The Page – March 6, 2024

Governments in our part of the country have mixed opinions on what the public should know about their doings.
During Covid, it was common for governments to not only stream their meetings to council members and staff, but also to anybody who wanted to tune in.
These days, even though the equipment for streaming is usually still in place, some councils are no longer interested in letting the public watch their doings.
As one council boss said, “If you want to know what is happening, come to a meeting.”
Which, in effect, forced people to drive sometimes three to four hours just to stay on top of things as they happened.
Your local newspapers and media try to keep people informed, but the money is often not there. But this newspaper tries.
The question has to be asked, “Why the reluctance for streaming?”
It might be said to politicians, you want to keep being elected, why not show people how interested you are in things? Show off your knowledge. Show people you do your homework on topics.
Don’t want to do that? You are one of the people who municipal consultant George Cuff said of: “Some people who get elected suddenly think being a councillor means they now really know a lot more than the guy on the street. And don’t have to be bothered explaining themselves, because they are just always right. It has to be so because they got elected.”

We have to mention this because, like a lot of people in High Prairie, we wanted to watch the video of the Feb. 13, 2024 meeting.
Meeting videos were usually posted on the website shortly after the meeting. But, the Town of High Prairie was six months behind on posting videos. They caught up sometime in January, we believe. Then they fell asleep again.
But now, the meetings after that just got posted. The meeting of Feb. 13 is quite bad. If somebody can make sense, with the sound being so poor, please let us know.
Makes one wonder, doesn’t anybody do any checks of quality levels before the meeting starts?

As it happened, while trying to understand the Feb. 13 meeting, a live streaming meeting from a city in New Jersey was on the sidebar. We tuned in to the Toms River Township video. Population there is 95,000 people. Nice system. Helped along by the mayor who asked people to speak up when he figured people in the back could not hear.
Big turnout over the rumoured closing of the city animal shelter. Plus 420 or so watching on the stream.
Somebody wanted to know why some meetings were missing from being available. Troubles in posting he was told, but you can get a stick or a CD.
Despite the mayor being helpful, one speaker at the meeting pointed out, “The rest of you guys are just sitting up there staring at us with vacant looks on your faces.”
As a side note, the actual governance structure in Toms River is hard to figure out. It appears the mayor is elected, like many positions in the States (many sheriffs and judges too) but is comparable to a CAO or town manager job around here. There is also a president of council in Toms River. Much like our own reeves or mayors.

The new rules for Alberta renewable energy projects were released last week. Already the arguments are on whether the rules are good or bad.
Those who like the rules say it means many renewable energy developments will have to tweak their projects to accommodate land owners, but the projects will likely go ahead. Those against the rules say they will pretty well kill new development.
Of course, it is also already lining up as NDP against the UCP to see which party can sway voters.
At least one good thing (as far as this writer is concerned anyway) has come out that nobody should be able to argue against: now local governments get to have a say in what happens. Meaning of course, representing the local public.
Of course, we’ve seen time and again local politicians, led by a strong CAO or reeve, go down whatever particular path that person wanted. Sometimes rightly. Sometimes wrongly. The ‘wronglys’ however eventually come to their senses. Or leave office.

The just-passed weekend weather forecast for an area around Lake Tahoe in California / Nevada was for snow. Lots and lots of snow!
One observer was saying as far as he was concerned, the models that forecasters were using were too conservative. At the top end, those predictions were for 3 metres (9 feet) of snow. This observer said the maximum was more likely 5 metres (15 to 16 feet) and could be even higher!
Meanwhile, locals in this region would be happy to see even three or four inches any day now. And then again! And then again!

Readers might remember our local Groundhog predictions. Winter will end the weekend of March 15, that being six weeks from Groundhog Day.
Despite what the groundhogs say, we always use the Edmonton Sportsmen Show as our own Official Beginning of Spring. One week earlier than the calendar start. No real reason except its just more fun than striking off a box on a calendar.
To be clear, there is always a chance of freaky weather. We remember once going into the Show wearing T-shirts on a warm sunny day. We came out of the show later in the day to sub-zero temperatures and a howling blizzard! That can happen in May too.

“The human brain starts working the moment you are born. And never stops working until you stand up to speak in public.” – comedian George Jessel

While Peace Country producers and firefighters are watching weather forecasts closely, the Swan Hills area is hoping forecasters are correct in predicting a more normal late winter season for them.
This is after 12 cm of snowfall last week, and another 13 cm coming along right now. That doesn’t sound like a lot of water, but it’s way more than what the Peace Country is seeing.

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