Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 19, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
District The LetKbrtdge Herald Second Section Lethbridge, Alberta, Thursday, December 19, 1974 Pages 19-36 Potatoes spoiling in storage, loss could push prices higher Potatoes could cost more by February if losses in the stored product continue to mount, says Larry Jorgenson, outgoing secretary of the Alberta Potato Com- mission. In a telephone interview Wednesday, Mr. Jorgenson said frost damage across North America is starting to show up in stored potatoes. The large inventory of potatoes predicted during the harvest season will not be reached The actual amount of loss due to frost damage won't be known until after January But the predictions that North American potato supplies would be up 18 por cent compared with 1973 are going to be wrong Frost-bitten potatoes spoil in storage, he said. Alberta potato supplies are already down 15 to 25 per cent compared with 1973, but it is not affecting the domestic supply, he said. Fewer potatoes from Alberta are being shipped to Vancouver because of the drop in production. The price for potatoes in Alberta is not being affected because of the predicted surplus in North America. Once the actual potato supply situation is known, the price in Alberta will shift. LCC may construct million centre LCC tax may go unpaid The city is going to have dif- ficulty collecting a tax bill it claims the Lethbridge Community College owes on a science building that produces rental income for the in- stitute "We don't give our money away that College President C D Stewart observed following a closed meeting of the LCC board of governors Wednesday in which the tax claim was dis- cussed. He expressed confidence of a decision in the college's favor if it has to bring the tax claim before the provincial court of revision. Under Alberta law, most educational institutions are exempt from local property taxes. However, the city claims the LCC science building is taxable because the majority of its space is being rented to the provincial departments of the environment, agriculture and education The revenue gained from the building is used for educational purposes, Dr. Stewart pointed out The college is also going to appeal a property tax assessment the city has levied against the old Fort Whoop- Up building. The college purchased the building in the spring of this year when it expanded its campus land holdings. It received approval this week to spend in 1975 to renovate the building as a students Union. "We may even get out of this the president said of the Fort Whoop-Up building tax assessment. By JEW GRANT Herald Staff Writer Architect's drawings of a physical education complex proposed for Lethbridge Com- munity College are to be sent to the provincial government today for review Cost of the project may reach million The college board of gover- nors discussed the drawings and proposal in a closed meeting Wednesday and agreed to obtain department of advanced education response to the proposal before making it public The proposed complex would provide a facility for all the needs the college has in the areas of physical educa- tion and athletics for years to come, The Herald was told. Several athletic and physical education facilities would be included in the com- plex but the major facilities proposed are a large gym- nasium and a swimming pool Also proposed for the im- mediate area of the complex is a track and ball field The proposal to be Shipments slow to trickle The movement of Canadian cattle to the United States has slow- ed to a trickle since were moved south Monday when the U.S. quota was re opened. Jim Betts, port diree- tor of customs at Sweetgrass, Mont, said this morning to 3 p m. Wednesday cattle were still eligible for movement to the U.S. under the import quota The U.S. restricts movement of all cattle except dairy and specified purebred cat- tle to eight per cent of the average shipments during the past five years presented to government is of a flexible design to permit construction of the complex in steps so facilities can be add- ed over a period of time The first step would involve construction of a large gym- nasium at a cost of about million Contacted Wednesday about the possibility of the college participating hi an agreement for the rental of the Sportsplex, LCC President C D. Stewart said "there is a definite possibility we may use some of the Sportsplex next fall After the 1975 Canada Winter Games are over, "we can begin talking to the city about rental of the Sportsplex for next year and the year he said However, he reiterated a statement made by college of- ficials several times during the past year, that the Sportsplex does not have the facilities to meet all LCC needs It is for that reason that the college board of governors agreed earlier this year to begin costing a sports com- plex of its own It is estimated some por- tions of the proposed physical education complex could be completed within about a year after the government approves construction Filipinos to carol for cup fund About 12 Filipino Canadians will sing Christmas carols in their langauge and English beginning Friday evening, to raise money for the Lethbndge Herald's Cup of Milk Fund. Flor Groenen says the group will sing songs and donate the proceeds to the fund They plan to sing door to door 2Vz hours each night and continue until Christmas Eve The first night they sing along 10th, llth, 12th and 13th Avenues N