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.

Hinton Wildcats seek to re-establish lease with Town of Hinton

Masha Scheele

The Hinton Wildcats and the Western Provincial Hockey Association (WPHA) together filed a court application seeking a declaration from the court that their lease of a Town of Hinton facility remains in full force and effect.

Throughout the 2018-2019 junior hockey season, the Hinton Wildcats owned by the WPHA, utilized the Bill Thomson arena in the Dr. Duncan Murray Recreation Centre as their home ice facility.

According to the court application filed on June 3, the original lease agreement started on June 27, 2018 and would remain effective until July 31, 2021.

Instead, the Town of Hinton allegedly notified the WPHA on April 1 that their lease agreement was terminated due to delinquent accounts in excess of 90 days.

Within the application, the WPHA claims that unbeknownst to them the Wildcats began accumulating arrears to the facilities landlord and the arrears only came to the attention of a WPHA officer on April 2 through email correspondence with the landlord, in which they deemed the lease agreement void.

Within the application, the WPHA argues that the Town of Hinton did not follow the process laid out within the contract to legally terminate it, stating section 11 in the contract addressed delinquencies in payments by the Wildcats and obligates the landlord to notify the WPHA in writing if the wildcats became more than sixty days delinquent in payments owing and then enter into good-faith negotiations

The section also provides the landlord with the option of suspending or terminating the agreement if the Wildcats become more that ninety days delinquent in the payment of an outstanding balance owing.

According to the application, the landlord lacks the authority under section 11 of the lease to unilaterally deem the lease terminated due to the failure to notify the WPHA when the Wildcats became more than 60 days delinquent in paying its account.

Through the court application, WPHA and Wildcats seek a declaration that the unilateral termination of the lease on April 1 was beyond their legal power.

They also seek an order directing the Town of Hinton to accept payment of any and all overdue balances payable and permit the Hinton Wildcats to utilise the facility according to the terms of the lease.

The WPHA and Hinton Wildcats would like the court to direct the Town of Hinton to refrain from leasing the facility to any third party professional or junior hockey team during the term of the lease, according with the section three non-competition terms within the original contract.

This issue will appear in Edmonton court on July 3, pending further discussion between the parties.

As of noon, Monday, June 17, no dispute has been filed by the Town of Hinton.

Lemonade Day to see 16 youth with thirst-quenching booths

Kids offer tasters to the judges for the best tasting lemonade on June 6
Masha Scheele Photo

Masha Scheele

When life gives you lemons you purchase a business license, enter a lease agreement, take out a loan for additional ingredients and necessary items, tweak your recipe and open up the best lemonade stand in the region.

That’s what 16 kids in Hinton are preparing for on June 22; Lemonade Day in northern Alberta. Together with 13 other communities, the Community Futures West Yellowhead (CFWY) office purchased the Lemonade Day program license to take part in the North American event that teaches kids how to start, own, and operate their own business.

“We are all operating under the northern Alberta license. We are bringing it to Hinton and Jasper this year, and hopefully next year we can add Edson and Grande Cache,” stated Deanne Fabrick from the CFWY office in Hinton.

Combined with Jasper, 29 kids signed up for the free program, which includes two mentor sessions to learn about starting a business.

Kids keep 100 per cent of the profits, but only after going through the proper process of setting up a business, starting with the purchase of a business license from the Town of Hinton. Then they enter into a lease agreement with a property owner where they want to set up their stand. 

“They have to purchase a lease for the day from the store owner for example. If they get any loans, they would have to pay those back,” said Fabrick.

Participants can also look for sponsors or investors, knowing they would have to pay back the investors. Throughout the mentor sessions, they learn everything from financial literacy and economics, college and career readiness, life skills, and personal development. Handbooks provided to the kids help them with budgeting and creating their business plans.

“There are three pillars the program focuses on. That’s spend some, save some, and share some in talking about the profits,” explained Fabrick.

