. 6, 2014 when she posted 850 sticky notes with kind messages such as “you’re beautiful” on every single locker in her school. Her efforts were not met with the positivity she intended as the school’s administration opted to take the messages down because they were causing a mess in the hallways. Following this event, Haacke became the inspiration behind Positive Post-It Day on Oct. 9, 2014, was a guest on the Meredith Vieira Show and was congratulated for her efforts in the House of Commons by Airdrie MP Blake Richards. Haacke is continuing on with Positive Post-It Day in 2015 when the event will be held on Oct. 5.
3. Douglas Garland
The search for a missing five-year old, Calgary’s Nathan O’Brien, and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathy Liknes, (who were reported missing on June 30, 2014) turned towards Airdrie on July 4, 2014 after RCMP and Calgary Police Services (CPS) began searching a property located northeast of Airdrie on Range Road 291, approximately two kilometres north of Highway 567. The search was the result of a tip about a Ford F150 truck matching the description of a vehicle seen on CCTV footage taken near the Liknes’ home on the night they disappeared, located on the property. Douglas Garland, 54, son of the elderly couple who own the acreage, was arrested and charged with two counts of First Degree Murder for the death of the Liknes couple and a Second Degree Murder charge for the death O’Brien on July 14, 2104. On July 19, 2014 the search for O’Brien and the Liknes’ was called off. Though the Liknes’ and O’Brien have never been found, police said they believed there was sufficient evidence to charge Garland with their deaths. On Sept. 17, 2014 a date for the preliminary hearing was set from May 19 to 29.
4. Rob Anderson
On Dec. 17, 2014 Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson along with eight other Wildrose MLAs, including former Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith, crossed the floor to join the Progressive Conservatives (PCs). Following the mass floor crossing, the remaining Wildrose Party unanimously rejected the reunification agreement proposed by Smith and the PCs. The Wildrose seats in Legislature went from 14 to five and the PCs seats went from 63 to 72. This was the second time Anderson has crossed the floor since being elected in 2008. In January 2010 Anderson crossed from the PCs, the Party he was elected under in 2008, to the Wildrose.
5. Curbside recycling
Curbside organics recycling (green carts) began in Airdrie in April 2014 and from the beginning residents voiced their opposition to the program. Since the start of 2014 Airdrie City View has received countless letters in complaint of the program. During the Feb. 18, 2014 City council meeting a group of residents expressed their concern during question period. The group’s spokesperson said residents were concerned about a “lack of communication” from the City about the program. However, prior to the commencement of the program the City conducted a 13-week pilot project, conducted online surveys and held multiple open houses. The tide may have turned as the City said in July, 2014 the first three months of the program have shown success with less organic wastes going to landfills and had been receiving fewer complaints about the program. The Airdrie City View has also received fewer complaint letters about organics recycling over the last few months.
A major hailstorm pummeled the City of Airdrie and surrounding areas on July 17, 2014, producing golf-ball-sized hail. Observers reported tennis-ball-sized hail in the CrossIron Mills mall area in Balzac. Airdrie and the surrounding area felt the wrath of Mother Nature again on Aug. 7, 2014 as thunder, lightning and hail rolled through the region over a seven-hour period resulting in more than $450 million in damage to home, property and business. RCMP said they responded to 24 calls for service during the storm including motor vehicle accidents and responses to alarms. The most serious incident involved a five-vehicle collision on Yankee Valley Boulevard. The storm caused some of the highest amount of damage recorded for the Airdrie area. On Dec. 15, 2014 the City’s appraisers concluded 63 per cent of insured automobiles, 51 per cent of insured facilities, and five per cent of insured mobile equipment sustained hail damage, collectively estimated at $2.7 million in damages to City-owned equipment and buildings.
