Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 17, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Town welcomed meat packer with open arms By TERRY McDONALD Herald Staff Writer Third of a series Copyright 1974 The Lethbndge Herald To the Fort Macleod town council last summer, Larry Paletta looked like boom times personified. The Eastern Canadian wheeler-dealer meat packer wanted to build a packing plant that would employ over 200 persons in the town, 33 miles west of Lethbridge. That 'could mean a population increase of perhaps considering the families of the workers and the spinoff services which would be attracted to the town. The plant would cost million and would pay taxes equal to about one-fifth the en- tire community. One town official voiced the sentiments of most of the council- "Hell, we'd have given him the land he wanted just to get him The official word given Friday before legal advisers suggested town officials withhold statements to the media for the time being is that the town and Mr. Paletta are continuing down the road to boom times together, regardless of Herald dis- closures that police feel the meat packer is linked to organized crime and Montreal underworld financier Willie Obront. Where did the journey down that road begin' KEN HURLBURT Good reception Fort Macleod Mayor Charlie Edgar says Mr. Paletta wanted to build a plant in the west and approached MPs in Ot- tawa Lethbndge MP Ken Hurlburt, whose riding includes Fort Macleod, "gave him a good reception" and the packer took up the MP's invitation to tour the area, settling on Fort Macleod. Mr. Hurlburt tells it a little differently. He says Mr. Paletta first went to agriculture officials in Ot- tawa who referred him to provincial agriculture people in Ed- monton Alberta agriculture marketing specialist Harry Hargrave referred the packer to "Ken Hurlburt and he'd take him on a the MP told The Herald in an Oct 14 interview at his Fort Macleod home. Mr Paletta contacted Mr Hurlburt and, sure enough, the Montreal packer was given a grand tour of the constituency. "I took him around the the MP said The loop includ- ed Lethbridge, Magrath, Cardston, Pincher Creek and back to Fort Macleod Mr. Hurlburt also entertained Mr Paletta and his family for a long weekend at Waterton Lakes National Park. The meat packer was impressed with the area, especially Fort Macleod. A piece of land east across Highway 3 from the Fort Macleod Auction Market caught the packer's eye, says Mr Hurlburt. The MP then introduced Mr Paletta to town council and, feeling his job was completed, left the packer to work out the deal with council. Town secretary-treasurer Roy White says he first learned of Mr. Paletta in a phone call from Mr. Hurlburt late last summer. "He called in on a Saturday and said 'I got a real deal for you Mr White agreed the deal sounded interesting. The council began talks with Mr. Paletta and his lawyer, Donald Cooper, of Hamilton, Ont., knowing the packer was looking at at least two other communities Claresholm was one, say Mayor Edgar and Mr. White. The mayor thinks the other was Kamloops and Mr. White thinks it was Cranbrook. Mr. Paletta definitely had his sights set on the tear-drop shaped 70-acre parcel of town land across from the auction market. Mr. White recalls explaining that it would be ideal if an underpass could be built from the auction market to the packing plant so cattle could be trotted over to holding area after being purchased at the market Mr. Paletta came on strong and the council was impressed. He was eager to get the project going and talked of still more projects if the packing plant worked out. And the way the packer talked, no one doubted it would work out, Mr. White recalls. Quick agreement The town and the meat packer quickly came to an agree- ment over the The town would sell it for an acre. A cheque from Mr. Paletta was soon in the town's hands, says Mr. White. The two sides also came to an agreement on more town land Mr Paletta wanted to take a three-year option on but not quite as easily as the plant site. The packer was eyeing another 360 acres, most of it in a parcel west of the auction market. But ii also included a little chunk, about 10 blocks square, near the airport which is west of the main part of town. The smaller chunk happens to be directly adjacent to the route worked out with the town several years ago the provincial highways department says it intends to build a new highway bypassing Fort Macleod's business centre if the traffic flow in the next few years warrants it The proposed route also passes through the larger 360-acre parcel. When talk on the option land got serious, Mr Paletta spell- ed out a little more clearly what future developments he had in mind for the town He mentioned a tannery and said he would like to build the homes that will be needed when his meat pack- ing plant attracts new families to Fort Macleod. That little chunk of land might be a good location for a shopping