From the autobody, to a body of water, Sask. Poly student embraces change

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What do an autobody mechanic and natural resources student have in common?

Well, if you’re Saskatchewan Polytechnic student Courtney Cherpin, the answer is ‘they’re the same person.’ Cherpin graduated from Sask. Poly in 2015 and began working as an apprentice in an autobody shop. After 11 years, the shop closed, and Cherpin decided to head back to school.

Now at age 32, she’s going to graduate a second time this spring, this time in the field of Natural Resource Technology.

“It’s pretty smooth,’ Cherpin said when asked about her second run with Sask. Poly. “Now a lot of things are online. There’s a lot of material online. If you miss a class, it’s probably online. School’s been a lot easier this time around, I find.”

Cherpin is part of a growing number of post-secondary students who are heading back to school, but in a different field. On Thursday, she’ll be among the panelists at a ‘Returning to Learning’ information night designed to help residents who have already graduated once decide whether to head back to school.

“I think it’s actually really important that people who are mature—not 18-years-old (and) fresh out of high school—know that they can return to school and be successful later in life,” Cherpin explained. “I am 32 now and I just decided to go back to school two years ago. I’m actually on track to getting my masters, so it’s going to be a long trek, but it’s going to be good. I want other people to know they can do that later in life.”

After graduating this spring, Cherpin is headed to work for the Water Security Agency where she’ll help with a Lake Sturgeon Spawning Assessment. It’s a dream job for someone like Cherpin, who started fishing at a very young age.


“My dad got me into fishing as a really young girl, and in the last 10 years, fishing kind of took over my life recreationally,” she said.

“The bodyshop closed so I decided to go back to school and pursue my love for the outdoors. I found out there was a whole class dedicated to the outdoors, which specialized a lot in fisheries, so that really helped me out. I want to work in fisheries—any kind of fisheries—and sturgeon just kind of fell into my lap so that’s the way I’m going to go.”

Despite the name, Lake Sturgeon require fast running water and rapids to breed. The fish are mostly confined to the North Saskatchewan and South Saskatchewan river systems, but environmental degradation, damming, and consecutive dry summers, are reducing their numbers.

“We’re just trying to dial into what we can do to help them,” Cherpin said.

“They are losing their spawning habitats steadily because of the climate change and the changing water levels and temperatures and just all the stuff we’re putting into the water too is really not helping.”

Lake Sturgeon need plenty of water flowing over rocks to create rapids. Without that high-water level, the rocks are exposed, and the fish lose their spawning ground.

Ideally, Cherpin said they’d like to get the Lake Sturgeon listed as endangered under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). However, they need more data before that can happen.

Returning to Learning’ runs from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Saskatchewan Polytechnic Prince Albert campus on Thursday, March 21.

@kerr_jas • jason.kerr@paherald.sk.ca

RCMP searching for 34-year-old wanted on Canada-wide warrant

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RCMP officers have asked residents to report sightings of a 34-year-old man wanted on multiple warrants who may be in the Prince Albert area.

Kelly Daniels is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for breaching statutory release conditions and being unlawfully at large. Daniels sometimes goes by the name Kelly Brittain.

According to the Saskatchewan RCMP’s Prince Albert Warrant Enforcement and Suppression (WEST) team, Daniels was last seen in the James Smith Cree Nation area, but his current whereabouts are unknown.

Daniels is described as roughly 6’ tall and 230 pounds with black hair, brown eyes, and multiple neck tattoos, including the letters “INGAF” tattooed above his eye, and “KB” on his left hand, and the name “Brittain” in flames on his right forearm.

RCMP have asked residents to avoid approaching Daniels and instead report sightings and information to local police.

Prince Albert Concert Band to host Irish Pub Night

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The Prince Albert Concert Band hopes to keep the St. Patrick’s Day spirit going, while also getting the word out to new members with an Irish Pub Night at the Rock Trout Events Centre.