Setting spending goals will allow them to budget better and know how much to charge for a cup of lemonade. 

Saving will allow them to put away money for later and sharing is about giving back to the community through non profit organizations or a group they want to support.

“We talk about what they need to do, also in regards to food handling. Health and safety, and stuff like that,” said Fabrick.

Three monetary prizes will be awarded for the best tasting, best stand, and best entrepreneur in Hinton and Jasper, and given a ribbon to put on their lemonade stands. Shae-lyn O’Keefe won the best tasting at the final Hinton mentor session on June 6, as chosen by a panel of five judges. Her stand is called “Shae’s Wonderade” and judges were wowed by Shae’s creativity and attention to detail. 

Masha Scheele Photo

The other two winners will be chosen on Lemonade Day.

The Best Entrepreneurs from Hinton and Jasper will be awarded with a ribbon and $250 and entered into the competition for the Best Entrepreneur for all Northern Alberta. That winner will win a bike and move on to the competition for the Best Entrepreneur of all Lemonade Day internationally, with a chance to win a trip for four people to an amusement park. 

The winners of the regional and international competition will be judged on their submitted business results and other criteria.

Lemonade Day started as a fun, experiential learning day for kindergarten to grade twelve kids in Houston, Texas, in 2007, and has grown to over a million kids throughout the US and Canada.

“They’ve had so many kids sign up now in Houston that they can look at trends and they show that there is an increase in confidence, creative problem solving, communication with the kids, and all these kids are actually going on to start their own business and remain in their communities. That’s kind of a focus of it also, to keep the kids here, and keep the community growing,” said Fabrick, adding that their mission is to help today’s youth become business leaders, social advocates, community volunteers, and forward-thinking citizens.

Hinton homeless need HELP

Masha Scheele

Hinton should be concerned about homelessness in the community according to the newly released Homelessness Estimation report conducted through Hinton Employment & Learning Place (HELP).

A grant from the Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN) allowed HELP to collaborate with community partners and put together the homelessness estimation count.

The study was conducted through surveys in 2018 between Sept 17 until Oct 18 and received 160 responses from vulnerable citizens. 

The first question of the survey asked participants if they felt their housing was unstable, to which 121 responded they felt it was unstable and 25 per cent of those people stated that the main reason was low income; while 18 per cent said it was due to not being able to pay their rent or mortgage.

“My next question, which is not in the estimation [survey] is if you had to choose between food and paying your rent, would your housing be insecure?” said Candace Pambrun, homelessness coordinator at HELP during the presentation of the report to council at the regular council meeting on June 11. “Sometimes we don’t ask the right questions. Or sometimes we are scared to ask those questions.”

She added that the questions asked in the survey will be reviewed and that it is recommended to gather estimation reports every two years.

The majority of participants said they were staying at a house, apartment, or friend’s place but 22 per cent stated that in the previous week they either camped, stayed in their vehicle, sidewalks, parks, or other makeshift shelters. When asked where they would be staying the following week, 24 per cent were unsure.

Basic needs like food, shelter, medical, showers, or laundry is what 78 per cent of the participants were looking for in the organizations involved in collecting the data for the report, while other needs included support services, financial support, health and wellness, transportation needs, or legal help. Seventy-seven per cent were unemployed and while most were receiving income support in other ways like AISH, 23 per cent had no income whatsoever. 

“There’s a thought that getting a job would change it all, but when you don’t have ID, and you don’t have a social insurance number, and you don’t know where you lived last to call Service Canada to get that information, it all becomes very difficult,” said Pambrun.

“As far away as we are from affordable housing, for some people we’re as far away from employment.” Of the employed group, most people worked in hospitality, or food and beverage.

“There’s a lot of people who are at risk of becoming homeless and a lot of people who are homeless right now,” said Deena Fuller, Executive Director at HELP. “We’ve been successful in securing grants from the provincial government and the Town of Hinton to employ a full time homelessness coordinator, which is great. She’s been working very hard with our clients to get their basic needs met.”

