May 30th, 2024

City Notebook: What’s in the News

By COLLIN GALLANT on May 11, 2024.

The News is useful for a lot of things, despite there no longer being movie listings, but not so much for window glass.

That revelation comes from council discussions last week that bylaw officers were hampered previously by the lack of definitions in the previous Unsightly Property Bylaw.

Councillors toured several such homes last year and were told that in one case newspaper was affixed to busted windows after they were ordered to be covered but not with what, specifically.

We’re honoured, but let’s be serious. Now, after bylaw amendments, the city manager has the power to determine what constitutes a sturdy enough substance to prevent rain or break-ins.

That’s likely plywood of a certain thickness, and in what’s viewed in a fair-enough concession, that must be painted not left bare.

It make sense, but still evoked sighs when administrators explained – likely to shortcut ongoing criticism that such bureaucratic orders are arbitrary and somehow stem from a madness for power – that safety codes officers would likely determine the thickness, not the corner office.

The fact is that government has been taking it in the neck for a long time about how nothing gets done, and complaints only turn into an exercise in tail chasing.

Many residents have been calling for decades for stiffer action to clean up dumpy homes left largely abandoned to rot. They are awaiting the results.

Speaking of newsprint

The city’s new pilot program to compost all manner of food waste is underway in select areas, and newspaper is cited as a suitable material to create bundles of unwanted leftovers for yard carts. Paper is just basically wood after all.

Readers certainly thought up birdcages and fish markets to start this column.

Pirate hats and pinatas are other potential decent projects if you’re so inclined.

Speaking of compostable

Some are calling for a boycott of Tim Horton’s this week to protest the chain’s switch to paper lids for coffee cups. Tim’s has been targeted often over the years with boycotts that get little traction. The politicians still make it a point to hold double-doubles into photo ops (watch for it and you’ll see it) as a way to prove their down-to-earthiness.

As for the lids, they apparently “melt in your mouth,” which raises serious questions about usage.

Hatters in the news

Hat-raised country singer MacKenzie Porter was the subject of a long feature interview on CBC’s morning program “Q” this week. The programs are archived online – Cypress County Coun. Blaine Brost made it into the Globe and Mail last weekend when an Alberta-based reporter dug into the Albert Rat Patrol.

A look ahead

The annual Municipal Mingle will be held May 15 at Towne Square for Hatters to mix, ask questions and discuss city projects with relevant departments. It’s on from 4-7 p.m.

Like Prairie Crocus and air-conditioners humming to life, a sure sign of spring in the Hat is the annual switch to extended summer hours at the Wild Horse border crossing. That happens Wednesday.

100 years ago

Fifty head of cattle from the district would be shipped to take part in the “world’s biggest stampede” at the Empire Exhibition set for Wembley Stadium in London, the News reported on May 8, 1924.

Four unnamed cow punchers from Redcliff and other notable names in southeast rodeo circles – the “Lund boys” of Raymond, Jack Purnell of Cardston, Roy Hutchinson and “one of the Lawrence boys” from the Hat – would also make the journey to perform and care for the stock. Arrangements and a salary of $2.50 per day was furnished by area cattle magnate Ad Day.

The federal Liberal government would provide $20,000 to provide irrigation water supply to the settlers of the failed Canada Land and Irrigation settlement near Vauxhall, thereby ending fears of a complete shutoff by creditors now holding the assets.

Golf ball production was being revolutionized by testing them in vats of mercury to determine heavy sides, and then subjecting them to x-rays, the London Daily Mail reported.

MLA Nellie McClung spoke at the Washington Avenue Methodist Church in the Hat to mark Mother’s Day and the church’s 11th anniversary.

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

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