Quality of Life
Primary and Secondary Education
Three school divisions are responsible for delivering primary and secondary education in the GROWTH Alberta area.
Information on particular schools in the region can be accessed on the Web sites of Pembina Hills Regional Division No. 7, Evergreen Catholic Separate Regional Division No. 2, and Aspen View Regional Division No. 19.
Students in the GROWTH Alberta region have access to a number of exceptional programs, including world class band programs at both Barrhead Composite High School and St Mary School (Westlock). In April, 2009 the Barrhead Composite High School (BCHS) band won the Most Outstanding Band Award at the Heritage Festival in Seattle, WA. Beating out 31 other school bands from across the United States, the award comes with an invitation for the band to compete at the Festival of Gold to be held at New York City’s Carnegie Hall sometime in April 2010.
As well, the Alberta Distance Learning Centre, which provides education to over 20,000 students province wide, has its head office in the Town of Barrhead.
Post Secondary Education
Northern Lakes College offers on-site, distance and blended educational opportunities at campuses in both Swan Hills and Barrhead.
The Pembina Educational Consortium facilitates programs and services provided by colleges and universities to adults who live in regions not directly served by a single institution. The Pembina Educational Consortium has partnered with Athabasca University, Grant MacEwan College, NorQuest College, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), and Red Deer College to deliver programs and services, and offers on-site programs in both Westlock and Whitecourt.
With the close proximity to the City of Edmonton, students from the GROWTH Alberta region also attend the University of Alberta, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), Concordia University College of Alberta, and Grant MacEwan College, to name only a few of the institutions that help make Alberta home to one of the best educated populations in Canada.
Community Adult Learning Councils
The GROWTH Alberta region is also well served by several Community Adult Learning Councils which address the part-time, non-credit learning needs of adults within specified geographic boundaries.
Serving the County of Barrhead, including the communities of Barrhead, Neerlandia, Manola, Dunstable and Meadowview, as well as the Hamlet of Fort Assiniboine.
|Barrhead & District Adult Learning Council
5310 - 49 Street
Barrhead, AB T7N 1P3
T: (780) 674-7535
F: (780) 674-8699
Serving the County of Thorhild, including the communities of Thorhild, Newbrook, Radway and Egremont.
|Thorhild & District Community Adult Learning Council
Thorhild, AB T0A 3J0
T: (780) 398-3978
F: (780) 398-3748
Whitecourt/Lac St. Anne
Serving the communities of Whitecourt, Mayerthorpe, Sangudo, Onoway, and Alberta Beach, along with some other portions of Lac Ste. Anne County and Woodlands County.
|Whitecourt/Lac Ste. Anne Support for Adult Learning
Sangudo, AB T0E 2A0
T: (780) 785-3411
F: (780) 785-2359
Toll Free: 1-866-880-5722
As of April 1, 2009, Alberta’s 11 provincial health authorities have joined together to form Alberta Health Services (AHS). Within the GROWTH Alberta region, AHS provides rural primary healthcare services for the many stages of life in a variety of settings.
Prior to 2009, health services in the GROWTH Alberta region were provided by the Aspen Regional Health Authority. For many years, the region has been known for its extremely high standard of patient care, as evidenced by the following measures from the 2002-2005 Aspen Regional Health Authority Business Plan.
In a survey conducted by Alberta Health and Wellness, 73 percent of people rated the ease of access to services as 'easy' or 'very easy' in the Aspen Regional Health area compared to 65.5% province-wide.
In the same survey, 92.5 percent rated the quality of service as 'excellent' or 'good', as compared with 86 percent province-wide.
Alberta Health Services continues to uphold this standard, and currently operates the following facilities within the GROWTH Alberta region:
Emergency Care Centres
Emergency Care Centres are open 24 hours a day for short-term services required by patients for such things as an acute, chronic, or initial disease process requiring treatment. Whitecourt, Swan Hills, Barrhead, and Westlock all have centres for emergency treatment.