and at Rideau Court WESTCASTLE MANAGER DON McKIM WITH CASTLE MOUNTAIN SKI RUNS IN BACKGROUND BILL GROENEN photos 'Help us or buy us out' ski area officials plead Schmid refuses to bail out Westcastle Tickets unchallenged If you're over-parked, you're over-parked. That's the position the city is taking on its Parking Meter Bylaw, which council amended Monday to authorize the new meter rates put into effect last August The existing bylaw was in effect, only the rates were changed, said City Solicitor John Ham- mond So far, no tickets handed out during the past four months have been challenged, a spokesman for provin- cial court said Wednesday Publisher to speak at president's banquet The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce President's Ban- quet has been set for April 16 and will feature Edmonton publisher Mel Hurtig. Mr. Hurtig will speak on foreign ownership of land in Canada He is the former chairman of the Committee for an Independent Canada. Members' wives and other interested persons will be in- vited to the banquet In other business, Terry Royer requested Chamber support of a course at the Lethbridge Community College on how to start a business successfully. The course is to run 10 weeks for two hours per ses- sion starting Jan 22 Chamber Manager Mike Sutherland reported that Ag Expo, scheduled March 5, 6, 7 and 8 at the exhibition grounds, is "off and running." Dates for the annual meeting of the Alberta Chamber of Commerce were announced as June 8, 9 and 10. It will be held m Lethbndge Chamber President Cleve Hill announced merchants in both city malls and members of the Downtown Businessmen's Association have agreed to do what ever is required to promote the 1975 Canada Winter Games The only problem being en- countered by the merchants to date, said Mr Hill, is that they don't know what the Winter Games Society re- quires of them Many merchants have attended as many as four meetings with the society without finding out what they are required to do for the Winter Games The issue is being brought to the attention of Aid. Vera Ferguson Irrigation nears system limits in South By RUSSELL OUGHTRED Herald staff writer The provincial government should either help Westeastle cure its financial ills or buy the resort outnght, say two Westcastle of- ficials Culture, Youth and Recreation Minister Horst Schmid said Wednesday the provincial government has "done everything possible" to help the debt-ridden ski area Further financial assistance, Mr Schmid said in a telephone interview, is "not possible at all, in any way, shape or form Westcastle director Garth Turcott, a Pincher Creek lawyer and former MLA for Pmcher Creek Crowsnest, said Westcastle directors will meet Monday m Calgary with Fred Peacock, minister of industry and com- merce, to discuss the resort's long history of financial problems He said Westcastle's facilities, built large- ly with investment from Pincher Creek residents, "must be carried on for Southern Alberta "Needed in South' "If we can't handle Westcastle as a local group, it's important enough to Southern Alberta that the government should make it a provincial recreation Mr. Turcott said Westcastle manager Dan McKim said in a recent Herald interview that government ownership of the resort will be inevitable if provincial authorities continue to balk at Westcastle's requests for re-financing. Whether the provincial government buys Westcastle or watches the resort go bankrupt, it will still end up owning the ski area, he said. Alberta Opportunity Company, the resort's largest single creditor, loaned Westcastle in 1971 Mr McKim, entering his fifth season as manager of the resort, 28 miles west of Pincher Creek, said the province has "no policy to follow in dealing with ski areas." "If the government doesn't encourage this industry, then it better do the job itself. "If not, it will always have someone like us camped on their the resort manager said He told The Herald the province could justify its purchase of Westcastle with the eastern slopes land use report prepared by the Environment Conservation Authority The EGA report, recently released by the Irrigated land in Southern Alberta can not be efficiently expanded further and existing land must be kept in agricultural production, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce was told Wednesday. Jake Thiessen, manager of the St. Mary River Irrigation District, told 40 members of the Chamber board of directors a moratorium on irriga- ble land expansion has been placed on all but one of the 13 districts in the province. He said the capacity of canals used to take water from rivers and reservoirs to the land has been reached The only exception is the Bow River Project north of Vulcan. Because governments are slow to encourage expansion of new irriga- tion lands with costs ranging more than per acre for development, it is imperative that present irrigation lands be main- tained in agricultural production, he said. Mr. Thiessen said there are 000 acres of irrigaMeland in Alberta, 83 per cent of which is used annually for agricultural pioduction. The rest is maintained in summerfallow, canals, land levelling projects and some is lost due to water seepage. From the irrigable land in produc- tion, the gross returns to the economy of Southern Alberta in 1971 was The average gross return from all irrigable land was per acre, more than five times greater than returns from dryland operations near Medicine Hat tested the same year. In Southern Alberta, the