April showers: preparing for farm flooding

Spring brings with it some warmer, but wetter weather. With increased precipitation in the mix, flooding is always a concern. And the best way to prepare for floods is to take action before there is a problem.

The Government of Alberta website has outlined some flood preparation tips, specific to rural homeowners and residents. Here’s the steps you should take:

• Locate potential hazards in relation to water sources
• Secure potable water if there is a flood warning
• Identify high elevation areas for relocation
• Inspect dams and canals annually
• Have an Emergency Plan

It’s also always important to stay informed on weather alerts and trends for your area, so you can have time to prepare for when disaster hits. For weather alerts, check here.

And more the complete list of tips for farm flooding preparedness, read the post on the Government of Alberta website here.

Increasing your home’s value for the spring market

We’re heading into the Spring real estate market in Calgary, so before you list your home, here are some great tips for increasing resale value.

Renovations: now would be a great time to get those upgrades and renovations done on your home. There are lots of easy DIY solutions, or you can always hire a professional you trust.

Home staging: prospective buyers want to imagine your home as theirs. This can be hard to do if you have a lot of clutter in your home, or very dark or bright colours. The plainer, the better. Make sure your home is clean and clutter-free too! If you want some extra help doing it right, you can hire a home stager as well.

Curb appeal: this refers to the exterior appearance of your home. You want your home to be appealing at first impression, and the first place they will see it is from the curb. Ensure the outside of your home is up-to-date including landscaping, driveway, outdoor fixtures, etc.

These are just some tips, but don’t worry, I’ll always help you get your home ready for sale if you list with me. If you have any question, please feel free to ask!

Adjustments to Rocky View Master Rates

Rocky View County recently passed its annual adjustments to the Master Rates Bylaw, which outlines what residents pay for County services (building permits, utilities, licenses, etc.).

Most of the rates will remain unchanged for this year, and actually some will even be decreasing. In some categories, rates are rising 1-2% to cover inflation.

Increases include:

  • Bragg Creek sewer services are moving from a fixed rate of $125. per month to a rate of $25 plus $3.70 per cubic metre of water consumption to better reflect each homeowner’s individual use.
  • The costs of monuments, burial sites, and other cemetery-related services are increasing to move towards true cost recovery.

The new rates come into effect on April 1, 2015.

The Master Rates Bylaw reflects the County’s 2015-2018 Strategic Plan, which identifies fiscal sustainability as one of its pillars. The County is moving towards more user-based fee structures for programs and services that benefit only some residents. Currently fewer than 12,000 of the County’s 38,000 residents receive water, sewer, or curbside waste and recycling services provided by the County.

More information on the Master Rates Bylaw and its 2015 amendments can be found on the Rocky View County website here.

For Winter Walk Day: Enjoy Our Great Parks!

February 4, 2015 is Winter Walk Day in Canada, a nationwide initiative that encourages Canadians to get outside and walk, even for 15 minutes.

If you want to enjoy some beautiful scenery tomorrow, here’s some places to check out:

Bragg Creek Provincial Park
Located 44 km west of Calgary in the hamlet of Bragg Creek. Features of the park include:

  • Picnic space
  • Hiking trails
  • Fishing
  • Washrooms
  • Free parking

Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park
Located between Calgary and Cochrane along the north shore of the Bow River. This park contains over 1,300 hectares of parkland. Features include:

  • Natural features, including endangered ecosystems and rare species
  • Showcase the rich history of ranching and the historic Glenbow townsite
  • Managed through a formal partnership with the Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park
This park has a series of waterfalls, and a historic fish hatchery, not to mention Alberta’s first commercial creamery. This park is located 10 kilometres east of Cochrane. Features of the park include:

  • Hiking
  • Wildlife
  • Washrooms
  • Free Parking

For more information on these parks and many more in the County, check out the Rocky View County website.

Organizing Your Home Office

January is “Get Organized Month”, and with the new year, it’s a perfect time to get around to that office organization you’ve been putting off. If you’ve got a home office, here’s five easy tips for organizing your space:

1. Take advantage of storage boxes, and try going with ones made from luxurious materials for some extra flair.

2. Experts from Style at Home recommend using glass vases, jars and canisters to store things as it makes things easy to find.

