Information from Drumheller Town Council Regular Council Meeting
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Mayor Heather Colberg opened the meeting, recognizing the efforts and dedication the Drumheller Elks and Royal Purple Club has given to the Drumheller Valley over the last 100 years.
She announced Oktoberfest will be held March 25 and 26 which was postponed in 2021 due to COVID-19 regulations.
She reminded listeners tree removal will continue in March in Centennial Park, Midland, and Newcastle for upcoming flood mitigation projects.
Aiden Macdonald of Ascend Financial presented council with a financial audit of the Drumheller Resiliency and Flood Mitigation Office (DRFMO); this report was compiled from December 2020 up to June 30, 2021, when there was a change in project management.
Mr. Macdonald explained the financial audit used some special framework and looked at the program from a grant reporting perspective rather than those normally considered with a municipal financial audit.
He explained it was a clean audit report and there were no major discrepancies and nothing untoward was found during the audit.
During the six-month period the audit looked at, approximately $4.4 million was spent. A total of some $11.2 million has been spent within the context of the project to date. Engineering has been the bulk expense on the project; current project manager Deighen Blakely added these costs will continue as the project moves into the construction phase, though she expects in the coming years this may taper off as less design work is required.
DRFMO project manager Deighen Blakely presented council with the updated Land Acquisition Policy. The revised policy combines two previous documents into a singular document for further clarity and transparency and removes references to the former Chief Resiliency and Flood Mitigation Officer, and the former Drumheller Land Corporation. The revised policy was also circulated to the province for review.
Ms. Blakely explained council previously approved $17.66 million for land acquisition purchases and $2.34 million for legal, appraisal, and land agent fees. As of October 2021, a total of $660,000 has been spent on administrative costs and $4.7 million of land has been purchased.
Councillor Tony Lacher noted lands acquired under the program are to be designated as Environmental Reserve and protected by the Town of Drumheller for a minimum of 40 years. It was also noted by Councillor Tom Zariski land acquisitions are a last resort and are only considered after every other option and possibility has been explored.
Manager of Economic Development Reg Johnston presented council with revisions to the Residential Incentive program first passed in 2020. There has been no uptake for new housing development since the program was passed, and Mr. Johnston brought forward some suggestions, including increasing the maximum listing sales price.
Council passed first and second reading and discussed several considerations for further revisions to the program, including allowing secondary suites. Mayor Colberg directed Mr. Johnston to bring the policy back for review at a future Committee of the Whole or regular Council meeting.
Mr. Johnston presented council with a request to repeal Bylaw 17.18 and 22.18. These two bylaws were amalgamated under Bylaw 19.19, the Non-Residential Incentive Program, and are now defunct. A request was brought forward in 2020 to repeal these bylaws, however, this did not happen and Mr. Johnston noted this was “a matter of housekeeping.”
Council passed first, second, and third readings to repeal the two bylaws.
Communications officer Erica Crocker presented council with a request for direction on the Social Media Policy and Procedure which was developed in 2021 for Town employees. There have been some minor revisions since the policy was put in place as social media evolves.
Council passed the revised policy and procedure, which will be brought back for review in February 2024.
Director of Infrastructure Dave Brett brought a request forward to council. Funding was approved in the 2022 Capital Budget for updates to the Michichi Creek sanitary crossing; this work must be completed in conjunction with flood mitigation work in the area. The full amount of the work was allocated, however, Mr. Brett explained there is an opportunity to apply for funding through the Alberta Municipal Water Wastewater Partnership. One of the grant requirements is a motion from the municipal council supporting the project and indicating there is funding for it.
Mr. Brett explained, regardless whether the grant is approved or not, the work must be completed to prevent issues for the flood mitigation project.
Council approved the motion and directed Mr. Brett to apply for the funding.
Mayor Colberg adjourned the meeting and reminded the listening public the next regular council meeting is on Monday, March 7.
Complete minutes from council meetings can be found on www.drumheller.ca once they have been adopted.