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COUNTY OF FORTY MILE No. 8 - Excerpts taken from the "Story of Rural Municipal Government in Alberta 1909 to1983" by the Association of the Municipal Districts and Counties
Contributed for use in Alberta Digital Archives by Darlene Homme
The following article is a brief history of the County of Forty Mile No. 8, and primarily of the four Rural Municipalities originally located within its present borders. They were the rural municipalities of: Flowery Plains No. 33, Burlington No. 34, Forty Mile No. 64, and Bow Island No. Q4. They were all instituted in January of 1913. No. 33 and No. 34 were composed of six councillors each, No. 64 and No. 94 of five councillors each.
The names of these Councillors, the official position some of them held, and the Secretary-Treasurer of these original M.D's were as follows:
FLOWERY PLAINS NO. 33
George Young -Reeve
Dolph Morris -Deputy Reeve
Harvey McKenzie -Secretary-Treas.
BURLINGTON NO. 34
Harold Jenson -Reeve
A.H. Donohue -Deupty Reeve
Austin Taylor -Secretary-Treas.
FORTY MILE NO.64
J. M. Gibson -Reeve
S. J. Elford -Deputy Reeve
J. N. Amblie
I. H. Walker
H.S. Henry -Secretary-Treas.
BOW ISLAND NO.94
J.W. Campbell -Reeve
A.E. Russell -Deputy Reeve
W. J. Gurrie
A.F. Herts -Secretary-Treas.
W.A. Bateman was acting Secretary for the Bow Island M. D. for January and February of 1913. The Councillors in all these IVlunicipal Districts were elected at large. M.D.'s No. 34, 64, and 94 were later divided into divisions for the election of Councillors, but No. 33 Flowery Plains elected at large until they were dissolved in 1925. In 1913, the Villages of Bow Island and Burdett and the hamlet of Foremost, were the only marketing points inside the four mentioned M.D.'s. Mary residents of the south portion of the M.D's of 33 and 34 were at this time using Warner, and in the eastern part, Seven Persons, as their marketing centres. At this time the C.P.R. line from Lethbridge to Manyberries, did not extend past Foremost. There were of course many rural post offices throughout the entire area and some small country stores, at different points whose supplies and mail came in overland from the west and north by freight teams and democrats. (Canadian)
Having laid the foundation for this history, I propose to give a short history of each of these four M.D.'s and their role in the formation of the County of Forty Mile No. 8, commencing with Flowery Plains. The records, of this M.D. prior to May of 1924 were burnt in a fire that destroyed the Young building in Etzikom, the municipal office being part of it. However, by reasearch and personal knowledge of the writer of this history, a little data is available. The first Council as shown in the introduction of this article held office until 1918. At this date the Councillors were George Weeks - Reeve, D. Morris - Deputy Reeve, J.W. Jackson, J. S. MacFarlane, George Bittorf and Win. Widdop. At a later date in 1920 W. F. Rabbitt replaced Mr. Widdop and that council carried on to the time of the fire. There is no trace of the minutes or records from July 1923 to May 1924. They disappeared with a defecting Secretary-Treasurer, Mr. Arthur Wooley, as well as certain funds. He was later brought to justice. In July of 1925, the Municipal District was placed in charge of an Official Administrator and the Council dissolved. He was Mr. A. D. Fidler of the Department of Municipal Affairs; he retained Mr. A. F. Honner, the Secretary-Treasurer of the M. D. as his assistant. Mr. Honner was replaced in February of 1926 by Mr. F. D. Jackson of Etzikom. In May of 1929, Mr. T. A. Reynar was appointed Secretary-Treasurer.
The books, records and office equipment were transferred to Foremost. Mr. A. D. Fidler, the Official Administrator, passed away in March of 1927, and was replaced by Mr. H.A. Kidney of the Department. He was followed in 1935 by Mr. R. B. Ritchie ana in 1941 by Mr. J. A. Potts. In August of 1940 Mr. J. M. McCaoe of Foremost replaced Mr. T. A. Reynar as Secretary of M. D. No. 33. Mr. McCabe at that time was appointed Secretary of M.D. No. 34 under Mr. Ritchie's administration, a joint office being used for both M.D.'s. In September of 1943 Mr. Angus W. Morrison became the Official Administrator of botl- M.D.'s and continued as such until the creation of Burlington Municipal District No. 2 on January 27, 1950, when a Council was elected that spring. The names of these Councillors will appear in this history.