3. While you want to keep your home office tidy and organized, add some accessories or flowers to keep it a cozy space you want to spend time in.

4. Seek inspiration from new places: social media sites like Pinterest or Houzz, a colour palette you see, etc.

5. Upcycle materials and turn trash into treasure. Your desk doesn’t need to be top-of-the-line or brand new.

5 Home Upgrades That Make All The Difference

Renovations are all the fad right now, featured in many home magazines and blogs. One theme seems to be consistent everywhere: small changes can make the biggest difference. Here are five small home upgrades that will make your life easier:

Install a built-in soap dispenser: it’s a nice addition to your sink, and that’s also one less thing to clutter up your counter.

Soft-close drawers/cupboards: these are fairly cost-effective to install, and it will be the end of slamming drawers and cupboards in the kitchen.

Install dimmer switches: especially if you have bright lights, having the option to use different light settings has huge benefit.

Garage keypad: most new homes have these nowadays, but if yours doesn’t it is definitely a worthwhile add-on. Plus, you’ll never be locked out of your house again.

Motion-activated outdoor lights: these are great to have on your porch or deck. It’s a deterrent for criminals, but also will help guide you in the dark.

Rocky View Residents: Be FireSmart

The FireSmart program was started by Partners in Protection in an effort to educate homeowners on how to protect their properties from wildfires. Seeing as how it’s also Fire Prevention Week, these tips serve as great reminders:

  • Ensure your chimney is up to code
  • Call your utility company of branches or leaves are not clear of power lines
  • Have your address and lot number easily visible for emergency crews
  • Remove vegetation near powerlines
  • In warmer months, water and mow grass regularly
  • Move propane tanks 10 metres from any structure
  • Choose less flammable finishes for your home
  • Use only Class A, B or C rated fire resistant roofing materials
  • Keep trees at least three metres away from either side of your driveway

Looking for more information and tips on fire safety and prevention in Rocky View County? See the Rocky View County website.

Celebrate the Opening of the New Bearspaw Fire Hall

This Saturday, September 6th marks the grand opening of Rocky View County’s newest fire hall in Bearspaw. To celebrate the opening of the station, there will be free family-friendly activities going on this Saturday.

Saturday, September 6th from 12 to 3 pm: 

  • Fire extinguisher demos
  • Fire hall/fire truck tours
  • Snacks/beverages
  • Photo booth
  • Face painting
  • Arson dog demos

The new Bearspaw Fire Hall is located at 31211 Lochend Place in Bearspaw.

Acreage Living: Tips for Fencing Your Property

With the summer weather upon us, you may be thinking about finally getting that new fence up in your yard. Before you figure out what type of fence you want, first you should find out the specifics: where can you legally build a fence, and you’ll want to discuss it with your neighbours most likely.

Before you plan for a fence, first decide what you need a fence for: confine or exclude animals, aesthetics, dividing parts of your property, etc. Once you define that, then you can figure our what kind of fence to build.

• Barbed wire: recommended usage for cows and goats, but not for sheep, horses or swine. There is also always the likelihood of injury with this type.

• Woven or mesh wire: these are common and safe for the use of livestock.

• Rail fencing: this is popular for horses and other farm animal fencing.

• Cable wire: these have higher production costs but are very effective and are low-maintenance.

• Electrical fencing: while effective, there is always a potential danger with this type of fencing, so do your research.

Backyard Summer Safety Tips

It’s another scorching week in Calgary and area, and with heat like this people are spending their time outdoors. Alberta Health Services is taking time to remind residents to keep their backyards safe this summer with these helpful tips:

  • Ensure all pools are fenced, and supervise swimming. Reminder: children can drown in just a centimetre of water.
  • Keep children away from power equipment outside, and use caution when using power tools. Serious burns can be caused from hot engines on mowers, etc.
  • Ensure all tools, chemicals and potentially dangerous yard equipment is stored in a safe and secure location.
  • To keep insects from being attracted to you, avoid perfume, heavily-scented lotions and bright clothing outdoors.
  • Consider relocating nests or hives located near your home.

Enjoy the summer heat, and stay safe!