Föhn Festival brings fun for kids and families

Masha Scheele Photo
Lily Madsen during the opening ceremonies of Föhn Fest 2019

Masha Scheele

Music, dancing, food sampling, and plenty of activities for kids are planned for Hinton’s 13th annual Föhn Festival.

In celebration of Canada Day, Hinton residents will be gathering at Green Square for the all-day family event.

“It’s labelled as Hinton’s signature event of the summer, and it is the only free, all access, community festival that happens within Hinton. It’s really important to us to keep it free and all-access because it speaks to our multicultural vibe, which is something we really want to continue,” said chairperson Morgan Roberts.

The festival is a volunteer run event, annually attracting between 2,000 to 8,000 people, said Roberts. Celebrations start the evening before Canada Day with a fireworks show at the recreation centre. The following day will start with a pancake breakfast facilitated this year by Break-A-Leg, Theatre who are raising funds to create a costume closet.

The opening ceremony officially kicks off the festivities at 10:30 am after the Canada Day parade, followed by activities for the kids, plenty of multicultural food vendors, and a diverse lineup onstage. The on stage music and entertainment lineup include multicultural acts and local artists like Borelias Sky, Mad Jacks, and multiple other bands throughout the day.

“It’s important to us to have local entertainment on stage as well because it’s a real chance for locals to see themselves up on stage and to be inspired and to make sure that we have the future generation coming up feeling that this is an attainable goal and being able to perform surrounded by love,” said Roberts.

“We have such great talent here in Hinton too. It’s marvelous to be able to draw in such a talented community.”

Organizers are looking at setting up a train for the all-day event this year that will go around Green Square.

“We’re just working out some of the final logistics there and I believe that will be free and accessible,” said Roberts.

“Our kids zone is going to be very exciting this year as well. We’ve got bouncy houses coming, we’ve got face painting, we’ve got all kinds of free events and it’s nice because when you have children and you come out to a festival, normally you get costs every time you want to jump on something or play on something. It’s very important to us to keep that all access.”

Traci Johnson at Föhn Fest 2019
Masha Scheele Photo

For the adults, there will be 15 to 20 different multicultural vendors.

“This year we have a number of cultural vendors that are coming, we have a number of small businesses that are coming, we have a number of not-for-profits that are getting involved as well to make out a really well rounded community festival,” said Roberts.

An array of cuisines showcase Hinton’s multiculturalism throughout the festival, including foods from Mexico, the Philippines, Greece and Jamaica.

Due to health and safety, pets won’t be allowed into the festival.

Still up in the air is the yearly crowd-favourite CF-18 Hornets fly-over, which organizers will announce closer to the event when or if they get a green light for the planes.

“We have put in the application just as we have in years past and we are hoping that it does happen. But unfortunately due to so many different conditions we just won’t have an answer until just before,” said Roberts.

Ashton Pyne at Föhn Fest 2019
Masha Scheele Photo

Roberts said they are also asking attendees to bring a donation for the Hinton Food Bank if they are able to. Organizers look forward to welcoming new board members and brainstorming new ideas with them for next year’s festival.

Roberts added that volunteers are always welcome and can sign up through fohnfest.com.

Hinton Minor Ball builds for the future

Sarah Burns Photo

Tyler Waugh

Hinton Minor Ball has seen a couple of changes this season in the hopes to continue building toward years to come.

Hinton is part of a formal league recognized by Baseball Alberta that includes the communities of Jasper, Edson, Whitecourt, Mayerthorpe, Evansburg, Drayton Valley, High Level and Fox Creek, though not all communities have teams in the different age groups. 

“Baseball Alberta wants this … the more teams that are involved in a league, the more that are working toward provincials,” said Bryon Bambrick, coach and board member for Hinton Minor Ball.

Hinton has teams entered in the bantam, peewee, mosquitoes and rookie division. 

The rookies are nine and under and Bambrick said it’s great that players that young would commit to travel.

“It’s amazing … you can’t hold back the parents and kids from traveling,” Bambrick said.

League action closes out this coming weekend, with the rookies team hosting Fox Creek at 12 pm and then Jasper at 4 pm.

“We are hoping to make it a big day, an event, the rookies are the future of the program,” Bambrick said.

Hinton will not be sending a team to provincials this year, but the goal is to again send squads next year.

Another addition for the ball program is the construction of a batting cage at Gordon Moore Park, something that Bambrick said is important for player development.

“After coaching for 10 years and seeing other venues that had batting cages and just the advantage of getting the rounds of batting in, we were overdue,” said Bambrick, who added that in an hour and a half scrimmage players would get minimal at bats.

“Young players need reps, they need swings. This batting cage will be a big plus for player development.”

Bambrick had several meetings with the Town, both initially for logistics and location and then also to develop a memorandum of understanding.

The batting cage was made possible through the support of some local businesses, and with $5,500 in funding from Baseball Canada and a matching Community Grant through the Town of Hinton.

The cage is up and functional, though Bambrick says that there are a few other small additions he’d like to make in time with his remaining budget.

The cage will be utilized as part of the practice routine and the cage will be open access through the summer, though the pitching machine will be limited to minor ball activity use for the coaches.