The homelessness coordinator position will be funded until June 2020. Mayor Marcel Michaels asked whether the Town of Hinton should be supporting HELP’s homelessness coordinator position and getting FCSS involved.

“There has to be some kind of funding by 2020. I don’t know what would happen to these people, but the ripple effect is that you will surely see crime increasing, you will surely see problems with health care, you will surely see our police services become drained, you will surely see an increase in mental health, it will be very visible I believe,” responded Pambrun.

On top of securing money for the homelessness coordinator position and HELP’s Freddy’s room for the homeless, HELP is also seeking funding to get a mat program off the ground.

The Lutheran Church in Hinton has committed to allow HELP to organize a mat program in their church basement. Currently in the very first development stages, they hope the mat program can open the doors in October until April providing overnight shelter for those in need. “I closely follow what Drayton Valley has done with their program, they have been very generous and gifted us all of their protocols, their policies, all of how they’ve done it from the ground up. And we hope to mimic that,” said Pamburn. 

Pambrun stressed that the gap between affordable housing and homelessness is incredible due to barriers like identification, access to a mailbox, lack of bank accounts, no references, no availability for a single bedroom in Hinton, apartment buildings turning into Air BnB’s, and more. Coun. Trevor Haas brought up the fact that Air BnB’s in Hinton aren’t being taxed as businesses, pocketing the money, and taking away housing from people in Hinton who may need it.

“I’m hoping that council and administration can work together on this and do what other communities have done and eliminated Air BnB’s and have a significant penalty if they have that,” said Haas. A motion was later put forth to bring a report back to council with options on regulating Air BnB’s in Hinton.

Surveys for the report were collected through BRIDGES, Yellowhead Emergency Shelter, HELP, Food Bank, Friendship Centre, Alberta Supports and others.

What the frac?

Wayfinder showcased its proppant facility near Obed during a May 29 tour for Hinton Chamber

Craig Durrant, facility manager at Wayfinder, opens up the sand mixer for the Chamber of Commerce tour group on May 29. Chemicals are added to coat the sand, which is then continuously fluffed and moved around to prevent it from sticking together.
Masha Scheele Photo

Masha Scheele

Wayfinder’s proppant plant near Obed is one of only two resin sand manufacturing facilities in Canada, the company told a group of Chamber members during a May 29 site tour.

The facility provides Northern White, regional and resin-coated sand for oil and gas companies in the area and employs around 13 people, most of whom live in Hinton. It takes two staff members to operate the entire plant near Obed, one person sits in the control room, while the other is stationed in the lab. 

Facility manager Craig Durrant told the tour group about each stage the sand goes through, starting at a bunker that holds waste sand.

Sand that doesn’t meet certain specifications is tested and approved for landfilling. 

“It’s rated one class higher than household garbage, it’s inert, it’s essentially controlled and goes into the landfill,” said Durrant.

Durrant added that, after testing, the waste raw sand can be donated to places like golf courses and sandblasting outfits, but due to silica content he doesn’t recommend it to playgrounds.

“We offer it to the golf courses, if they want to come get it. Lots of people ask to use it for sand bags for the backs of their trucks in the winter. A lot of pipeline companies will come and ask if they can bag up sand and take it away,” said Durrant.

Staff try to repurpose as much as they can, one example is the bags used to bring in chemicals are later used to collect dust.

“We’re trying to be very conscious in what we’re doing and how we’re doing it,” added Durrant.

The tour moved onto the lab where a small sample of sand is automatically received from each batch of sand made in order to test the quality of the product.

This type of sand is used by oil and gas companies during hydraulic fracturing and is critical as it helps keep fractures open, providing permeable conductivity channels back to the well bore.

“We supply the pressure pumping market in this area and we also produce resin coated sand,” Durrant said during the tour.

“When you pump normal raw sand down in the well at the end you have to create a buffer. It stops the sand from flowing back into the well bore.”