7. September snow event
Winter made an early appearance in Airdrie on Sept. 8, 2014 and Sept. 9, 2014 as more than 20 centimetres (cm) of snow fell on the city. Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning on Sept. 8, 2014 for a system that produced 10 cm of snow and another warning on Sept. 9, 2014 for a system that produced 15 cm of snow. According to Environment Canada, the last time Airdrie and surrounding area saw snow in September was in 2010. The event did more than keep snowplows busy, it also caused a power outage for 1,300 FortisAlberta customers on Sept. 10. The outage affected customers from the Balzac area to Irricana.
8. Summer Games
Airdrie played host to the 2014 Alberta Summer Games from July 24 to 27, 2014 and saw an influx of more than 3,200 visitors, including athletes and their supporters. Though the Airdrie 2014 Summer Games Society was still looking for volunteers in the week leading up to the Games, the event went off without any major hitches and more than 2,000 volunteers ended up helping out. Rocky View Schools turned schools and the education centre into a mock-hotel for athletes to sleep and volunteers made sure everyone stayed safe and well fed. Society Chairman Al Jones said a total of 2,535 athletes and coaches from eight different provincial zones came to Airdrie for the Summer Games. However, local businesses said they didn’t see a significant increase in foot traffic. In December, 2014 a legacy fund, expected to be about $375,000, was announced.
9. Main Street Firehall
Airdrie City council approved the closure and relocation of the Main Street firehall at the regular meeting on Sept. 2, 2014. However, the Main Street location will not be closed until the new firehall on Veteran’s Boulevard in the Williamstown neighbourhood is completed, which is expected to be in late October. The closure of the Main Street firehall has been at the centre of controversy since the issue was first raised at City council in March 2013. Residents of Airdrie were invited to provide their input on the proposed closure at a number of public hearings and open houses, including an open house at City Hall on March 27, 2014, that drew about 30 residents. The issue for many was the potential for delays in response times if a train prevented fire crews from crossing from the west side firehall in Chinook Winds to an emergency on the east side of the tracks. However, the City countered only one out of 1,300 call was impacted by train interference.
10. Airdrie Koinonia Christian School
Construction on the Airdrie Koinonia Christian School’s new 55,000-square-foot school, located on Gateway Drive, began in March 2011 and was expected to be completed before school began in September 2013. However, as the school start date approached, it became clear the building would not be ready in time and arrangements were made to house the students at churches throughout the city. Then, in December 2013 more than $2.8-million worth of lien claims were filed on the property by tradespeople and suppliers, who claimed they have not been paid for their work since mid 2013. In a letter to parents from AKCS Board of Directors dated Feb. 7, 2014 the school informed parents the contract with the school and builders JDS Construction had been terminated. In May 2014 the Builders Lien Fund for the AKCS building was determined by a court and set at $1.35 million. The funds were raised by the school by August 2014. AKCS Board Chair Scott Calderwood said JDS Construction is now suing AKCS for $4.5 million, the lien amount JDS put on the building. Construction continues on the new building.
11. Motorsports Park
Developers of the Rockyview Motorsports Park (RMP) submitted its Land Use Amendment bylaw to Rocky View County (RVC) in March 2014. The 640-acre piece is located north of Township Road 274 and east of Range Road 290. On April 1, 2014 RMP held an open house in Airdrie and an estimated 150 people attended. Many RVC residents expressed concern about the project during the open house. On April 30, 2014 between 40 and 60 residents met at the Airdrie Agriculture Centre to voice their opposition to the project. Each resident was given a maximum of three minutes to speak on the issue either for or against the RMP. Nearly all who attended spoke out against the raceway. Most of the complaints centred around potential issues such as increased traffic, garbage, light pollution, water pollution, trespassing and above all the transformation of agricultural land into commercial land. In August 2014 RMP announced it would be making changes to the master site plan after residents expressed concerns. RMP said the changes addressed concerns about the primary entrance, water well usage and enhanced the agricultural uses of the undeveloped land. Opposition continues from residents who frequently send opposition letters to Airdrie City View.
