ELK POINT – Elk Point started off the second half of the year with optimism, as COVID-19 regulations were reduced and everyone was ready to enjoy summer outings and activities they had eagerly awaited during the winter and spring.
With very short notice about Alberta would be “open for summer,” volunteers in Elk Point rapidly put together a pancake breakfast enjoyed by an estimated 500-plus area residents and a parade that included a tribute to those who lost their lives at residential schools, while Magic Pizza’s 150 complimentary pizzas and pasta went home with happy recipients in just 14 minutes.
The Tunes and Tailgates Concert, postponed from early May, proved to be a huge success as a fundraiser for the 2nd Chance Trail Ride Society and its support for organ and tissue transplant recipients.
A jump in gas prices made Elk Point town council rescind their earlier decision to purchase a gas-powered pickup rather than a hybrid, despite the hike in prices of the gas-powered option, when council met in person for the first time since March 2020.
Seven decades of tradition continued at Ferguson Flats, with fun, games and hot dogs roasted around a fire pit at the community’s annual family picnic, the evening wrapping up with an outdoor family movie.
United Church Camp Whitney reported that they had hosted three weeks of very successful day camps, bringing participants from as far away as Vegreville.
It took more than a hour-long downpour of much needed rain to stop the fun at Elk Point and District Chamber of Commerce first-ever Heritage Days, with the parade completed before the storm rolled in and clearing skies welcoming back the tire burnout, entertainment featuring local talent and fantastic fireworks.
Two Town of Elk Point councillors delivered public apologies and acknowledged their breach of the Code of Conduct after the town received a complaint over remarks made at council meetings in February and June.
Brothers Tyson and Darcy Stafford were declared the 2021 champions at the 37th Annual Elk Point Oilmen’s Golf Tournament, with first-time competitors Charlie Rogal and Nick Anderson coming a close second.
A second hat was in the mayoral ring as Parrish Tung, mayor of Elk Point from 2004 to 2017, announced his intention to return to the town’s leadership.
The faded and largely unnoticed sign along Highway 41 at the south entrance to Elk Point was replaced by a bright new sign urging those who see it to ‘Put your money where your heart is: Support Local’. The sign is part of the Elk Point and District Chamber of Commerce’s campaign to keep the community’s economy growing.
Elk Point and District Lions Club opened their Memorial Park, home of a fishpond stocked with trout earlier in the year, and created from the former town water reservoir to the public, with excellent response from the public, who were eager to enjoy the new attraction.
The Town of Elk Point amended their utility bylaw to end issues with long weekend billing, after water meters read after the August long weekend sent the July billing over the basic amount and added to the month’s charges, impacting residents who keep a close eye on their water consumption to stay within the basic amount.
F. G. Miller High School students had the opportunity to cast their ballots in the Student Vote Canada, with over 57 per cent voting to return incumbent Member of Parliament Shannon Stubbs to the Lakeland riding’s seat in Ottawa.
Town of Elk Point and County of St. Paul Division 2 candidates were given the opportunity to present their platforms and answer questions in an online election forum hosted by the Elk Point Chamber of Commerce, with Division 1 Coun. Darrell Younghans elected by acclamation.
Both sets of candidates faced questions on their volunteering history as well as their thoughts on municipal spending and Internet speed, the latter being a major issue for both town and rural voters.
Elk Point Avalanche hit the ice with an eight-game weekend, with a brand new U15 goalie, Alex Patterson, shutting out the Lac La Biche Clippers in the very first home game of the season, and sports writer Doug Bassett back in his happy place, the announcer’s box.
Parrish Tung was returned to the Elk Point mayor’s chair after a vote recount gave him just a one-vote margin over former councillor Terri Hampson, with incumbents Dwayne Yaremkevich and Tim Smereka joined by newcomers Wanda Cochrane and Jason Boorse on the new council.
Elk Point’s newly elected council was sworn in individually before they met for the first time via ZOOM at their lengthy organizational meeting, where they learned the roles and responsibilities that go along with their positions.
Elk Point and District Chamber of Commerce announced the expansion of their Shop Local week to two weeks that included three Fridays with special activities, as a wrap-up to the campaign started earlier in the year when the chamber received a sizeable grant administered by the Alberta Chamber of Commerce to encourage area residents to support their own communities with shopping and utilizing local services.
A Canadian Forces fighter jet flyover was a special part of Remembrance Day observances at the Elk Point Cenotaph, where Mayor Parrish Tung and Royal Canadian Legion member Roger Freeman formed a reviewing party as a parade led by bagpiper Merrick Fenton and scarlet coated RCMP marched past prior to the wreath laying ceremony.
Mona Bristow was recognized for her many years of 4-H involvement, ranging from project and assistant general leadership to district council president, when she received the Northeast Alberta 4-H Award of Distinction, with Elk Point 4-H Beef Club members and parents adding their congratulations at the club’s weigh day.
Santa Claus paid a surprise visit to the families attending the Forest of Lights light-up, where everyone enjoyed hot dogs and hot chocolate as they took in the colorful spectacle of 24 trees lined up between the EcoCentre and the nearby cabin.
Town council made short work of their interim 2022 operating and capital budgets at a special meeting, but turned down funding for St. Paul Education Regional Division’s Family School Liaison Worker for a sixth time.
Elk Point’s Winter Wonderland Parade was back after last year’s cancellation, and although shorter than some years, the bright and beautiful cavalcade was enjoyed by both those in the downtown area and those who watched from the seniors’ residences along the route.
The third Friday of the chamber’s Shop Local campaign saw the Shop Local grand prize of more than $600 in gift cards and certificates from local businesses won by Gloria Lecopoy, the $375 Eat Local prize go to Kara Herman and the $200 Enjoy Local prize won by Amanda Vaters, with the winners of a long list of subsidiary prizes also drawn for by the chamber’s executive elves, Jordan and Aurora Van der Hoek.
While the Jack and Jill Playschool Christmas concert went ahead in person with parents in attendance, Elk Point Elementary School’s concert went virtual for a second year, this time taking viewers all the way back to an earlier form of virtual entertainment - a radio show put together by snowed-in announcers and performers.
The County of St. Paul and Elk Point FCSS, donors and volunteers assisting with the Community Lions of Elk Point Santas Anonymous campaign and Elk Point Municipal Library all did their best to ensure that Elk Point and area residents wound up 2021 with a memorable festive season.