Drumheller Town Council Meetings | DrumhellerMail - Page #17
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Council Notes from the Regular Town Council Meeting of Monday, May 29, 2017

 

 

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Mayor Terry Yemen opened up the meeting by saying congrats for another successful Boogie in the Badlands event held over the weekend.
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A request for the cemetery bylaw amendment was made by Barb Miller. Benefits included one time requests in future council decisions but if not accepted it would fail and restrict council from making those other decisions. The motion was carried to accept the amendment and allow future exemptions to the bylaw.
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An exemption of the cemetery as followed up by a report from last week’s COW meeting was explained. The plan is to store up to 50 urns in a single burial plot after being on site at the Courtney Winters Funeral Home for over 15 years. The Alberta government recently made changes last year to regulations, stating that urns must be dealt with after a year of storage. The funeral home has since asked council about a one time exemption to take care of the urns in a respectable manner. This exemption allows the funeral home to have the urns buried within community, with a single burial. There will be no costs to the town as all costs will be directed to the Courtney Winters Funeral Home like the construction of the concrete vault as well as markers. The exemption was passed.
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Each year Sandstone Manor has specific property taxes that are covered by council to create affordable housing for Drumheller residents. The benefit allows rent to be low and sustainable while creating sustainable building reserves. An agreement was in place to help offset costs. Residents will be notified if council had decided to cancel the levy. A special reserve has been dedicated by the Municipal government for $40,000 towards this. Councillor Jay Garbutt gave a little summary, explaining that revenue is up and the budget is on track for 2017. The idea of solar panels on the roof is currently being mulled over as this eco friendly idea would offset the cost of constant light in the hallways. Garbutt hopes to access some of that reserve to create the project and eventually get the money back through provincial grants.
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An amendment to the Vacation pay policy was addressed. A gap was found in the current policy where the CAO was not included. The new amendment brings the CAO into the same policy of employees where vacation pay cannot be accrued, and to provide council with update. It would fix any potential for ambiguity. The motion carried to amend the vacation pay policy.
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Councillor Pat Kolafa gave a reminder as well as overview about current Canada 150 events in town. The Canada 150 Golfing Community Day did a very good job. The course was basically full from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Councillor Tom Zariski said it went very well and everyone had fun. Kolafa reminded council of the Canada 150 picnic and BBQ. They plan to collect 150 food items for The Salvation Army and have 8 teams in the tug of war challenge as to go along with the participACTION 150 playlist. A reminder to also follow the Canada 150 Facebook page and remember to hashtag #DrumCan150


Council Notes from the Committee of the Whole Meeting of Tuesday, May 23, 2017

 

 

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Mayor Terry Yemen started the meeting addressing the amount of tourists that visited the valley this May long weekend saying it ‘was a success.’
He also mentioned a rumour regarding housing for rural practitioners which has now taken a life of its own and is not happening. There happens to be no committee to support this as well as no money from taxpayers.
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Scott Kuntz, Managing Funeral Director & Embalmer of the Courtney Winters Funeral Home in Drumheller, brought a possible exception to a Municipal by-law as the Provincial government has made a slight change to its policy regarding how long funeral homes can keep urns.
Kuntz believes it to be a unique situation as they have roughly 40 urns that have been stored for up to 15 years.
The government does allow for scattering the remains in proper places like a scattering garden but Kuntz felt that was not as honourable to the deceased and it also does not allow for retrieval if someone were to claim the ashes after so many years.
As a one time exception, he wished for council to give direction on the situation as funeral homes are at expense to build proper burials. Time was of the essence as homes are supposed to get rid of any stored remains by June of this year.
The funeral home has done extensive research to see what other towns have done when handling the situation. Some had no idea this change had happened while others went to scattering methods.
Kuntz wants to have tomb where it will be sealed and watertight but can also have access if an urn needs retrieval. Council hopes to amend the current bylaw hopefully by next meeting.
Other changes to the law was the fact that funeral homes can’t keep remains longer than one year so Courtney Winters is creating a form to make sure that family members can sign off on for future and is now in the process.
Scattering gardens were seen as a ‘great option for funeral homes and families’ and they can buy a plaque and put on wall near the garden in larger centres but Drumheller does not have that access.
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Operations manager Tammi Nygaard representing the Drumheller and District Solid Waste Management Association (DDSWMA) gave a brief overview of this years town clean up as well as an in-depth report and possible change regarding plastic bag usage in town. She found the cleanup to be ‘very uneventful’ with lots of cooperation as she was impressed with how representatives handled the situation and how residents cleanly disposed of their garbage. Compared to last year, a decrease of 2.65 per cent has been found in bringing wood, compost, and household materials while there was an increase of 16.1 per cent in metal. Nygaard felt the volumes are starting to come down, due to economy but overall people are finally understanding the process.
Nygaard moved on to plastic bags alternatives, giving council four different options to consider; one; Don’t do anything and let the market including the retailers and consumer, create a voluntary reduction program which happens to be the most accepted by retailers as they can impose a five cent fee, consistently banning the use of plastic bags by making a by-law which typically has a strong opposition, or using alternatives to the low density polyethylene (LDPE) plastic bags by using biodegradable bags, paper bags, and reusable bags. The struggles of putting in such a change would be the price as they cost more to produce but would be much more efficient for environment as they are compostable and decomposable. Nygaard found lots of information from the City of Calgary as well as the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo and how they implemented the new changes. Plastic bags are a litter problem which can be detrimental to water bodies and wildlife habitat. So far, no leadership or guidance has come from government. Council discussed possible polling on the Drumheller Town website for the plastic bag issue.
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The council discussed expectations of the Valley Bus service as considerable amounts of money have been given to them. They felt as a whole that the Valley Bus service could be able to assist for conferences as there is no other public transit in town. Since there is no public transit, it has forced conferences to look at other community services, ultimately driving away business. A survey available via the Town website is currently out in ridership. As well as the survey, a change in Valley Bus Society executive manager has offered a clean slate to start a new relationship with the town. Councillor Tom Zariski highlighted that there is not enough drivers so it was not a good idea to add new expectations that they can not reach. Drumheller has become known as a senior friendly area due to valley bus. Councillor Jay Garbutt wanted Valley Bus to know that this talk was in no way about withholding or withdrawing money from them, he felt that the relationship between council and Valley Bus could be much better. They wanted to see about having some running times on the weekend and evenings. The council decided to table until survey results comes in, with a presentation in September.
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Vendor Cart expectations was the next topic on the list. Talk consisted of a possible schedule when taking on vendor licences so that they are not left high and dry if something changes and the vendor cannot commit. Councillor Garbutt wanted to see actual policy instead of ‘guidelines open to interpretation.’ By providing policy framework, this can allow for vendor and town success. CAO Ray Romanetz mentioned he is currently having conversation with vendors to see their expectations. The council decided to come up with guidelines after talking to the vendors.
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A request for watershed identification signs was not supported by council as it ‘can be spent on something better’. It was a fair amount of money for 17 signs along the Red Deer River.
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Councillor Pat Kolafa gave a Drumheller and District Solid Waste Management Association (DDSWMA) update saying they are currently in good standing, with assets of $12 million. Among tougher things, the economy hit hard with a $170,000 swing on disposal with no real turnaround so far this quarter. In order to combat this drastic change, they were able to find some efficiencies but are still monitoring. The Penitentiary was mentioned as inmates could help but so far it is in the works as they are building a relationship with new people.
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Councillor Garbutt brought up the Citizen Engagement Process for discussion. He found citizens were grateful to be face to face, and talk to public but less than a handful came to talk and it was frustrating to a person coming up with idea as they could not attend and listen. Councillor Zariski felt that council is already doing a lot of community engagement so they don’t need to formalize the process as members of the community will as anytime like the grocery store or the movies. They thought that people want to do things on their own terms.