12. Ride of the Mustangs
The fourth annual Ride of the Mustangs event at George McDougall High School had its most successful year yet with a total of $144,587 in 2014, bringing the four-year total to more than $420,000. The event has participants take turns riding a stationary bike for 48-hours straight and was held at the school from April 15 to 17, 2014. In November 2014, George McDougall High School was selected by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Calgary and Area Chapter as winner of the 2014 Generosity of Spirit Award for Outstanding Philanthropic Group in recognition of the school’s fund-raising efforts, including in large part the Ride of the Mustangs. The 2015 edition of the Ride of the Mustangs, from March 31 to April 2, will celebrate the event’s fifth year with a Ride for Five, where the school will attempt to break the $500,000 mark in funds raised in the events five-year span.
13. Airdrie supports the O’Brien/Liknes family
When the search for a missing five-year old, Calgary’s Nathan O’Brien, and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathy Liknes, (who were reported missing on June 30, 2014) began in Airdrie’s backyard on July 4, 2014, it didn’t take long for the Airdrie community to come together and try to help out. On July 14, 2014, a Facebook group of concerned Airdrie residents called “Please help us bring closure to the O’Brien & Liknes Family Search Airdrie” was created to help with the search efforts. On July 16, 2014, approximately 75 people gathered at the 2nd Scout Hall on East Lake Road intending to head out to search local ditches and roadways for the remains of the presumed dead O’Brien and his grandparents. However, organizers announced they would be shutting down the Facebook group they had started two days earlier after receiving what they called negative comments about their search efforts on social media. On July 17, 2014, the Calgary Police Service (CPS) has made it clear in a press release officers would prefer the public show their support for the Liknes and O’Brien families in a way other than organizing searches of public property. On July 19 and 20, 2014 three local moms held a charity tradeshow with proceeds from the event going to the O’Brien/Liknes family. As of July 24, 2014 the event had raised just more than $2,400.
14. Bikes and Bulls
For the second straight year, the Bikes and Bulls charity event hosted by the Airdrie Oilman’s Association (AOA) was voted the Event of the Year by the Bull Riders Canada (BRC) organization. The fourth annual Bikes and Bulls weekend from Aug. 22 and 23, 2014 at the Airdrie Rodeo Grounds raised a total of $50,000, which was split between the Airdrie Food Bank, Community Links and the Airdrie and District Victims Assistance Society. The first three years of Bikes and Bulls were one-day events but the charity event expanded to a two-day affair for the first time this year. The event featured a new freestyle motocross and, according to organizers, there was a 50 per cent increase in spectators from the previous year on the Friday of the event.
15. High enrollment
The results for the Sept. 30, 2014 Rocky View Schools (RVS) Enrolment Summary showed the division has grown by nearly six per cent this year. RVS Superintendent of Schools Don Hoium said the six per cent growth rate was the highest in the province. The Division saw 1,116 new students enrolled in RVS schools, bringing the total number of RVS students to 20,593. Airdrie saw 610 new students, an increase of 8.2 per cent and the highest number of new students in all the RVS communities. One of the aspects of the increased enrolment was likely due to the three new schools RVS opened in September 2014, two in Airdrie (C.W. Perry School and W.H. Croxford High School) and one in Chestermere. In addition to the three new schools, RVS relocated six portables within Airdrie to accommodate population shifts at various schools.
16. New School announcements
With increased enrollment came increased space issues resulting in RVS sending an emergent capital request to the Government of Alberta in October, 2014. The request highlighted the more than 100 per cent utilization at Herons Crossing School in Airdrie and East Lake School in Chestermere. The request asked for about $25 million to relocate two modular classrooms from Nose Creek Elementary School to Herons Crossing School (which was operating at 117 per cent utilization when the request was sent), build an addition to Herons Crossing, and to attach 16 new modular classrooms to Chestermere’s East Lake School. Then, later in October 2014, Premier Jim Prentice unveiled Phase 3 of the education capital projects with the announcement of 55 new schools and 20 school modernization projects throughout the province including one new kindergarten to Grade 8 school in Windsong, the approval of an addition to Herons Crossing School (which will increase capacity from 150 to 550), a new kindergarten to Grade 8 school in Cochrane’s Fireside and the approval of eight modular classrooms for Chestermere’s East Lake School. The new Airdrie school is expected to be completed by September 2017.