Concert Band President Corinne Delparte said they’ve been struggling since COVID hit. They’re hoping to raise a few funds with the pub night, and attract some new musicians too.

“We thought we’d try a fundraising event that would shine a little light on our association and maybe some Prince Albert business as well, just to create fun evening out,” Delparte explained.

“During COVID … the band still kept on playing, but our numbers decreased. Just getting people back out and involved in community events has been a bit more challenging than anticipated, but we do have a fairly strong core still and we’re hoping to entice more people to come out and join us by being visible in the community a little more.”

The March 23rd event will have an Irish theme, with food, live music, and door prizes. Delparte said they originally hopes to host it on the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, but couldn’t find a venue.

“We just thought we’d keep the theme, go with March, and extend it a little longer,” she explained.

Delparte said the concert band still produces music, but would like to have more musicians. The group performed their annual Christmas concert in December, and has a spring performance planned in partnership with St. Mary High School choir. They’ve also joined forces with concert bands in other communities like Tisdale in an effort to beef up their numbers.

The concert band performs under the direction of Shannon Fehr and Julie Abbs. Fehr said they have less than 20 members right now, and would love to have at least 30.

“Right now we were very limited by our instrumentation at the moment, particularly low brass,” she explained. “We need trombone players like you wouldn’t believe. Trombone players. French Horn players. We could use a whole lot more brass and that would allow us to dig into some really meaningful concert band music.”

In addition to performing live concert, the band sponsors students heading to band camps, and gives provides high school scholarships. They also promote music in the community through events like longterm care home performances.

Fehr said the concert band helps enrich her life. She’s hopeful the Irish Pub Night will help others see the value of it too.

“After a long day of work, there are very frequently evenings where I don’t really feel like getting off the couch to go and conduct the band, but I’m always grateful every time that I do,” she said. “It’s always a rewarding experience to go out and do something that is not related to what you’re doing in the daily grind.”

Doors open for the Prince Albert Concert Band Irish Pub Night at 6:30 p.m. on March 23, with the meal at 7 p.m. Tickets are available from any band member, or from princealbertconcertband@gmail.com.

@kerr_jas • jason.kerr@paherald.sk.ca

‘The years go by very quick’: Prince Albert dentist retires after nearly 40 years in practice

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Dr. Jerry Janzen didn’t plan on staying in Prince Albert his entire career, but after nearly 40 years in the community he’s glad he did.

Janzen, the co-owner of Legacy Dental, announced his retirement in February. On Friday afternoon, friends, family, colleagues and patients gathered at Legacy Dental to wish him well at a retirement celebration.

He said it’s incredible how quickly the time went.

“The days are sometimes long, but the years go by very quickly,” he said during an interview. “(There were) lots of changes: technological advances, time management issues, computers, milling machines, yada, yada, lots of technological stuff, greater diagnosis, and what we’re seeing is people are entering their 60s, 70s, and 80s a lot healthier as a result of it.”

Janzen was born in Prince Albert after his father, Dr. George Janzen, started a dental practice in 1953. When he left for university, Janzen didn’t originally intend on following in his father’s footsteps. That soon changed, and in 1985 he joined his father’s dental practice back in Prince Albert after graduation.

“It was a short-term decision to come to PA,” Janzen remembered. “I said, ‘I’ll be here for five years and I’ll see what happens and here we are 40 years later (and) we’re still here.”

Janzen said he’s been blessed to have staff and patients stay with Legacy Dental for extended periods of time. He’s currently one of four dentists practicing out of facility, including co-owner Dr. Markus Wilson.

Wilson joined Legacy in 2018 after graduating from dental school, and said Janzen was an excellent mentor and role model.

“Coming out of school, you think you know everything,” Wilson said with a chuckle. “Once you get in the real world and you start working with an excellent teacher and leader, things change quite quickly.

“What I really appreciate working with him is just he’s very patient and he’s really into just excelling (at) dentistry. It’s been an excellent journey.”

