News | DrumhellerMail - Page #12
Last updateTue, 28 Jun 2016 2pm

Record wedding season at BCF as Drumheller becomes premier event destination

BCF weddings

Drumheller has always been known as the go-to destination for badlands and dinosaurs, but an increasing number of outsiders are coming to the Badlands Community Facility to get married.

The BCF is booked into 2017 with weddings, and with 14 receptions this year, its most ever and almost double last year’s, the facility is booked so solid this wedding season that a couple of patrons are even getting married on Tuesday evenings. 

“They say the BCF is where they want to get married, and they’re willing to adjust their schedule to have the facility as their own,” said bookings manager Erica Crocker. 

“It’s a great feeling.”

She said close to 50 per cent of patrons are from outside the Drumheller area, coming from north of Edmonton, Calgary, and Red Deer to tie the knot. Crocker believes most of these bookings have some connection to Drumheller already, whether it be family, or an experience they had here and its nostalgia, but she also feels many recognize the attraction of hosting their ceremony in the valley.

“The town itself having so many hotels is appealing to people outside of Drumheller. We’ve got this scenery, we’ve got banquet halls that can accommodate large numbers, state of the art equipment… It’s quite the area to get married in,” she said.

Town Community Services Director Paul Salvatore said it isn’t unexpected.

“It’s been in our plan all the way through. Word of mouth has been the best vehicle for spreading the word about our facilities, but marketing, packages, keeping our website up-to-date and making sure people are in the loop on social media are keys,” he said.

“We’ve had some pretty neat high scale weddings that have taken place there. There’s a higher level of the way you can layout the room, types of finishes for tables and chairs, that gives people a bit of imagination for what’s possible.”

Local Kelsie Campbell says along with the facility’s downtown location, ample parking, the scenic river view, and the staff effort has been a major bonus of their reception booking at the BCF.

“Planning a wedding comes with its stresses, and the staff have been incredibly proactive and accommodating when dealing with any wedding ‘crisis’ I throw at them,” she said.

Red Deer River water quality assessed after collision spills diesel fuel into nearby creek

County truck assisting first responders

Water quality in the Red Deer River is being assessed after a collision near the Content Bridge led to a diesel fuel being spilled into a creek that feeds into the river.  
    At approximately 3:30 p.m. on June 09, 2016, Stettler RCMP and Stettler Regional Fire Department responded to the rollover of a semi-truck and trailer combination on Highway 21 approximately one mile south of Highway 11 near Content Bridge.
    The investigation is on-going to the cause of the semi leaving the road on a curve as it was travelling north. The truck turned on its side in a small creek, along with the lead trailer. The second trailer became detached and over turned into the creek.
    The driver of the semi-truck suffered minor injuries and was transported to Red Deer Regional Hospital by Stettler EMS.
    The truck and trailer combination was carrying diesel fuel and an unknown quantity of fuel spilled into the creek. The creek eventually flows into the Red Deer River.
    Notifications were made to Stettler Emergency Management Services, Alberta Transportation’s Dangerous Goods, Stettler Water Treatment Facility, Alberta Environment and Parks, Alberta Emergency Management and Alberta One Call.
    First responders limited the flow of fuel from the trailers and the flow of water down the creek was curtailed by the use of booms and a berm was used to block off the creek. The remaining fuel in the tank was subsequently removed.
    The Town of Stettler Water Treatment Plant has switched over to storage pond water, which has approximately a ten day supply to service its area. It is not anticipated regular water treatment will be affected for any longterm duration.
    Overnight County of Stettler and Town of Stettler staff worked alongside first responders to build two berms intended to limit contamination from heading downstream. They also constructed a pad to assist vacuum trucks in reaching the tanker.
    Crews working for the fuel company involved in the incident arrived and stabilized the scene and removed the product from both fuel tankers. Today they have three recovery units on site focusing on recovering the tankers from the site of the incident.
    Waterway specialist are currently on site assisting with the clean-up. They have installed a series of booms in the creek between the site of the incident and the river. They will focus on skimming product off of the river and filtering hydrocarbons from the water.
    The fuel company involved has contracted a team to overseas the entire recovery project. Their tasks will include taking soil samples from the site of the overturned unit and water samples from the creek and the Red Deer River. They will work closely with Alberta Environment during the containment and recovery process.
    Today’s goals are to eliminate any further downstream contamination. Alberta Environment will be taking samples and expediting testing.

Farewell to Hussar School

hussar school

After 67 years, Hussar School will be closing its doors forever, and staff, students, and the community itself now prepare for the move to the new Wheatland Crossing School next September.

An official farewell gathering is planned for June 18 for the community and past staff to part with the school that has been the central hub of activity for the small farming community for years. 

The occasion is bittersweet for Hussar School staff, who say the change to Wheatland Crossing, with its newer facilities and a larger population composed of students from Standard, Rockyford, and Gleichen, will offer students more than they could be provided in Hussar while also robbing certain qualities its people have come to know.

“There’s pros and cons,” said secretary Donna Collett, who has worked at the school for the last 19 years and attended Hussar School herself until Grade 11. “Our kids will get a lot more options and be exposed to more things in a bigger school. With our class sizes you don’t have much choice who your friends are, but at the same time it’s like a family.”

“The school is the hub of Hussar. It’s a centralized space in the community.”

Judy Sproule, who taught Kindergarten there from 1976 until her retirement in 2010, said the school is a focus of a lot of attention in the community for its activities and the vested interest of parents, as well as housing the Hussar library and a private daycare.

“It is emotional for everyone… It’s been a long process over the years and it’s nice to see it close to completion,” said Sproule.

Collett said the fight to keep enrolment numbers up has been a struggle since she was a sophomore in high school. She herself was moved to a different school for her senior year in 1973 because numbers were too low. 

“I’ve known this fighting to keep the school alive and floating forever. There’s no two ways about it, of course we want to keep the school in our community. But the numbers just don’t work,” she said, adding that since starting in 1997 the numbers have fluctuated from 90 to 120 and down again. 

“It’s all about the bottomline, that’s all there is to it.”

“Education is about funding through numbers,” said Sproule. “If you have more people you have more opportunity for more staff and more programming.”

Due to declining enrolment, Hussar School lost its high school classes in 2009, and then junior high in 2011.

Sproule said it’s a situation faced by rural communities in all prairie provinces, where farms have continued to grow larger and equipment and mechanization has decreased the demand for workers to live in the country.

But there is a sense that Wheatland Crossing may connect the communities of Standard, Rockyford, and Gleichen.

“We’ve been doing that for a long time, working together to field hockey teams or 4-H. We do have a history of working together and it’s always been positive. So in some respects this is kind of the next step,” said Sproule.

“We’ve got some good people at the top and I’m sure things will work out,” said Collett.

Hussar School opened at its current location in 1949, after existing at several different locations as one room schools. The school was expanded in 1958 with three classrooms, a typing room, science room, and gymnasium. It was modernized to its current state in 1988.

The Farewell to Hussar School event is scheduled for Saturday, June 18 from 12 pm to 2 pm and will feature a lunch, tours of the school, and a short program at 1 pm. The event coincides with the Hussar Summer Daze rodeo that same weekend. Organizers are currently inviting nearly 100 former staff to attend the event.

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