Medicine Hat News

End of the year is appointmen­t time

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Two weeks ago this space detailed changes to the advisory committee process at city hall, and managed to do it pretty accurately without many details.

Those are now being provided as council prepares to undertake the annual tradition of ending the last meeting of the calendar year by selecting new members to boards and committees.

On Monday, applicants for the legally required boards and commission­s (think boxing, planning and developmen­t appeals) will be voted on, but about 10 boards that formerly reported to the public services won’t see new members.

Most are standing pat until council sees the raft of bylaw amendments required to wind up most of those advisory committees and boards, or change their mandates and operations.

Nor will members be selected to a “Community Vibrancy Board” be selected, or in place until some point early in the new year.

That will replace three major boards — overseeing the areas of parks, social developmen­t and arts and heritage — and will handle the various grant evaluation­s and some projects of the previous boards.

A decision on changes to the senior citizens advisory board are in a holding pattern until a new operating model for the Veiner Centre is determined.

Two boards will become working groups working more directly with city administra­tors. They deal with the issues of disabled persons and the Heritage Resources committee.

The latter was the most powerful, in legislativ­e terms. It had the ability to put items directly on the council agenda, and did, with a First Street Statement of Significan­ce, a few years back.

Public art, transporta­tion and the youth advisory board are to be wound up.

Elemental developmen­t

Medicine Hatters are probably just digesting a three-year effort to add helium production to the city’s business interests, when a worldwide effort to boost hydrogen production is bursting all over the headlines.

(For the record, the city’s Alberta-based helium wells are now part of a farm-out agreement with private helium interests, and there was some notable activity in southweste­rn Saskatchew­an this summer.)

Hydrogen has an atomic number of 1, and helium 2.

As for predicting the future on this trajectory in business trends, at No. 3, lithium, is already considered a growth sector for battery production.

No. 4, beryllium, is probably a long shot to garner much attention, as useful as it is.

Flipping backwards from No. 1 to the high end of the periodic table, at No. 118, is oganesson.

Never heard of it? Only several atoms of the stuff have ever been detected, and as is typical with higher number elements, it was created by scientists synthetica­lly in a lab.

Chipping in

Among a number of disappoint­ments this year, the Christmas light display at Park Meadows was cancelled in observance of health regulation­s.

Along with producing a lot of smiles and memories for young and old alike, the donation boxes at the site also provided a tidy sum for the Medicine Hat Food Bank.

Helping to pick up the slack this year is the social committee at the 55-plus community, where residents are solely responsibl­e for putting up lights and taking them, as well as paying the power bill.

The committee’s call for general donations from residents brought in $1,560 that was forwarded to the food bank this week.

A look ahead

The final city council meeting of 2020 is set to take place on Monday night. After municipal budget update last time out and utility rate adjustment­s in November, the major remaining bit of year end business is the annual budget adjustment­s for the power plant and gas production divisions.

100 years ago

The Prairie provinces and Nova Scotia would be “Bone Dry” on New Year’s Day as the result of a plebiscite of liquor prohibitio­n took force, the News reminded in the Dec. 20, 1920 edition.

The actual date however, would vary, but Albertans could expect the sale of spirits to halt by Feb. 1.

A Holiday offering of “the Chimes of Normandy” would be staged by the Medicine Hat Operatic Society ahead of New Year’s at the Empress Theatre.

Another whimsical note; an essay by Stephen Leacock was published on the editorial page.

The new edition of the Wrigley’s directory for Alberta stated the Gas City’s population at 16,000, causing some controvers­y as the working figure at city hall was 9,600.

The coming year was predicted as one of huge population growth in the Alberta, it was noted. Immigratio­n officials were working with a total of 30,000 U.K-based members of the Salvation Army church. Another 10,000 former British military personnel were qualified for the Canadian soldierset­tler program.

Collin Gallant covers city politics and a variety of topics for the News. Reach him at 403528-5664 or via email at cgallant@medicineha­tnews.com

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Collin Gallant City Notebook

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