Janzen has seen plenty of positive changes in dental care over the past 40 years. He said it’s encouraging to see more recognition about the role dental care plays in overall health. The result is more and more residents who are entering their senior years with better cardiovascular and respiratory health.

“It’s one big system,” he said. “I think we used to look at it initially and say, ‘fix my tooth, it doesn’t matter that much.’”

Janzen said he hasn’t decided what to do in retirement yet. He plans to put some of the professional skills he learned to good use in the community, but in a less structured environment.

As for Legacy Dental, Wilson plans to keep the practice running with current associates Dr. Jenna Gogolinski and Dr. Walter Yim.

“We really hope to keep delivering the excellent quality of care that Dr. Janzen had delivered all these years … and just continue to help the citizens of Prince Albert increase their oral health,” Wilson said.

Prince Albert Crop Talk focuses on improved productivity, reduced waste as farmers prepare for another growing season

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Farmers from across the Prince Albert area gathered at the Wildlife Federation building north of the City on Wednesday to discuss more efficient ways to spray their crops in difficult conditions.

The discussion was part of the annual winter Crop Talk hosted by the Conservation Learning Centre and Ministry of Agriculture. Keynote speaker Tom Wolf said finding more effective ways to spray crops has environmental and economic benefits for farmers, it’s just a matter of getting information about best practices into their hands.

“I would say by and large they understand the high speed—high boom application method isn’t useful, but they really want other doors to be opened,” Wolf said during an interview. “If I say, for example, don’t do this, I would also want to say, do this instead, right? So the instead part is to improve your productivity in other ways.”

Farmers across the country face mounting bills, with total expenses climbing to $11.5 billion in 2021. Fertilizer costs were the biggest reason for the jump, with Statistics Canada reporting the largest year-over-year increase in fertilizer prices since 2008. However, herbicide costs also remain high, with Canadian farmers spending a total of $1.1 billion and $1.5 billion combined on herbicide every year.

Wolf said helping farmers spray more effectively can reduce those costs, while also having environmental benefits.

“In many ways, it is economic because that’s really the driver of everything,” he explained. “You want to be able to get the job done at the right time so that it works properly. If you delay an application you might lose some yields because the weeds have advanced or the disease has advanced, but it’s also environmental.

Agriculture Programs Specialist Brynn Jones (left) answers a question at Crop Talk 2024 while Agri-Environmental Specialist Paige Straf (middle), and Conservation Learning Centre Community Outreach Coordinator Rachael Groat (right) look on. The trio were among the presenters at Crop Talk at the PA Wildlife Federation building on Wednesday. — Max Pahtayken/Daily Herald

“If it’s windy, the spray may move into sensitive areas, it may harm neighbouring crops, it may harm ecosystems (and) waterways. We want to avoid that as well and we do that by just reducing spray drift.”

A big part of minimizing that drift is slowing down, something Wolf said farmers are happy to do, provide they can make up the time in other areas.

“You’re going to lose some time,” he said. “You’re going to love some acres per hour if you do that, but you’re going to make it back investing in things like logistics. For example, how long does it take to fill your sprayer? How long does it take you to clean your sprayer? What else are you spending time on that isn’t spraying related on a spray day? Shave those times, and then that time will give you extra hours in the day to do the spray job.”

Spraying was one of several topics up for discussion at Wednesday’s meeting. Farmers also had a look at some of the Conservation Learning Centre’s research on cover cropping and fertilizer efficiency.

She said Wednesday’s crop talk is vital for getting recent research into the hands of farmers.

“It’s something that’s being done a lot right now in ag research, but we don’t have that local demonstration and research to back it up,” CLC acting onsite manager Zoe Galbraith explained. “That’s one of the projects we undertook this year, to try to get some data behind these practices that are being used.”

Music and magic: Canadian illusionist combines his two passions in Redefining Wonder

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Chris Funk grew up watching magicians perform on television, but he never expected to follow in their footsteps.

