News | DrumhellerMail - Page #11
Last updateWed, 24 Aug 2016 11am

Town welcomes new Infrastructure Director

darryl drohomerski

A former senior employee for the City of Winnipeg stepped into his new position as Drumheller’s infrastructure director this week.

Darryl Drohomerski, former Winnipeg solid waste manager, brings over twenty years experience of senior management in a large urban centre. 

In Winnipeg, he oversaw the city’s transition to rolling garbage-can and blue-box collecting and spearheaded a successful waste minimization strategy. 

The Winnipeg Free Press described Drohomerski as “effective and pragmatic,” and former Drumheller infrastructure director, Al Kendrick, who will remain with the town until October to help the transition before his retirement, said Drohomerski is “a very intelligent individual” and thinks he’ll fill the position well.

“It just takes a little while to get familiar with staff and procedures, and coming from a different province there is some difference on the regulatory side,” Kendrick said.

Drohomerski and his wife came to Drumheller for simpler living and to escape Winnipeg’s harsh winters.

“I just needed a bit of a change in pace and lifestyle. We were happy in Winnipeg. But my wife is from smaller towns, her father was RCMP, and they moved around small towns a lot, so we wanted to give small community living a try,” he said. 

He left his position in Winnipeg in 2014, where he was employed for 21 years, and before taking his position in Drumheller, Drohomerski had been running his own environmental consulting business from home, working with clients throughout the Prairie Provinces.

Despite coming from a large centre with deeper pockets, Drohomerski said Drumheller has great resources and is already appreciating the flexibility that comes with a smaller department.

“My opinion is a lot of smaller communities have more flexibility to do great work very efficiently, rather than places like Winnipeg and other large centres, where there’s too many competing interests and you’re not getting as much infrastructure work done as you hope,” he said.

“There’s more competing priorities for the dollars that are available. Drumheller does a great job, it seems to me, prioritizing infrastructure needs and replacements, as we’ve seen around town with the water main replacement program, and taking care of infrastructure before it becomes an issue. All larger centres tend to have issues sometimes because they don’t have the ability to jump on the repairs they need to do in a timely manner.”

Al Kendrick said the limited budget here will be an adjustment for him.

“They have a lot of similar struggles in major centres but they have deeper pockets and a bigger tax base than we do in the municipal environment we’re in… you have to adjust priorities continually around here,” he said. 

As for ongoing projects in Drumheller, Drohomerski is familiarizing himself with the Aquaplex modernization, which will see a new liner installed, a number of smaller projects. 

For the future, he said there could be potential to incorporate some of the advancements he made in Winnipeg to Drumheller.

“We have to sit down and find out what we want to do with the infrastructure we have and maybe look at introducing things that larger centres have. But to be honest, it is probably too early to tell."

Rumsey Ride for STARS tops $40,000 in biggest year yet

Rumsey Ride

The Rumsey Ride for STARS brought in 102 riders from all over Alberta this year to TL Bar Ranch, raising over $40,000 in donations toward STARS – the most the fundraisier has seen donated in 27 years. 

“We are just ecstatic. It is phenomenal, actually. We didn’t know what to expect because last year we did just under $40,000 and had more riders. And with the economy and everything we were expecting to get hit back a bit. So to have this turn out with less riders is just phenomenal,” says organizer Rob Richmond.

Over 27 years, the Rumsey Ride for STARS has provided an opportunity for horse enthusiasts to trail ride together for a great cause. The event also features a pancake breakfast, a BBQ lunch, and a beef BBQ supper as well as games and awards. 

This years award categories were Most Raised by a Senior Rider (Lynn Tanner, $9,330), Most Raised by a Junior Rider (Raylee Jones, $2,200), and Oldest (Marvin Donaghy, age 88) / Youngest rider (Chesney Anderson, age 4). 

Surprisingly, this year catered to a younger crowd of riders.

“We had more of the younger riders in the ride this year. There is a lot of older folks that do ride, but it is neat to see that we have a new generation participating,” says Richmond.  

East Coulee museum honoured as first municipal heritage site

east coulee school museum heritage status

The East Coulee School Museum was presented with a plaque commemorating their status as Drumheller’s first municipal heritage site on Monday, simultaneously cementing their place as a significant historical resource for the region and opening the door for much needed funding.

“We’re really honoured to be chosen as the first one, for sure,” said museum manager Barb Steeves at the plaque presentation from the mayor, council, and board members of Drumheller’s Heritage Committee on August 8.

“It’s an important designation. In East Coulee, the school is the last building that shows how big the population was here. There’s remnants at the Atlas, but that was an industrial site that wasn’t in town.”

The East Coulee School Museum was built in 1930, with four more class rooms added in 1934. After a population boom in the 30s and 40s which saw the population of East Coulee reach 3,800, the Atlas Coal Mine closed in 1952 and the population dwindled until the 1970s, when the school closed. It was reopened as a museum in 1985 after a major restoration.

“As far as heritage goes, this building was built in the ‘arts and crafts’ style. In Alberta, there were only two schools built in that styling and the other one is gone, so this is the last remaining building,” said Steeves. She said that style includes touches to the exterior architecture like peaked roofs and high windows and ceilings.

As a declared municipal heritage site, the museum must retain features of the structure which are deemed to be “heritage,” and for the roof, this includes retaining metal coping around the edges and renovating a portion of the roof in a certain way. The oldest portion of the building, the original four-class piece near the entrance, features a roof with gradual slopes, which would have to be retained, but the remainder of the newer classrooms are built in the modern style.

“What you can visually see on the building has to remain heritage as much as possible,” says Steeves.

“Hopefully this will open up some funding resources for them and knock down a few hurtles,” said Mayor Terry Yemen. “I know there’s a lot of work to be done here and part of it is to have this designation to be applicable for provincial grants.”

Committee member Tom Zariski said the committee was formed in 2014 and so far 50 sites in the valley have been identified as potentials for municipal heritage status. The age of the building, the original conditioning, its appearance, and largely a building’s exterior features are the criteria used.

“We wanted this one to be the very first as a kind of guinea pig because they were already in the mode of reconstruction and had a society behind it that was putting money into the building,” said Zariski.

He added that the next two buildings likely to receive heritage status are the old Central School and the Navy League building in Drumheller.

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