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Last updateThu, 02 Feb 2023 3pm

Wheatland County looks into community hall thermal ratings

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Wheatland County administration were directed to review community halls within its municipal boundaries to determine if any thermal efficiencies can be achieved to help reduce operating costs, and any provincial or federal grant funding opportunities available to support these projects during the regular Tuesday, January 10 council meeting.
Division 4 Councillor Tom Ikert brought the item forward and explained he is aware of two community halls within his division alone that are “impossible” to maintain proper temperature regulation.
“There’s nothing wrong with these buildings (Cheadle Hall and Lyalta Community Hall). They were built as cost effectively as you could back in the day, when the price of natural gas and electricity was next to nothing,” Councillor Ikert explained during the meeting.
He noted the buildings were both built using cinder blocks, which have a poor insulation thermal rating. Thermal ratings are measured as an R-rating by how resistant the insulation is to heat flow; a higher R-value has more resistance and is, therefore, better at insulating.
While cinder blocks are cost effective and a strong building material, it has a thermal rating ranging between R-1.9 and R-2.5, depending on the density of the block, and whether any other type of insulation is used.
Councillor Ikert noted the county currently offers funding for community organizations to help with operational and project-based costs through its Community Enhancement Regional Board (CERB) grant. The county awarded over $495,000 to support a total of 43 projects in 2022, and Deputy Reeve Scott Klassen noted he anticipates much of this funding was likely used to help cover utility costs.
Cheadle Hall received a quote to retrofit the facility, which would include upgrading the roof, adding some four inches of insulation to provide an estimated R-20 insulation rating, and covering the cinder block structure with metal, would cost an estimated $200,000 and could extend the life of the facility by some 40 years; while it was noted the community is willing to fundraise this amount, Councillor Ikert expressed it would take several years to raise the necessary funds.
Lyalta’s hall has recently undergone roof upgrades and Councillor Ikert estimated costs would be about 30 per cent lower to complete retrofits on this facility.
Council unanimously approved the motion to direct administration to look at facilities which would require upgrading or retrofitting, investigate any provincial or federal funding grants and potential utility cost savings, and provide suggestions on moving forward.


Astronomical events to look out for in 2023

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Amateur astronomers and stargazers will have plenty to look forward to in 2023 with several celestial events-from meteor showers to an annular solar eclipse later in the year.
There have already been two celestial events in the new year, with the Quadrantid meteor shower peaking between January 3 and 4, followed by the first full moon of the year-also known as the Wolf Moon-rising on January 6.
While a full moon is not normally an astronomical phenomenon, the Wolf Moon also happened to coincide with being at its farthest orbital point from Earth, also known as a micro-moon. This was the first of two micro-moons which will occur in 2023. The second micro-moon will rise on February 5, and is also known as the Snow Moon.
Another lunar event which will take place this year is a Blue Moon, which is when two full moons rise within the same month. Although the phrase “Once in a blue moon…” may make the event seem extraordinary, a blue moon actually takes place about once every two to three years due to the cyclical nature of the moon’s phases, and does not have anything to do with the moon’s colour. The last blue moon occurred on August 22, 2021 and this year the blue moon will rise on August 31; the next blue moon is not expected until May 2026.
Along with these lunar events, there will also be a total of 10 meteor showers visible from the northern hemisphere in 2023; however, stargazers will need to have some patience as the next one-the Lyrid meteor shower-is not expected to peak until April 22 and 23.
The Eta Aquariids meteor shower will follow shortly after, peaking May 5 to 6, followed by the Alpha Capricornids which will peak July 30 and 31; the Perseids meteor shower will peak between August 12 and 13; and the Orionids will peak October 20 and 21. There will be two meteor showers in both November and December, with the Northern Taurids peaking between November 11 and 12, and the Leonids peaking November 17 and 18, followed by the Geminids December 13 and 14, and the Ursids December 21 and 22 during the winter solstice.
Two solar eclipses and two lunar eclipses will take place this year, however, only one will be visible from the Drumheller and surrounding areas.
An annular solar eclipse, which occurs when the moon passes between the earth and the sun and the apparent size of the moon is smaller than the sun, leaving a ring or annulus around the moon as it obscures the sun, is expected to take place on October 14 and will begin at approximately 9:13 a.m. Pacific Time (10:13 a.m. Mountain Time), and ends approximately 12:03 p.m. Central Time (11:03 a.m. Mountain Time).

2022 Year In Review - Morrin looking to grow

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Council in the Village of Morrin is working hard for the future of the community.
One of the biggest changes to the community is the progress Prairie Land Public School Division is making on the new Morrin School. Mayor Chris Hall sees it as a very positive development in the community and hopes it will help the village grow.
He is looking at opportunities for business to come in.
“We are working on a gas station,” Hall tells the Mail, adding there are other vacant properties in the village which could be used for new businesses. He has also been talking to a possible distiller coming to the community.
“They are getting taxed to death up in Fort McMurray… they are thinking of moving their whole operation down here, so we are trying to convince them to come,” said Hall.
He says he is active in looking for businesses to locate in the community, and says the new school could help that.
“The school is putting in an apprenticeship program for automotive, carpenters, electricians …that kind of thing. They are trying to get the trades going in the school,” he said.
He adds the new school has the potential to spur residential development. Property in Morrin when it comes vacant doesn’t stay on the market very long.
“We’re trying to get someone in for development, get some new housing because with the new school going in, there might be some new families wanting to move in. The village hasn’t been expanded in a long time,” he said.
When the construction of the school is complete, the road into town will be repaved after it was torn up for utility work.
The business community in the village has remained consistent. Hall says the hotel has new ownership and management and, they are looking forward to its opening. A music store has also opened in the community that offers lessons and musical instruments for the community. The council is also still looking at the addition of a campground, but it might be a few years before it is a reality.
The village has set an interim budget but has not passed the 2023 operating budget yet. They are feeling pressures from utility rates and inflation, and are anticipating a possible small raise in taxes.
Hall says last year they did some work on its water pump infrastructure, and there is more work on its water system this coming year including some rehabilitation of the cistern, as well as a hydrant replacement and the installation of some isolating water valves.


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