“Anybody and everybody can go in there … I think I’ll be leaving the tunnel and netting up through the summer and take it down in the fall,” said Bambrick.

Indigenous Day moved to July after break-in and theft at HFC

Masha Scheele

The Hinton Friendship Centre (HFC) has received an overwhelming amount of support from the community since they announced their building was broken into on Sunday morning, June 16.

Police are investigating the break-in and robbery that set the aboriginal non-profit group back more than $4,000 and forced them to reconsider their local celebrations as part of National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21. The event was originally cancelled due to the break in and theft, but after receiving community donations the event is back on and slated for a later date of July 4.

“Whatever was donated we wanted to spend on the event,” said Lisa Higgerty, program manager at HFC, adding that HFC was overwhelmed by the community support. 

And since the event won’t be held on June 21, more performers are available to come to the event at the Hinton Friendship Centre.

Organizers are still confirming performers, but the event will include Edmonton Mètis Cultural Dancers, two indigenous drum groups from Grande Cache, traditional performers, a bannock contest, face painting, bouncy houses, and more.

Hinton’s Friendship Centre is one of 20 in Alberta that offer services to indigenous people and are funded by the federal government through the Aboriginal Friendship Centres Program.

Repairs will be made to the building and should be done before the event on July 4, added Higgerty.

“The impact this has on our clientele and staff has been traumatizing and disheartening by the event,” stated their original Facebook post on June 17.

An updated list of events for July 4 will be posted by the HFC once they are confirmed. The Indigenous Peoples Day event will run from 4 pm until 8 pm on July 4. To donate towards this event, e-transfer to lisa@fchinton.com (Lisa Robertson) or go to the HFC between 8:30 am until 4:30 pm. To volunteer, contact the HFC at (780) 865-5189.

Bridge costs continue to ramp up

Masha Scheele

Council discussed concerns over the estimated cost of ramp access to the Maxwell Lake bridge at the June 18 standing committee after hearing from administration that costs could escalate more than fifty percent of the original budgeted amount of $400,000.

Coun. Albert Ostashek stated that during the verbal report at the previous regular meeting, it was indicated that the cost between pedestrian access and vehicle access wasn’t going to be significant.

Actual numbers attached to the access ramps weren’t included in the verbal report at the June 11 meeting, but later were sent to council in a written summary. According to that summary, the cost estimate for bridge access is between $225,000 and $275,000.

“If the option is to spend $250,000 more to build the ramps, well then maybe it’s more economical to take the bridge out and maybe not have that access through the middle of the wetland or maybe come up with something that is pedestrian only and much less grand in its scope,” said Ostashek.

ISL Engineering is working on two class D estimates regarding the ramps to the Maxwell Lake bridge on their own dime.

A class D estimate is prepared when a project is at the conceptual design stage.

One estimate is for pedestrian ramps while the other estimate is for vehicular ramps, but council asked administration to put a stop to the work with ISL regarding the bridge and report back to council with ramp options including high level costs.

The issue was brought forth by Coun. Dewly Nelson who felt it was irresponsible to have ISL work on the estimates if council isn’t sure about continuing with those estimates.

“It was communicated to us verbally and in writing that ISL was bearing the costs of the two class D estimates. Anything they’re bearing the cost for, I want to ensure that it goes towards what we may realistically be able to do. If we don’t utilize the reports they are creating at their cost once its presented to us, we will then have to go back and we will have to bear those costs for the other options,” said Nelson.

Installation of the bridge and complications with the wetland interface made the project much more complex, stated Coun. Ryan Maguhn.

“There’s a lot of reasonable pressure from the public to take a very close look at this project which I think is spiralling at least politically and financially out of control. I think it’s something we need to get our finger on, it’s very frustrating to see what’s happening with it and some of the numbers we’re beginning to see. 

“I don’t want to be melodramatic but I also don’t want to underreact to the situation where we’re getting cost estimates to solutions that we know just aren’t viable,” said Maguhn.

Ostashek added that he would like the report with options to indicate the cost of removing the bridge.

Along with the cost of removal, Maguhn said information should be included with the option to sell the bridge or use it in the community to replace another bridge.

The report with further options will come back before the end of August, in the meantime temporary staircases will be installed leading up to the bridge.

“Allowing more time to allow for better information will lead to a better decision hopefully in August,” said Coun. Tyler Waugh.

Local good as gold at track zones

Photo provided by Kyara Bishop

Masha Scheele

Despite limited time to train, Kyara Bishop cleaned up at the junior high zones track meet championships in May and brought three gold medals back to Hinton.

Taking an easy lead in each race, the Grade 9 student from Harry Collinge High School beat out all her opponents in the senior girls 100m, 200m and 400m dashes at the track meet for junior high students in St. Albert on June 4.

Bishop stayed consistent in her medal count with improvements since last year when she took home the gold in the 100m, silver in the 800m, and bronze in the 400m dashes.

“Before I go to the race I warm up, get my legs not feeling tight and stuff like that. Before I’m actually going to run I just visualize beating everybody and being in front of everyone,” she stated.

