Information from Drumheller Town Council Committee of the Whole Meeting
Monday, October 17, 2022
Drumheller Mayor Heather Colberg opened the meeting and made some opening announcements.
She noted some areas have been closed for berm construction and asked the public to stay away from these areas and off heavy equipment due to public safety concerns.
Members of the Drumheller and Region Transition Society (DARTS) Meteorites made a presentation to the committee to introduce themselves and the group to council. The Meteorites are a self-advocacy group for individuals with disabilities in the community. Their Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held on Wednesday, October 26.
Travel Drumheller executive director Julia Fielding presented the committee with an update on the I Love Drumheller Valley campaign. An inaugural I Love Drumheller Valley Day was held on Thursday, October 13 at the Visitors Information Centre to celebrate community pride and spirit.
The campaign looks to help build on this spirit and pride, and help residents become ambassadors for the community and residents are encouraged to use hashtag ILoveDrumhellerValley on social media to enter a photo contest for a chance to win a “stay-cation” package.
Drumheller Public Library board representative Cheryl McNeil and Director of Library Services Emily Hollingshead presented the committee with the proposed Drumheller Library bylaws. The library board has passed all three readings of the bylaws and now is pending approval by council as, under the Library Act, a municipality may disallow bylaws by its municipal boards.
Some suggestions and feedback were given by council, and Ms. McNeil said she will bring this back to the board for further discussion prior to the bylaws being brought back for consideration and approval at an upcoming council meeting.
Economic Development manager Reg Johnston and ISL Engineering community planner Courtney Lawrence presented the committee with an update on the Drumheller Housing Strategy.
ISL has compiled data from the 2021 Census and the 2020 Housing Needs Assessment for this strategy. According to Census data, the population of Drumheller was 7,909 and declining, with a median age of 44 years; the fastest growing population segment those 65 and older.
The Housing Needs Assessment shows a majority, some 76.5 per cent of housing stock, are single-detached homes with three to four bedrooms, and which are more than 30 years old.
Feedback from two drop-in sessions held between July and August show affordable housing options for individuals and families, increased rental availability, short-term rentals, and worker’s housing are priorities for the community.
A community open house and survey are expected in late November to help further identify housing needs, and more current and up-to-date data from the 2021 Housing Needs Assessment is also pending prior to being the strategy being brought back to council for discussion.
Recreation, Arts, and Culture manager Darren Goldthorpe and RC Strategies project manager Steve Siawuta provided an update on the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
Community engagements, including an open house and a resident survey are planned to help identify recreation needs in the community.
It is anticipated the master plan will be ready by early 2023, and will be shared with the public prior to coming before council for consideration and approval.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Darryl Drohomerski and InterGroup Consultants Ltd presented the committee with the utility rate model analysis. InterGroup were retained to develop a utility rate model for water and wastewater utility rates for the next five years.
There is full cost recovery of water utility based on 2022 rates, however, the reserve fund is projected to decrease to fund a share of planned capital project costs, which Director of Infrastructure Services Dave Brett says this work has been in the works for quite some time.
Wastewater utility is projected to have significant revenue shortfalls based on the existing rates, and reserve funds are anticipated to reduce to $1.6 million by 2027 without amendments.
It is recommended to implement a phased approach to target full cost recovery by the end of 2027, increasing average annual rates by three per cent for water and six per cent for wastewater rates-which would equate to about an additional $5 per month, per year.
Director of Emergency and Protective Services Greg Peters, Mr. Brett, and Drumheller Resiliency and Flood Mitigation project director Deighen Blakely presented their respective quarterly reports.
Ms. Blakely noted a total of 10 properties identified for buyouts in west and central Rosedale and Nacmine have all been purchased; one house has been demolished, three sold for relocation, and one is scheduled for demolition later in the fall. It is expected the first two packages for 2023 tenders will be issued in the spring, with remaining tenders issued later in the summer 2023.
The committee adjourned to a closed session to discuss land planning and transaction and advice from officials.
Complete minutes from council meetings can be found on www.drumheller.ca once they have been adopted.