GRANDE PRAIRIE NEWS - 2017 ARCHIVED Grande Prairie History - Grande Prairie News
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Jan 2017: Construction has began on the 43X Bypass from the north side to the west side of Grande Prairie. There will be a set of lights where it meets Highway 43 (west of the city) about 4 km east of the Richmond Hill. -Part of Highway 40 South from Grande Prairie to Wapiti River is also being planned to be twinned. - With more people moving back to Grande Prairie for work, the rental vacancy is decreasing a bit and the Real Estate Market is expected to improve.

Feb 2017: Winners Store will be moving to a new location in March, former Future Shop building on the west side of Grande Prairie (116 st and just south of 100 ave). Also near the same location but north of 100 avenue, The Hampton Hotel had its Grand Opening. -The 150 unit Seniors Complex called Lakeview is scheduled to open in April in Clairmont. -Ben Moss Jewelry Store was to close across Canada but was sold and will remain open. There is a location in the Prairie Mall, Grande Prairie.

Feb 2017: Chief economist at ATB Financial says 2017 will be a rebound year in Alberta with jobs in the energy sector improving in the second half of the year. Agriculture should perform well, but the forestry industry won't have news til the U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement is renegotiated. Unemployment should remain close to 9% for most of the year.

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Feb 2017: Two new catholic schools officially opened. The St Catherine Catholic School (K-8) in the Royal Oaks Subdivision of Grande Prairie with 500 students, and the St Mary Catholic School in Beaverlodge (K-9) with 300 students.

It appears that it may be more than rumours that Go RV has closed north of Grande Prairie by overpass. Even though their phones are connected and website still active, there are no RV's displayed in their front yard and there is no furniture visible in their showroom.

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Mar 2017: Wee Links Par 3 Golf Course and Campground located at south Bear Creek, will reopen this spring as it will now be run by the Nitehawk Year-round Adventure Par with partnership with the Sunrise Rotary Club of Grande Prairie. It has been renamed The Bear Paw par 3 Golf Course.

Willie de Wit has been appointed to the Court of Queen's Bench as a judge. Willie is originally from Grande Prairie and a well known boxer who had won Silver in the Olympics.

Mar 2017: Hollywood Video located on 100th Street has closed its doors. They had opened in 2012 in the former Rogers Video location. (enlarge picture) - The Ken and Teresa Sargent Foundation has donated $100,000 towards the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital Foundation.



Mar 2017: The Alberta Province has approved the replacement of the Composite High School and the modernization of the St Patrick Catholic School, both located in Grande Prairie. Construction won't start until 2018. (enlarge picture)

-Downtown Grande Prairie will continue with its Downtown Rehabilitation and Streetscapeproject. There will be a number of phases that will see underground utilities replaced including sidewalks, curbs, lighting, furniture and even trees and plants.

Sunrise Records will be opening in the HMV store in the Prairie Mall, Grande Prairie. When HMV announce they were closing all their locations, Sunrise said they would be taking over the 70 locations including Grande Prairie.

April 2017: A 2nd location of the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy opened in the Northridge area, 10071-120 Ave Grande Prairie. Curtis Crough is also the owner of the 2nd location. (enlarge photo)

Marshalls brand name and designer fashion store is coming to the Prairie Mall in Grande Prairie. It will located near the Coles store. -Former Grande Prairie Storm forward, Tanner Fritz agreed to a 2 year contract with NHL's New York Islanders, effective next season. He played with the GP Storm in the 2007-08 to the 2010-11 Season.

April 2017: Grande Prairie City Councilors approved a pay increase to be in effect after the October election. The Mayor will get $11,000 increase while each councilor will get over $13,000 increase. - A new preschool will open in September at the Faith Lutheran Church at 9610-109 Avenue Grande Prairie. For children aged 3 to 5 years old. -Real Estate Sales were up 34 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 compared to 2016. The average price of a home in Grande Prairie was also increased to $321,000 compared to $307,000 over the same quarter.