centre if the highway bypass is built, he told the town. Most of the land Mr. Paletta wanted the option on is zoned for agricultural use. But, in fact, says Bill Hickman, a planner for the Oldman River Regional Planning Commission, it is nearly worthless as agricultural land. It is, however, potentially valuable for commercial development, he advised the town And he thought the town should ask an acre for the little chunk that might some- day have a shopping centre on it. Council listened to the figure and mulled it for a few minutes while the meat packer and his lawyer waited in another room. Council emerged and put the price tag before the packer. Mr. Paletta didn't have to mull it at all. He immediately stood, walked around the room and shook hands with everybody telling them "it was nice knowing the mayor recalls. "Then he walked right out of the Mayor Edgar told The Herald. Either Mr. Paletta was pulling the biggest bluff the mayor had ever seen or he was really saying goodbye. And council members, with thoughts of the big boom dancing in their minds, weren't about to take a chance and call the bluff. Meat Packer: Continued on Page 5 The LetHbridge Herald LXVIII-6 LETHBRIDQE, ALBERTA, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 1974 15 Cents BILL GROENEN photo FORT MACLEOD PACKING PLANT, HIGHWAY PROPOSAL ACCORDING TO OLDMAN RIVER REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION Rhodesia majority rule seen in 5 years Council rejects name proposal City council was treated to a 20 minute dissertation on pioneer values by a former alderman Monday, who ex- horted council to take advan- tage of a "once in a lifetime situation Urging council to make full use of the names of pioneers whenever the opportunity presented itself, E S. Vaselenak, 66, an alderman from 1957-67 and currently a separate school trustee, attempted to instill in aldermen a sense of history It didn't work, or at least not in the way he intended. Council voted 5-4 against a resolution submitted by Aid Tony Tobin to set up a com- mittee of residents, one alderman and a city staff member to name neighborhoods and un- designated streets, roads and facilities after locaLpioneers In favor were Aldermen, Tobin, Bill Cousins, Bob Tarleck and Don Le Baron. Opposed were Mayor Andy Anderson, Deputy Mayor Vera Ferguson, and Aldermen Vaughan Hembroff, Cam Barnes, and Bill Kergan "It's just asking for a lot of said Aid Kergan. "It would be giving this council an almost impossible task, because you are going to miss he said Inside 64 Pages Classified.......20-23 Comics............10 Markets...........24 Theatres............7 TV............6 Weather............3 LOW TONIGHT 25; HIGH WED. 30; CLOUDY, COOLER. SALISBURY (AFP) Political sources here claim Prime Minister John Vorster of South Africa has devised a plan acceptable to Rhodesian African nationalists that would result in African ma- jority rule within five years The plan, the sources said, was received enthusiastically by Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, who successfully urged Rhodesian nationalists to enter new negotiations on the Rhode- sian problem. The sources said the nation- alists accepted the plan with reservations, but agreed to adopt it as a basis for negotia- tions at the constitutional con- ference early next year. Under the plan, Rhodesian voting qualifications would be dropped to seven years primary education plus one year in high school. This would immediately bring between and Africans on to a common voters roll. The plan would not result in immediate majority rule, the sources said, because most Africans with the "seven-plus- one" qualification lived in ur- ban areas where they would be outnumbered by white voters, now numbering Depending on the way con- stituencies were drawn up, whites would retain control for the lifetime of one five years. But, with the increase in African voting strength during that time, control of the country would pass into black hands at the next general election in five years. Rhodesian government sources have rejected the sug- gestion that such a plan could, or will, form the basis of dis- cussion at a constitutional conference. "This is pure they .said. They said that no such plan had emerged from recent negotiations and pointed to Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith's pledge that he will not accept a lowering of stan- dards "Such speculation has dam- aged settlement prospects in the past and it is in danger of doing the same this time." But political sources here are adamant that the plan was drawn up by Vorster, adding that it was unlikely that the South African leaders had sub- mitted it to President Kaunda without showing it first to Smith Missing MP not a LONDON (Reuter) Prime Minister Harold Wilson today denied allegations that John Stonehouse, the former British cabinet minister who vanished mysteriously on a Florida beach, had been spying either for the United States or the Communists