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Prince Albert Food Bank gets $6,300 boost through Northern Lights Casino barbecue PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Friday, 16 September 2016 17:25

The Northern Lights Casino fundraiser for the PA Food Bank. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski

An impressive showing at a barbecue fundraiser for the Prince Albert Food Bank hosted by the Northern Lights Casino has brought in more than $6,300.

Of that total, $5,000 is coming from the casino's Community Development Corporation and SIGA.

That money will go towards operations at the Food Bank, which creates food hampers for thousands of people each month. Half of those people are children, said Executive Director Wes Clark.

"We're now tracking the ages of the children that are coming so that we can identify the early childhood ones. It's very disturbing,” Clark said.

The PA Food Bank's Wes Clark. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski

The food bank’s mandate is primarily to serve families and children, which Clark said is the majority of their clientele.

"Adults make decisions, but children are innocent. And no matter what the cause might have been, whatever happened with that family, those children were not the reason for that, and they should not be punished.”

Friday’s barbecue was right outside City Hall, and the location near the downtown attracted a lot of people, including some homeless who didn't have enough money to buy their own meal.

People went out of their way to donate above and beyond the $5 price of their meal, so that everyone left with a full stomach. Those were the real heartwarming moments for the casino's Richard Ahenakew.

Richard Ahenakew with Northern Lights Casino workers. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski

He also said he was impressed to see that local candidates in the upcoming city election were more focused on grilling burgers than politicking. They were invited to join in on the fundraiser.

There have been similar efforts for the PA Food Bank going on around Prince Albert all summer as demand has grown steadily since before Christmas. There have been fundraising blitzes throughout the summer in Prince Albert, including a Pokemon Go-themed drop-in donation night at the PA Historical Museum and a number of local businesses collecting donations.

Summer is usually a dry time for the food bank as shelves get emptier, and by August they had to reduce their food hampers to 20 per cent of the products people would usually receive.

This issue dates all the way back to Christmas. Demand on the food bank drops around that time because of other community events – but not this time. Demand actually went up this year.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 September 2016 17:34
 
Good news for communities impacted by oil spill PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Friday, 16 September 2016 10:39

One of the water pipelines snakes towards Prince Albert's water treatment plant. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski

Finally, the news residents of central Saskatchewan have been waiting for.

The Water Security Agency has given the communities of North Battleford, Prince Albert and Melfort the all clear to tap into the North Saskatchewan River for their water needs.

The flow was shut off on July 22nd after 250 thousand litres of oil spilled into the river near Maidstone and drifted downstream hundreds of kilometres. Communities scrambled to find alternate water supplies. Prince Albert Mayor, Greg Dionne says everyone pulled together. He is breathing a sigh of relief, knowing the worst is behind them.

"It is just such a big relief off our shoulders," he said. "I have got to give our staff, all of our contractors and the government credit. We went through this whole process without disruptions in delivering safe water to our residents."

Tapping back into the river is not a simple process. Extra precautions have to be put in place and more testing has to be done. Husky will also help North Battleford and Prince Albert pay for additional temporary water treatment measures.

North Battleford says it is taking additional precautions before it reopens its water intake to the North Saskatchewan River.

Those steps include, pretreating any river water through a sand filtration system that is being developed right now by GE Electric. That system won't be in place until late fall. Until then, the City will continue to use its water reserves, as well as the pipeline from the Town of Battleford.

Prince Albert is planning to use the North Saskatchewan River as early as next Monday or Tuesday. It has been tapping into the South Saskatchewan River with an overland pipeline, but that system will freeze once the temperature tips below zero.

Ash Olesen with the provincial environment department is confident the crises is over.

"Overall, we are confident we continue to move out of the crises portion of the recovery and more into an operation portion where our staff can continue to provide their best expertise on the mitigation and recovery process."

Advisories restricting recreational use and livestock watering have also now been lifted. The animal death toll from the spill stands at 146 and has now leveled off.

A full report into the Husky oil spill is expected to be released in a few weeks.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 16 September 2016 12:58
 
Over 1/4 of a billion dollars announced for infrastructure projects PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Friday, 16 September 2016 10:28

Ralph Goodale and Donna Harpauer. Photo by Manfred Joehnck.

Saskatchewan has now signed on to a federal-provincial agreement that will see 236 million dollars devoted to infrastructure projects over the next several years.

The projects involve improvements to public transit, as well as upgrades to municipal water systems. It’s not just the big cities that will benefit, smaller communities in the north will also see millions of dollars in new spending. New North C.E.O, Al Loke is encouraged.

"It’s a super benefit to the north," he said. "The total benefit will be about six million dollars over the next couple of years, and we have already looked at projects that have been engineered and are ready to go."

Ottawa will pay half, with the province and municipalities picking up the rest. Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale says the federal government is picking up a far greater share of the cost than it usually does on such programs.

"I think it’s a lot more attractive for municipalities in particular," he said. "The federal government is picking up half of the cost with the province and municipalities picking up the rest, instead of the usual, a third, a third, a third."

Saskatchewan’s Government Relations Minister, Donna Harpauer says spending money on rebuilding aging infrastructure is a priority for all levels of government.

"We hear everywhere we go that the infrastructure is aging especially for water and waste water," she said. "Municipalities are struggling to try to finance it all on their own."

The federal government has now signed bilateral agreements with every province and territory in Canada.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 September 2016 13:12
 
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