April 2017: London Drugs celebrated a Grand Reopening of its newly renovated store in Grande Prairie located in the Gateway Power Centre (west side of the City). -Brenda Yamkowy announces she is retiring from the executive director of the United Way. She was with the United Way for 3 years and 15 years with a number of other organizations. -Even though the 2017 Municipal Election isn't until October 16, 2017 there has been a number of candidates who have registered at City Hall including Clyde Blackburn, Dylan Bressey, Tyler Bulford, John Croken, Bill Given, Jill McCure, Kevin McLean, Cooper Morrison, Wade Pilat, Ramesem Rajnut, Tyla Saverd, Morgan Suurd, Chris Thiessen, Dylan Thompson, and Michael Wolfel. -The current City councilors voted a pay raise for all those elected in October. The Mayor of Grande Prairie will receive an increase of $11,000 while councilors will get a bit over $13,000 pay increases. - The Grande Prairie Dream Home winner this year was Adam Hickson of Grande Prairie. Matthew Watson of Sexsmith won the 50/50 draw that got him $243,320.

May 2017: Mission Thrift Store has opened in Grande Prairie, located in the Towne Centre Mall. Proceeds from the store support the ministry of the Bible League of Canada. -A multi-million dollar acid gas injector facility is proposed to open near Grovedale just south of Grande Prairie. It is estimated there will be 500 contractors for the construction, then will have 17 full time employees. -The Block Parent Program returns its operations in Grande Prairie. It will provide a network of safe places where kids can go.

June 2017: Jeffrey's Cafe is building a new restaurant near Esquires on the west side of Grande Prairie. Owner Lance Warkentin hopes it will be open in late July or August. -Robert Guest, renowned local artist, passed away from a heart attack in Nanaimo, BC. He was born in 1938 in Beaverlodge and was an instructor at the GPRC and Fairview College for many years.

June 2017: The next Grande Prairie Dream Home is under construction at the corner of Poplar Lane and Creekside Drive, in Taylor Estates Subdivision , southwest of Grande Prairie. The new Dream Home is 1 block south of the last Dream Home. (enlarge photo)

June 2017: Grande Prairie Primary Care Network is moving from the 97 Avenue location to an area north of Joey's Seafood (Royal Oaks area) effective July 6th. New address is 104-11745-105 Street.
June 2017: Sears announced it will be closing the Grande Prairie location along with 12 other locations in Alberta. Sears obtained temporary court protection from its creditors as the closures will cut around 2,900 jobs across Canada. (enlarge piciture)

June 2017: Freshii has opened in Grande Prairie near the new Winners location, in the Power Centre, west side of Grande Prairie. Lori and Jordan Bondaruk are the co-owners of the fast-food chain catering to health-conscious people.

July 2017: PARDS opens a new facility (Peace Area Riding for the Disabled Society), located northeast of Evergreen Park, Grande Prairie. The facility is estimated to cost $4.2 million. -Diana Rinne, editor at the Daily Herald Tribune has retired. She spent 20 years in Grande Prairie plus more years with the same company in other communities. -OMG Cupcakes has reopened after being closed for 9 months. The new owner was the former baker at OMG Cupcakes. The previous owner was forced to close the business due to personal health reasons. -Susan Hunter is the new executive director at the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum at Wembley. She replaces George Jacob who was the CEO.

VIDEO Rowney Brings Home The Stanely Cup
July 2017: Carter Rowney now with the Pittsburg Penguins brings home the Stanley Cup. Rowney grew up in Sexsmith and a specai Parade has held in Sexsmith as thousands lined the streets to get a view.

VIew VIdeo> (6:08 min)

Aug 2017: Wizard's Touch Countertops is closing their doors on Sept 30th. Flo Form Countertops will open a few doors from them, and will also take some of their employees as well. -The new hospital is on schedule to open in 2019. 98% of the exterior is done while 15% of the interior is complete. -FIre Chief Dan Lemieux steps down after 15 years with the city fire department. He will be moving to the Strathcona County to be closer to family. - The unemplyment rate has dropped month after month in Grande Prairie and is now (July) at 5.8%. -The Grande Prairie & Disctrict SPCA will be closing after years fo financial struggles. It opened in 1972.-KMS Tools and Equipment, opened in Grande Prairie across from Peavey Mart on the west side of Grande Prairie.

