Information from Drumheller Town Council Regular Council Meeting
Monday, July 10, 2023
Drumheller Mayor Heather Colberg opened the meeting and made some opening remarks.
Councillor Tom Zariski invited the public to attend the grand opening of the new 500 wing at the Sunshine Lodge on Friday, July 14 between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.; there is also a block party BBQ in Newcastle on Saturday, July 15 the public are welcome to attend.
Director of Infrastructure Services Dave Brett announced the indoor pool at the Aquaplex will be closed to allow troubleshooting of an issue; the outdoor pool, hot tub, and steam room will remain open during this time.
Amanda Courtenay, Anti-Violence coordinator for Colton’s Place, and Big Country Anti-Violence Association (BCAVA) President Kristi Murphy provided council with a presentation about Colton’s Place, the local short-term emergency unit which was established in 2020.
The unit provides short-term shelter for individuals and families at risk or currently experiencing interpersonal violence and serves both Drumheller and local, rural clients. It is supported solely on grants, donations,and fundraising, and is the only shelter available within a 100 kilometre radius.
It is anticipated a new Memorandum of Understanding will be coming forward to council for consideration in the near future.
Flood Resiliency project director Deighen Blakely presented council with a certificate of approval and resolution for a full buyout of a property in East Coulee for construction of the East Coulee berm.
Council approved the Certificate of Approval and Resolution.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Darryl Drohomerski and Economic Development manager Reg Johnston presented council with a Business License Bylaw. Although Short Term Rentals (STRs) are currently defined and regulated under the current Land Use Bylaw, it has not been effective to regulate and monitor, and there are concerns the process of acquiring a development permit may deter or discourage residents from complying.
Following a review, it was determined amending the Business License Bylaw would provide a great transition for owners of STRs; it is not anticipated enforcement will begin until January 1, 2024.
Council approved first reading of the Business License Bylaw and set a public hearing date for Tuesday, September 5.
Mr. Johnston presented council with amendments to the Residential Development Incentive Program Bylaw. Council previously gave first and second reading during the June 5 regular council meeting, which removed price caps on residential listings, along with size and price caps on rentals, and added titled RV lots to the incentive program.
Council unanimously gave third reading to the amended Residential Development Incentive Program Bylaw.
Mr. Johnston also presented council with a request for direction regarding housing construction. Previously, a goal of at least 20 units per year had been set out by the Drumheller Valley Housing Strategy, and the Town has received feedback the lack of new housing creates a barrier to attracting new residents and workers to the community.
Real estate brokers and developers were interviewed and it was determined, while the Residential Incentive Program is helpful it is not enough to incentivize developers despite a recognized demand for housing in the Drumheller Valley.
Council directed administration to evaluate becoming a builder of market residential real estate in order to achieve this goal of 20 units per year, and will include activities such as site location and evaluation, financing, construction, and sale.
Stephen Siawuta of RC Strategies presented council with the final council presentation on the Parks And Recreation Master Plan. Development of the master plan began in fall 2022 with research and engagement, which led to some strategic direction setting in spring 2023.
Based on engagement and research, some key strategies for both indoor facilities and outdoor infrastructure was established, which include prioritizing replacement of the pool, and looking at long-term and short-term opportunities for outdoor sports development, such as improving ball diamonds at Rosedale and Newcastle.
Director of Corporate and Community Services Mauricio Reyes and B.D.O. Canada LLP presented council with the 2022 audited financial statements and financial report.
Mitchell Kennedy of B.D.O. explained the accumulated surplus from the consolidated statement of financial position is up from $174,634,613 in 2021 to $188,493,877 in 2022. There is a long-term debt financed through Alberta Capital Finance Authority Debentures; as of 2021 there was a total debt owing of $7,097,617 which was reduced to $6,367,676 in 2022 and it is expected the debt will mature between June 2027 and June 2038.
There is a total of $158,211,646 in equity in tangible capital assets, up from $143,875,736 in 2022.
Council accepted the audited financial statements as presented by B.D.O.
Community Development and Social Planning manager April Harrison presented council with a request for decision regarding the Recreation Fee Assistance Policy. The program allows eligible residents to access recreation facilities at a subsidized rate, including the Drumheller Municipal Arena, Badlands Community Facility, and Aquaplex. It also provides clients with credit which can be used towards registered classes and programs.
This was created initially at the request of council and has remained as a council policy; however, it is being recommended to revise this as an administrative policy to ensure the policy is reviewed and updated similar to other subsidy policies.
Other changes to the policy will update language around eligibility and add some automatic qualifications for the program, including being a client of the Grace House or Drumheller Housing Administration, and better defines family, economic family, cohabiting adults, and intergenerational families.
Council approved making the Recreation Fee Assistance Program an administrative policy.
Mr. Brett presented council with a request for decision to approve applications for the Community Assistance Grant - In Kind program. Council previously approved an increase to the grant funding for a total budget of $67,174 to support some larger projects.
The Drumheller Stampede and Agricultural Society has requested support to relocate the stage from the old downtown plaza, totalling $16,655; and Drumheller Rotary Club has also requested a total of $36,843 to support construction of a concrete pad foundation at Rotary Park to install a shade structure as part of its centennial project.
Council approved both requests for In-Kind grant funding.
Mr. Brett also provided an update on the pathway wayfinding concept and stakeholder engagement. The Town was successful in receiving a grant from Northern and Regional Economic Development for a trail wayfinding project in March 2023. ISL Engineering and Land Services were contracted to undertake the task of developing a wayfinding plan, and next steps are to engage with the public for feedback and gauge their level of support.
The grant will cover 50 percent of the project costs up to a total of $38,000 with the remaining funds being covered through the Downtown Area Revitalization Project (DARP) project for 2023.
The public will be given an opportunity to provide feedback on this project in September.
Council adjourned the meeting to a closed session to discuss negotiations with CUPE Local 4604 and Local 135. Following closed session, council moved to ratify a three-year agreement with CUPE Local 4604 with increases as of January 1 of each year 2023 to 2025 of three percent (2023) and 2.75 percent (2024 and 2025); council also moved to ratify a three-year agreement with CUPE Local 135 with increase of three percent effective January 1 of each year 2023 to 2025.
Complete minutes from council meetings can be found on www.drumheller.ca once they have been adopted.