To continue we now go back to the creation of the original District of Burlington No. 34. The first meeting of the Council of Burlington No. 34 was held in the residence of Mr. Harold Jensen. Their names were qiven at the beginning of Ills history. In March a motion was passed allowing Mr. Jensen $3.00 for house refit for each meeting held there, another motion made and passed, read: "The remuneration paid the members of the Council be the maximum allowed by the Municipal Districts Act." The mill rate was set at 11/4 mills, and remained there until 1916, when it was raised to 3 mills. In September of 1913 steps were taken to have a grade built across Etzikoin Coulee south of Foremost, and correspondence was entered into with the Honorable Mr. Leffingwell, M.L.A., for Government aid to the project. In November the district ~ivas divided into divisions for electoral purposes. In February of 1914 Doctor Duncan was appointed M.H.O. for No. 34 at a salary (retaining) of $200.00 per annum, including drugs to the amount of $50.00. Among many by-laws passed in 1914, one was No. 13, regulating moraliLy within the Municipality. Immorality, it would seen, did not need a by-law. By-law No. 8 covered peddlers and hawkers and a fee of $25.00 was set apart from the Provincial Tax. In January 1915 Mr. U. A. Wiltse was appointed Secretary-Treasurer and held that office until September of 1926 when the Council was dissolved and Mr. A. D. Fidler from the Department of Municipal Affairs became administrator and appointed T.A. Reynar as Secretary-Treasurer. In 1915 the office fixtures and furniture were moved to Foremost to the office of Mr. Wiltse, which was rented to the M.D. as its Municipal Office. The banking of the M.D. was done in Grassy Lake at the Union bank there. Later in 1915 quotations were called for street lights in the hamlet of Foremost for gasoline and/or kerosene. Also this fall the first steps were taken regarding well drilling machinery for water and gas wells. In 1916 Councillor Gerry Cooke resigned, and enlisted in the 175th Battalion, C.E.F. He was later commissioned and transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and was killed in a training flight mishap in 1917. W. G. Arnold of Foremost was appointed to fill out his term - During the years 1913 and to 1926 many well known men served on the Council, among them. Perrin Baker, A. Medhurst, E.S. Beatty, T.H. Frankish, Chudleigh, Phillips Sutton, Sullivan, and others with Mr. G. Drysdale as Solicitor. In 1916 the grade and road south of Nemiscam was commenced, and the east and west road known as the "Warner Road." In September, 1916 the resignation of Doctor L.K. Poyntz as M.H.O. was "unanimously received and accepted" so the minutes read. In this year also the first steps to secure a lot in the Hamlet of Foremost for the erection of a Municipal Hall were taken for a two story building with the upper floor as a hospital. Burlington No. 34 also joined the Provincial Union of Rural Municipalities at this time with Councillors Powell and Frankish as delegates to the Convention in Calgary. In March 1923 the owners of premises on Alberta Avenue were requested to remove the hitching posts and rails presently in use there. In May 1924 the hospital in the Municipal Building was closed, and its equipment offered to any person willing to take it over. In May of 1924, Mr. Wiltse's Bond was cancelled, however he continued on to September of 1926. A special meeting was held, attended by W.D. Spence, Deputy Minister, and Inspector A.D. Fidler of the Department of Municipal Affairs, regarding the affairs of the District. On October 26th a Ministerial Order dissolved the Council and Mr. Fidler took over as Administrator with T. A. Reynar as Secretary-Treasurer. From this date until January of 1950 the same Official Administrators mentioned previously took charge of the M.D.'s affairs. In August 1940, an order from the Department removed Mr. T. A. Reynar from his position as Secretary-Treasurer and Mr. J. M. McCabe succeeded him. The reason for Mr. Reynar's dismissal was his political activities against the Government in the election of that year. In 1944 the M.D. No. 33 of Flowery Plains was dissolved and incorporated with Burlington No. 34. Angus W. Morrison was the administrator for the new combined units. In 1948 Mr. A. Gunther of Medicine Hat was engaged as part time Consulting Engineer for roads and public works. The last meeting of Burlington No. 34 was held in November of 1949, (28th).
Proceeding now to a review of happenings in the M.D. of Forty Mile No. 64, the names of its Councillors have already been mentioned. I note that all their meetings from the time of its creation until it was dissolved in February of 1950, were held in the Westfield School House, situated 12 miles north of Foremost. Through this period H.S. Henry, J. M. Gibbons, and T. A. Reynar were the Secretary-Treasurers who served under the various councils of the M.D. Messrs. Gibson, C. H. Reynar, Walker, Bernon, Murray, Whittle, Lyezewski, C. Solber, Conquergood, Lange, Dykshoorn, And Wm Oldenhof were the Reeves who held office until the district's dissolvement in February of 1950. Among the numerous Councillors who served was Mr. N. H. Strom 1920 - 1924, the father of the Honorable Harry E. Strom, M.L.A., the present Minister of Agriculture in the Provincial Government. Harry Strom was also a Councillor in the Forty Mile M.D. from 1943 to 1949.
In May of 1913 the Council purchased a $60.00 safe from the T. Eaton Co. to hold its records on a motion by S. J. Elford. Banking was done at the Standard Bank, later with the Union Bank at Bow Island, and finally, the Royal Bank in Foremost. The mill rate was set at one mill and climbed to 10 mills by 1926. In January of 1914 a By-Law was passed to create six divisions in the M.D. for electoral purposes. Mr. Milloy was elected to fill the sixth position. In 1918 an easy winner in collecting gopher tail bounty was Richard Stainer, 614 trophies; Matt Schatz was runner up with 286 to his credit. In March of 1920 there were four applications for the position of Secretary-Treasurer, J. R. Shearer, 0. Fortune, T. A. Reynar, and A. C. Gage. After two ballots T. A. Reynar was elected. In 1921 Forty Mile No.64 got in touch with Burlington No.34 regarding cooperation in the building of a road at Legend in the Chin Coulee. That year, also, complaints were made by some farmers regarding soil drifting onto their property from other farms. The years from 1918 through to 1924 were very dry seasons and a great deal of relief was given out for feed, seed, coal and groceries. Later on farm properties were seized for tax arrears and so forth. A lengthy resolution was passed in 1924 requesting the Government of Canada to acquiesce with the Government of the U.S.A. to deepen the St. Lawrence Canals and seaways, so that "ocean tramp steamers could have an open water way the year around." Another lengthy one at the same meeting was forwarded to the Provincial and Dominion Governments about the drought conditions of South East Alberta. In 1926 Mr. Fidler the Administrator of M.D.'s 34 and 33, advised Forty Mile he had appointed Mr. T. A. Reynar as assistant for the afore mentioned M.D.'s and offered Forty Mile M.D. office space in the Foremost Municipal Office. The offer was accepted, but Council meetings were still held in Westfield School. The Council also agreed in the appointment of Mr. Reynar as Secretary of the other two Districts who were being administered by the Official Administrator. In 1933 Doctors Hunt and Madill were appointed M.H.O.'s for Forty Mile. In 1934 a resolution was passed and forwarded to Doctor Gershaw, M.P., requesting the Antelope Park at Nemiscam be closed and the land thrown open for Community grazing. In December of 1936 some relief was again furnished to a large number of ratepayers and a large number took advantage of the Tax Arrears Consolidation Act. In September 1937 the Council got in touch with the P.F.R.A. Board, to divert waste waters from the Taber Irrigation project through Horse Fly Lake into the Forty Mile Coulee south of Fincastle. Another lengthy resolution moved by F. Halpin, regarding unsatisfactory handling and administration of the P.F.R.A. Act in this area was passed and forwarded to 15 different sources from the Prime Minister, Mr. King, on through to the Chairman of the United Grain Growers Limited. In March of 1944 Mr. Dan Vanden Berg became a member of the Forty Mile No.64 M.D. and served thereon until he resigned in April of 1948. He is now Reeve of the County of Forty Mile No.8 and has served as such since the County was created. In May of 1945, Forty Mile No.64 was changed to Forty Mile No.12 and at the time the Council purchased $3,000.00 of Victory Loan Bonds.