Oct 2017: Long time Grande Prairie newspaperman, Bill Scott passed away at the age of 78 years. He wrote articles for the Daily Herald Tribune for over 50 years.
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Oct 2017: Another long time newspaper man has also passed away in August, 2017. Terry McHale also worked in the editorial department at the Daily Herald Tribune.
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Sept 2017: Construction continues on the new Windsor Ford, located northwest of the present location along 100 Street. (enlarge photo)
It has been reported that Alberta is officially out of a recesssion as 2017 saw GDP growth of3% with tourism and agriculture seeing the most increase. Unemployment in Grande Prairie is now down to 5.8% in July while Edmonton is still at 8.7%. Overall Alberta was 8.1% in August 2017.

Sept 2017: Wholesale Sports is closing its Grande Prairie store along with all the other locations in western Canada. The store opened in June of 2009 in Grande Prairie.
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Oct 2017: There will be improvements to Highway 40 between Grande Prairie and they Yellowhead Highway near Hinton. The province will be spending round $200 million to address the 180 km of highway.

VIDEO Seven new NPHL VIdeos have been created by Ken Connors of featuring the players of the North Peace Hockey League.

Grande Prairie Athletics: 2:27min
Dawson Creek Canucks: 1:33min
Fort St John Flyers: 1:48min
Grimshaw Huskies: 1:32min
Falher Pirates 1:45min
High Prairie Regals
Manning Comets 2:01min


Events of the Peace Country

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Oct 2017: Kelly Sutherland, 12 time World Chuckwagon Racing Champion was honoured at Evergreen Park as he retired after 50 years of Chuckwagon Racing. Kelly has competed in all 40 Grande Prairie Stampedes. -The Alberta Government has officially scrapped Bill 203, the Alberta Standard Time Act. This means Albertans will continue to change their clocks twice a year. It was agreed that staying one one time year round would have a negative effect on Alberta’s Economy.

Nov 2017: A number of new stores have opened in the Prairie Mall, Grande Prairie. After extensive renovations to the vacated Zellers/Target on the north side of the mall, Urban Planet, Marshalls, Just Cozy and Lululemon have recently opened.
enlarge photos: Urban Planet - Marshalls - Just Cozy - Lululemon

Nov: Maclean’s indicates Grande Prairie is no longer the most dangerous community in the country. In 2016 Grande Prairie lead the amount of armed robberies, break-inns and shootings for a city more than 60,000. It has now dropped to 12. Red Deer is the highest of Alberta cities placing them at number 5 on the list.

Nov: The unemployment rate in western Alberta dropped from 5.8% to 5.6% in October 2017. The overall rate in Canada is 5.9%, the lowest it has been since 2008. There have been 390,000 new jobs added in Canada over the last 12 month period. - Rental vacancy rate in Grande Prairie is down 15% over last year. In Oct 2017 there were 4.9% of rental units available while at the same time last year it was 19.8%. According to CMHC they credit improvements in the natural gas and oil price increases

Dec: Grande Prairie had the most snowfall in November since 2006. 61.3 centimetres fell in Grande Prairie overall in the month with a record of 19.8 centimetres falling on just November 26th.

Dec: The Roy Bickell Public School had its grand opening. The school will have around 200 students from K to Grade 8. It is located on the north part of the City at 10410 royal Oaks Drive, Grande Prairie. --The DHT will no longer provide home delivery and will now be sending newspapers through the post office. more info

Dec 3, 2017: Thousands of people young and old lined the streets of Downtown Grande Prairie for the traditional Santa Claus Parade. It was a chilly sunny Sunday afternoon and was there and captured the entire parade on video.
View Video> (12:32 min)



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