Funk fell in love with magic shows as a child watching Canadian illusionist Doug Henning perform on television. But despite his love for the shows, he didn’t pursue the craft for years. In fact, he didn’t even know illusions could be taught.

“I was, let’s say, sheltered, in that regard,” Funk said with a chuckle. “I was deep into music so I would come home from school and I would be practicing instruments. I didn’t know you could learn it (illusions) until the age of 16 when someone taught me my very first trick, and it was game over at that point. I was hooked.”

Funk was fascinated with illusions and began learning everything he could about them. He watched countless TV shows, and his parents took him to watch big-name performers like David Copperfield whenever they were in town.

He spent every dime on books so he could learn new tricks, then started performing paid gigs at age 19. He took to performing illusions just as enthusiastically as he took to learning about them.

“It blew my mind,” Funk said. “I was just like, ‘wait, you can make money doing this? Okay, this is what I’m going to do.’”

Funk started performing at small local events, and made the occasional television appearance to promote a live performance. Although he loved magic tricks and illusions, he never forgot his first passion: music. He soon began incorporating his musical skills into his show.

His act started getting attention, and soon he received requests to appear on bigger and bigger stages, including popular television programs. Since then, he’s performed on America’s Got Talent, Penn and Teller: Fool Us, and Master Illusion, among others.

Funk said it was a surreal experience to go from watching musicians on TV, to being a musician on TV. In fact, he assumed the first request was a joke or mistake.

“I didn’t think it was real,” he remembered. “I was like, ‘why would they be calling me?’ I actually had to go out for dinner with my wife and a couple buddies and they talked me through it and encouraged me to do it. (They) kind of smacked me a couple times saying, ‘don’t be silly. You should do this.’

“Being on set there, it was like, ‘wow, this is just surreal. It’s crazy,’ and then realizing that some of the bigger names, after seeing me perform, and chatting with them, and me telling them how I looked up to them, (they’re) saying that now we’re peers. I’m like, ‘wait a minute, this is just crazy. Someone pinch me.’ I didn’t ever think that this would be happening.”

Funk continues to perform away from television too. He’s headlined shows at the World Famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, and Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood. His next show is scheduled for Friday, March 15 when he takes to the E.A. Rawlinson Centre stage in Prince Albert.

Funk has never performed in Prince Albert before, and said he’s looking forward to wowing a new audience.

“It comes down to the people,” he said. “I love performing for brand new audiences. It’s just the style of show that I have. It’s a very unscripted approach to a show. I know what my routines are from my show, but I leave a lot of what I say open so that the audience can interact with me and that’s where the content comes from.”

Chris Funk’s Redefining Wonder begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 15 at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre. Tickets are available at earc.ca or the Rawlinson Box Office.

Community Service Centre pushes back against City of PA ad campaign

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CEO has board’s full support says CSC vice-chair

Community Service Centre (CSC) representatives have accused the City of Prince Albert of trying to shift the focus away from paratransit services with a new ad campaign.

The ad campaign, which is endorsed by Mayor Greg Dionne, outlines five reasons why the CSC has not received more funding. The campaign also alleges that CSC CEO Bill Powalinsky failed the organization and the general public by not disclosing plans to run for mayor.

This week, CSC vice-chair Shelley Gordon released a statement backing Powalinsky, and reaffirming the need for more funding.

“Don’t let the focus shift away from continued Paratransit services for people with disability,” reads Gordon’s statement. “Our CEO – Mr. Bill Powalinsky, has kept the Board of Directors informed of every operational decision, and is fully supported by the Board of Directors.”

Gordon added that Powalinsky has followed the outline of activities found in “A Citizen’s Guide to Shaping Council Decisions” in an effort to keep the public informed and aware.

In his own statement, Powalinsky said it’s not about personalities or politics, but about “doing the right thing for the right reasons at the right time.”

The most recent print ad appeared on page 16 of the March 9 Daily Herald. In the ad, Dionne and the City criticized how the CSC transportation service was run, arguing that Powalinsky cut transportation hours without The City’s knowledge or permission after receiving $34,050 in new funding to improve Access Transit capacity.