At the Council's last meeting December 29th, 1949, a presentation of a pen and ink desk set was made to Mr. T. A. Reynar in recognition of his services to the M.D. Councillor E. Wutzke moved, "we adjourn" and with that last motion the Council of Forty Mile No.12 was dissolved. Mr. A. W. Morrison, Official Trustee, took over the M.D. for the following three months, at which time the lower tier of Townships became a part of Burlington M.D. No. 2, and the northern six townships were added to the M.D. of Bow Island No.94, who were still functioning with an elected Council.
In the Bow Island M.D. No. 94 Mr. A. F. Hertz, the Secretary-Treasurer, held that office until March 10, 1919, at which time he resigned as a result of a special audit of the M.D.'s accounts and records, which showed a shortage of funds to the amount of $1,002.00. Mr. G. Harding was appointed as Secretary-Treasurer and Mr. R. D. Davidson took over the position one year later on a temporary basis. In May of 1920 Mr. Perry Duffy was appointed and served until February, 1929, at which time a Ministerial Order discharged the Council and Secretary-Treasurer from office, Mr. Kidney being appointed as Official Administrator with T. A. Reynar as his Secretary-Treasurer. In September of 1932 a Council was again created, its members were: I. D. James - Reeve, James Ashton - Deputy Reeve, G. H. Mitchell, J. B. Burns, H. A. Shepherd, and George Thacker with Alfred Miller as Secretary-Treasurer, a position he held until April of 1950. In the early days of this M.D. the office of Mr. Herts was used for Municipal Purposes. In August of 1913 the mill rate was set at 1.4. Banking at this time was done with the Bank of British North America at Lethbridge, later with the Bank of Montreal and the Royal Bank at Bow Island. Poundkeeper Detlar was discharged, due to complaints that he used his pound for slaughtering purposes! In June of 1917 a By-Law was passed dividing the M.D. into divisions and the elected Councillors were, Henderson, McGregor, Gragg, Clark, Chisho!m, and R. S. Beattie. The latter retired in December to become mayor of the Town of Bow Island. In 1918 the "Flu" epidemic that was prevalent all over the world was felt locally and the new Town School building in Bow Island was made into a temporary hospital for the town and the surrounding M.D. areas, Doctor Paterson, the M.H.O., being in charge. In 1919 twelve returned soldiers of the Municipal District had their taxes cancelled under the Soldiers Exemption Act. During this period a great amount of relief of all sorts were given out to the ratepayers of the District, as was done in other M.D.'s in Southern Alberta. In 1922 the Council in cooperation with the Villages of Burdett and Bow Island petitioned the Government for a Ferry across the South Saskatchewan River. A ferry was placed in operation as a result. In September of 1936 Mr. Flamme, attending the meeting, informed the Council "due to unresponsiveness and lack of cooperation of the people of the area in the circulation of Government Prosperity Certificates, no further issue would be available for Public Works", end of quote. In November 1937 fish, cheese, and fruit were shipped in as a relief measure. In May of 1945, the M.D. made a Grant toward the cost of celebrating V.E. day on May 8th in Bow Island. In February, 1947, Messrs. L. Halpin and H. Strom from Forty Mile No.12 attended the regular meeting of M.D. 13 in regard to cooperation with them for the creation of a Community Pasture to serve both units, near the South Saskatchewan River. A Council meeting in May of 1948 "regretfully decided a raise of two mills each for general and school requirements would be needed", raising the Ľates to 20 and 22 mills respectively. That year also saw a serious situation develop from grasshopper damage to the entire South East area of Alberta. Notice was received from the Department of Municipal Affairs "that the Council would be dissolved as from December 31, 1949 and would be under an Official Trustee until the creation of the new enlarged District by May 1950." The Trustee was Mr. A. W. Morrison who retained Mr. A. Miller as his Secretary-Treasurer. The enlarrged District took in the North townships of Forty Mile No.12 and a portion of 1.0. No.11 as far east as Range Seven and South to Township Eight. The new District which was to continue to be known as M.D. No.13 was divided into five districts and was administered by five Councillors until it was dissolved in December of 1953 at which time it became a part of the M.D. of Forty Mile No.2. The first Council of the enlarged No.13 were A. Egan - Reeve, R. Clark, T. Hammel, G. Verhaest, and C. Gatz - Deputy Reeve. Mr. Olaf Monsson was appointed as Secretary-Treasurer as a result of a ballot, Mr. Monsson 3 votes and A. Miller 2 votes. 