The original Dr. Phil | DrumhellerMail
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Last updateTue, 16 Jan 2018 3pm

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Carillion honours highway contracts despite bankruptcy

For the time being, Carillion will continue to serve the area with highway maintenance, plowing and sanding roads. There was some doubt cast upon this on Monday when the UK based parent company Carillion PLC went into receivership. However, the Government of… Read More
Pardo SSJan18

Speaker Series returns with the search for evolutionary origins of amphibians

The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology’s 2018 Speaker Series starts this Thursday, January 18. with, First Steps onto the Tangled Bank: Evolutionary Experiments in the Early Tetrapod Form.This talk will be presented by Jason Pardo, Ph. D. candidate at the… Read More
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Ladies Livestock Lessons launches January

Saturday, January 20 is an exciting day for women in the agriculture sector as the annual Ladies Livestock Lessons workshop is set to take place. The Acme Community Centre will be buzzing with eager participants and professionals of different areas of… Read More

More Local News

Wheatland County sees opportunity for new year

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The Mail chatted with Glenn Koester, Reeve of Wheatland County, on how things are shaping up in the area south of…

Suspects arrested after attempted Nacmine home break-in

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Three suspects have been arrested in connection to an attempted break-in in Nacmine yesterday morning.RCMP received a call…

AED unit essential emergency item

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The Drumheller Rotary Club has made the conscious decision to supply a second AED (Automated External Defibrillator) unit to…

Solar farm proposed north of airport

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There may be another alternative energy project in the area in the near future. Aura Power Renewables is proposing a…

Treasured Bible returns to St. Magloire’s Church

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The St. Magloire’s Anglican Church is one Bible richer after a Salmon Arm, B.C., thrift store volunteer stumbled upon the 93…

CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY OF RONALD EISNER

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EisnerRonald Larry 1945-2018 Ronald Eisner passed away peacefully in his sleep at home on January 3, 2018 at the age of 72,…

More Local Sports

Yavis Atom Raptors win Chestermere Tourney

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The Yavis Atom A Raptors Hockey team ended the year with a bang with a tournament win. The Atom Raptors were guests at the…

RecTeams battle at annual tournament

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For the last 23 years, recreational hockey teams have gathered at the Drumheller Memorial Arena for some great hockey…

Raptors Hockey battles through first half of season

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Drumheller Minor Hockey is at the midpoint of their season and hockey players from Tykes to Midgets are performing well on…

Bantam Raptors to host March provincials

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There will be some great hockey action in the valley come March as the Boston Pizza Bantam Raptors will be hosting…

Drumheller Dragons fight through adversity

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After a strong start, the Drumheller Dragons have faced adversity, but for a developing team, coaches are confident they…

Midget B Raptors stack up well in league play

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The Midget B Raptors have been hard at work staying competitive in the Midget C division. This weekend, the team faced Oyen…

Obituaries

CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY OF LORNA FULLERTON

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FULLERTONLorna August 17, 1924 – January 1, 2018 Lorna Fullerton passed away in Drumheller on Monday, January 1, 2018 at the…

CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY OF LAWRENCE BLACK

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MEMORIAL SERVICE Lawrence L.BLACK 1922-2017 Saturday, January 13, 2018 1:00 p.m.Fellowship Baptist ChurchDrumheller, AB

CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY OF JAMES KOZAK

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KOZAKJames November 27, 1951- January 6, 2018 James Kozak, fondly known as Jimmy or Uncle James. James passed away…

CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY OF ANN SARSFIELD

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SARSFIELDAnn Mary June 26, 1931 - December 25, 2017 Mrs. Ann Mary Sarsfield of Drumheller, beloved wife of the late George…

The original Dr. Phil

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    While television’s Dr. Phil has made a career of finding unity and balance in people’s lives, Drumheller’s Dr. Phil considers his greatest political achievement was unifying the valley.

