Drumheller Town Council
Regular Council Meeting
Monday, September 17, 2018
Council heard a delegation from executive director Keith Ryder of the Red Deer River Municipal Users Group. The group works to address issues with the Red Deer River basin as an advocate of municipal use of water. In 2017 they began an action plan to deal with water and source water quality protection and have since developed a toolkit of strategies. They presented council with a Workshop Summary report identifying possible action priorities, a watershed overview, and potential threats to the watershed as identified in consultation with municipalities. The group sent a ‘Charter’ of key priorities in relation to river water management to be signed by October 1. Councillor Jay Garbutt says the town has been preoccupied with developing and assessing flood management strategies and the October 1 signing date would be too soon for council to formally meet to decide on signing.
Council heard a delegation from Bruce Tanner from Alberta Culture and Tourism on the Update on Business Survey. He provided information on the local tourism industry and the TIBRE (Tourism Industry Business Retention and Expansion Program) Project Initiative. The TIBRE program is used to assess health and intentions of businesses and to identify issues, with Mr. Tanner saying there is room for growth in Drumheller. 108 tourism businesses operate in Drumheller and employ almost 600 people in the high season, with an estimated $15.7 million annually on payroll. A survey was conducted in April and May 2018 where 80 per cent of Drumheller tourist businesses were surveyed. A facilitated reflection session is planned for November and a full report on the project will be brought to the town once completed.
Council heard a delegation from library board chair Vanessa Page and library director Emily Hollingshead on the Drumheller Public Library Board’s budget. Core services increased this year. This coming school year they plan on exploring ways to partner with local schools to enhance school library services. They are developing a plan of service for 2019-2023 to reinvent the library to greater meet community needs, with discussion of creating a larger youth space for additional programming by shifting existing spaces, increase library involvement in community events, and to change how information is arranged in the library, all of which will either carry no financial cost or be budgeted from existing reserve funds. For the 2019-2021 budget they requested about $197,000 which is a 10 per cent increase from 2017 numbers. They wish to increase staff compensation, increase hours, and update equipment. Councillor Tony Lacher asked the amount of revenue lost from offering free library cards for the Canada 150 event, with Ms. Page saying about $10,000. Councillor Jay Garbutt asked where the requested budget increase is coming from with Ms. Hollingshead saying it is largely from the need to increase salaries, although they said the improved compensation can be achieved within their existing budget. Councillor Garbutt said the wage increases presented are also static and should increase each year due to cost of living expenses.
Council approved a request for decision from director of corporate services Barbara Miller to write off tax arrears owed by the former Elks building in the amount of $65,149.55 on one roll and $5,226.22 on another. Council had decided to purchase the building on July 9. With an allowance for bad debt at $20,000, $50,373.77 will be recorded as a bad debt expense in 2018.
Council held a roundtable discussion. Councillor Hansen-Zacharuk raised discussion whether a bylaw should be created to prohibit overnight parking of vehicles at Walmart. Councillor Garbutt suggests administration take time in reviewing bylaw and comparing to other jurisdictions. Councillor Tony Lacher said there may be issues if a bylaw couldn’t be enforced due to the lot being private property. Director of protective services Greg Peters said they haven’t received calls about overnight parking there.