The Page – April 29, 2020

Here’s a Tip of the Page Hat to Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn, and Peace River MLA Dan Williams.
Rehn especially was rarely seen during the past year. Lately though, and particularly with all the phone-in conferences happening during these pandemic times, both seem to be making themselves much more visible than used to be case for MLAs everywhere.
Rehn dialed in to the Big Lakes County regular council meeting April 22. Just before that, both he and Williams listened in on the Town of High Prairie town hall meeting April 20. They also answered questions put to them by listeners.
Good work, guys! We hope this gets to be more of a regular happening.
Naturally, after Williams and Rehn had signed off, there were thoughts along the lines of “wished I had asked him about that thing, or that item,” which is kind of normal.
Maybe they will both come back to future meetings. The cost seems to be very reasonable: three cents per minute per person, we understand. It might be possible to get it even lower.
Anyway, hats off to the MLAs, and the councils for making this happen.

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One question asked to High Prairie town council was about the possibility of some kind of forgiveness for business property tax.
This would be for businesses that are closed and not bringing in any sales at all. Stores and businesses still open would not get a break. Neither would homes because obviously, people are still living in them.
In the round-about way property taxes are calculated, one could say there will indeed be a tax break next year. Basically, since business sales are down, the value of the property should go down. When the value goes down, property taxes should go down. So in theory this should fix itself next year.
But, without making this really complicated, at the end of the day property taxes are supposed to be averages of property values. So, when the values are all figured out, stores open and stores closed will both pay the same amount. That is how it has always worked. Obviously, in today’s virus world, that isn’t fair.
Our suggestion is that any store closed have its taxes completely forgiven, on a month by month, as long as it is closed.
There will likely come a time, sadly, when some stores will never reopen. That’s when governments by then, hopefully, will have taken a hard look at what they are going to do.
It is entirely possible a quarter or more of businesses in a community might never open again. Governments, used to steady property tax increases and all the perks that go along with being government, can’t just jack up the taxes for everybody else still left, so they can pay their own bills.
Can they?

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It is now official! We are tired of watching the same old movies!
We have to qualify that. Last week we watched Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan in The Foreigner. I wasn’t a bad flick. Not great, but not horribly bad. Fun watching Chan do his own stunts, and listening to Brosnan doing an Irish accent.
But another “Zombie” movie? Another “bad guys get shot up movie?” More than enough of them to drive a person crazy.

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Peace Country rodeos and fairs are on the ropes. The summer festivals we all look forward to are already being cancelled. More could be on the way to being shut down for the year.
For some of the fairs, they are part of circuits. Rodeo riders and the midway equipment all move from town to town to city and back to a town for the whole summer season in a regular circuit. With the midway rides, sometimes they break up the fleet of food stands and rides and games. Some go to the next stop. Some set up in some town’s parking lots. Then they join up when the next stop is a big place.
So basically, there are so many things involved, it is very hard to postpone an event. It’s pretty well all or nothing.
This year? Klondike Days in Edmonton is cancelled. The Calgary Stampede is cancelled. More closings are sure to be announced. Peace River’s Peace Fest is cancelled. North Country Fair at Lesser Slave Lake is cancelled. More to come!

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“People who talk about helping others might actually help others if they were not so busy talking about helping others.” – Richard Needham

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