Community facility tops list of '08 news stories | DrumhellerMail
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Last updateTue, 21 May 2024 12am

Community facility tops list of '08 news stories

2008 has been an exciting year for the valley. This community has seen everything from the burning of the school that saw hundreds of Drumhellerites through their formative years, to the community’s lobbying for new school facilities pay off.  It was an emotional year with loss and victory. The Mail has compiled a list of some of the most important news stories we have covered for the community. It was a busy year, as the community grew in strength and positivity, and is well poised for the future.



    1. Community votes to use John Anderson Park for a future community facility. This story began well before 2008.A petition to save John Anderson Park sparked a plebiscite included in the October 2007 election, asking to build a proposed community facility on the site. It was narrowly defeated. A group of residents, not wanting to see the idea of the community facility fall by the wayside, continued to work towards a new approach to solve the recreation needs for residents. Their work came to fruition on November 3 as the community voted in favour of using John Anderson Park for a future community facility. The vote was convincing with more than 63 per cent voting yes. The next step is getting the public involved in deciding the priorities for the community facility.
    2. On Tuesday, March 4, a spectacular fire on the corner saw the former Drumheller High School burned to the ground. The brick building on the corner of 5th Street East and North Railway Avenue was constructed in the late 1920’s, and served as the high school until 1962. In 1963 Drumheller Composite High School in East Drumheller was opened. In the 1980’s Big Country Educational Consortium was opened and operated for nearly 20 years. The fire began at about 2:30 in the afternoon. Firefighters were onsite through the night, and by morning the building was unrecognizable. Days later it was completely demolished, and the site was leveled. The owner of the building said there had been a long history of vandalism in the building.
    3.  More than three years ago the community of Drumheller was promised $24.7 million to upgrade school facilities in the valley. After years of planning, discussing, and negotiations, Drumheller is on its way to seeing two huge school construction projects ready to go. Last fall, Christ the Redeemer School Division received the okay from Drumheller Town Council to continue its project to see a new school constructed on North Dinosaur Trail, across from the Drumheller Health Centre. In November they closed the invitation for tenders and expect to appoint a contractor for the project shortly. Golden Hills School Division has recently issued a call for contractors to bid on the modernization of the Drumheller Composite High School. For the next two years DCHS student will be attending school at the former Central School Site in downtown Drumheller.
    4. The community of Rowley saw the preservation of its most precious resources as the battery of grain elevators that tower over the countryside were granted a half million dollar lease on life. Immediately contractors went from top to toe, refurbishing the historic resource. The elevators saw new roofs, windows and an all over paint job. The foundations were also shored up, and the original company logos were repainted on the prairie sentinels. “This was a dream come true, not just for us, but for everybody,” said Lorraine Foesier of Rowley. “The whole community is so happy.”
    5. One of the most important attractions in the valley has tunnel vision, as it is poised to open up underground for the first time this spring. The Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site launched the capital campaign for Tunnel Vision early in 2007. Throughout this year there were miners working in the valley, busy re-timbering and sheeting the 200-foot conveyor tunnel from the entrance to Atlas #3 to the tipple. This will allow visitors to venture underground during the tours. As exciting as this prospect is, the Atlas also plans to open up the entrance of the mine, and continue on historic restorations. They also have the vision to open an underground visitors centre. The project has received support from the government of Alberta, corporations like EnCana and ATCO Electric, community groups like the Drumheller Rotary and Lions clubs, local businesses, and private individuals.
    6. In sporting news, even in 2008 the Drumheller Miners continue to make headlines. The 1965-1966 edition of the Drumheller Miners, who went all the way to become the 1966 Allan Cup Champions were indicted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame. The legendary team played most of that in Hanna because the Drumheller Arena had burned down. After winning the provincial title they played out of the Stampede arena in Calgary. They defeated the Sherbrooke Beavers four games to two. The team went on  in the next season to represent Canada in international competition on a European tour including the Bunny Ahearne Tournament in Sweden. The induction ceremony was at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in Red Deer in June. About 16 of the original members were at the ceremony.
    7. In November of this year months of speculation ended as CN Rail put the rail line through Drumheller on their discontinuation list. This ended rumors and speculation that stretch back to at least February of this year that the line would be discontinued.  On November 17 CN spokesperson Kevin Franchuk told The Mail 280 miles of line from Lyalta to Oyen was placed on the list. This means in one year CN can put the line up for sale.  The last scheduled train through Drumheller was  on Tuesday, December 2, although there will continue to be sporadic traffic to serve local customers.  Already local municipalities are exploring possibilities for future uses of the line.
    8. While it is not a single story, in one way or another renewable energy is becoming more prominent in the area. This year Starland County completed the installation of solar cells to power water systems in Delia, Morrin and Munson. This year also saw proposed wind power projects coming to the Delia area as well as the Dalum area. These wind farms are going to be a significant source of power. The proposed installation in Dalum is said to be able to power 30,000 homes a year.  Both are still in the initial public consultation stage, and The Mail will keep you updated over the next year, and beyond.
    9. It was with great excitement, the Town of Drumheller announced that the valley would be an official stop for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The Olympics will take place in Vancouver from February 12 -28. As the Olympic Torch marathon winds its way across Canada, Drumheller will be one of less than 200 communities selected to be an Official Olympic Community For a Day. There will be a two-hour program, with a 30-minute official segment provided by the Vancouver Organizing Committee. “We’ll have our own unique opportunity to show what our community is and stands for,” said Mayor Bryce Nimmo. “We’re very happy to make this announcement, and I know a number of you sitting here will be involved, and will be very proud.”
    10. After nearly a decade of lobbying, negotiating and planning, an affordable housing project in Drumheller is nearing completion. The town secured a grant from the Alberta-Canada Affordable Housing program for $2.8 million, and in April, Keller Construction was chosen as contractor. The 24-unit building will be ready to move into this spring. What will live on after the project is the partnerships formed as the project took shape. The Town of Drumheller, Keller Construction and the Drumheller Institution all worked together to see the project come together. Keller Construction has committed to use inmate labour in future projects, and as Warden Mike Hanly commented, he looks forward to the institution partnering with the town on the potential recreation facility.

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