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.
Two major announcements highlighted the early days of the month in Battleford. It was announced that two new doctors are coming to the Battlefords region and they will be accepting new patients. The general practitioners scheduled to start practicing at the Twin City medical Clinic in September. David Fan, CEO of the Prairie North Health Region, was excited for their arrival, as the addition of the two family physicians will help improve patient accessibility to medical services in the province.
Ten days later the second major announcement was made as the lot in downtown North Battleford now occupied with a "sold" sign will be home to a movie theatre. The city and Magic Lantern Theatres out of Edmonton announced a five-screen cinema to be built in the next year. Bob Evans with Magic Lantern says the project could play a big role in revitalizing the downtown area. Meanwhile Lisa Kissick with Downtown North Battleford hopes more new businesses will want to be nearby.
North Battleford's crime severity index increased last year after several years of decreasing. It increased by 16 per cent from 2014 to 2015. Mayor Ian Hamilton says although he acknowledges crime has increased along with the rest of Canada, part of the increase could be due to increased police responses. He says initiatives like Citizens on Patrol take the burden of lesser crimes off the RCMP so they can work to stop higher risk crimes more efficiently.
On July 21, the equivalent of two railcars of diluted heavy oil leaked from a pipeline into the North Saskatchewan River north of Maidstone.
In an e-mailed statement, a company spokesman said the pipeline monitoring's system detected pressure anomalies Wednesday evening when segments of the pipeline were returning to service, an occurrence described as common. Crews were dispatched along the gathering system, but did not find a leak. Plans were made to fly over the pipeline when there was enough daylight. At 6 a.m. on July 21, the company began shutdown procedures as a precaution, and valves on both sides of the river were shut in automatically. It was later that morning oil appeared on the river.
In the meantime North Battleford relied on stored water and well water. The river water treatment plant, over concerns an oil slick is headed for the city was shut down. People were asked to avoid recreational contact with the North Saskatchewan River, and to conserve water where possible.
Fire chief Albert Headrick says the city it had enough water in tankers to deal with any fires thanks to an extra tanker brought in and extra firefighters were on standby.
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