17. McPhee book
Nancy McPhee, executive director and mom of Stephen’s Backpacks Society Founder Stephen McPhee, released her second book in October 2014, but this one was geared towards children. On Eagle’s Wings: Stephen Slays the Dragon, re-imagined her 2008 book, Dream Outloud, in terms a child could understand. The book includes characters based off of real people who have impacted Stephen’s life and shows what can be accomplished when the people rally together in “unity in community.” McPhee said 100 per cent of the proceeds from the book will go back to the Society to help children in need. She said in the book the dragon represents the fear and the forest represents homelessness and children’s fear of never getting out of the forest. The tale tells of Stephen, who founded Stephen’s Backpacks in 2008 when he was just five, and how he slays the dragon to allow the children to leave the forest.
18. AIRscares sets records
The third annual AIRScares haunted attraction presented by and in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie was held in the old RCMP building located on Edmonton Trail from Oct. 17 through 31, 2014. In 2014 2,297 brave souls made their way through the creepy attraction and more than $21,000 was raised for the BGCA. Organizers called this year’s creep carnival theme the most terrifying yet and it proved to be with a record number of “unicorns” being called. “Unicorn” is the safe word and if yelled, volunteers will quickly take that person out of the attraction. This year 245 people, more than double the number from 2013, had to yell “unicorn.” AIRscares will be looking for a new home in 2015 as the old RCMP building on Edmonton Trail, where the attraction has been held for the last three years, was scheduled to be torn down in by the end of 2014.
19. New food bank
The Airdrie Food Bank made the move to its new 6,000-square-foot building in August 2014 and held the official opening celebration in November 2014. The new building includes a large warehouse, community kitchen, meeting room, offices and an expanded client area. The new building is 4,000-square-feet bigger than their old building and is located at 20 East Lake Way.
The building cost about $1.3 million and of that a $150,000 came from the Community Facility Enhancement Program from Alberta Culture in May 2014. According to food bank Executive Director Lori McRitchie, the new building is one of the only purpose-built food banks in Alberta, meaning it was a new build created especially to be a food bank and not a repurposed building.
20. Al Jones recognized
2014 was a big year for local volunteer Al Jones. Not only did the General Manager of Here’s the Scoop take the helm as the Chairman of the Airdrie 2014 Summer Games Society, he was also recognized in February 2014 as one Alberta’s Heroes of the Flood (along with former Airdronian Tamara Carmell) for his efforts with Room in a Box. The Heroes of the Flood award came just two months after Jones was recognized with a Stars of Alberta Volunteer Award in December 2013. Jones wears many hats in his various volunteer roles including being a member of the City of Airdrie’s Environmental Advisory Board since 1996, a member of the Chamber of Commerce since 1994 and director on the Airdrie and District Community Foundation. He has also organized Airdrie’s annual City Wide Garage Sale, volunteers and sponsors for the Empty Bowl Festival in support of the food bank, and is an organizer and board member with the Airdrie Regional Airshow. On top of all that, Jones also volunteers and promotes the DQ Miracle Treat Day in support of Alberta Children’s Hospital and served as director of sponsorship and media relations for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s annual Batting Against Breast Cancer Softball Tournament. As one of Alberta’s Heroes of the Flood, Jones received a certificate of recognition from Alberta Government and a letter of appreciation from the Premier.
21. Light Up the Night Gala
The Airdrie Health Foundation’s (AHF) inaugural Light Up the Night Gala was held at the Chinook Winds Firehall on Sept. 27, 2014. The formal black-tie affair included a sit-down dinner, live entertainment, live auction, speeches from government officials and a wonderful dance. The event raised more than $100,000, which will go to providing health education and equipment in Airdrie.