Durrant showed the group each machine before entering into the control room where they got a view on computer screens that show how each machine in the plant works together.

Masha Scheele Photo

From the silos, sand is moved into the plant and weighed into a heater, from the heater it’s moved into a mixer where a proprietary chemical blend is added and continuously mixed, then it’s screened and moves to a sand cooler via an elevator where it is screened again and finally moved down a conveyor into a set of tanks, explained Durrant.

“We train everyone to run these because there is no school you can go to to run one of these plants, this is only one of two plants in all of Canada. The first one is just north of Edmonton in Sturgeon,” said Durrant.

“The right candidate gets a little bit of experience on the floor, a little bit of experience in transloads to understand some of the controls. Because the transloads is controlled the same way this is done, just a lot less data points. A little bit quicker thinking in here.”

Between the two companies in Canada there are likely only 25 people trained to run the plant, noted Durrant.

Silos at the Wayfinder plant near Obed
Masha Scheele Photo

Being centralized in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin played a big role in the location of the plant and as they currently provide product to mainly the Alberta deep basin, Obed was an ideal location.

The Alberta deep basin area is a major oil and gas basin located on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. The Obed area is also easily accessible via rail as it sits along one of CN’s main corridors.

Northern White sand is imported from Wisconsin via rail, while regional sand comes from the Wayfinder regional sand pit located 45 minutes southeast of Whitecourt.

“The sand being produced out near Glenevis is more for the Duvernay plays, like Fox Creek area. What you’re looking for in sand is the crush value. Our crush value in regional sand is a lot lower, but for that rock in that area it’s perfect because there’s not enough pressure down hole to actually shatter that sand,” explained Durrant.

The grand opening for the Wayfinder plant near Obed was in May 2018, and throughout the building phase they employed anywhere from 50 to 60 people, stated Dylan Read, general manager at the Obed plant.

Wayfinder also operates two high speed frac sand transloading facilities in Alberta, one located at the Obed facility. 

The transloading facility can unload a railcar in 10 minutes and load a truck in six minutes with a capacity to service more than 300 trucks in a single day.

U13 boys settle for silver in a storm

Tyler Waugh

Hinton’s U13 boys soccer squad had weather settle its gold medal game June 9 against Ponoka at the  Millett tournament.

Organizers called the game with around six minutes remaining due to a nearby lightning storm. Ponoka had just scored moments earlier on a corner kick to give themselves a 1-0 lead. It would prove to be the winner as the field marshal came over and talked to the coaches about what they wanted to do about the approaching storm.

“We had said let’s keep going … and then it just came down on us, it hit us. At that point, because it’s lightning, you’d have to wait for half an hour after it’s all over and we decided to just call it,” said coach Bill McDonald, adding that, based on FIFA rules, the win went to Ponoka. 

“Some of the boys were disappointed. You know, could we have come back? Yeah, we could have, but you don’t know how it’s going to go, so we accepted it … settled for silver. The team has won three medals in three tournaments … a gold, a silver and a bronze … they’re doing great.”

The irony is that the final was a rematch of the previous year’s final against Ponoka, which was also called due to weather that included wet snow, rain, high winds and cold temperatures.

“Last year we lost our tent in the wind and it was so cold. We ended up getting a big sheet and the kids were sitting underneath and by the end they didn’t want to come out. We just called the game … it was getting unsafe,” McDonald said.

McDonald said the squad finished round robin play with a couple of wins in what he described as good, competitive games. The squad lost its opening game to Ponoka by a score of 6-1.

“They’re a good team, and I knew it … just looking around at the other teams , that we’d probably be playing them for gold,” McDonald said.

“Heading into the gold medal game the boys were pumped. It was a good game  –  they played hard.”

The U13 boys squad hit the road for Jasper this coming weekend for games against the host squad (9 am) and Edson 2 (12:30 pm).

It’s been a challenging season for soccer in the West Yellowhead so far, with a late start to the schedule due to weather, as well as the inability to field teams in the U19 division.