She ran the 100m race in 12.80 seconds, not quite beating her record time of 12.79 seconds at last year’s zone championships.

Her other times were 27.39 seconds for the 200m race and 1.02.84 minutes for the 400m.

She claimed that her nerves weren’t an issue as last year prepared her for the competition she would be facing again this year. 

“For the 100m I wasn’t scared or anything because I already knew the girls because I raced them last year. And then for the 200m I felt like it was going to be harder,” she said.

“I was really happy about all my races too because I was on the inside lane for everything. So I had the best lane to watch people run.”

Coach Lea Bamsey helped her get ready for zones but Bishop admitted she trained less this year than previously.

“She’s got the natural talent, this is Kyara without additional training, she’s just fast,” commented Bamsey.

Staying active throughout the year, Bishop also plays basketball, ringette, rugby, badminton, and soccer.

Next year she will be taking part in the senior high school zones meet and she looks forward to getting a chance to compete at provincials.

Bishop also ran the senior girls relay race together with Jaimee McLean, Alyssa Klaver, and Brielle Goupil but didn’t place for that event.

Gracey Kempin was among the junior girls relay team with Maya Callihoo, Jayla O’Regan, and Madison Vallier-Smith who placed fifth, but she felt like some improvements could be made.

“The girls [at zones] practice year round and have their own trainers and stuff and we practiced twice in gym class,” said Kempin who also took part in the 400m, 800m, 1500m, and triple jump.

Callihoo also went home with a silver medal after finishing 24 centimetres behind the junior girls triple jump gold medal winner.

Photo provided by Maya Callihoo

She also took part in the junior 400m race, and the junior long jump.

Other notable students from Harry Collinge were Tyran Johnston, who placed sixth in junior boys discus, and James Ager, who placed sixth in intermediate boys discus.

Boardwalk committee terms set

Photo provided by Town of Hinton

Masha Scheele

The purpose of a Beaver Boardwalk Committee (BBC) is to gather, study and discuss all relevant information regarding the Beaver Boardwalk condition and rehabilitation project in order to provide Council recommendations. 

Councillors discussed the details around the BBC’s terms of reference during the standing committee meeting on June 18.

The terms of reference state that the BBC is to be comprised of up to six members, including three appointed Town of Hinton Council representatives and three Town of Hinton administration representatives, which will be appointed by council.

The terms of reference were amended to name the mayor and two appointed town of Hinton council representatives to the Beaver Boardwalk instead of three council representatives and the mayor as ex officio.

“Where I think we have a challenge is if essentially we have quorum at a sub committee level, whatever they recommend essentially becomes an automatic vote in this room and to me, I don’t think that’s the best way of going about it. I think you want to stay under quorum in any of these smaller committees that we do so there is still a true and real opportunity for council to be part of that decision making process,” said Coun. Dewly Nelson.

Members of the committee will be responsible for obtaining, considering and presenting the input of stakeholders, incorporating all legislative laws, codes and other applicable best practices in the reports and recommendations, and attending scheduled meetings.

Coun. JoAnn Race urged council to consider incorporating two citizens-at-large into the core group of committee members.

“I really think it’s a missed opportunity if we don’t utilise the people that we have in our community. So many of us have jobs, work full time, these are people that are out walking the boardwalk, interacting with people every single day. To me, it’s a missed opportunity,” said Race.

Coun. Ryan Maguhn agreed with Race and stated that including citizens in the committee would help fight misperceptions in the community.

“One of the biggest things that we’ve dealt with when it comes to the beaver boardwalk and also the recreational area at large, are some of the dynamics and some of the pieces of complex information that citizens aren’t aware of and how it comes into play. I think this is actually a really good opportunity to engage some highly attuned citizens, so that they know the same sort of information council is getting and also consider it,” said Maguhn.

Not everybody agreed with Race and Maguhn, stating that while they see the value of citizens within the committee, the time it would take to nominate those individuals could take too long.

Coun. Dewly Nelson mentioned that the committee is only expected to be intact for six months with the possibility of putting some type of advisory board together in the future.

“The more pressing concern is in order to appoint citizens to one of these committees we have to go through nominating advertising, nomination process, and that likely means we are in September with the amount of regular council meetings before this committee can actually get to work and engage with stakeholders,” said Nelson.

Coun. Trevor Haas, Coun. Tyler Waugh, and Coun. Albert Ostashek echoed his concern and would like to see the committee get started on putting together recommendations for the future of the boardwalk.

“I would see the committee reaching out to community members if shown a lot of interest, we’re already aware of those community members. I would see that this committee sitting down and getting that feedback from the community members without having them sit at the committee table, it would also then not keep it to two members. It would be a variety of different community members, whether its groups like the Whiskey Jacks or other groups. I don’t want to isolate two individuals,” said Coun. Trevor Haas.

The committee will meet monthly and report to council at least twice.

Once in September to present a recommended vision and progress report and once in November to present a final report with recommendations for approval.

Another motion amended the Beaver Boardwalk Committee Terms of Reference to include a vision to be presented to and adopted by council prior to the proposed Beaver Boardwalk Committee’s third meeting.