0. Monsson served to the end of the M.D. No.13's existence. In July of 1950 Mr. Oldenhoff. Reeve, and Mr. Widdop of Burlington M.D. No. 2 met with Reeve A. Egan and C. Gatz of Bow Island No. 13 in regard to cooperation in the winter time of snow removal on roads that affected both M.D.'s. Banking by the new District was placed with the Bank of Montreal, who had recently opened a branch in Bow Island. In July 1951 the M.D. entered into an agreement with the Medicine Hat General Hospital for the hospitalization of their ratepayers. The Taber Hospital Board refused to enter into an agreement with them. In February 1953, Reeve Clark and Councillor Verhaest were delegated to attend an organization meeting in Medicine Hat of a Municipal Hospital District. During this period there were several meetings held, both by the Town of Bow Island, the M.D. No.13 and the Taber Hospital District, as to the area becoming a part of the new proposed Hospital District of Medicine Hat, and finally in June 1953 Councillor Gatz moved that M.D. No.13 Bow Island do not join the proposed Hospital District and the matter be left to a referendum of ratepayers of the M.D. In August several sections on the east side of the M.D. petitioned to be included in the Medicine Hat Hospital District and at the same time, the first steps were taken by the Town of Bow Island and the M.D. No.13 to organize a Hospital District in the area tributary to Bow Island with the aim of having a Hospital in the Town of Bow Island, this at a later date occurred. In December the Council was notified that they would cease to hold office at December 31st, and the major portion of the Municipal District would become a part of Forty Mile No.2. The last meeting was held on Dec~31, 1953.
This brings one to the final stages that led to the establishment of the County of Forty Mile No. 8; an enlarged M.D. was created, i.e., Burlington No. 2;. The same name as previous was used and the same seal; it took in parts of 1.0. No.1, l.D. No. 3 and I.D. No. 11, a small corner of Eureka No. 14, and the south portion of the old M.D. of Forty Mile No. 12. It was composed of 7 divisions and its first Council was composed of J.B. Houger, A.G. Waddell. G. L. Rimmer, J. Wutzke, W. Widdop, H.S. Weeks, and W. Oldenhof, who was also its first Reeve. J.M. McCabe was the Secretary-Treasurer, R.R. Wallman, Assistant Secretary, and Joyce Coverdale the Stenographer. Throughout this era of Burlington's history the above Councillors held office until it was enlarged to its present County Boundaries, with the exception of 0. Vanden Berg, replacing W. Oldenhof in May of 1951 and Waldo Dixson taking A. Waddell's position. W. Widdop was appointed as Reeve in place of Mr. Oldenhof, a position he held until the Council was dissolved on December 31, 1953. Many major public works were undertaken in the years 1950 and to 1954. Larger grants from the Government made this possible. In August of 1950, the services of Mr. Allan Gunther of Medicine Hat, consulting engineer to the M.D., were dispensed with. Machinery sheds and shops for the M.D.'s equipment and patrols were erected in Foremost, Etzikom and Manyberries at this time. A "Reeve's Chair" suitably engraved was presented to Mr. Oldenhof by the Council, Office Staff, and other employees of the M.D. in March of 1951. In that month also, the Village of Foremost was created. A joint committee of both Councils was held to apportion the assets that were due to the new village from the M.D. of Burlington. In June of 1951, Reeve Widdop, Councillor G. L. Remmer, and Win. Oldenhof as an ex-office member, went to Edmonton to interview the Minister of Municipal Affairs and the Deputy Minister Mr. Judge for information about, and the steps necessary, to form a County. This was freely given by Mr. Judge and much appreciated by the Committee and later the Council. On June 8th the Committee referred to were snow bound in Calgary for two days when on the way home, until roads between that city and Lethbridge were plowed out. In June of 1952 Reeve Widdop and Councillor Vanden Berg were delegated to go to Edmonton to secure additional grants for roads and bridges washed out in the spring of that year. Some extra grants were given but the reception was not cordial so far as the Minister was concerned. In December 1952, the first steps were taken about contracts for $1.00 per day hospitalization, with Medicine Hat General, Taber, Gait, and St. Michaels Hospitals. These contracts were finalized in January 1953. The mill rate for these Hospital Districts were: Taber-55, Gait and St. Michaels - 2 mills, Medicine Hat General, the same. $50,000 of Victory Bonds were purchased by the M.D. In March 1953 a large number of Townships in the east side of the M.D. petitioned to be included in the Medicine Hat Hospital District. This was done and Reeve Widdop was appointed as Provisional Board member to represent M.D. Burlington No. 2 on the Board. The Nurses Home in the Village of Foremost, owned by A.H. Frankish, was purchased from him by the M.D. in March 1953. Co-terminous boundaries with the Foremost School Division No. 3 were also now in effect. Reeve Widdop, in an attempt to keep public works expenditure within its budget, moved "that any further expenditure for the balance of the year not exceed $10,000,', was foiled by an amendment by G. L. Rimmer, "that the amount be $13,000," amendment carried, 6 for and one against. This was in October. In December, all appointed enumerators, places for polling stations, and the returning officer for the annual meeting and nominating meeting for the election of CouncilIons for 1954, as appointed in the November meeting, were instructed by mail that all these appointments were cancelled. The reason was the Ministerial Order to dissolve the Council on December 31, 1953, and the creation in 1954 of the M.D. of Forty Mile No. 2 on the same boundaries and area as the County today. The last motion on the books in December 1953 was by Councillor J.B. Houger, "that this Council do now adjourn."