Between that late start, scheduling and three weekends of tournaments, there’s been only one home weekend of soccer action. Games return to Hinton this Saturday with the U17 boys taking on Jasper at 9 am and Whitecourt at 3 pm.

Hinton will also host the U15 girls division for Soccerfest over the June 22-23 weekend with a chance to advance to provincials. Game times for that tournament were not yet available, but check back in upcoming issues of The Voice for updates.

Ten locals heading to arm wrestling nationals

Javier McKinley pulls during the Letawsky Cup competition held Feb. 23 in Hinton.
Masha Scheele Photo

Masha Scheele

Ten members of the Hinton Armbenders Professional Arm Wrestling Club are heading to the national championships in July.

Vince McKinley, Hinton’s double world champion in arm wrestling, has been integral in training five kids and five adults in preparation.

McKinley started the Hinton Armbenders Professional Armwrestling Club three years ago, and serves as coach and president.

For McKinley’s five-year-old son, Javier McKinley, the 2019 national championships in Edmonton will be his first time competing against other kids at that level, but he’s had a lot of practice pulling in six tournaments this year alone.

He walked away from provincials with double gold medals last year and this year he scored silver in left arm and fourth place in right arm.

In his final left arm match he was beat out by fellow Hinton arm wrestler, Jay Bunning, who took home double gold in the four to six year old class.

McKinley and Bunning are among the five kids from Hinton who will be heading to nationals along with Keenan Cartier, Lucius Bartling, and Uriah Bartling.

Nine year-old Cartier came home with a bronze medal (left arm) from the provincial tournament in Airdrie on May 25.

Keenan Cartier sets up to pull at the Letawsky Cup competition held Feb. 23 in Hinton.
Masha Scheele Photo

After watching his dad compete, Cartier started arm wrestling in October 2018 where he gained experience and confidence.

“He’s come a long way, he’s grown a lot. When he first started he wasn’t even placing in any event. He was just getting the idea of it and sort of doing it for fun in a sense. There were a lot of people in the Hinton club that he couldn’t beat, and now in the Hinton club there’s only one other kid that Keenan still technically can’t beat,” said Cartier’s dad, Kyle Cartier.

Since joining the club, he has pulled in two tournaments, including provincials and the Hinton tournament, where he also earned bronze.

“Right now we’re on the training game. We’re doing a lot of training and we’ll have to see what happens,” said Kyle Cartier.

His training consists of strengthening his forearm, biceps, triceps, and working through a lot of pulling motions, said Cartier.

Hand grips, form, and technique play a big role in arm wrestling, he added. Besides training certain muscles, club members get together one or two times per week to pull and assess their strength levels.

Coach McKinley added that he works with the kids often and encourages them to work on their strength outside of the gym as well.

“He’s got a little chin up bar he works out with and he does wrist curls,” said McKinley about his son.

The adults heading to nationals on July 12 to 14 in Edmonton are Vince McKinley, Herman Bartling, Adam Andruski, Krissy Sprague, and Kyle Cartier.

For Vince McKinley, this will be his first time back at nationals as a competitor since he won his double gold world championship in 1985 in the 70 kg class.

He often helps organize or run tournaments but will now be competing in the grand masters class. Go to to learn more about arm wrestling in Canada or Hinton Armbenders Professional Arm Wrestling Club on Facebook.

Youth bring Velveteen Rabbit to life

The Velveteen Rabbit on June 15
Masha Scheele Photo

Masha Scheele

Four little wild rabbits stood on the stage, one with his hands in his pockets and another with her arms crossed during a rehearsal for the upcoming performances of The Velveteen Rabbit.

Break-A-Leg Theatre director Don Engerdahl walked up and said, “Okay now, have you ever seen a bunny? A rabbit?”

“Yea,” they said in unison.

“So, do bunnies cross their arms, and do bunnies have pockets?” asked Engerdahl.

