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EXCLUSIVE: Calgary’s Lake Sikome likely to be closed all summer

Normally open on the May Victoria Day long weekend, the popular site
is remaining shut for the foreseeable future.

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If you’ve been basically trapped in your home for the last three months you are undoubtedly looking for a sun and sand break.

But it won’t be happening at Calgary’s Sikome Lake this summer, the Western Standard has learned.

Normally open on the May Victoria Day long weekend, the popular site – which often attracts so many people police are forced to close the road into Fish Creek Park – is remaining shut for the foreseeable future because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

“Given the volume of people who tend to converge on Sikome Lake in the summer and the difficulties with enforcing any type of physical distancing and cleaning facilities (showers, washrooms, etc.) Environment and Parks has collaborated with GoA Health officials in making the decision that the facilities there will, regrettably, remain closed,” Jess Sinclair, press secretary to Parks Minister Jason Nixon.

“Lake Sikome will be closed for the foreseeable future but we’re always reevaluating,” Sinclair said.

First opened in late summer 1978, up to 20,000 swimmers a day visit the 99-acre lake during summer week-ends.

A chlorine filtration system that he water supply was implemented in 1991 at a cost of $1.8 million.

The last time the lake was closed was 2004, due to flooding.

In the 2018 season, Sikome Lake generated $227,334. This revenue comes from passes as well as swimming lessons and concession sales.

In 2019, the NDP government started charging enterance fees to get in.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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UCP creates $10 million corporate welfare program to fight global warming

The Alberta government has created a new program funded through the province’s carbon tax.

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Albeta’s UCP government has launched another multi-million corporate welfare program – this time spending $10 million on three projects funded through the provincial carbon tax.

The government said Wednesday that $3 million will be given to the Sundre Petroleum Operators Group (SPOG) to test the viability of methane emissions reduction technology, saying that improvements could enhance the accuracy of finding methane emission leaks at a lower cost. 

The government also gave the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) $5-million to develop artificial intelligence capabilities that could help companies identify emission reductions opportunities.

Finally, it will give $2 million to the Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada (PTAC) to conduct applied research that could improve oil and gas sector methane emission management and control, while also reducing costs to industry. 

“Last year, when we introduced TIER, we said we would help job creators reduce their emissions by making investments in technology and research,” said Environment Minister Jason Nixon in a statement.

TIER (Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction Regulation) is the new name given to Alberta’s carbon tax to replace the NDP’s “Climate Action Plan”.

“Today’s announcement is an example of that, and helps further our position as a global leader in technology-driven environmentally responsible development. These programs will help industry identify, track, measure and ultimately reduce emissions. They will also ensure we maintain our competitive edge while creating jobs and economic growth for Alberta.”

The UCP platform broadly committed to ending corporate welfare subsidies.

“Premier Jason Kenney needs to get back to doing good work on reducing taxes for everyone and stop picking winners and losers,” said Franco Terrazzano, Alberta Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. 

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Calgary cops identify suspects in hate crime attack

“It is shocking to see anyone targeted for a crime because of a personal characteristic, but it is extremely disturbing to see the same community targeted three times in one weekend,” said Sgt. Arlene Padnivelan,

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Calgary copssay they have identified two men who attacked a same sex couple as they strolled down a northwest street.

It was one of three attacks over the weekend against members of Calgary’s LGBTQ2S+ community.

The incident occurred around 5:30 p.m., on Monday, as a same-sex couple was walking near the intersection of 9 St. and Memorial Dr. N.W., when two men and two women on electronic scooters approached them, police said.

“An altercation occurred and it is believed the two men on scooters assaulted the couple because of their sexual orientation. A belt, rocks and a recycling bin were used as weapons and then the group fled,” said police in a press released.

Suspects wanted in connection with a same sex attack
Courtesy Calgary Police Service

“Our officers arrived shortly after and searched the area but could not locate the group. The victims received medical care for non-life-threatening injuries.”

The two suspects are both described as being about 30 years old, average height and build, with trim black beards and short black hair. The one was wearing black framed glasses, white polo shirt, dark pants, brown loafers, and white socks. The other was wearing a grey polo shirt with white collar and sleeves, grey pants, and white runners.

Police said Wednesday morning the suspects had been identified and the investigation continues.

The first incident happened when man was assaulted near the intersection of 17 Ave. and 12 St. in the middle of the day on Friday. It is alleged that a group of men attacked the victim while calling him homophobic slurs and then fled.

The second incident occurred around 1 p.m. on Saturday on the Rainbow Crosswalk at the intersection of Centre St. and Stephen Avenue Mall. A Drag King recording a video was spat on by an unknown man walking past. The incident is now being investigated and video and CCTV footage is being collected by us to help identify the man responsible, said police.

“It is shocking to see anyone targeted for a crime because of a personal characteristic, but it is extremely disturbing to see the same community targeted three times in one weekend,” said Sgt. Arlene Padnivelan, with the Calgary Police Service Diversity Resource Team.

“It is unacceptable that this is happening and we will absolutely investigate anytime a crime is motivated by hate or bias.”

Police encourage anyone who has been targeted for ill treatment or a crime because of their sexual orientation, gender, race, religion or some other similar trait to report it.

“We fully recognize that sometimes people do not want to involve the police or don’t feel comfortable coming to us for help,” said Padnivelan.

“We respect the wishes of those who are most affected by the incident and never force a victim to participate in a police investigation. However, if there is a way we can help make a person feel safe enough to come forward, we want to try do that.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Mountain guide trashes Alberta litterbugs

“There was more trash left on the ground after every weekend than ever before,” said guide Michael Vincent

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A Lake Louise mountain guide is trashing Albertans for the amount of garbage they are leaving behind in the mountain parks.

Michael Vincent, a 25-year veteran guide, said in a Facebook post he has noticed the problem has been getting worse, with the tipping point coming the last weekend with the Heritage Day holiday.

“As you all may know, long weekends in summer are traditionally VERY busy at the most famous lake in Canada,” he tweeted.

“This years is no exception…even with COVID there are thousands of visitors per day. The difference this year is who they are: 99.9 per cent Canadians because no one else can get here. Of those, 90 per cent are Albertans. At first, I loved the fact Albertans were enjoying their own backyard more than ever before…what a place to be trapped.

“And then we started to notice a change…there was more trash left on the ground after every weekend than ever before.

“Today I was shocked…this is one day of litter from one of the most popular hikes in the area, Lake Agnes. The staff at the tea house gave me some gloves and a bag so I could pick it up on the way down. Thanks to my guests for helping me spot all the trash.”

After seeing the picture on Twitter, Alberta Parks Minister Jason Nixon lashed out at the litterbugs.

“This occurred in a nat’l park, but it’s a critical reminder to all Albertans to leave the land better than you found it — in our nat’l parks, provincial parks & public lands. Our backyard is beautiful. Let’s keep it that way,” Nixon tweet.

“We’ve stepped up enforcement and added garbages and portable toilets in parks & on public lands but folks need to make better choices. It would be a shame if a few careless ppl ruined it for the rest of us.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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