    Now 80, you’ll find Dr. Phil Bryant at the Pioneer Trail Centre in downtown Drumheller. Usually the morning sees about a dozen men playing snooker or cards, enjoying coffee, often discussing the municipal, provincial and federal political problems facing citizens.
    Bryant has always loved politics and has been active most of his life. He was part of a chapter of history which saw the amalgamation of the Municipality of Badlands and the new Town of Drumheller.
    “I was involved in bringing the valley together, of anything I have done (politically) I am most proud of that,” he said.
    Dr. Bryant, originally from Rosedale, B.C., came to the valley in 1958-1959 to work as a veterinarian for the federal government.
     He went on to practice privately in  Bow Island. There he became mayor. He came back to the valley in 1976 and settled in Rosedale as the area’s district veterinarian. He jokes that his hometown of Rosedale, B.C. had four churches, while Rosedale, Alberta has  four bars.
    Politically he didn’t rest. He was appointed to the second Advisory Council for Improvement District #7. He explains that at the time, there was no formal council for the area, which included the areas in the valley surrounding Drumheller.
    There were local advisors, but the Minister of Municipal Affairs acted as the political head. In 1983, the position became elected, and Bryant continued.
    There was a sense in the Improvement District that it needed more influence politically. Bryant said there was a feeling that land was often annexed for the City of Drumheller’s own good.
    “Whenever they wanted more land they would go to Edmonton, talk to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, our legal leader, and ask for some more land and  there got to be some bad feelings that they were gradually chipping in on us,” he said.
    In 1991 The Municipal District of Badlands was formed.
    “At that time we became a legal municipality with an elected government making our own decisions,” said Bryant who served as reeve.
    He said the arrangement was good, but the MD had too small of a base and found themselves losing money each year, eating away at its reserves.
    Bryant, and then sitting Drumheller Mayor Brock Wood, could see the valley were better off with amalgamation.
    “After about two or three years of negotiations and a lot of publicity and arguments as politics does, we made an agreement to join with the city,” he said.
    Part of the negotiators guaranteed staff severance pay or a new job within the new municipality for Badlands employees, they also retained the Ward System. The City of Drumheller became a town, according to Bryant, was so the province would be responsible for the major highways through the valley, saving the municipality.  The MD of Badlands also gave up some land to Kneehill County, which also realized savings.
 In January 1 1998, a new combined council was sworn in with 13 members. That fall, the first election for councillors of the new look town took place and Bryant became Mayor.
    He says there are sill rumblings from some that were not happy with amalgamation.
“There are some who feel we sold out, but of course they don’t realize we were going broke,” he said, adding he believes they made one mistake. He would have liked to see the Ward System stay in place. The 2004 election was the last election that allowed residents to vote for candidates in their direct community.
    “I thought in the span of six years we would all get to love each other and all be mature enough to enjoy open voting, but that didn’t happen,” he said.
    Dr. Bryant served for one term and was defeated by Paul Ainscough in the next municipal election. By then, he had been retired professionally for four years.
    “I always liked politics and I always liked promoting the town,” said Bryant.
    While he has retired from the political realm, he has remained active in the community. He served as president of the Pioneer Trail Society for about five years. He believes in this institution.
    “To me this is the ideal place for seniors that are retired. It is a recreation room, we have the quilters and shuffle boarders, we have the card players and the pool players,” he said. “To me it’s a coffee row, but it is also a place to do things.”
    The Pioneer Trail Society became a registered society in 1974, but its roots go back to the 1950’s when it was started by the Elks Club.
Looking at his career in service, the people have been important to Bryant.
    “It is the satisfaction of doing your part and working with good people,” he said.
    As for the Town of Drumheller, it is on the right path.
    “I like to think that the political group can’t cause a lot of trouble.  This is true because you can be mayor or you can be councillor and you can give them your advice, but when it comes right down to it there is a bureaucracy there that is working and it is our job as elected officials to make sure that bureaucracy is on the right track. If they are on the right track; and this is true in Canadian government and anywhere else, you can’t change that overnight, and once you find out how it works, you probably don’t want to change it.”

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