Engerdahl explained that the young actors remembered to get into character quickly and have worked hard to perfect their rabbit act.

“The kids are usually pretty good, they usually get their lines done a lot easier than most adults, they’re like little sponges. You just give them a script and they’ll have it down before anyone else will,” said Engerdahl.

The cast is made up of 11 youth aged nine to 15 years old and one adult who plays the 30-year-old version of the boy telling the story about the Velveteen Rabbit.

Engerdahl received a lot of response to his audition call for BAL’s seventh all-ages production.

Engerdahl added that school-aged children are welcome to try out for main stage productions as long as they’ve taken the required drama courses with BAL Theatre Arts Society.

Actors in the BAL production of the Velveteen Rabbit
Masha Scheele photo

The biggest difficulty that Engerdahl faced this season was deciding which adaptation of the Velveteen Rabbit to choose.

“We found a good adaptation that’s very true to the original story, just presented in a different method. It’s more of a memory play versus an actual account of the story itself,” explained Engerdahl.

The adaptation of the play by James Still, originally written by Margery Williams, was chosen.

“It’s very poignant, there’s a little bit of sadness, there might be some tears but there will also be some laughs and it’s just a really well rounded adaptation of Margery Williams’ classic so we’re really excited to bring it to the stage,” he added.

The story about unconditional love is told through the eyes of a six-year-old boy by himself in his 30’s.

“It’s kind of an odd concept for school aged children to understand. But for the most part it has been pretty good,” said Engerdahl.

Actors in the BAL production of the Velveteen Rabbit
Masha Scheele photo

The Velveteen Rabbit cast began rehearsing near the end of February on the performing arts theatre stage, allowing for an easy transition into performance nights.

“I think they did really well, people are going to be impressed with the local talent out there with these kids. It’s just providing them the right direction and it’s amazing what these kids bring to the table.”

Junior and senior acting classes offered by BAL give kids the skills and camaraderie of working with other actors. 

“It gives them the opportunity to transition out into the community theatre realm,” said Engerdahl. 

Engerdahl added that he likes to stay within the grade four and five school curriculum with his productions, looking at the books they’ve read or what they are studying in order to build on their knowledge.

The Velveteen Rabbit plays at the Performing Arts Theatre of Hinton (PATH) – West Fraser Guild on June 13, 14, and 15. Doors open half an hour before the show starts at 7:30 pm each night. 

Tickets for adults, youth or seniors are available at the Hinton Municipal Library and The Hinton Voice, or go online to Box Office on

Maxwell Lake bridge going somewhere soon

Maxwell Lake bridge

Masha Scheele

Hinton residents could be getting some usage from the bridge in Maxwell Lake this summer as conversations between ISL Engineering and Alberta Environment & Parks (AEP) continue.

AEP communicated to ISL that temporary stairs for the bridge are an appropriate solution under the code of practice application. 

According to administration, the application for the temporary solution was handed over to AEP, and currently the town sits within the two week waiting period where AEP can raise any issues with the application.

“In that timeline that means one week after AEP responds or no response we should see some action of building the temporary steps in the first week of July,” said Hans van Klaveren, interim director of community services during the regular council meeting on June 11.

ISL confirmed with administration in an email that they are financially responsible for providing the service of the design, the application process, the construction and the installment of those temporary steps.

Coun. Ryan Maguhn noted, “One of the main reasons I supported the bridge installations in the first place was access for first response and fire protection and those sort of things. So the stairs are for me and the folks I’ve been talking to a very temporary but not a solution that’s ideal in any way shape or form.”

A different approval process is needed for the permanent ramps for vehicle access and isn’t expected to come back from AEP before 2020.

“AEP has confirmed to ISL in conversations that they had so far that gravel would not be an option to bring back anymore as a ramp construction. We are waiting for ISL to come give us that written confirmation that AEP will not approve gravel to come back as a solution for bridge access,” said van Klaveren.

A schematic design has been done and covered financially by ISL including a Class D, which is a high level class estimate for the construction cost.