Healthcare Centres are large facilities that accommodate a variety of patient services, including specialized services such as paediatrics, mental health and palliative care. Whitecourt, Barrhead and Westlock host the three full service Healthcare Centres serving the GROWTH Alberta region. Swan Hills also has a smaller capacity Healthcare Centre.
Alberta Health Services offers a wide range of services in long-term care centres for individuals who are no longer able to manage in a home setting. The Town of Barrhead and the County of Thorhild each have one facility, and the Town of Westlock has two.
Health Services Offices
Health Services Offices provide population and educational health services for the community by delivering programs to prevent and protect citizens from disease. These offices are located in Whitecourt, Swan Hills, Barrhead, Westlock and Thorhild.
Citizens in the GROWTH Alberta region also have access to a number of specialized healthcare services usually reserved for larger centres, such as cataract surgery at the Westlock Healthcare Centre, and a Stage 2 Chemotherapy Cancer Clinic located at the Barrhead Healthcare Facility. Additional specialized services available at the Whitecourt Healthcare Centre (serving patients in Woodlands County and the western portion of the GROWTH Alberta region) include hemodialysis (part of the Northern Alberta Renal Program), and specialized eating disorder services.
Persons with immediate health concerns are encouraged to contact HEALTHLink Alberta, a 24 hours a day, seven days a week telephone health advice and health information service staffed by registered nurses that anyone in Alberta can access. Toll-free: 1-866-408-5465
Barrhead Healthcare Centre
Barrhead Community Health Services
Barrhead - Dr. W. R. Keir Building Continuing Care Center
Barrhead Shepherd’s Care
Radway Continuing Care Centre
Radway Raubenheimer Clinic
Swan Hills Healthcare Centre
Thorhild Community Health Services
Thorhild Raubenheimer Medical Clinic
Westlock Healthcare Centre
Westlock Continuing Care Centre
Westlock Community Health Services
Westlock Healthy Families, Healthy Futures
Whitecourt Healthcare Centre
Whitecourt Community Health Services
The following municipal Web sites offer extensive listings of community services and key contacts throughout the GROWTH Alberta region.
The Swan Hills Public Library, located in the municipal building alongside the Town office, offers for loan a wide variety of books, audio and video tapes and books. Contact Nancy Keough, T: (780) 333-4505.
The Blue Ridge Public Library is located in the Briar Patch Building at 24A 3rd St. Story time is held every Tuesday at 11am. T: (780) 648-7323.
The Fort Assiniboine Public Library is located in the Fort Assiniboine School at 35 State Ave. *Closed on weekends, statutory holidays and Christmas and Easter breaks that coincide with school breaks. T: (780) 584-2227.
The Whitecourt & District Public Library is located at 5201 - 49 St. in Whitecourt. *Closed on statutory holidays. T: (780) 778-2900
The Barrhead Public Library serves both the Town and County of Barrhead, as well as the Barrhead School, and is unique in that it has always operated as a combined school and public facility. It is located at 5103 -53 Ave, in front of the Barrhead Elementary School. T: (780) 674 – 8519.
The Barrhead area is also home to a number of community libraries: the Neerlandia Community Library (housed in the Neerlandia School), the Meadowview Community Library (housed in Meadowview Community Centre), and the Dunstable Children's Collection (housed in Dunstable School).
The Westlock Municipal Library is housed in the Heritage Building located at 10007-100 Avenue, across from Saint Mary’s Catholic Church and diagonally across from Westlock Sobey’s. The library also operates two satellite programs: the Fawcett Public Library and the Jarvie Public Library. T: (780) 349-3060.
The Thorhild and District Municipal Library houses a variety of materials for loan at their space within the Thorhild Municipal Complex. T: (780) 398-3502
Galleries and Museums
The Fort Assiniboine Friendship Museum is open from Victoria Day Weekend in May to Labor Day Weekend in September, 12pm - 5pm daily. Admission: Free, with donations gratefully accepted. T: (780) 584-3737.