From January 1, 1954 to March 19th, the Official trustee, L.R. Maurice of the Department took charge of the new enlarged District. J. M. McCabe continued as Secretary-Treasurer with Olaf Monsson assistant. The District was divided into 7 divisions, the newly elected Councillors were: J. E. Johnson, J. B. Houger, D. Vanden Berg, T. Hammel, H. Strom, G. Verhaest, and J. Wutzke. Dan Vanden Berg was elected as Reeve, a position he held until the M.D. became a County. Harry Strom was the Deputy Reeve. There was some debate as to the location of the M.D.'s office. A vote was taken, 4 for the 3 against, and Foremost was chosen for the site. In February the authorization was given Calgary Power to install lights in Whitla and Winnifred. A result of a visit by a delegation from the town of Bow Island was, "The Council petition the Minister of Health, that the portion of the M.D. of Forty Mile No. 2 not presently situated at any Hospital District, be established as a Hospital District and later to have a hospital erected within its boundaries." A hospital was built later and in September of 1955 the Ministerial Order called for 5 Hospital Board members, M.D. of Forty Mile No.2 - Two members; Town of Bow Island- one member; Village of Foremost one member and Burdett - one member. A Jubilee Grant of $1,000.25 was received from the Provincial Government which was distributed to various organizations throughout the M.D. in equal portions of $80.00 each, except Bull Head H & S which was alloted $40.25. In July 1956, Mr. J. M. McCabe "filed verbally" his resignation as Secretary-Treasurer in compliance with the super- annuation Act. R.R. Wallman took over his position in January 1957, and served until the M.D. became a County, and still is, in 1967, the Secretary-Treasurer of the County of Forty Mile No.8. D. Vanden Berg, the Reeve of the M.D., also became the chairman of the County, a position he still holds. In January of 1957, a gratuity was ordered paid to Mr. J. M. McCabe of $2,000.00 in recognition of his past services.
It was moved by the Reeve, D. Vanden Berg, in August of 1957 that application be made for the M.D. to be established as a County under the name of the County of Forty Mile. This was done and the County was created with that name and the addition of the number 8 in 1958. One of the last important steps taken by the Council before it was dissolved in December 1957, was By-Law No. 216, to borrow funds from the Alberta Municipal Financing Corporation for the building of a new Municipal Office in Foremost and to "advise Mrs. F. Bennett of Orion that the District could not give her a Christmas Box." The Council's last meeting was held on Demember 12, Councillor W. K. Babe moving the adjourment. The new County held its first meeting on March 17, 1958, with 9 elected members serving in 9 Division. They were Messrs. J.E. Johnson, L. D. Nattrass, P.J. Wesley, D. .j. Vanden Berg, J. Wutzke, J. Vos, W.T. Kolody, F. Romeike and W.K. Babe. In the membership of the County today, the following original members, Wesley, Wutzke, Kolody and Johnson, were replaced by E. Lee, W. Gejdos, B. Gyorfi, and J.M. Griffiths, in that order. A new County office was built in 1958 and the Council officially occupied the premises in December. The Architects were Fooks amd Mime, the construction was done by Holte and Nordlund Co. Ltd. In 1967, a new addition was made to the building and is occupied by the Provincial Department of Agriculture. Exclusive of the Secretary-Treasurer, Mr. Wallman, the County has some 28 permanent employees engaged in the various branches of County work in 1967.
The above report was compiled by ex-councillor and Reeve Win. Widdop, formerly of Etzikom, and now a resident of Foremost. The Council wishes to thank Mr. Widdop for the time spent reading through all the old minutes and preparation of the above report on their behalf.
To bring the history of the County of Forty Mile No. 8 up to date the following has been compiled.
In 1959 the County of Forty Mile No. 8 joined the Foothills Little Bow Municipal Association, where the councils get together to discuss mutual problems and to pass resolutions to be passed on to the provincial government. In 1960, Vein Arnold was hired to fill the newly created position as agricultural fieldman.
Through the efforts of the agricultural committee a federal brucellosis control area was established. They were also instrumental in obtaining a resident district agriculturist for the county. Prior to this, D.A. service was shared with I.D. #1 with the office being in Medicine Hat.
Department of Municipal Affairs was approached to provide a qualified crew of assessors to do a general assessment throughout the county. Aerial photos of the whole county were taken to assist in obtaining an uniform and equitable assessment.
Through the provincial government the new local authorities pension plan came into effect to replace other smaller plans that were in effect for various municipal, school and hospital employees, which was a great improvement.
The province was making recreation grants available to local community organizations and council approved of many applications for the improvement of community halls and other recreation facilities.
The council assisted with a rural road study that was implemented by the Department of Highways so they could look forward and plan on a better road system that would tie in with adjoining municipalities.
Council passed a motion to provide long service pins for 15, 20 and 25 years service.
The Hamlet of Etzikom was making progress by establishing a Water Users' Association to put in water lines to the homes with the county to provide an annual $1,000.00 grant, for 10 years, to assist in paying for the system. The council gave approval to a company for a franchise to provide natural gas service to the hamlet in 1969.