The AHF is made up of about 14 board members – including Mayor Peter Brown, Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson, physicians and medical professionals from the community, and concerned citizens – who have been working together for the last three years but officially became a foundation in October 2013. AHF mandate is to act as a strong voice and advocate for 24/7 emergency services for the community and area.
22. MP recounts terror attack
On Oct. 22, 2014, Wildrose MP Blake Richards, like all Canadians, couldn’t have known what the day would bring as he entered Parliament Hill for a regular caucus meeting.
At 9:50 a.m. witnesses reported seeing a gunman, a 32 year old Canadian Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, shoot and kill 24-year-old Cpl. Nathan Cirillo as he stood guard at the National War Memorial.
Approximately four minutes later, Zehaf-Bibeau entered Parliament Hill and opened fire.
“I got to witness firsthand the bravery these forces (RCMP, House of Commons Security Services and the Ottawa Police Department) displayed,” Richards said.
On Oct. 23, 2014 the MPs returned to Parliament Hill and sat in their regular caucus meeting.
“This was an incident where this cowardly individual’s goal was to create fear and he didn’t succeed,” Richards said in an interview with Airdrie City View.
“These kind of terrorists, these sick and heinous individuals, will never win.”
23. Brian Jackson
Former Ralph McCall School and current C.W. Perry School Grade 6 teacher Brian Jackson was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence not once but twice, won the Right Stuff Award from the U.S. Space and Rocket Centre and was the first international teacher to win the AIAA Educator of the Year. Jackson was a finalist for one of the first All-Star Teacher awards from Target, People magazine and Major League Baseball (MLB). Jackson, who has a love for science, was among three teachers who made it as finalists to represent the Toronto Blue Jays at the 2014 All-Star Game in Minnesota on July 15, 2014. Jackson was ultimately unsuccessful in winning the top spot.
Creative Airdrie’s ARTember, Airdrie’s 17-day-long celebration of arts and culture, which runs throughout the month of September 2014, offered Airdrionans more art events than ever before.
25. Distracted Driving
Airdrie has the highest distracted drivers in the Province. Airdrie drivers are driving distracted more than residents of seven other Alberta communities, according to statistics collected by the Airdrie Citizens on Patrol Association (ACOPA).
ACOPA volunteers recorded distracted drivers three times in July 2014, observing a total of 1,223 vehicles.
Of those 14.5 per cent of the drivers were driving distracted as defined by the law. The numbers were significantly higher than the average number of distracted drivers seen in the seven other communities where the number was 2.4 per cent of drivers.
26. Real estate
Towns surrounding Calgary recorded double-digit sales growth in the resale housing market for the third consecutive quarter of 2014. On average, the housing markets in surrounding areas were more balanced relative to the single-family sector in Calgary.
However, the Real Estate market in Airdrie slowed significantly in the final month of summer 2014. Our neighbours to the south in Calgary also saw a decrease in sales prices in August 2014, with average sales prices down about $4,000.
27. City Awards:
The City of Airdrie was ranked at the top of the list by the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN) as the Top Investment Town in Alberta and as one of Canada’s Top Entrepreneurial Communities by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
As reported in the Oct. 24, 2014 edition of the Airdrie City View, the CFIB released a report that showed Airdrie is one of Canada’s most entrepreneurial cities. The CFIB report is released annually and uses 14 indicators to rank communities across Canada on things like opportunities for growth in business ownership, optimism within the community and business taxation and regulations.
The Airdrie region was ranked No. 1 for communities with a population of more than 150,000.
The City of Airdrie’s Economic Development team won a Marketing Canada award on Sept. 29, 2014 in the advertising category from the Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC) for the Take Your Business to New Heights campaign.
28. Airdrie Transit
Airdrie Transit’s weekend service to CrossIron Mills mall in Balzac began bringing commuters to northeast Calgary, after council voted in favour of expanding the service. The buses now operate on a 75-minute schedule, as opposed to every 60-minutes, to account for additional travel time to and from Calgary’s McKnight-Westwinds LRT station.
