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Last updateWed, 18 Apr 2018 5pm

Pilot tourism project makes Drumheller main focus

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    Travel Drumheller, Drumheller & District Chamber of Commerce (DDCC), and the Town of Drumheller have teamed up to drive the economy in a positive direction through tourism.
    A pilot project called the Tourism Industry Business Retention and Expansion (TIBRE) survey initiated by the provincial government’s Culture and Tourism department is set to begin within a couple of weeks to determine the current status of tourism within Drumheller and how the tourism industry affects the population as a whole.
    “Drumheller is one of the great rural communities that actually has a legitimate world class product,” said Travel Drumheller Marketing Consultant Alyssa Barry. “We have the geography, we have these world class attractions and so from a product perspective we are already there so it’s kind of a nice baseline to look at in terms that the community is a tourism destination.”
    Step one is to implement a survey with local business owners directly or indirectly affected by tourism. Owners will be called beforehand to set up a time to chat with volunteers from the community conducting the survey. Barry says it won’t take longer than an hour.
    “They will be one-on-one in person interviews, they are not going to be bringing anything you have to hand in. Everything will be confidential obviously but all this information is going to go to help better and support the tourism sector in Drumheller,” said Barry.
    Education is key to building a strong foundation. The survey will highlight jobs, revenue and potential opportunities. It will also gauge what jobs and how many are affected by the economy and find any gaps that may need to be addressed. It provides them with an analysis of where Drumheller is lacking and where the town is doing well.
    “We do know that the culinary area is the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry where people travel for food and so Drumheller can start looking at opportunities for investments, vendors or restaurants or chefs or all that sort of stuff coming to town,” said Barry.
    Alberta’s tourism industry has created $9 Billion in revenue for the province. Travel Alberta, a branch of the Alberta government has a goal to increase this number to 10 Billion by 2020.
    Diversity is one of the main ways to reach this lofty goal set by the province.
    “We all know oil and gas is probably not going to come back in terms of how it was so you have to have other alternatives from an economic impact perspective because you want people coming to your community,” said Barry. “Visitors are one thing but you also want it in order to work for people of your community, for future jobs, future opportunities and investments.”
    Drumheller was selected because of its established world class status but also retaining its small town charm that many communities across the province are scrambling to figure out. This survey will help create programs for other communities to follow as well as benefit the town by having information to potentially attract investment.
    “It’s easier to make decisions when you know what the actual numbers are and I think in Drumheller in particular there is a lot of different studies and a lot of different people coming in and sort of having different things but there hasn’t been a definitive understanding of how many people work in the tourism and hospitality industry in Drumheller.”
    Barry explained that any business that deals directly with the public is in fact a tourism sector business and that education will be a key factor to this recognition.
    “It doesn’t matter if you are a gas station or an A&W or whatever, you are still impacted and you are still a part of the industry,” said Barry.

National Wireless Public Alerting system launches

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    The smartphone has replaced so many everyday items including the personal music player, calendar and alarm clock. Now it will be the first line of warning in case of emergency.
    On April 6, the  National Wireless Public Alerting will be launched. This means that Canadians with a cell phone will receive life-threatening emergency alerts to their cell phones and wireless devices.
    Lauren Arscott, press secretary for the Minister of Municipal Affairs, says in an email this is a collaboration among federal, provincial, and territorial governments, cell phone companies, broadcasters and the Weather Network. This will supplement the public warnings that are on TV and radio.
    The alerts will appear like a text message on compatible phones that are 4G LTE. It will be sent through cell broadcast distribution. This is a mobile technology that allows messages to be broadcast to wireless devices in a designated geographical area. This means if there is a local emergency, such as flooding, boil water advisories or weather warnings such as winds and tornadoes, devices in the area will be alerted.
    Drumheller CAO Darryl Drohomerski says currently the municipality would work through the Alberta Emergency Alert System.
    Arscott explains this protocol remains, and it will continue to utilize the provincial warning system.
    “Even with this new system in place, the Government of Alberta, through the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, will continue to provide the infrastructure, user training, and support for the Alberta Emergency Alert system,” she states in an email.  “In Alberta, emergency alerts will continue to be issued by trained local officials, and seamlessly passed from the Alberta Emergency Alert System to the National Alert Aggregation and Dissemination (NAAD) System.
    “This means no process change for the users in Alberta communities who are trained to issue public alerts.”
    John Shoff of Reality Bytes, which is a Bell Mobility dealer, welcomes the new system.   To receive an emergency alert, the wireless device must be an LTE device like a smartphone, powered on, and connected to the network. It must also be wireless public alerts-compatible, meaning it must allow for messages to be sent by the service provider through a cell broadcast.
    Shoff says by and large most smartphones are compatible. Cell phone users can check on their providers’ website to make sure their phones are compatible.
    “It’s nice to see that it is there, I think people will definitely utilize it,” said Shoff.
    Arscott encourages people to continue to use the Alberta Emergency Alert mobile app.
    “The app will continue to be an important tool for emergency alerting, not only because it will take time for wireless alerting to include all mobile devices, but also because the app can include more information, such as maps and more detailed instructions. Alberta is a leader in emergency management, and the new federal system for wireless alerting will be an important additional tool to ensure that Albertans are safe when emergencies hit.”
    To learn more about  National Wireless Public Alerting, go to
    Or download the  Alberta Emergency Alert App

Delia leads successful ag society funding campaign


    Lobbying by the Delia Ag Society and societies across the province seems to have worked in persuading the Alberta government to maintain funding levels.
    On March 20, the government announced Alberta’s agricultural societies would receive $11.5 million in funding for the next three years. This announcement came after a period of uncertainty for ag societies.
    “The Alberta government confirmed they are going to keep funding stable for the next three years, which is good news, because there have been some rumours for a while there could be some major cuts to the ag societies,” said Delia Ag Society President Brett Seidler.
    The concerns grew last year when societies were made to wait months to receive the grants. Seidler said Delia was very vocal in its lobbying efforts.
    “Throughout Delia, there was at least 20-30 different letters sent in from community groups explaining the importance of these funds to the community and trying to stress the value of ag societies in the community,” said Seidler.
    The Delia Ag Society operates the community hall as well as the arena, curling facility, and the campground.
    “Each ag society is going to get a different rate, based on what kind of facilities they are running,” said Seidler. The Delia Society received about $35,000 a year. While they welcome the stable funding, it doesn’t appear to reflect inflation.
    “At least we can budget.  It’s hard to keep an arena open if you don’t know what funds you have,” he said.
    “The voice of people across Alberta about the value of ag societies made a big difference to their decision as to where they would cut,” he said.
    He attended the provincial convention in Edmonton, and the efforts Delia was noted by a speaker.
“They said Delia had the biggest voice across the province when it came to the number of letters that came from our community,” he said. “We even received a letter back from Minister Carlier saying he had heard our voices. A lot of time you don’t even know if someone reads those letters, so it is good to know they are looking at them.
    Travis Sandum of the Hussar Ag Society is happy to see the funding will be maintained. It operates the Hussar arena and supports the 4-H.
    “We are counting on that funding to help out,” he said.
    Agricultural societies operate about 700 community facilities throughout Alberta, and collectively have more than 65,000 volunteers who support activities.

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