The ad also argued that the lack of a contract agreement made it difficult to talk funding. The ad argues that if a contract was in place, “then we would not be in the situation we are today” because funding amounts and the service required would be clearly established.

In a statement, Powalinsky argued the CSC had been pushing for a multi-year agreement for years, and would welcome such an agreement with open arms.

“It’s not too late for a win-win … for the City and its residents with disability,” Powalinsky’s statement reads.

Powalinsky has been in a wheelchair on and off for the past two-and-a-half years for health reasons. He said he understands the importance of weekend and evening services based on that experience.

The ad campaign comes after the CSC held a press conference in January arguing that the paratransit service faced a funding crisis. The CSC provided 37,145 rides in 2023, an increase of 11,405 from 2022. At budget time, the CSC requested $675,285 from council. That’s a funding increase of $103,521.

Afterwards, Dionne said council would not discuss additional funding until a contract was signed.

“Once we get that contract signed, then we’ll review ’24 because then we’ll have a clear agreement on what they’re supposed to supply and what they’re supposed to deliver and how they’re supposed to spend our money” he said.

Dionne added that he expected to see an agreement done by May 31.

@kerr_jas • jason.kerr@paherald.sk.ca

‘We’re all proud of him’: longtime Peter Ballantyne CEO Trevor Ives honoured at Chamber Legacy Brunch

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The family of former Peter Ballantyne Group of Companies CEO Trevor Ives expressed their gratitude and thanks after accepting the Prince Albert Chamber of Commerce Legacy Award on Monday.

Ives passed away in 2023 after spending 25 years as the company CEO. On Monday, Ives’ wife, Shauna, said he would have been grateful to receive the award.

“Trevor would have been so proud, and we’re all proud of him,” Shauna said following Monday’s ceremony at the Chamber of Commerce Legacy Brunch. “This is such an honour. I wish he could be part of it.”

In 25 years in business the Ives’ met a lot of people and visited many new places. When Shauna looked back on those 25 years, she said it was the people who stood out the most.

“Through Trevor’s business connections, it was nice to get involved in the Aboriginal community in PA,” said Shauna, who grew up in Saskatoon.

“That was just something I really gained an appreciation for through Trevor’s career and our friends and associates in PA.”

The Ives’ daughter, Kyra, was also on hand for Monday’s award presentation. Although Kyra doesn’t plan on following her father’s footsteps into the business world, she said the lessons he taught will always be useful.

“Dad was just an exceptional role model as a father and as a person,” Kyra said. “He really instilled values of hard work and dedication into myself and my brother and the importance of community and loyalty. (I’m) definitely going to follow in his footsteps in terms of values and how he’s acted as a leader to both of us, but maybe not in the business area.”

In addition to his work in the business world, Ives was an active volunteer. He was recognized for those efforts in 2022 when he received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal award. Ives passed away on Oct. 30 at the age of 57.

Prince Albert Chamber of Commerce CEO Patty Hughes said Ives was a mainstay on the Prince Albert business scene who deserved to be recognized for his leadership.

“He was just so steadfast,” Hughes said. “He was involved in the community as well, and he just quietly did it. (He) didn’t expect any accolades to come from it.”

Barnett, Turcotte, and LeMoal nominated for Business Leader of the Year as Samuel McLeod award finalists announced

Monday’s ceremony also marked the countdown to the 33rd annual Samuel McLeod Business Awards, which will be held on April 12 in Plaza 88.

Nearly 30 businesses in 12 categories received nominations, including Lake Country Co-op, Diamond North Credit Union, and Prince Albert Memorial Gardens, River Park & Grays for Business of the Year.

Diamond North is also up for the Customer Service Award, while Lake Country is up for the Business Transformation Award. Memorial Gardens, and River Park & Grays are up for the Community Involvement Award.