The pilot program to CrossIron Mills mall from Airdrie was slow to get started when it was implemented in November 2013, though service has picked up since the new year.
More than 2,100 riders took the weekend service over the past seven months since the pilot has been operational, with May, 2014 seeing the most riders at 433.
29. Anti-bullying awareness
Alderman Darrell Belyk launched a new bullying awareness program that he brought to schools and community groups around Airdrie.
Belyk has been a proponent for bullying awareness, and it was a leading issue on his platform during his campaign October 2013 municipal election when he was elected for the first time.
As a child, Belyk had his own experiences with bullying which helped him gain an understanding and empathy for children who are victims. The program focuses on victim-proofing and how children can handle situations where they might encounter a bully, according to Belyk.
Belyk said he wants the program to be an open dialogue between the presenters and audience, rather than seem like a lecture.
30. Airdrie Development
It seems like wherever you turn in Airdrie, there’s construction happening. Whether it’s a bevy of roadwork, new traffic signals being installed, or a new school being built, Airdrie is constantly growing and changing.
With a city growing at the rate that Airdrie is – projected at seven per cent annually for the next three years – there are challenges that the City’s planning department faces to keep up with the constant influx of new residents.
The challenge to strike a balance between residential and non-residential land use is one staff are constantly working at, and the city believes they will be able to strive towards the goal of a 25:75 per cent non-residential to residential split as development trickles out into the annexed lands, especially in the northeast.
On a smaller scale, there are plans in place for a new pub to be built in Sierra Springs near Mr. Mikes, and a derelict location near the Dairy Queen on Edmonton Trail is lined up to be a future location of a small strip mall.
Growth in Airdrie’s northwest is continuing as both Reunion and Williamstown expand with more residential developments, as well as the construction of a new firehall.
31. Bethany strike
Senior care workers at the Bethany Care Society protested proposed benefit cuts on Sept. 17, 2014, which protesters said would cause further reductions in the level of care for the centre’s senior residents.
The protestors said their wages and benefits were cut in April 2013 and they were promised the cuts would be revisited once Bethany Care Society was given a budget through AHS.
However, workers said they have not seen the 2013 cutbacks restored and were being asked to take another cut.
The cuts included changing the consecutive shift maximum from six days to sevens days, reducing staffing hours, reducing bereavement and special leave, and the elimination of flexible health spending accounts.
The workers said they have noticed an increase in back injuries, mental health leave and Worker’s Compensation Board claims since the 2013 cutbacks.
The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), which represents approximately 1,000 staff at six Bethany Care Society facilities, is in negotiations with Bethany Care Society. AUPE is seeking standardized contracts that will establish equal terms and conditions for Bethany employees.
According to AUPE, current wages for nursing care staff range from $17.87 to $32.96 per hour. AHS wages, which AUPE uses as an example of standard wages for the industry, top out at $24.45 per hour for health care aides and $33.94 per hour for LPNs.
32. City Plan
After years of work by the City of Airdrie’s planning department, the Airdrie City Plan was unanimously approved by City council in September 2014.
The Airdrie City Plan is the statutory document that guides development of Airdrie up to a population of 90,000.
The City’s planning department projects that population will be reached in 2027 to 2031.
Work on the City Plan was originally started in 2007 in conjunction with the AirdrieOne sustainability plan.
The City will now undertake a study that will look at some of the costs and details involved in developing the land encompassed by the City Plan.
The Chinook Winds Park was victim to numerous vandalism attacks last summer, and in addition a hypodermic needle was found on site.
Acting on an undisclosed number of complaints they’d received from residents, the City of Airdrie added extra security patrols at a number of City facilities and parks after 6 p.m. from July 11 to Oct. 13, 2014 as a pilot project. Mackie said the patrols by Airdrie’s Knight Security were out nightly during the hours when the City had seen the most issues.
In addition to the extra security patrols, which cost $20,000, the City installed a security camera on top of the new concession building at Chinook Winds and the concession building also has a security alarm system.
