As we prepare to say goodbye to 2016, BattlefordsNow.com is taking a look at some of the top news items that made headlines and newsmakers over the past 12 months.
The Brad Wall government tabled its first budget since its April re-election in June and Battleford’s MLA Herb Cox considered it a good budget despite provincial funding to some municipal parks were getting cut, including the Battlefords River Valley Provincial Park. Meanwhile there were mixed reviews from the mayors of North Battleford and Battleford. While money is still coming to the communities in the form of municipal revenue sharing, funding for the river valley has been eliminated. The City of North Battleford will receive $3.03 million dollars in revenue sharing, an increase of 60-thousand from last year. The figure is based on one percentage point of provincial sales tax revenue. The revenue sharing is also continuing across the river in the Town of Battleford and Mayor Derek Mahon said it's a boon for the town and other municipalities.
A recent possible abduction attempt had the Living Sky School Division alerting schools, students and families to be vigilant in outdoor supervision. The Battlefords RCMP kept an eye out for a man who allegedly grabbed the arm of a 10-year-old child at a Battleford elementary school, in an attempt to direct the student to a nearby vehicle on. However, the student screamed and the man let go and drove away. Communications spokesperson for Living Sky Shannon Lessard says while it is unfortunate, it is something school divisions have to deal with.
Meanwhile there were some anxious moments on June 14 when a youth was charged with several offences after an incident that resulted in two Maidstone schools being placed in hold-and-secure mode. The charges included uttering threats, mischief, public mischief, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, and common nuisance. Both the Maidstone High School and Ratushniak Elementary School were put into hold-and-secure mode when one of the schools became aware of threats made against the school and students. Following the arrests, the lock down was lifted and classes resumed as usual.
June was a tough month for the fundraising group with the Prairie North Health Region. The question of funding the Saskatchewan Hospital was brought to the Battleford city council by David Fan, CEO of the Prairie North Health Region. Fan was proposing a public fundraising initiative which would seek to raise $8 million dollars for furniture and equipment for the newly constructed Saskatchewan Hospital, just outside the city. Fan presented the proposal in a per capita fashion, describing the contribution as a $200 dollar initiative, working out as approximately a $4 million dollar cost for the town. After deliberations, the council collectively denied Fan's proposal, being sure to mention things may change come the time to look at the 2016 budget review. This is not the first time Fan has sought public funding from the surrounding municipalities. Mayor of North Battleford, Ian Hamilton denied the request at a city council meeting early in June.
Battleford announced it is joining its neighbours across the river, by implementing a curbside recycling program. While residents can arrange their own service the town was implementing a mandatory system, and hopes to have it going in the fall. John Enns-Wind is chief administrative officer for Battleford, said the town will spend the summer choosing a contractor and informing residents. Enns-Wind says the rollout bins will be the same type as the existing garbage and organics containers.
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