Cody Barnett from the Boreal Healthcare Foundation, Marianne Turcotte from Beau “Lac” Funeral Home, and Shelley LeMoal from E.T. Flooring and Design are all nominated for Business Leader of the Year.

Aaron LeMoal from E.T. Flooring and Design, Aiden Edwards from FamJam, and Tia Furstenberg and Kayanna Wirtz from Lemon Art Studio are all up for the Young Entrepreneur Award.

PAGC Urban Services, the Rose Garden Hospice, and S.H.A.R.E. are all up for Non-Profit Organization of the Year.

–with files from Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald

‘A little bit of Newfoundland’: The Irish Descendants are always happy to take a piece of their home province out west

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The Irish Descendants hit the road for between 70-80 shows each year, but wherever they are in Canada, there are always a few expatriate Newfoundlanders to make them feel at home.

The Canadian folk music group stops in Prince Albert on Tuesday for a performance at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre, and band leader Con O’Brien expects to see more than a few East Coast transplants in the crowd.

“It’s always a treat,” O’Brien said. “We have, especially in parts of the west, so many Newfoundlanders and people from the East Coast who live there and have made their homes there. For us that helps out a lot because we get a little bit of a hometown audience looking for a little bit of back east.”

The Irish Descendants are practically a Newfoundland institution. The group began touring in the early ‘90s, and became so popular they were chosen to perform for the Queen at Newfoundland and Labrador’s 500th-anniversary celebrations.

O’Brien said they started out performing the type of music you’d play with friends and family, and they’ve tried to maintain that intimate atmosphere as the stages and audiences have grown.

Sometimes they do that literally, such as last October when they performed at the Festival of Small Halls in Ontario.

“You get to do something that you really, really, really are proud to do, and that you really enjoy doing: affecting people in different ways with your music,” O’Brien said. “(We) spread the news about where we’re from and talk about our part of the world for a few minutes. That’s really a rewarding thing to do.”

The group’s touring schedule hasn’t returned to the typical 100 or so shows a year they played before COVID hit, but they’re used the extra time to get back in the studio. The Irish Descendants will celebrate 35 years of music in 2025, and plan to commemorate it with a specialized box set of fan favourites.

When they started recording 35 years ago the band would use a friend or family member’s basement. As the band grew, so did the recording studios, but technological innovations mean the band’s recording sessions have gone back to their roots.

“We’ve gone into some of the biggest studios in the country, in Toronto and Halifax and here (Newfoundland) … but nowadays, you can almost record on an iPhone now,” he said. “It’s gone completely back the other way.”

Prince Albert is the lone Saskatchewan stop on the band’s six-city prairie tour. O’Brien said fans will expect to hear certain songs on Tuesday, since the performance falls less than a week St. Patrick’s Day. He said the band looks forward to bringing “a little bit of Irish” to the crowd.

“We’ll do our best to tell our story and make sure that people who are fans of the band are happy,” he said. “People who have never heard us before come out looking for a good time with some great, great musicians and great singers. It’s a little bit of Newfoundland for an evening.”

The Irish Descendants perform at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre on Tuesday, March 12. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the box office, or online at www.earc.ca.

Police chief faces flurry of questions about property crime at East Flat Ward Meeting

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Property crime, drug and alcohol addictions, and homelessness dominated the list of concerns as East Flat residents met for the Ward 4 Town Hall on Wednesday.

The meeting came just days after a string of smashed windows on River Street East where more than 20 vehicles were vandalized between Monday evening and Tuesday morning.

Chief Patrick Nogier was in attendance and spoke for roughly 40 minutes about City-wide efforts to curb crime. Residents peppered Nogier with questions during and after his presentation. Many said they weren’t blaming the police for crime in the area, but were still frustrated with the lack of safety.

“The police do as much as they can,” said local resident Denise Taylor. “These kids or thieves or whatever you want to call them, they go to court and they get nothing.

“I don’t know what the answer is,” she added. “People who do the crimes don’t get a very stiff penalty or anything.”