climate, soil and water conditions in most of the irrigation area are ideal for food production. This land must be kept for agriculture to maintain good food production. He pointed to the shift of Marshall Auto Wreckers from city land to a 30-acre parcel north of the Lethbridge Research Station Mr. Thiessen said this parcel was prime agricultural land and it is now lost to agricultural production which could have returned per acre in gross income to the economy an- nually. He questioned the location of the lot for derelict vehicles on the irrigation land when less productive locations near the city were available at the time. He said if land use restrictions aren't introduced soon, the cor- ridor on Highway 3 from Lethbridge to Coaldale will be taken out of agricultural production as industry and housing developments expand. The land use restrictions are most needed near large centres such as Lethbridge and Medicine Hat where pressures are greatest to take land out of agricultural production The pressure from non-farm residents and industry is also driv- ing the price of agricultural land beyond the ability of farmers to buy, said Mr. Thiessen. Farmers ability to buy land is tied directly to the productive capacity of the land. He also scathed the authors of Alberta's new Planning 'Act. "Irrigation is not even in the vocabulary of the Planning said Mr. Thiessen. Special areas such as roads are cited for historical significance but irrigable lands, as important as they are to the economy, aren't men- tioned, he said. Users of irrigation reservoirs for recreational purposes were caution- ed to remember why these water storage facilities were built in the first place Mr Thiessen said reservoirs are needed for irrigation to be viable in Southern Alberta. They are used to allow a steady flow of water during the irrigation season that couldn't be maintained through natural river flows. The rivers of Southern Alberta have flows ranging throughout the year, from 200 cubic feet per second to cubic feet per second dur- ing flood peaks. The reservoirs store water during peak flows The only way for irrigation dis- tricts to maximize the use of reser- voirs is to take water from them when it is needed. This results in a fluctuating water level in the reser- voirs which conflicts with recreational uses Besides farmers, every town between 'Lethbridge and Medicine Hat depends on the reservoirs for their domestic water supplies "We are ready to co-operate with recreational users of he said. "But only if they don't insist the levels be maintained. That is im- possible." GARTH TURCOTT environment department, says tourist development on the slopes is "both a healthy and non-destructive, and in some cases, profitable use of the natural facilities provid- ed by the slopes The slopes report urges "provision be made outside national parks to relieve stresses and strains already apparent m the respect of tourist and non-tourist accommodation generated by national parks All-season resort Regarding Westcastle, the EGA report recommends "That Westcastle be encouraged to develop as an all-season recreational resort for the residents of Southern Alberta Westcastle has been alternately encourag- ed and discouraged by the province to develop year-round facilities When the resort negotiated its loan from AOC, the province gave its blessing to housing development and designated to be spent by Westcastle for servicing lots which Westcastle expected to let But once the had been spent, the departments of lands and forests interceded, banning development. Resort officials also fault AOC for under- financing Westcastle. The 1971 loan request was for AOC came through with all but the difference between solvency and bankruptcy "We'll give you enough to go broke on That's the province's commented one director Directors of the resort are also irked by the economic necessity of competing with other Alberta ski hills which are better-financed Marmot Basin, Mount Norquay and Lake Louise are receiving more help from the government than Westcastle, the director added Directors agree the resort has been under- financed since it opened Good winter Outstanding debts, some of which are two years old, total Last winter was but cost Westcas- tle Equipment and buildings depreciated The resort has no land to serve as security for re-financing because the ski area, inside the Bow Crow forest reserve, is leased from lands and forests Buildings and tows, which cost to erect over nine years, have depreciated in value by Even AOC's interest rate leaves room for improvement, Mr. McKim said. Those rates "are not as low as interest rates most ski areas are able to get in the United States." Mr. Turcott said Westcastle directors met Dec 13 with Pincher Creek Mayor Juan Teran and a member of the town's recreation board to discuss the resort's fate. The town has sent telegrams to the cabinet urging the province to, in Mr. Turcott's words, "intervene and get something going Wo way can help' Mr Schmid said his department has deter- mined "there is no way we can help Echoing remarks made earlier this month by Lands and Forests Minister Allan Warrack, Mr Schmid said the province has already helped the resort by sinking into iffipiuvemenUi iu the Beaver Mines Westcastle road and into an un- derground telephone cable from Pincher Creek to the ski hill. He said the cabinet has not discussed tak- ing over Westcastle, which, he said, must become a "paying proposition like any other business enterprise."