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Reeve's Reflections

Reeve's Reflections

Merrill Harris

The fall harvest season of 2021 was one of the nicest in recent memory. Yields in the dryland areas were significantly reduced due to the hot dry summer. Yields in the irrigated areas were also variable with some crops suffering from the early heat, while others came in above average.

I would like to begin by thanking three former Councillors for their contribution to Council over the last four years. Councillor Brian Brewin from Division 3 (Grassy Lake area) has served on Council for the past 23 years and has had a significant impact by serving in many roles. Councillor Leavitt Howg, representing Division 7 (Vauxhall area) brought a very unique perspective to Council and served wherever asked. Councillor Jennifer Crowson represented Division 5 (Hays Area) and always had the best interests of her area and the MD as a whole at the forefront of her mind. They will all be missed and we wish them well in all their future endeavours.

Replacing these individuals on Council are Brian Hildebrand in Division 3, John DeGroot in Division 5 and Chantal Claassen in Division 7. We welcome them to Council and look forward to working together over the next four years. Each Councillor is assigned to represent the MD on a number of committees, such as the Family Community Support Service (FCSS), the Highway 3 Twinning Development Association, the Vauxhall and District and Highway 3 Regional Water Commissions, the Taber Shooting Foundation, the Taber and District Housing Foundation, the SouthGrow Regional initiatives, the Chinook Arch Regional Library System, and the Regional Fire Authority to name a few. Councillors spend a lot of time making sure the MD is represented well on these numerous committees.

Rural crime continues to be a big concern for Council, and each month when the RCMP presents their report, we discuss how we can work together to help reduce rural crime. If we ALL work together and keep our eyes looking for suspicious activity in our own areas, we can help deter criminals.

A local Rural Crime Watch Association has been formed in our municipality. By becoming a member and posting signs along your yards and driveways, you take an active role in helping to reduce crime. Information on how to join the Rural Crime Watch Association is listed at the end of this article.

For agricultural producers, the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) Farm Technology program funded by the federal and provincial governments can help producers install remote monitoring cameras, remote fuel tank monitors, motion detection/driveway alert systems and door sensors. By taking advantage of these programs, and installing these devices on our farms, hopefully we can also help deter the criminals. Information on how to access these programs is also found at the end of this article.

Another helpful tool available to MD residents for the prevention of crime is the South Central Alberta Regional Notification System or SCAR Notify. The Scar Notification System prioritizes information based on the level of importance and notifies registrants in real-time by way of text, email or voice messaging. Examples of notifications include:

Low Priority – email notifications delivered from 8 am – 8 pm.

  • General information from the RCMP and Rural Crime Watch Association
  • General information from the MD of Taber
  • General information from the Town of Vauxhall
  • General information from the Village of Barnwell

High Priority – text and voice message notifications delivered 24/7.

  • Urgent Alerts from the RCMP
  • Urgent Alerts from the MD of Taber
  • Urgent Alerts from the Town of Vauxhall
  • Urgent Alerts from the Village of Barnwell

A recent example demonstrated how successful the system was at alerting the public and how it can be used to effectively reduce rural crime. On Wednesday, November 17th at 12:06 pm a notification was sent out informing SCAR registrants of a heavy police presence in a certain area of the MD. The RCMP released information regarding a suspect with a weapon and encouraged residents to stay inside and to report any suspicious activity. Three and a half hours later, a second alert was issued notifying residents that the RCMP believed the suspect was no longer in the area, but to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity. This is just one example of how useful the SCAR Notification System is. Other examples of alert types include road closures and construction, Road Bans, weather events, Fire Bans, water restrictions and more.

The larger the enrollment we have with the SCAR Notification System, and the larger participation we have from the public reporting suspicious activity to the local RCMP detachment, the greater the impact we will have on stopping criminal activity and reducing rural crime. Contact information for the local detachment is also found at the end. I strongly encourage everyone to stop reading this right now and go to ScarNotify.ca, and in a few quick easy steps, become part of the solution!

The MD of Taber has been working with Tango Networks on a strategy that will bring better high-speed internet to the municipality. Historically, the federal government has assumed most of rural Alberta has access to high-speed internet then which is actually true. In 2021, speed tests are taken by the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) recently report a median download speed of 14 megabits per second (MBPS) and a median upload speed of 2.43 MBPS which is well below the federal standard for basic internet speeds (50 MBPS download and 10 MBPS upload). This gap demonstrates the need for high-speed internet for all Albertans. The RMA encourages residents to take a moment and test their internet speeds. The data collected from these speed tests will be used to advocate for more funding from the federal government on rural internet development. To participate please visit RMAlberta.com/speed-test

As we head into the winter season, with the likelihood of experiencing major snow events, we want to remind you that the Public Works department will work as fast as possible to re-open roads. There is a priority system that includes bus routes and major roads, before finally getting to the less travelled routes. With over 2500 kms of roadway to clear, it may take some time to get to them all, but to know your road will be cleared.  

On behalf of Council, we wish you a very Merry Christmas with your friends and family and wish you all success and happiness in the New Year of 2022.

  • To sign up for the South Central Rural Alberta Rural Crime Watch Association please visit the Administration office.
  • To register for the SCAR Notification System visit ScarNotify.ca
  • To contact the Taber RCMP Detachment complaint line call 403-223-4447.  For emergencies dial 9-1-1.
  • Information on applying for the CAP Farm Security program visit cap.alberta.ca/CAP/programs or call 310-FARM