In 1969 council provided for the publication of minutes of the various committees and council meetings in the Taber Times, a weekly newspaper.
With the coming of irrigation new problems have come up with the extra water and an agreement was completed with S.M.R.I.D. for the pumping of surplus irrigation waterthat runs into Yellow Lake. The surplus water in the lake caused flooding and damage to some roads crossing the lake.
A motion was passed to approve of the assessment and taxation of the provincial grazing lands. This was a very significant move in this area with approximately one-third of the county being comprised of these lease lands.
An administrative change came about when municipal supervisor, Frank Eli, a long-time employee, resigned and was replaced by the foreman, Frank Heck.
The Village of Foremost applied to the county for an agreement to apply for a water storage dam in the coulee one-half mile west of the village. The village proposed to use the water for irrigation purposes for yards as well as reserve water for fire protection. The dam was completed shortly thereafter and at a later date was annexed into the village boundary. The county provided four fire phones in some public works employees' homes to assist in receiving calls for fire protection in the village and surrounding area.
In 1969 Bow Island, Foremost and Burdett applied for a recreation area around the town or villages so they could use the rural population when applying for provincial recreation grants that were based on populations. A fewyears later recreation areas were set up throughout the rest of the county for the various hamlets or community areas. The county applied for the grants and then turned them over to the respective recreation areas to be applied on projects that they had applied for. It wasn't until 1979 that a mill rate was used to obtain recreation revenues which were turned over to the recreation boards.
It was noted that natural gas pipe line crossings were requested by the gas companies and approved by the municipal committee. There were a considerable number of wells being drilled by various gas companies and the wells were being hooked up to the gas distribution system.
In 1970 the Senator Gershaw High School Band entertained the trustees at the annual A.S.T.A. convention in Edmonton.
The subscription was renewed for the Taber Times for the weekly paper with the minutes of meetings published. The paper was mailed to all of the ratepayers of the county.
In 1970 the Forty Mile Farm Purchase Committeewasformed, consisting of one councillor and two other members appointed by government departments. They provided loans to small farmers on the approved applications. It proved to be a very successful program by providing necessary funds for expansion of the small farmers. It was discontinued a few years later.
The problem of irrigation water continued at Yellow Lake as muncipal committee proceeded to take action to raise some roads across the lake by 2 feet. The water level in the lake was constantly monitored so it could be kept under control by the pumping.
In 1971 the provincial government introduced legislation that all councillors' term of office, of 3 years, would terminate at the same time. Thus a general election would only be held every third year, unless there was a vacancycaused by a resignation orsome other reason. Councillors expressed concern that there could be a whole new council elected but to date this has not happened. Prior to the 1971 nominations and elections the council provided, by by-law, that a list of electors would no longer be required. Hereafter those wishing to vote would sign a declaration that they were qualified to vote.
In 1971 plans were started for a seed cleaning plant and after much preliminary work the council approved of the construction of the seed cleaning plant at Foremost. It was built and put into operation the following year and greatly assisted farmers of the county with their seed cleaning requirements.
The agricultural committee worked on having a petition for a warble free area within the county. They received sufficient interest so a recommendation was made to council for a warble free area. In 1972 the county was divided into areas, with a captain for each area, who would have everyone in their area spray for warbles. The chemical for the program was made available through the county.
There was a change in the School Act and the school committee were to appointtheirown supenintendentof schools. Theywould replacethe previously appointed superintendent of the Department of Education. Cliff EIle was appointed to this position and remained with the county until the end of July 1982 when he moved to become the superintendent of the County of Vulcan. Hewas replaced by John Waddell who had taught in the county previously at Burdett and Foremost as principal.
In 1972 council provided that the Forty Mile Commentator, published in Bow Island, replace the Taber Time as the weekly newspaper subscribed for all county ratepayers. This paper has continued to date (1982) to publish minutes of meetings and news from and about the county.
An interesting by-law was noted this year to prohibit the keeping of livestock in the Hamlet of Manybernies.
The Southern Alberta Summer Games were held in Bow Island and council agreed to share in the costs for hosting of these annual games. Each year the county along with the town and villages in co-operation with the recreation boards sponsored athletes who attend and participate. A different area hosts the games each year.
A new trend was started in 1972 when the Canadian Union of Public Employees certified some of the employees. During the next year the first C.U.RE. agreements were completed for the various classes of employees with the assistance of the Board of Industrial Relations. In some later years some changes were made in certification and also some new classes of employees certified.
In Foremost the doctor had left several years before and this year a committee was formed to meet with the village to see what services could be provided. For a while several arrangements were made with doctors coming from Bow Island or Milk River a few days a week. For a short time there was a resident doctor. In 1980 the resident doctors at Bow Island started to come to Foremost for office hours two afternoons per week. With the coming of a licensed pharmacist to Foremost in 1982 this bi-weekly service became much more useful as Foremost residents could obtain their necessary medications locally.
An office management study was conducted by a consulting firm and some administrative changes were made in the office to reflect the growth of the county and the additional duties and responsibilities required. A new position of administrative assistant was created. The first to receive the appointment in this position was Raymond Smith and in October 1974 Sheldon Steinke was appointed to this administrative position.
The Town of Bow Island and the Village of Foremost were expanding as council approved of annexation requested by these municipal bodies.
In 1974 the natural gas co-ops were being formed throughout southern Alberta. There were several within the county and council gave approval to the requested boundaries. The government provided grants to set up an office and appoint a utility officer who would be responsible to see that lines were installed properly. Ken Schacher was appointed in October 1974 to assume these duties. The county school committee purchased a share in the Forty Mile Gas Co-op to provide natural gas service to the Conquerville school and teacherages.
