Year in Review 2020: Oct. – Dec.

October

The annual Sisters in Spirit walk started in Slave Lake and went to Driftpile and High Prairie.

A group out of Athabasca and Slave Lake circulated a petition to save three provincial recreation areas within the M.D. of Lesser Slave River – Chain Lakes, Lawrence Lake, and Fawcett Lake.

One of the court report headlines was “ ‘Camping trip’ to Slave Lake includes attempted theft of tires” another was “Man stole semi from Walmart, because ride fell through.”

Slave Lake Helicopters was busy getting workers onto the tops of transmission towers, thanks to its patented ‘A Step’ platform, which allows workers to climb from the helicopter onto the towers, with safety harnesses of course.

The Slave Lake Dog Park Society celebrated four years. It runs the Landon Persson Park off leash dog park in southeast Slave Lake.

The Lesser Slave Watershed Council planned to start testing water quality in Lesser Slave Lake. It used to be tested by the Alberta government, but hasn’t been for a few years. This is in addition to the LSWC’s current tests of creeks and rivers that flow into the lake.

Harvesting carrots from a front-yard garden.

A ‘bio-mass/gas to liquids facility’ is proposed for the Mitsue Industrial Park. One of the partners in the project is Vanderwell Contractors, which runs a lumber mill. The proposed plan converts sawmill, landfill, and other waste into fuel.

Jule Asterisk and the High Prairie Regional Environmental Action Committee were hoping to start a plastic re-manufacturing project in rural and remote communities. If funding goes through, the goal is to recycle plastics within communities and make things like chairs, knickknacks, or bricks.

Construction was almost ready to start on a geothermal plant in the Swan Hills.

Two massive 2019 fires were extinguished. McMillan fire was between Slave Lake and Wabasca. It caused the evacuation of Wabasca, surrounding communities, and Peerless Trout Lake First Nation. The other fire was further away, but Slave Lake hosted evacuees from High Level and surrounding area during part of the blaze.

Happy Halloween! Pumpkins all in a row.

November

Slave Lake health care support workers hit the picket line, but had to go back to work after one day because the provincial government called the strike ‘illegal.’

Hockey, when it happened, was different during the pandemic. Here the U7 ‘little guys’ learn a bit.

Slave Lake, Smith, and Flatbush held Remembrance Day ceremonies with a COVID flair. This meant shorter or no in-person services, but wreaths were laid on the cenotaphs, poppies were put on graves, and veterans were honoured.

In sports, Slave Lake curling leagues started off with last season’s finals, which had been postponed because of COVID-19. The Slave Lake Icedogs season started with a few wins, then a loss to rival High Prairie Red Wings. For a couple weeks, minor hockey was allowed to play games. Then by the end of November all sports and indoor recreation closed down.

Peerless Trout Lake First Nation held its first culture camp. It taught youth about traditional harvesting practices like butchering moose and net fishing.

The Mat Program was once again homeless. The first step in moving into the old Parentlink building was rezoning the land. This was shot down by the Town of Slave Lake council. In response, the Mat Program was once again temporarily housed in the Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre.

Various groups were finding new ways to teach and hold activities during the pandemic. For example, the Lesser Slave Lake Forest Education Society had ‘forest kits’ and was doing field trips within walking distance of schools.

The M.D. accepted Animal Rescue Committee of Slave Lake’s proposal to house any cats that the bylaw officer trapped in response to the Canyon Creek cat kerfuffle.

Kinuso residents and businesses were protesting the closure of the ATB financial agency, which was in the Kinuso post office and corner store.

December

Moonlight Madness snuck in just before the first wave of new COVID-19 restrictions.

A smudge starts a ‘Rally Against Systematic Racism’ in Slave Lake. Driftpile First Nation also boycotted the Town of Slave Lake for a time, in response to comments made at a town council meeting in September.

New COVID-19 restrictions meant that no social gatherings were allowed. Also, masks were mandatory. However, fewer businesses had to close than in the spring. By Dec. 23, massage therapy was allowed to reopen, but hair salons, barbers and some other businesses remained closed.

Collin Noskiye, of Wabasca, was convicted of second-degree murder for the 2017 death of Dorium Yellowknee (33) in Wabasca. At the time of the homicide, Noskiye was 32. His accomplice, who earlier pled guilty to manslaughter, was 19.

Third time’s the charm, hopefully. Over the course of the fall, the Slave Lake Icedogs hired three different head coaches. In December, the Leader interviewed the third coach, Gregg Kennedy.

Outdoor activities continued to be popular in the winter.

Four people were arrested for ATM thefts in 11 Alberta communities, including Slave Lake. The four Slave Lake thefts were in 2019.

The Living Waters Catholic School board, which operates two schools in Slave Lake, won the Alberta School Board Association School Board Innovation and Excellence Award.

With about a month left in 2020, the Lesser Slave Lake Regional Fire Service broke the previous year’s record for number of calls.

Christmas looked different socially distanced, but was still merry and bright.

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