GRANDE PRAIRIE NEWS - 2018
August 2018: McDonalds is building a new restaurant in Clairmont, just north of Grande Prairie, Alberta. (Photo while under construction) This restaurant is located near the Shell Gas Station and JP Outpost or across from the County of Grande Prairie Administration Building along Highway 2. Update: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony held Wednesday September 26, 2018, 8301-99 Street, Clairmont.
August 2018: The annual Bear Creek Folk Festival at Muskoseepi Park, Grande Prairie surpassed previous attendance. Four stages featured 35 artists performing over the 3 days of the event.
Entertainers included Colin James and local performers Emereson Drive.
August 2018: A man was shot in the leg while golfing at the Dunes Golf Course, located south of Grande Prairie along Resources Road. Police determined that a Shooting Competition was going on at the Wapiti Shooters Club at the time. A number of years ago a bullet went through a window of a residence at the Dunes.
August 2018: The Population of Grande Prairie has increased by 532 from the last municipal census of 2015. The unofficial 2018 results show that the population is now 69,088. Grande Prairie is the 7th largest city in Alberta.
August 2018 was the worst year for forest fires in BC. There were many days of thick smoke that drifted into Grande Prairie and the rest of the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba affecting the air quality of millions of people. The air quality in Grande Prairie was so poor in 2018 that many activities scheduled for outdoors had to be canceled. The smoke drifted in from the 600 forest fires in British Columbia. Photo above: one of the neighborhoods in the City when the air quality health index was 10+. Low is 1-3, Moderate is 4-6, High is 7-10 and Very High is 10+. When air quality is 10+ it was advised to limit outdoor activities and children and seniors and others who had medical conditions were advised to stay indoors.
August 2018: Electric buses will be running in Grande Prairie this fall. The two buses will be 100% battery operated and can travel up to 200 km before needing a recharge. Each bus is 30 feet long and can seat 23 people.
August 2018: The building that Smitty's and Prairie Gold Jewelrey occupied was demolished.
In February 2018, there was a major water main break that flooded the building that Smitty's Restaurant and Lounge and Prairie Gold Jewelry occupied on the west end of Grande Prairie along 100th Avenue. (Also flooded was the Walmart parking lot.) Both businesses received major damage and never re-opening. The building was finally demolished and only the Smitty's sign remained.
September 2018: After many delays, Whispering Ridge Community School is now open located north Grande Prairie. It currently holds 500 students and 50 staff members for the County students.
September 2018: After 17 years Helen Rice retires as president of the Grande Prairie Downtown Association. Wendy Bosch will take over her role. Helen Rice also served on City Counsel for many years.
September 12, 2018: Grande Prairie
received a record snowfall as 10.6cm fell. Most farmers didn't even start harvesting. The snow did not stay as it melted.
September 2018: Northern Express Bus Line has a started a route between Grande Prairie and Edmonton as Greyhound had announced earlier that they would end its passenger and freight services and Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Northern Express has a fleet of 55 passenger motor coaches. enlarge photo
September 2018: The Province suspends work on the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital as there have been many delays and additional costs. They are now looking for a new construction manager to take over the project. Most of the exterior is already done with 75% of interior work has been completed. Graham Construction was award the contract for the hospital in 2011 and 3 years later construction began. It was projected to be completed in 2015 but revised to 2020. Update: Clark Builders takes over the project in November 2018.
September 2018: A new Roundabout is now open northwest of Grande Prairie at the intersection of Highway 43X and 116 Street. Dash-cam shows how easy it is to go through it. NEW VIDEO
(1:00 min) - Going through the Roundabout VIEW VIDEO
September 2018: First home game of the Grande Prairie Storm for the 2018-2019 Season. Introduction of Players and Coaches. NEW VIDEO
(5:09 min)- Introducing the GP Storm: VIEW VIDEO
October 2018: Alberta minimum wage is to go up to $15 an hour on October 1, 2018.
This wage will now be the highest in Canada.
October 2018: Ten cannabis retail stores have been approved for Grande Prairie and there could be more as the City has lifted the cap on how many retail stores can be opened (with approval)
October 2018: Nauticol; Energy Ltd has proposed to construct a $2 billion methanol manufacturing site 10km south of Grande Prairie near next to the pulp mill. Construction is planed to begin in 2019 and completed by 2021.
October 2018: Grande Cache votes to dissolve into a hamlet and will join the Municipal District of Greenview which also includes communities of DeBolt, Valleyview, Fox Creek, and Grovedale.
97.1% voted in favour to dissolve.
October 2018: The City of Grande Prairie has placed a bit to host the 2022 Arctic Winter Games. The City had hosted the 2010 Arctic Winter Games.
November 2018: 100 Avenue downtown Grande Prairie opens after five months of construction.
Many businesses had indicated that during construction, that it deterred customers from coming downtown which resulted in poor sales.
November 2018: Parkside Inn located just west of Bear Creek along 100th Avenue, has become a supportive housing facility to help the homelessness in Grande Prairie, over a 2 year term.
November 2018: Planet Fitness is getting ready to occupy the old Wholesale Sports location after doing extensive renovations to the building (just west of Walmart)
in Grande Prairie.
November 2018: Rumors have it Cabela's will be moving into the old Sears building. Cabela's is a retail store with fishing, hunting, camping, boating, clothing, and footwear merchandise.
November 2018: Jonathan's Gold & Diamonds will be closing their doors in the Prairie Mall, Grande Prairie. They opened 40 years ago when the Mall first opened.
November 2018: Longtime resident Doug Marshall has passed away at the age of 79 years. In 1975 he became the owner of Doug Marshall Motor City until 2000. The auto dealership continues to operate at 11044-100 Street Grande Prairie.
December 2018: The Santa Parade took place downtown Grande Prairie on December 2nd. People of all ages lined the streets to watch it.
December 2018: Former City Councilor Dan Wong has been named Chair of the Board of Directors of the Grande Prairie Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber of Commerce is located at Centre 2000 along with the Tourism Centre, 11330-106 Street, Grande Prairie.
December 2018: The County Connector bus was launched that provides bus service between Grande Prairie, Clairmont and Sexsmith. Phase two to Wembley, Beaverlodge and Hythe is planned for February 2019.
Alberta Transportation provided $640,000 for operational funding for the two year Pilot Project. The County of Grande Prairie added $138,333 towards the funding.
One way trips are $5.00 and children age 11 and under ride for free.
December 2018: Plus One Bottle Depot in Grande Prairie will be relocating to the old Peavey Mart building in the Westgate Shopping Centre (west of Save-On Food Store). It is hoped to be open in the spring of 2019.
December 2018: Premier Rachel Notley was in Grande Prairie and announced that 19 km of Highway 40 would be twinned starting at 68 Avenue. A second bridge across the Wapiti River is also in the plans as well as a full interchange at the intersection of Highway 43 and 43X, west of the City of Grande Prairie.
December 2018: Up to 2,000 people took part in a rally held at Muskoseepi Park in support of the oil and gas industry. On the same day a convoy of trucks made its way through the city to show their support, which lasted 1.5 hours.
December 2018: Grande Prairie gets its first ride share service as TappCar officially opened.