Council adopted a program to fill old basements in the hamlets and to clean up any old abandoned buildings, etc. so that grass could be planted to make the hamlets more presentable. Arrangements were also made for local groups to maintain and to keep wells in hamlets in operation, with the county to pay for parts and repairs to equipment.
In 1975 the Canada Winter Games were held in Lethbridge and approval was given for the use of the Senator Gershaw High School gym at Bow Island for the weight lifting events.
A new N.C.R. 399 bookkeeping machine was purchased for the office to assist in keeping up with the increasing work load and to provide the additional information required by governments and council. Plans were made to have the new general assessment of all land and improvements put on the new machine when it became operational.
The Alberta Hail and Crop Insurance Corporation rented some space in the agricultural wing of the office to provide service to the farmers of the County.
A number of applications were made for vacant lots in the Hamlet of Winnifred by persons planning to move there. It was found, however, that there was a problem with the small size of the lots in the old plans and it was determined that more study was required with the Medicine Hat Planning Commission before proceeding with any sales. Some replotting was made but it was never completed and no lots were sold.
In 1975 the A.A.M.D. & C. presented 25 years Long Service Plaques to Dan Vanden Berg, J.M. Griffiths and Roy R. Wallman.
A contest was set up by the agricultural committee for a beautiful farm yard contestwithin the county. In each division nominationswere to be made and then a committee of the D.A., D.H.E. and one other member to be appointed, would inspect the farms and decide on the best in each division and then the best in the county. This program carried on for several years before being dropped by the committee.
The Department of Municipal Affairs were proposing that all farm residences be assessed. The A.A.M.D. & C. wished to obtain information for special committee that was appointed to study the proposal. In this regard council had assessors assess the farm residences of the councillors to assist in the study. The final result of the proposal and study is that an assessment is now being made for all farm residences with a basic exemption, which is equivalent to a standard 3 bedroom house.
Council approved of an application by Bow Island for an airport northeast of town.
In the early days when settlers were moving into the area burials were made, when someone died, in a convenient corner of their land. It now turns out with the widening of the road allowances, to provide for the new wider and better roads, that occassionally a grave has to be moved to make room for this progress. This happened several times over the years in this county. This year a grave in NW 305-10-4 had to be moved with the approval being received from Department of Vital Statistics.
The council was working with the school committee regularly as it was noted that by-laws were passed to borrow funds for improvement to the school buildings. It was also noted that the old 1918 brick school at Bow Island was to be demolished as it was no longer feasible to maintain it.
In 1976 a new agriculture shop was constructed as the space used adjacent to the RW shop was required for the public works department for their requirements.
The county agreed to provide snow plow service forthe airports at Bow Island and Foremost.
At the end of September1976, Roy Wallman was granted 3 months sick leave and 2 years leave of absence, without pay, as he had decided on early retirement due to health. Sheldon Steinke was appointed acting administrator to replace him.
The provincial cabinet again made a tour of the county and met with council and the people of the area.
The agricultural committee passed a motion to return 3 quarters of land to Alma Graboutzki that had been under reclamation for several years. This had been the one and only time that the county had to take control of lands due to poor farming.
The council passed a by-law in 1977 to restrict heavy traffic on the new oiled roads that were being constructed throughout the county the past few years. Designated truck routes were outlined so that the heavy traffic would not damage the oiled roads which were expensive to maintain.
The municipal committee decided that they would install mobile radios in their units to improve communications between the public works supervisory personnel.
A new county map was to be made and former administrator Roy Wallman was contracted to prepare the township plats required by the printer.
In 1978 plans were under way, at the request of the ratepayers of the Hamlet of Manyberries, for a water and sewer service to be provided for the hamlet. It was noted in the minutes that considerable study and planning was to be done before the system was finally put into service in 1981.
The municipal committee had plans for an addition to the public works shop in Foremost as space was again getting short. In March 1978 there was a greater need when there was a fire at the shop which destroyed a portion of it. It was fortunate that they only lost the one building, a truck and some other equipment. The Town of Bow Island had negotiated with the county for property in the town and a new location was obtained outside of the town and a new maintainer shop was constructed.
The council and school committee had a study of some 14 townships southeast of the county, with a view to annexation, It was later decided not to follow up on the expansion.
The Foremost seed cleaning plant which had been operating successfully and giving a good service to the farmers was upgraded.
Council decided, probably due to a lack of attendance, to not hold an annual meeting of the ratepayers in 1979. It was later noted that in 1980 they again held the meeting, though it appears from the minutes that attendance was still very low.
In May 1978 Sheldon Steinke resigned to take up a position with the County of Lethbridge No. 26 and Gordon NicoIl was appointed as acting administrator. He is still active in this position.
To assist with fire protection within the county the council located trucks in Etzikom and Canadian Montana Gas camp. The residents of these areas are to look after the operation of the trucks in case of a fire.
In the fall of 1978 council was saddened by the loss of one of their number in the death of Frank Romeike who had been first elected with the formation of the council in 1958. This was the first time since the formation of the County that a councillor had died while in office.
Roy Wallman terminated his leave of absence at the end of 1978 by officially resigning from the office of administrator. Gordon NicolI was then appointed as administrator from acting administrator.
In 1979 the council passed a by-law to provide for the establishment of the position of By-law Enforcement Officer for the county. Mr. Ken Schacher who was currently Utility Officer, was appointed to assume the additional responsibilities.
