February 21st, 2024

City Notebook: 2024 picking up right on cue

By COLLIN GALLANT on February 10, 2024.

cgallant@medicinehatnews.com@CollinGallant

Like a snowball rolling down a hill, the sleepy winter news cycle is building momentum in early 2024.

And February is a still a short month, despite the observance of a leap year.

Concerns over water supply are reaching heightened levels.

Several civic priorities (Strong Towns, energy business and environmental planning, a to-do list for the city’s rec facilities, etc.) are just over the horizon.

Don’t look now but the province’s moratorium on approving renewable power projects is scheduled to end in three weeks without much indication of what the result will be of several parallel reviews.

Hockey talk

Just when you thought it was finally the start of winter, the end of hockey season is in sight. In fact, last week felt a lot like second-round playoff weather.

The Junior B Cubs will play their final regular season home game Tuesday at the Kinplex. The Heritage League playoffs begin the week of Feb. 19, but the Cubs could have a bye. Give ’em a look (it’s just $10 to get in).

Who knows how the Brooks Bandits playoffs will work after the perennial national Junior A title contender switched leagues this month to play in essentially a new Alberta division of the BCHL?

The WHL season ends in March, but we’re already talking about “magic numbers.” How does it work with points for overtime losses?

Baseball banter

Spring training is around the corner (this week actually) and a recent check-in with the Pioneer League finds a new expansion team in Oakland, Calif.

Next year the “Oakland Ballers,” or B’s for short, will apparently hope to fill the gap left by the A’s who will go to Vegas next summer.

That’s the locale of the A’s farm team, once the 51’s but now the Aviators, and apparently they’ll play in the same 8,000-seat Pacific Coast League stadium.

Of course, the Pioneer League is 20 years out of date in Medicine Hat since the Baby Jays left town, so we’re a little out of the loop… literally and figuratively.

Mavericks season tickets are on sale, however.

Building permits

Builders, developers or homeowners could choose a variety of plans for projects ranging from backyard suites to row housing that would be “pre-approved” thereby negating the cost of having them drawn privately and approved by city inspectors.

That could spur growth without affecting business of large homebuilders or the custom house market.

“We think it’s a great step forward,” said Jackie Taylor, the past president of BILD Medicine Hat, representing homebuilders..

“It’s not going to be for everyone, and not what someone who wants a custom-build home would look for, someone who wants to tackle a suite above a garage, or a small builder who wants to to a spec home (without a presale) or who’s got some land, it would reduce cost and time to get it to market.”

Quick ones

After the United Conservatives pressed the flesh last week with meetings in Medicine Hat rumours abound that those in the Alberta NDP leadership race are heading to the southeast… Brooks RCMP report general compliance from the public surrounding this week’s train derailment that spilled 34 cargo containers. However, Mounties are (seriously) looking for the owner of a black mini-van who pulled over and grabbed a box of paper towel from the wreckage. Talk about ill-gotten bounty… Longtime CHAT news director Regan Tate’s last day was Friday after 13 years. No official word on what’s the next step, but “best to luck” from the News.

A look ahead

City council’s energy committee is set to sit Thursday with an update of the commodity business review on the agenda. The city’s “municipal mingle” where a host of officials will be outlining major undertakings and answering general questions from the public, will be held Tuesday night at the Esplanade.

100 years ago

China from Medalta Stoneware Ltd. had been selected to be part of Canada’s national display at the 1924 British Empire Exhibition held in London, the News reported 100 years ago this week.

Three plate samples had been forwarded to the selection committee in Ottawa.

America’s war-time president Woodrow Wilson died.

A petition presented to the Legislature in Edmonton asked to do away with requiring a $100 deposit to register as an election candidate.

A board of trade was organized at Schuler.

The sports page lamented the quality of pitchers in the big leagues. The American League only featured five 20 game winners in 1923.

Collin Gallant covers city politics and a variety of topics for the News. Reach him at 403-528-5664 or via email at cgallant@medicinehatnews.com.

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