Taylor was one of several meeting attendees who had their car windows smashed during the recent vandalism streak. She woke up to a text from a neighbour at 4:58 a.m. saying someone had broken into her car and was rummaging around inside.

Taylor said nothing was stolen, but it’s still frustrating to have to deal with the damage. A few residents floated the idea of starting a neighbourhood watch during Wednesday’s meeting. Taylor said that’s something she’d definitely be interested in.

“I think it might help,” Taylor said. “There are things that I heard tonight that I didn’t even know were going on in this end of the city. You get at home, you get inside your own place, and you’re in your own little bubble.”

Finding solutions that lower crime without costing more dollars or further straining the current police force was a common theme during Wednesday’s meeting, although it was one attendees weren’t always happy to hear.

Nogier faced a flurry of questions after saying officers were answering many too calls that were “not criminal in nature.” The police chief told residents some issues were best handled by other agencies, which generated a flurry of questions about who residents could call.

Ward councillors in attendance floated the possibility of including a list of emergency contacts with the next water bill, but nothing has been decided.

Nogier told residents officers were burning out trying to get to every call, and that system wasn’t sustainable. The Prince Albert Police Service has introduced a new priority call response system that Nogier said will give immediate attention to serious emergencies while bumping calls that aren’t as urgent down the list.

In an interview after the meeting, Nogier said East Flat residents had valid concerns about community safety, but stressed they had to take a new approach.

“We knew that it was unsustainable, so we took a second look at it,” Nogier said. “We’ve got the call prioritization that we talked about. We have the alternative call response unit now, and we see that there’s a direct impact where officers have a little bit more time now to do a little bit more thorough job. (They have) a time to breathe, a time to do a little bit of decompression, collect their thoughts, (and) make sure that the investigation is moving in the right direction, rather than just going from call, to call, to call.

“As an administration, we were responsible for setting our members up for failure by just going from call to call to call, not giving them the opportunity to make good notes, not making the opportunity to come back and do a thorough investigation, and just keep pushing, so we’ve made those changes.”

Nogier said Willful Damages Under $5,000 continues to be the most common type of crime in the East Flat. When asked by residents why an officer can’t patrol high-crime areas once every two hours, the chief said Prince Albert doesn’t have enough officers to give one or two areas that kind of attention.

Nogier added that violent crime is down 25.9 across Prince Albert in 2024. Assaults are down 30 per cent, robberies are down 33 per cent, and theft over $5,000 is down 60 per cent. All statistics include crime up until the end of February.

The chief said officers plan to be more proactive about vehicle crime in Prince Albert during the summer. He said there’s a direct correlation between vehicles and crime, so officers will be cracking down on things like speeding and reckless driving.

Nogier said officers will also check up on three different areas as a result of complaints made during Wednesday’s meeting. He also told residents the investigation into the string of smashed windows was still ongoing.

Ward 4 Coun. Don Cody played the role of emcee for Wednesday’s meeting. Like Nogier, Cody said he understands the frustration residents have with property crime, but also said adding more dollars to the police budget wasn’t the solution.

“You can have all the officers you want. If you believe that you’re going to get all the criminals, you’re kidding yourself. That’s not going to happen,” Cody said. “I guess you can curb it with more people, but the City can only afford so much. We have now spent a big pile of money for the police department. I think the police department is doing whatever they can, but I don’t think adding more police officers is necessarily the answer.”

Like many residents in attendance, Cody said he wishes the courts would be a bit more strict with offenders. However, he said it’s up to other levels of government to address that issue.

Ideally, Cody also wants to see more mental health support and addiction recovery centres, which he said would be more effective than hiring more police officers.

“The police can’t handle and aren’t trained for (those calls),” he said. “There’s mental health, addictions, those kinds of things. That’s not police work. That’s mental health. That belongs to the province, and the province should be doing something about it.”

Wednesday’s meeting was the first of two Ward meetings scheduled for this week. The second was held in the West Flat on Thursday evening. The meeting did not finish before the Daily Herald press deadline.