From left to right CAO- kelly Hudson, Council Elaine Garrow, Council Tony Van Rootselaar,
Back row- Reeve Stan Bzowy, Front Council Yves Mercier.
With the beginning of the New Year 2017 I wish to bring best wishes to all of the residents and ratepayers of the Municipal District of Spirit River and to all of our neighbours in the Central Peace and beyond. Now that 2016 has concluded I wished to share some of my thoughts on our successes and challenges.
Looking back on 2016 we successfully celebrated our 100 year Centennial Celebration jointly with the Town of Spirit River and with help from the Village of Rycroft. It was a very enjoyable August weekend with many opportunities to meet friends and neighbours to reminisce on the days of the past. As I look back to the early years I remember the hard work and dedication of the Councils and staff that brought us through the tough years as homesteaders and pioneers. The monument that sits outside the MD office reflects our heritage with the arrival of agriculture and the railway on one side and a view of the modern MD on the other. In this photo you can see much of what makes the MD successful today; agriculture, oil and gas, and development including the three grain elevators. As well; a list of all the hard working men and women that served on 100 years of Council to provide the necessary services that we use today.
The MD has come a long way in 100 years. As I look at the recent accomplishments and successes I think of the people of the MD and how they are all contributing in their own way to the success of our communities.
The FCSS program just completed a very successful Christmas Hamper program with many generous donations from the local communities and businesses. They were able to help many families that are struggling across the Central Peace. I reflect on how the MD started the FCSS program back in 2005 and combined with the Town and Village to form the Central Peace FCSS in 2006 which is now broadening again with services to Birch Hills County and partnering with Saddle Hills County on specific ventures.
The MD has continued to search out ways of being cost efficient and provide the necessary services for our residents and ratepayers. We have been lucky enough to have attracted a number of major businesses over the years to help cover cost and to provide employment opportunities. Beginning with the first of three major grain elevators for the Peace Country we have not looked back. We are continuing to search for economic development opportunities for our area which involves courting businesses for multiple years in advance. We are thankful to those businesses that have chosen to settle in the MD and the Central Peace and welcome them to be listed on our Website directory.
The MD partners were to share the expense and increase the services where we can. We are very proud to be a member of the G5; a group of the five Central Peace Municipalities including the County of Birch Hills, County of Saddle Hills, Town of Spirit River and the Village of Rycroft. We are partnering with the G5 for the construction of the new Central Peace Health Centre to open in August 2017. We have many other exciting projects that this group is working on for the future that we will share as the news and plans develop. Some include investigation of an assisted living facility and access to the Peace River for water. We successfully obtained a grant of $345,000.00 to partner with the Town and the Village to form the Central Peace Fire and Rescue Commission and have joined forces to create one fire department for the area. We are very appreciative of the service of all of the past MD firemen and are encouraged to see the enthusiasm of the current members of the fire commission.
We are also very appreciative of all of the volunteers throughout that work to support our local community groups and facilities. Your facilities and services are required to sustain our communities into the future. We have also helped many residents of the MD to attend post-secondary education through our bursary program. The MD is a proud contributor to your successes.
Although we are preparing for potentially difficult fiscal times with increased cost and diminishing revenues the MD Council is strong in our resolve to manage our current service levels within our current level of taxation which has not increased since 2007. We want to continue to provide a competitive and stable tax rate for our ratepayers as you also have fiscal challenges to meet moving forward.
On behalf of the Municipal District of Spirit River Council and staff I wish each and every one a Happy New Year.
Reeve Stan Bzowy
Private Landowners Deserve Our RESPECT when hunting on privately owned lands. Just a reminder that some crops remain on the ground under the snow so please contact landowners before crossing private land with ATV’s and Snowmobiles.
Hunters are reminded that it is a privilege to access private lands and is contingent upon courtesy and responsible conduct. It is the hunter’s responsibility to know, understand and abide by access conditions that apply when using and enjoying these areas.