The City said the cost to install the camera was $7,700.
34. Turning lights
The intersection of Yankee Valley Boulevard and Chinook Winds Drive received a much needed advanced green turning light in an effort to reduce traffic collisions and congestion in the area.
Residents had been asking the City to help alleviate the issues in the area.
Cadet Chief Warrant Officer Teegan Martin, of Airdrie, brandished the General Walsh Memorial Sword as he officially became the top army cadet in Canada on Oct. 1, 2014.
Martin, 18, is a member of the 3016 Calgary Highlanders (Airdrie) Royal Canadian Cadet Corps. Martin received the sword before family, friends, dignitaries and his fellow cadets at the Ralph McCall School gym.
The Army Cadet League of Canada and the Royal Canadian Legion award the General Walsh Memorial Sword to Canada’s most outstanding army cadet.
The award is the highest prize for army cadets. Recipients of the award are chosen through their performance, academic standing and community involvement.
As recipient of the award Martin travelled to Ottawa as a guest of the Royal Canadian Legion to attend Nov. 11, 2014 Remembrance Day ceremonies at the National War Museum as part of the Vice Regal party.
During the trip he met the Governor General and the Chief of the Defence Staff at the luncheon for the Silver Cross Mother at Rideau Hall.
36. Hockey fundraiser
The Rocky Mountain Hockey Night charity event hosted by Wild Rose MP Blake Richards, was changed this year from a hockey game to a sit-down dinner on Sept. 7, 2014.
The event raised a record amount of $87,505 for RCMP Victim Services in Airdrie, Cochrane, Canmore, Olds and Banff, which brought the six-year total to just more than $370,000.
A total of 10 hockey personalities spoke during the event about their experiences in the NHL, with former Calgary Flames forward Martin Gelinas talking about the team’s run to the 2004 Stanley Cup finals, and two-time Stanley Cup champion Jamie Macoun recalling the time he asked why his Coach Bob Johnson was still around during a long losing streak while receiving a player of the month award.
37. Legion moves
2014 saw the Airdrie Legion move from its long-time location, in the hopes of helping ease the club’s financial burden.
The Legion now located at 132 First Avenue in downtown Airdrie. For more than 30 years the Legion served the community out of their location at 508 Third Avenue S.E.
The legion went from a 10,000-square-foot building to their current building, which will need to be completely rebuilt. The old facility was sold to the Airdrie Victory Church.
The Legion paid approximately $350,000 for the building site, and has an approximate budget of $500,000 to build.
38. Rangeland Fire
A fire at Rangeland RV in Balzac caused major damage to the dealership’s main showroom and service building.
The fire was the biggest one fire services said they saw in 2014, and required that crews responded from a number of area fire departments.
At least three or four RVs were in the showroom at the time of the fire. The value of the loss is expected to be high.
No one was injured in the fire.
39. Rezoned RCMP building
Early steps have been taken to expand Airdrie’s affordable housing market.
Airdrie City council voted for a land use bylaw that will rezone land at 905 Edmonton Trail from Public Service District (P-1) to Direct Control (DC) to accommodate the future development of a mixed use building that will house a maximum of 21 affordable housing units.
The land will include a three-storey, 12,000- square-foot building that will house commercial businesses on the ground level, office space on the second floor for Airdrie Housing Ltd. and Community Links, along with residential space on the third floor.
40. Urban Agriculture
Airdrie City council approved an 18--month urban agriculture pilot project.
Included in the project, will be edible landscaping in the form of a community orchard and a backyard hens program that would allow residents to keep up to four hens for the purpose of harvesting their eggs.
The project will be taken on in a phased approach, with just the edible landscaping and backyard hens being introduced for now.
A community orchard will be located at the north end of the baseball diamond at the Plainsmen Arena and will create an opportunity for the City and community to work together to create a unique green space and community food asset. The orchard will feature as many as 13 different species of edible fruit, berries, nut trees and shrubs that will all be tested to see how they stand up to Airdrie’s climate.