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Last updateFri, 19 Jan 2018 5pm

FCSS gives first glimpse at survey results


    The Drumheller Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) recently revealed some of the raw data acquired through the economic needs assessment survey.
    This survey was conducted a couple months ago to gain insight into what residents of Drumheller want to see within their community.
    11 short videos were made for promotional purposes as well as 10 stakeholder discussions. Those discussions focused on education, health, disabilities, food security, seniors, transportation, etc.
    The questions of the online survey focused on four initial questions; age, children under 18 in the participant’s care, where they pay municipal property tax, and how long they have lived in Drumheller.
    Questions also related to mental health, addictions, family violence, sexual abuse, and specific identified priorities like education.
    Overall, the issues they discovered were of most importance was accessible mental health/counselling support services, affordability of living in Drumheller, activities for children and youth, and welcoming newcomers. FCSS coordinator April Harrison explained that high priorities outside of the FCSS scope included housing and transportation.
    Harrison brought forth five potential resolutions to these highlighted priorities.
    The first focused on funds to support a sliding fee scale for counselling in Drumheller.         This scale allows people with limited incomes to pay what is affordable and within their means.
    The hourly fee for service is determined at the beginning of the initial treatment session between the client and therapist, and is based on the client’s annual income and number of dependents in the home.
    The second was a Drumheller access card which could encompass services or goods like recreation, transportation, dental and health services, childcare, and/or groceries.
    The third item talked about a third space for youth like a youth centre or hub. This centre could have a youth council/committee, an after school drop-in program, homework club, food, mentorship programs or intergenerational programs, a safe space to be with friends, a space for art, music and drama, gaming competitions, and/or a silent disco.
    A welcoming program was the fourth proposal. They are considering looking at a Drumheller ambassador program which would include educational events, building a nurturing sense of community, buddy systems, and block party programs.
    Number five was an events coordinator dedicated to specific events like the Festival of Lights, the Picnic in the Park, and other events put on by FCSS to fully commit to wanted programs in the community.
    FCSS’s next steps focus on completing group sessions, continuing to analyze data and focus group results, community information sessions and feedback.
    They plan on presenting the final draft of the report to Town of Drumheller council in April.

Labour poses challenge for local economy

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    As the economy across Canada performs well, employers are seeing a dearth of skilled workers. Some of these forces are similar in the valley.
    The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) released a report, and according to the third quarter Help Wanted Report, there are 371,000 vacant jobs across Canada. Even in Alberta, where the economy is just beginning to show signs of recovery, the report says there are  about 33,900 unfilled positions.
    “Labour shortages are again becoming a major hindrance to businesses across the country, especially small firms,” said Ted Mallett, Chief Economist at CFIB.  “We need government to take action, to find solutions for chronic shortages that inhibit a small business’ ability to take on new contracts, expand and innovate.”
    Labour issues are also a concern in Drumheller according to a recent survey undertaken by Community Futures Big Country. Michael Love of Community Futures conducted a business visitation study this fall, interviewing employers and business owner in the valley.  Labour was a large concern.
    According to the survey, about 60 per cent of the respondents indicated that the availability of qualified personnel is a problem in Drumheller. It states that in some cases this was a limiting factor on business development and growth, or a factor in deciding whether a business expands its operations elsewhere of ceases operations.
    “A  significant number of employers said entry level positions were reasonably easy to hire for, but management and skills were more difficult,” said Love.
    According to the survey, this number rose to 82 per cent when speaking with businesses in the hospitality business and was the lowest for tourism operators.
    “Bear in mind operators are primarily seasonal,” said Love.
    “Anecdotally I heard from people there is not a lot of depth in the labour pool,” he said.
    The survey was conducted earlier this year and focused on more than just labour.
    “It was looking to identify trends in the business environment, needs and opportunities and more specifically to identify how Community Futures could  be of assistance,” said Love. “It is also to provide research that hopefully anybody could use.
    There was a positive result, especially in responses to characterizing their own businesses.  Equal percentages of respondents (39.7) felt their business was either growing or maintaining while 9 per cent felt their business as declining, and 9 per cent reported they were restructuring in response to economic conditions.
    Some of the opportunities the survey showed support for short-term training opportunities. 41 per cent of the respondents felt this could improve Drumheller’s business environment. About 39 per cent indicated there is room to offer more post-secondary for young people in the community, with the highest support from the local service industry.
    Love says that with the variety of areas that were identified in the survey, collaboration is key to addressing some of the issues.
    “Whoever can provide the pieces, I think as a community we should get together to do this,” he said.

Hanna RCMP arrest Drumheller man

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A 19-year-old man from Drumheller has been charged after police employed a service dog to capture to the suspect Tuesday.

            On January 2, at 6:10 PM a vehicle was stolen from the post office in Hanna. The Hanna RCMP located the vehicle at 6:40 PM stuck near Fox Lake (Twp Rd 312 RR 145).

A police service dog and handler attended the scene along with two members from the K Div Emergency Response Team.

As a result of the police service dog assistance, a suspect was located and arrested.

The man has been charged with possession of stolen property over $5000.00, possession of break in instruments and three counts of breach of probation. 

He has been remanded into custody and appears in provincial court in Drumheller on January 12, 2018

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