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Saturday , 24 July 2021
An aerial picture of the Moose Lake wildfire in 2019, which would be a situation this app would alert residents of: M.D. of Bonnyville.

The Top Stories of 2019

An aerial picture of the Moose Lake wildfire taken from a helicopter, supplied by the M.D. of Bonnyville.

The news is how we connect with our community, connect with the struggles and triumphs of our peers and to be aware and safe in our homes.

Getting the best information is what we all want and we hope in 2020 you continue to read us, share us and engage with us to make the Lakeland a more connected place to live.

Here are some of the stories from the past year that caught our eye.

CNRL nearly shuts-in ECHO pipeline, thousands of people continue work

In late January, the province’s curtailment formula was the subject of scrutiny for CNRL who said they’d have to shut-in the ECHO pipeline, the main transport of heavy oil through the Lakeland region.

The story received national attention in the Edmonton Journal, Global News, and Globe and Mail, before the province elected to change the formula and CNRL kept anywhere from 1000-2400 employed.

The Alberta government continues to use the curtailment formula to drive up the price of Canadian crude oil.

Wildfire eats up 110 hectares near Moose Lake

On June 3rd a wildfire broke out south of Franchere Bay that quickly spread to 110 hectares within a few hours.

Up to 100 Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority firefighters quickly responded and battled to contain the blaze while waterbombers in the skies worked from above.

Within three days the fire was extinguished.

ID 349 money up for debate

The new provincial government is changing the ID 349 formula again, which currently leaves Bonnyville, Cold Lake, M.D. of Bonnyville, Glendon, Fishing Lake Metis Settlement, and Elizabeth Metis Settlement without their 2019 money and an uncertain financial future.

Both Bonnyville and Cold Lake will need to get creative if the money they receive is less than they anticipate, which could mean elevated taxes or fewer capital projects and services.

A decision was anticipated before the end of 2019, but has not arrived.

Bonnyville bust totals $1 million in value

A cross-provincial drug trafficking network with arms in Bonnyville was ousted in the summer of 2019.

Project Embrace began in October of 2018 and led to eight people from Bonnyville being arrested.

Police seized 6.5 kilograms of cocaine, 2 kilograms of meth, 18 kilograms of cocaine buffering agent, nearly $350,000 cash and a 2007 Volvo.

RCMP detachments from across the Lakeland, including Bonnyville, Cold Lake, St. Paul, Elk Point, Kitscoty, and Lloydminster assisted in the ALERT investigation.

Albertans hit the polls

A pair of elections changed the makeup of provincial and federal governments. However, the local representation stayed the same for the most part.

MLA David Hanson was re-elected for a second term, his first in the newly formed Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul riding. Previously, he represented the Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills area under the Wildrose and United Conservative Party.

Meanwhile, Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs walked away with a repeat election, earning the largest share of the vote ever by a female politician in Canadian political history. Fort McMurray-Cold Lake MP David Yurdiga also returned for a second term.

Bonnyville Pontiacs break franchise record for wins

It was the most successful regular season in Bonnyville Pontiacs history. The Yaks, lead by captain Grayson Constable, won 41 of 60 games, finishing second place in the AJHL North Division.

That broke the previous record of 40 wins set in 2015-16.

However, that success stalled in the playoffs, as the Pontiacs were swept in the second round by the Spruce Grove Saints.

Cold Lake Wings grounded

The Cold Lake Wings folded after one season in the WSHL expansion league the WPHA.

The team was clouded with accusations of unpaid salaries, unfulfilled sponsorship contracts, and taking money from teenagers.

The WPHA broke away from the WSHL earlier in 2019.

Local film production brings stars to Lakeland

Locals Patty Srisuwan and Chris Cowden’s film Moments in Spacetime was shot and completed in 2019.

The movie was written and directed by Cowden while Srisuwan played the lead character Maisie opposite John Rhys-Davies.

Maisie tries to get in tune with her identity as a Taiwanese-Canadian while supporting her grandfather (Davies) who has dementia and finding love (Sam Gittins).

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.