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Canada Day 2005 —
Bruderheim, a nice small town of just over 1,200 inhabitants — Unfortunately, its infrastructure appears to be crumbling
Update 2005 08 03: The water at that intersection can now run off through the ditch there. The ditch got graded to get rid of the nasty hump that blocked the water from running off properly. (Photo and full story)
Bruderheim is a typical prairie town. Like any
other prairie town it has a problem with crystal meth. Unofficial sources state that there are nine crack houses in
A while ago we had a mother and one of her sons
visit us. They told us that the son had just successfully
finished a rehabilitation program to cure his crystal-meth
addiction. He became addicted when he did nothing more than
smoke a little pot. The dealer who had provided him with the
pot had mixed in crystal meth to make sure his customer would be a
steady one and return often.
The young man then in short order proceeded from buying and smoking
pot to buying and smoking crystal meth until he no longer functioned
well enough to hold a job. He is cured, doing fine now and
once again holds a steady, full-time job.
faces of crystal
meth (4.5 MB wmv file) are not the faces of Bruderheim residents, but they are
typical of some known in Bruderheim. If you think that you need help, check out
Crystal Meth Anonymous.
Turning Liabilities into Assets
The Rail Motel
The Genier House
That link will take you out of this website, but it will lead you to a very
good source of information for identifying weeds in lawns, for controlling
them and on how to create a healthy lawn that will prevent weeds from
becoming established. The website contains a very good index to
individual web pages with descriptions and excellent photos of many weeds
that are common in our area. The pages for each variety of weed also
contain recommendations as to what to do to avoid having the weed establish
itself and on what to do to get rid of the weed if it should be present.
The proposed sulphur storage facility envisioned to be constructed between Bruderheim and Lamont is
a bad idea.
Ideas on what to do to attract more people that wish to live in Bruderheim
By Walter Schneider
Although we have had the same Bruderheim mailing address and phone number since the year 1973, it took us until the year 2004 before we were able to move from our farm to the town of Bruderheim, Alberta, 8.5 miles from the location of our farm. We enjoy our new house (actually an older one that needs a few repairs and some landscaping) and life in Bruderheim. Since the time we moved here we met quite a few people and got to know better a lot whom we previously more or less knew only by sight.
There are many people in Bruderheim that take a very active interest in their community; and the beauty of many gardens and flowers in the summer is something to behold.
Earlier in 2004, just before we moved into Town, a consulting firm had been hired by the Town of Bruderheim. The firm asked for and collected input on what could be done to make Bruderheim a vibrant and growing community. After all, cities like Edmonton, Calgary or even Fort Saskatchewan once were little towns no bigger than Bruderheim is right now. Bruderheim was once a bit bigger, if not in size but in population. Families had more children than they have now, and at that time Bruderheim even had a junior high school.
A few years ago the junior high school got closed due to declining enrolment. Of course, a somewhat contributing factor is the reality of an ageing population in Bruderheim itself and in the rural community surrounding Bruderheim. Few farm families now have children of school age. The average number of children per family has been declining over the years in Bruderheim, too. That average number of children per family has long ago dropped far below the point where a community can maintain its population, even if all of them would stay in town after they grow up. Most of the children raised here move away.
The average age of Canadian farmers stands at about 67 years. Few, if any, of the roughly 247,000 annual immigrants (short by about 50,000 from the federal government's annual target of one percent of Canada's residential population) from underdeveloped nations to Canada settle in rural areas, and why should they? The Canadian governments are hell-bent for leather to eradicate farming as a viable industry. It appears that their primary objective, the implementation of the program for the eradication of the human race whose presence many see as a malignant infestation on the face of Gaia has a good start by giving Canada's ruralities back to the coyotes.
In view of those long-term developments it is not too surprising that early in 2005 there was a very serious threat that the Town of Bruderheim would lose its public school. Kindergarten to Grade VI are being taught in that school. The authorities alleged that there has been a declining enrolment of students, even though there is a fairly large and greatly increased enrolment of students in kindergarten, with those students of course being prospective students for the Bruderheim Public School, Grades I to VI.
Moreover, whether it was done out of ignorance or with malice, the report produced by the Elk Island district school administration contained a number of seriously misleading flaws. One of those was that the annual decreases in student enrolment shown in the report were indicated by the actual numbers of the reductions, but those numbers had percent signs appended to them, which made those numbers look far worse than they truly were. Others were false and misleading figures that misrepresented where Bruderheim is located, how many miles students from Bruderheim would have to be bused to nearby schools, and the costs for the busing of students that was based on those factors.
A truly outrageous distortion comprised an estimate of school operating costs and the alleged savings that could be had if the school were to be closed. One of the factors that the report's recommendation was based on, for example, showed escalating floor space used per student over the years. Yet, the largest influence for that is the fact that the portable classrooms that had been added to the school to accommodate its relatively large number of students a few years ago, when it still taught junior high school classes, had not been removed for use elsewhere, and that the Elk Island school district administration's report had not allowed for moving those portable buildings elsewhere for re-use.
The report is so misleading that even a junior lawyer would have no problem with making a case for the Elk Island School Board having been involved in a serious case of dereliction of duties in relation to exercising due diligence, and I said so at the public meeting of over 400 citizens of Bruderheim that showed up to meet with the Elk Island School Board.
The closure of the public school in a small town is generally a major last step and milestone to that town's ultimate decline and eventual demise into being a ghost town. Bruderheim already lost many of its businesses and reached the point where it is difficult to establish viable new ones.
Once there were three blacksmith shops, a whole row of grain elevators, a cheese factory that was famous for producing some of the best cheddar cheese in Canada (it won the gold medal at the CNE in Toronto, out of more than 90 entries), a number of restaurants, coffee shops and stores, a feed mill and even a real old-fashioned windmill (that is now on display in Heritage Park in Calgary).
The major asset of Bruderheim now is no longer that it is a service center for agriculture, but that it is in an ideal location for families with workers in the not-so-distant oil refineries in Fort Saskatchewan, in the existing chemical and assembly plants, and in the refineries and up-graders yet to be built in short order in the counties of Strathcona and Lamont. Many people in Bruderheim work in Fort McMurray at the various tar-sands projects and related jobs. Moreover, a number of refinery projects and crude-oil up-grader expansion projects have been announced and will provide employment for many thousands of workers for years to come, close by.
For anyone having to commute daily to such jobs, commuting to them from Bruderheim is a breeze: A few miles of highway travel, no traffic lights, and a few minutes later, in no more than about a quarter hour, one is either home or on the job.
A good number of people showed great interest in keeping the Bruderheim Public School open, made a good case for keeping it open, and convinced the Elk Island District School Board to decide in its hearing on March 17, 2005 to do just that.
However, for that to succeed and to address the concerns expressed at the community consultations last year as to how to attract more families — families of seniors and families with children or planning to have children — to come to Bruderheim and settle here, a little extra is required.
Maybe that is what Bruderheim is doing, but one has to wonder.
Next page: Garbage dumps in town.