From the Canadian Foodgrains Bank
Alberta church closes doors, shares last of funds to help end world hunger – Donates $25,000 to support work of Canadian Foodgrains Bank
Blackfalds United Church in central Alberta may have closed its doors, but the congregation’s hearts remain wide open. After selling the building that served as a place of worship for more than a century, the church gave the last of its funds to other local churches and several charities, including $25,000 to the Central Alberta growing project.
Through the growing project, a group of farmers volunteer their time to grow and harvest a crop, and then sell it on the Canadian market. Proceeds are donated to Canadian Foodgrains Bank to be used in the work of responding to world hunger.
“We know the money goes to a great cause,” says Maurice Defoe, the church’s trustee. “The Foodgrains Bank does a lot of good for people around the world, and we are very happy to provide this support.”
A staple in the community, Blackfalds United Church provided a place for many suppers, funerals, weddings and health immunization clinics. Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, dance troupes and other groups also used the space for meetings and community events. Closing the doors of the church was not a decision anyone took lightly.
“With great misgivings and sadness, and with many impacting factors, the decision to close was made in early 2018, and the building was sold just over one year later,” says Defoe. But the selling of the church would not be the congregation’s swan song.
“Maurice Defoe asked me to meet him at Tim Hortons in Blackfalds,” says Doug Maas of the Central Alberta growing project. “I didn’t really know what it was about, and that’s when he showed me the check. I couldn’t believe how big the amount was.”
The Central Alberta growing project started in 1996, when a group of passionate farmers decided to grow food to help those facing hunger overseas. Today, the committee has nine members. Since it started, the project has raised $1.3 million dollars for families in need, before any government matching is considered. And they aren’t finished yet.
Next year the project celebrates its 25th anniversary. Plans for the milestone were nearly derailed with the challenge of finding land this year. But once again, they found support in the community when a Lacombe County farmer made 70 acres of his recently purchased parcel available.
“Thank you to all the people in the community who support this project, our farmers, our partners, and also city churches who sponsor acres from afar,” says Maas. “And thank you so much to Blackfalds United Church for your generous gift.”
Maas says the money will help purchase fertilizer, and if donated land is ever hard to come by, can be used to rent land so the project can continue without worry.
“We’ve always had strong support from the churches, because they believe in the work of the Foodgrains Bank and know they’re careful with how the money is used” says Maas. “I do a lot of volunteer work, and this organization stands out because it has a large volunteer base, admin costs are low, and the food gets to the people who need it. The Foodgrains Bank has a special place in my heart, and I know I’m not alone.”
– Jason Permanand, Content Writer
RCMP deploying more Mounties in Alberta under agreement with the province
EDMONTON — The RCMP says it will add 76 additional Mounties to Alberta this year, many of whom will serve as front-line police in rural detachments outside major municipalities.
There will also be 57 new civilian support positions.
RCMP say some of the additional Mounties are to serve in detachments at Beaverlodge, Edson, Evansburg, Mayerthorpe and Valleyview.
In the south, detachments in Airdrie, Cochrane, Okotoks and Strathmore will get more police.
New Mounties are to be assigned to the central district, including in Camrose, Blackfalds, Leduc, Morinville, Parkland, Rocky Mountain House, Stettler, Strathcona and Thorsby.
More RCMP are also being assigned to work in Athabasca, Bonnyville, Cold Lake, Elk Point and St. Paul.
Officials say the staffing increase is part of a five-year, $286-million policing agreement announced by the Alberta government in December.
“Rural Albertans asked for action against rising crime, and our government responded with Alberta’s largest single investment in policing since the RCMP’s March West,” Alberta Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer said Thursday in a release.
“Putting more boots on the ground in rural Alberta will help protect residents and ensure they feel safe in their communities.”
The force says so far it has filled 25 of the front-line positions in rural communities and 18 centralized police to provide support and specialized services to all rural detachments.
Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablocki, Alberta’s top Mountie, said the additional funding is in response to concerns expressed by rural Alberta communities.
He said the RCMP is committed to continuing to provide Albertans with the high quality, modern provincial police service that they expect and deserve.
“The RCMP is committed to working in partnership with our communities to ensure Albertans feel safe in their homes, in their backyards and in their farm yards,” Zablocki said in a release.
Last month, Alberta’s government-appointed Fair Deal Panel recommended the province examine the idea of creating a provincial police force. The panel suggested the RCMP is becoming too bureaucratically inflexible and smaller communities aren’t getting enough front-line officers.
Premier Jason Kenney has said his government will study the recommendation.
Under the program announced by the province in December, small and rural communities, with some exceptions, are to begin contributing part of their front-line policing costs starting this year.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2020
The Canadian Press
Blackfalds Town Council approves Arena and Library Expansion – Video and photo galleries included
From the Town of Blackfalds
The Town of Blackfalds is moving forward with the Arena and Library Expansion
The Town of Blackfalds is excited to announce that the Arena and Library Expansion project will be proceeding and shovels will be in the ground in June of 2020 with a completion date targeted for Spring of 2021.
At their May 26 regular meeting, Council voted 4 to 3 to approve the final and guaranteed maximum price of the $24.6M capital budget which includes $18 M for the arena (which includes a $1 M contribution by the Junior A team) and $6.6 M for the Library.
Over the last year, the Town participated in various engagement opportunities including public open houses and meetings with stakeholders, school boards, and other organizations. The consultations prompted changes and additions to be incorporated into the design to improve the functionality of the facility which also resulted in increased costs.
Town of Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole is proud of the work that Administration and its contractors ACI Architects, Eagle Builders and Delnor Construction undertook in the last 2 months to review those areas where costs could be reduced to come up with a target value design, “I support this project for a number of reasons,” asserts Mayor Poole. “First of all, this will be an excellent value for our community when it is built. It will be second to none and I believe it will be a project our community will be proud of, and, as Councillor Taylor stated, it will ‘enhance business opportunities within our community.’ The Abbey Centre continues to receive praise and compliments from community members throughout Alberta and I am confident Blackfalds will duplicate that success with this facility.”
Mayor Poole added, “I am also excited about the opportunities that the AJHL will bring to the community. The new Library is going to be one of the largest in central Alberta and, for a community under 20,000, this will be an attraction that we will not only be extremely proud of, but given the provisions of the facility, will allow for progressive programming even in a post-COVID era. In addition, by awarding the construction contract to Eagle Builders, we are providing jobs for many central Alberta families. I am thrilled to be working with such great partners like Eagle Builders, Delnor and ACI with whom we have had a great relationship in the past.”
The guaranteed maximum price ensures that the Town will not pay any more than the $24.6M and therefore, if the cost of the project does go up, the risk will be to Delnor and Eagle Builders, and not the municipality. CAO Thompson echoed some of Council’s words, “We want to provide a high quality facility to our community similar to our past successful projects, and not have to cut corners.”
A gallery of final design concepts can be viewed on the Multi-Plex Arena web page at blackfalds.com/tourism-recreation/multi-plex-ice-arena.
A small ground breaking ceremony will take place on Friday June 19 and will celebrated by invitation only to ensure physical and social distancing.
If any organizations are interested in sponsorship, please see the sponsorship brochure at http://blackfalds.com/tourism-recreation/multi-plex-ice-arena.
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