The Mail’s top 10 stories of 2023 | DrumhellerMail
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The Mail’s top 10 stories of 2023

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It has been another busy year in the Drumheller Valley’s readership area as the community celebrated milestones and came together in hard times. In a New Year’s tradition, the Mail presents its top 10 stories of the year. Again, these are in no particular order but are the stories that dominated the pages and conversation in the community over the last year.
This is part one of the top 10 stories the Mail covered this year, part two will be published in the Wednesday, January 10 edition.

1. Flood Mitigation
It seems like much of the community will be relieved when this is no longer on the list of annual newsmakers. With that said, considerable progress has been made in the last year on major flood mitigation projects. The Downtown Dike that spans approximately from the Gordon Taylor Bridge to Schumacher Corner has been mostly completed. The team was able to maintain Riverside Drive as an important residential road for drivers. Dikes in Midland, Newcastle, Grove Plaza, part of East Coulee and Willow Estates are also effectively completed. The team has begun planning and consultation for more work near the Drumheller Health Centre, North Drumheller, East Coulee, Rosedale and Nacmine, all to commence in the coming months and years. The project has changed the landscape of the valley.

2. Paid Parking
A pilot project for paid parking has certainly gotten the attention of the public. The town is planning on introducing paid parking in the coming summer season aimed at generating revenue through the visitors to the valley to help maintain its infrastructure without placing more burden on the taxpayers. Parking zones are in areas of high tourism traffic. They introduced Hotspot as an app for paid parking and held a pilot through October. This gave staff some time to iron out issues, as well as for residents to provide feedback on the project. While residents and people who are employed in Drumheller are exempt, there are concerns about residents of surrounding counties who often use the Town of Drumheller facilities for recreation or events. The town continues to work on addressing these issues as it moves closer to a potential May launch.

3. Village of Morrin Centennial
It was 103 years in the making, But this summer the Village of Morrin partied like it’s 1920. The Village celebrated its centennial with a fun-filled homecoming complete with a parade, reminiscing and visiting, a family dinner and dance, sporting events and fireworks. The Centennial was originally slated for 2020, however like most things in this era, it was preempted by COVID-19. Despite this hundreds returned to the village to celebrate with old family and friends. One highlight was the opening of a time capsule, that has been buried since 2000.

4. New Morrin School
Speaking of Morrin, residents have been closely watching the development of the new Morrin School. Funding was announced for the new facility in 2019 and it was not long after the announcement the Friends of Morrin School Council was struck to fundraise for the project with the aim of making it a positive educational facility and also a space for the entire community. They were successful and by the time ground was broken in June of 2022, the council had raised over $650,000. The number keeps growing and most recently it was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Rural Communities Foundation. Not only have students and staff been looking forward to the new school, but the entire community, as it adds sustainability. Morrin School was let out on December 22 for the Christmas break, but not before staff, students and workers from Prairie Land School Division began moving into the new facility. Come January 8 class will commence in the new Morrin School.

5. Danielle Smith takes the reins
In May Albertans went to the polls. The cycle of change began in May of 2022 when Premier Jason Kenney announced his intention to resign after receiving just over 50 percent support in the party’s leadership review. The UCP Party went into leadership campaign mode and Danielle Smith made her return to Alberta politics as UCP leader. The writ was dropped on May 1 and quickly the province was engaged in a competitive election. In the end, the UCP won with 52 per cent of the popular vote but a loss of 11 seats. The NDP gained 15 seats and captured 44 per cent of the vote. MLA for Drumheller-Stettler Nate Horner maintained his seat comfortably and was returned to cabinet and is currently the Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board.

6. Rails to Trails
The Rails to Trails project in the valley has caught the attention of the community and has been progressing forward as a new amenity for residents and visitors alike to enjoy. The Town of Drumheller secured a 25-year lease with CN to use the abandoned rail right of way in the valley to convert it into an active transportation trail system. This includes from Midland and Newcastle, through downtown and east to Rosedale, continuing all the way to Wayne. In the first year, the town was able to pave a stretch from DVSS to the intersection of Highway 9 and 5th Street. And this summer it was about to develop a gravel path from central Drumheller all the way to Rosedale. The Rails to Trail Fundraising Taskforce has been very active hosting two Christmas parties, and working to secure donations and grants. Most recently Canalta contributed $150,000 to the project. Look for more development coming in 2024.


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