That design was sent to AEP and before a detailed design is done AEP will discuss the options with ISL.

“The bridge project is running out of funds after the installation, that means we will need additional funds for an additional project to bring in ramps,” said van Klaveren to council.

Associated Engineering is working with administration and AEP on the proper water act approval in order to continue maintenance on the Beaver Boardwalk. 

“We obtained Associated Engineering and they did a site visit and in the meantime they will help us with all the required applications part of the process, that might be a full wetland assessment again,” added van Klaveren.

The timeline on getting approval for further maintenance would also be closer to 2020, explained van Klaveren.

“The payment for that comes out of the 60,000 dollars for maintenance because this is part of maintenance budget that was already approved by council last year, this year and next year,” he said.

A terms of reference for a boardwalk committee will come back to the standing committee meeting on June 18.

The committee will bring forward recommendations to council for further decisions for the total rehabilitation project of the boardwalk.

Teck to end Cardinal River Operations in 2020

Tyler Waugh

A mine that provides as many as 400 jobs and has been a pillar of Hinton’s economy for 50 years will shut down in the second half of 2020.

Teck Resources Ltd. announced May 30 that it had decided not to pursue the MacKenzie Redcap project, a mine expansion that would have added years of activity to its steelmaking coal Cardinal River Operation near Cadomin.

Teck said in a follow up press relase to local media on June 1 that the decision about MacKenzie Redcap was made after a review of the project economics.

Teck did not elaborate when asked what aspect of the project economics had changed since the application for the MacKenzie Redcap expansion was filed with the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) in May 2018.

Nic Milligan, manager of social responsibility for Teck Coal Ltd., said only that the project economics had been reviewed over the last few months.

“This is understandably disappointing for everyone at Cardinal River, and we want to thank all employees for their continued focus on safety, sustainability and productivity as we work through this transition,” Milligan said.

CRO produces steelmaking coal – also called metallurgical coal or coking coal, which is used to make steel. Activity began at CRO in 1969 and the MacKenzie Redcap announcement came just days before a community barbecue to celebrate 50 years of operations.

A period of economic and population growth for the Hinton area in the 1970s coincided with the commencement of mining activity at CRO.

Milligan said there is a workforce of around 400 people at CRO and, according to a presentation made to Hinton council by Teck representatives in April 2018, around 340 of those CRO employees live locally.

“A workforce will also be required beyond 2020 to manage transition to care and maintenance and future closure and reclamation activities,” said Milligan, adding that Teck will be communicating with employees until the expected conclusion of mining in second half of 2020.

Milligan said the MacKenzie Redcap development would have extended production at Cardinal River to around 2027, at an estimated 1.9 million tonnes of steelmaking coal production per year.

According to info on the AER website, the coal was to be processed at the existing processing plant at the neighbouring Luscar mine site. CRO had anticipated that the project would increase the total disturbance on the mine site by about 606.5 hectares.

The CRO slide show presentation to council also indicated that the average hourly wage was around $30 per hour and that around $23 million was spent in 2017 on goods and services with local suppliers.

Original June 1 post:

Teck has announced that, based on a review of project economics, it will not be advancing the MacKenzie Redcap project at Cardinal River Operations. The suspension of MacKenzie Redcap means that mining is expected to conclude at Cardinal River Operations (CRO) in the second half of 2020.

“All affected employees will be notified and will be supported throughout this transition, including identifying potential opportunities for Cardinal River employees to move to roles at other Teck operations where possible,” stated Lisa Risvold Jones on behalf of Teck CRO in a release issued early this morning.

“This is understandably disappointing for everyone at Cardinal River, and for the MacKenzie Redcap team. I want to thank all employees for their continued focus on safety, sustainability and productivity as we work through this transition.”

Moving forward, Teck will also be engaging with government, Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, and other stakeholders as it begins the process of transitioning CRO towards closure.

Please see the June 6 edition of The Hinton Voice for more coverage.