To commemorate early history during the Hudson Bay Era between 1823 and 1877, the exterior of the museum was designed to reflect the fur trading times. Exhibits include farm equipment, pioneer furniture and tools, history of the settlement, wildlife, and RCMP, and artifacts that were part of the original fort.
The mural mounted on the outside of the Fort Assiniboine Museum was painted by Dorothy Kruse. The painting depicts Gold Rush seekers crossing the Athabasca River about the year 1898 on their way to the Yukon. The Gold Rush seekers camped at Klondike City (about 16 km north of Fort Assiniboine) for the winter of 1898-99.
The Barrhead Centennial Museum and Visitor Information Center features the early history of the settlement. Exhibits include farm equipment, pioneer furniture and tools. A very interesting map shows the meandering of the Klondike Trail through the County of Barrhead during the Gold Rush years. Located in Barrhead on the east side of Grizzly Trail (Highway 33), just south of city limits.
Open Victoria Day Weekend in May to Labor Day Weekend in September. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10am - 4 pm, Sunday 1pm - 5pm. Admission: Free, donations gratefully accepted. T: (780) 674-5203.
The Westlock & District Historical Museum is located in the town of Westlock, just off of Highway 18. This museum celebrates the spirit of the brave pioneers who built this town out of the grass and dust of the Alberta prairie.
Open from the May Long Weekend through the September Long Weekend. Hours of operation are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. T: (780) 349-4849.
The Canadian Tractor Museum is a 20,000 square foot facility on the west side of Westlock that houses a collection of more than two hundred fully-restored antique tractors.
Open daily, 10am-5pm from May 16th to September 7th. Open Friday & Saturday only, September 12th to September 27th. Tours available all year. Admission: Adults - $6.00, Children (6-12) - $3.00, Under 6 – Free. T: (780) 349-3353.
The yard outside the Canadian Tractor Museum is home to a working weather vane that features a 1942 Model D Case Tractor atop a 50-foot pole. It was completed in 2006.
The Westlock Art Club open the Westlock Art Gallery to the public every Friday from 12pm - 4pm in the Heritage Building, 10007 - 100 Avenue (kitty corner from Sobeys).
The Thorhild Museum, owned and operated by the Thorhild and District Historical Society, was established to tell the story of the founding, settlement and development of community in and around Thorhild from the 1920’s to the present time. The Museum is located in the Hamlet of Thorhild, in the Thorhild Municipal Complex.
The Newbrook Observatory is a museum and interpretive centre rehabilitated to interpret the history of science of meteorites and the significance of the photographing of Sputnik 1 on October 9, 1957. Interpretation at the observatory focuses on historical astronomy, cultural astronomy, region astronomy and celestial phenomenon as evidenced by meteorites. The Newbrook Observatory is located in the Hamlet of Newbrook. T: (780) 576-3785.
Tourist Information Centres
The Whitecourt Visitor Information Centre is located at the southeast end of Whitecourt on Highway 43 inside the Whitecourt Forest Interpretive Centre. T: (780) 778-5363.
The Fort Assiniboine Tourist Information Centre is located in the Fort Assiniboine Friendship Museum on the south side of Main Street. T: (780) 584-3737.
The Barrhead Tourist Information Centre is located in the Barrhead Centennial Museum on Grizzly Trail (Highway 33), on the east side of the street just a short distance inside the city limits. T: (780) 674-5203.
The Swan Hills Tourist Information Booth is located on the west side of the highway as you enter Swan Hills on Grizzly Trail Highway 33.
The small rustic cabin that serves as the tourist information booth in Swan Hills has a history. In the late 1960's, the three Corrections Officers assigned to work the Judy Creek Young Offenders Camp were dissatisfied with the travel trailer that served as their accommodation. These three officers - Tom Brown, Lloyd Goodwin and Harold Riggs - decided to design and build a log cabin. Work on the cabin began in May of 1970 and was finished in October of 1970.
The Westlock Tourist Information Centre is attached to the Westlock & District Historical Museum at the intersection of Highway 18 and 102 Avenue. T: (780) 349-4849.