Also in 1979 a by-law was passed for a Development, Control and Land Use By-law within the county. They also passed a by-law to establish regulations for a Municipal Planning Commission, and a Development Appeal Board. A committee of councillors and ratepayers was established to set up the rules and regulations required within the land use by-law, and Vein Arnold was appointed as development control officer.
The municipal committee placed some mobile radios in snow plows and agreed to share the service with the agricultural committee. The agricultural committee also provided for the position of an assistant agricultural fieldman.
Upon reviewing the minutes it was still noted that there were many requests made for road allowance crossing for gas lines. This was an indication of a lot of activity in the county for the expansion of the natural gas pipe lines.
Council invested 1.5 million dollars of the Municipal Department Reduction Fund with the interest earned to be used for operating expenses.
A resolution was passed that the by-law enforcement officer not carry firearms on his person or in his vehicle. This seemed to be a trend away from the old west ways.
Again in 1980 the council are still working on amending the agreement with the S.M.R.I.D. to control the irrigation water that raises the level of Yellow Lake south of Burdett and causes problems to the roads in that area.
The council appointed a 75th anniversary committee to work with community groups to decide what to do with the provincial 75th anniversary grants that would be received.
The agricultural committee were dealing with a serious outbreak of rabies in the skunk population. An intensive skunk depopulation program was undertaken in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture. The problem extended west into the County of Warner No. 5.
An interesting by-law in 1981 was noted in that it provided for regulation and control of public places and assemblies within the county. Apparently there was some consideration being given to bringing "rock groups" into the county and to forestall problems other areas of the province had experienced, the by-law was passed.
The board of education (new name for school committee now) donated the old brick school bell to the Bow Island Historical Society.
Council passed a by-law to amend the land use by-law to set up airport protection districts around Bow Island and Foremost airports. We think of such controls in and around large urban areas and thus note the change in times in having such controls in our rural areas.
Council approved of a grant to the Bow Island Handi-Bus Association from the Senior Citizens Transportation Grant which offers a very worthwhile service to the senior residents in Bow Island.
The board of education was offering in 1981 the same contract to the new huttenite colonies that the other colonies had signed. It was noted that there was an increase in the last 8 years in colonies from 2 to 7. This year Councillor Wm. Kenneth Babe and Administrator Gordon Nicollwerepresented with an association 25 years service plaque and a county 25 years service pin.
In April 1981 the reeve and the administrator, on behalf of the council, presented a plaque to Berth Johnson when she celebrated her 100th birthday. Mrs. Johnson had been a long-time resident in the county and now was in a home in Lethbnidge. Again in 1982 a similar plaque was presented to Justin Borden who was also celebrating his 100th birthday. He had resided in the Manybernies district for many years and was not in the home in Bow Island. Both of these seniors were active and keen of mind.
The council passed a resolution that an annual recognition night be set up for recognition of long-time employees, councillors and board of education members. It was noted that there was an increase in the number of presentations since the first presentations several years ago. Long-time awards of 35 years go to Dan Vanden Berg, Councillor and Wynne Evans, teacher. D. Vanden Berg has been reeve of the former m.d. and county for the past 28 years. The 30 year awards go to Robert Burton, bus operator and Raymond Clark. R. Clark had prior service with M.D. of Bow Island and Foremost School Division No. 3 and had been on the board of education since the formation of the county in 1958.
There was a resolution to approve of a requisition for a senior citizen lodge if one were to be built in Foremost as the Village of Foremost had given consideration to such a plan. In 1982 the county funded the purchase of a bus for providing transportation for senior citizens of the southern part of the county. This service to be operated by the senior citizens organization with the Foremost Chamber of Commerce providing drivers.
Since 1968 there have been four councillors who are still on Council; Division No. 3-WG. McFall, Division No. 5-Win. Gejdos, Division No.9- Ken Babe and Division No. 4- Dan Vanden Berg who has been reeve for all of this period.
In Division No. 1 Russell Scratch retired and was replaced in 1977 by Don Laqua and then Robert Dangerfield won the election in 1980.
In Division No. 2 Lyle Nattrass was returned in 1971 election by a draw by the returning officer when there was a tie vote. L. Nattrass moved to Lethbridge in 1980 and his residence was no longer in the county, resigned and was replaced by Dennis Rath. Dennis Rath resigned in 1981 and was replaced in a by-election by Floyd Snortland.
In Division No. 6, John Vos, a long-term councillor, lost out in the election in 1971 to Ed Torsher.
There have been quite a number of changes in Division No. 7 as A. Voeller replaced B. Gyorfi, who did not run for re-election in 1969. In 1973 A. Voeller resigned as he moved to Medicine Hat and he was replaced in a by-election by Maragaret Dragland. In the general election in 1977 Joe Hammel was elected to replace M. Dragland who had moved out of the county. In l979 the seat again became vacant because J. Hammel had moved to Medicine Hat and was no longer eligible to hold office. A by-election was called but there were no nominations so the seat remained vacant until the 1980 general election, when, after holding nominations open for several days, Frank Sauer was elected.
In Division No. 8, Frank Romeike, who had been on council from the formation of the county in 1958, died in 1978 and a by-election was held and Ben Widmer was elected.
The current chairman of the board of education, Raymond Clark, who had been town and village representative since the formation of the county is actively working with the councillors by acting as chief negotiator for union negotiations on behalf of the county.
The council wish to thank former administrator, Roy R. Wallman of Foremost for the time spent reading through old minutes and preparation of the above update of the county history on their behalf.