Wilson told the House of Commons there was no truth to press reports that were published "in the form of alleged fact" Wilson was replying to press reports that Stonehouse, a former aviation minister and minister of communications in a previous Labor government, had been named as a spy for the Czechoslovak intelligence network. There have also been suggestions by a Labor member of Parliament, Tom Litterick, that Stonehouse had been working for the U.S Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Stonehouse, 49, disappeared Nov. 20 after leaving his Miami hotel and announcing he was going for a swim At first accidental drowning was presumed. But the body did not surface along the shoreline where tides are noted for returning their victims to dry land. In subsequent days, speculation gathered over the many business interests pursued by Stonehouse since he quit the front ranks of government in 1970. Then today The Times and the tabloid Daily Mirror reported that Stonehouse had been named as a contact of Communist intelligence by Josef Frohk, a Czechoslovak official who defected to the West in 1969 Wilson said the Frolik allegations were investigated by security authorities at the time and proved to be groundless Commons redistribution bill gets final approval vote OTTAWA (CP) Final Commons approval was given Monday night to a bill that will lead to a 282-seat House, Seen and heard About town Lethbridge West Socred president Gerald Waldern attempting to track down fic- titious author Ada Grundge for her letter critical of a speech on the birth control centre by MLA Dick Gruenwald A prayer: help us help them We're not good enough for this job. We need help We've got to get this story over, somehow. It's the Cup of Milk story. Just as sure as the wind blows in Lethbridge, the children are dying in Bangladesh. How can we make people understand? We're not too smart. We don't understand the experts when they say they question whether man can prevent widespread starvation. We do know, that we must have faith. We know, God, that you care for even the smallest sparrow. And we know that you care for them, and for us. Help us, to overcome our cynic ism. We pray that we will under- stand. We want to help these children. Help us to understand. No, we don't care how much they give. But we want them to understand that we need their help, that we are asking for their help. We are asking because the children who need the food won't be heard unless we ask for them Dear God, give us this day our daily food. And help us to share this gift you give with our brothers in Bahgladesh We know they are your children too We pray, this Christmas, that we may do our small part, in our small corner, so that their suffering will be eased. Help us to help them. Contributors' list on Page 3 the largest ever, in about four years. The bill to redistribute seats and add 17 MPs in the next election, expected in 1978, ended its sometimes turbulent passage through the Com- mons on an uneventful voice vote Its provisions, plus the promised addition of a second Northwest Territories MP, would expand the 264-seat Commons to 282 seats. Senate approval and routine royal as- sent are needed for the bill to become law. The current House is not the largest so far. It is one seat smaller now than it was be- tween 1953 and 1968. Ontario and British Colum- bia would be the big winners in the redistribution, gaining an additional seven and five seats, respectively. Alberta would get two more MPs and Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan one each. It was the B.C. and Alberta representation that led to the biggest controversy over the bill. Some Progressive Con- servatives threatened to block it unless the two provinces got more seats than originally proposed. The Alberta and B.C. Con- servatives eventually won an extra seat each for their prov- inces, convincing the govern- ment that its original proposal did not take into account their fast-growing populations. There now are 15 available desks in the House and three a total of fit in easily for the next redist- ribution, based on population figures from the 1971 census However, subsequent expan- sion of the Commons after the next election might force adoption of a bench system such as is used in the 630-seat British Commons. No Herald Christmas The Herald will not publish Dec. 25 and 26, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Advertisers should make note of the following deadlines over the holiday period. Ads to appear Monday, Dec. 23, or Tuesday, Dec. 24, must be received by 5 p.m Thur- sday, Dec. 19. Ads for Friday, Dec. 27, will be accepted until 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, and for Saturday, Dec. 28, until 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 23. Ads for Monday, Dec. 30, must be in before noon Tuesday, Dec. 24. Classified advertisements taken up to a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24, will appear Friday, Dec. 27.