council Notes from the Regular Council Meeting of Monday, May 15, 2017

 

 

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Mayor Terry Yemen opened the meeting by addressing the Drumheller Valley Secondary School (DVSS) graduation ceremony. He felt privileged to attend and they were an ‘awesome graduating crew’.
He was astounded by the highest grade average with four valedictorians.
One young lady, Jessica Francis was awarded the same $100,000 scholarship that last year’s graduate Sam Brown received. Also of note was Dan Hird and his retirement after 32 years of teaching in the Valley.
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Council made a motion after review of Mill Rate Bylaw 03.17. This Bylaw’s purpose is to set the tax rates for the current year.
The operating budget effectively reflected a 0 per cent increase. The 2017 Alberta School Foundation Fund (ASFF) requisition for Drumheller decrease slightly with a 0.11 per cent difference.
The 2017 Drumheller and District Seniors Foundation (DDSF) requisition increased by 4.12 per cent over the 2016 year.
Based on the 2017 requisitions; on average; a residential assessment of $200,000 in 2016, will see an increase of $8.03 with $1.85 to ASFF and $6.18 to DDSF on their 2017 tax bill.
A residential assessment of $300,000 in 2016 will see an increase of $12.05 with $2.78 to ASFF and $9.27 to DDSF on their yearly tax bill.
A commercial assessment of $500,000 in 2016 will see an increase of $85.50 with $70.05 going to ASFF and $15.45 going to DDSF.
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The Road Improvement Program Tender Award was announced in council after tenders for the program closed on May 10. A total of eight tenders were received.
ConSite Construction Ltd. put in a bid for $1,267,975.50 which happened to be the lowest in price.
CAO Ray Romanetz mentioned the company’s good reputation, favourable pricing and previous work experience with the town over 25 years ago.
The Town hope to work with Alberta Transportation on projects to make smoother flow of traffic.
No asphalt is expected to be put in for the new south turnout so the Town is currently working with Alberta Transportation to figure that out.
Romanetz highlighted the main areas of roadway construction including Hunts crescent. The redo will be built correctly but at an expensive price tag as it will take over 3 years to get done. Soil circumstances including shifting will need to be dealt with so they plan to build drains underneath to mitigate future problems in that area.
Councillor Tom Zariski brought to attention the North Dinosaur Trail. He felt that RV users and larger vehicles were getting jostled too much and people are starting to complain about its wear.
Romanetz agreed and is in the process of talking to Alberta Transportation about that section as well.
The estimate included back alley paving for a development at the former St. Anthony’s School. The developers will be looking at the estimate, which could be funded through a local improvement bylaw.
The total summer project will come in at an estimated $1,440, 550.50 after a pre-tender estimate of $1,531,030.00.
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Julia Fielding and Paul Salvatore explained key areas of focus in their Economic Development Task Force Recommendations of the new budget amendments.
CTV Calgary plans to come in June so Fielding and Salvatore are working on that.
As mentioned in previous meetings, theming was a large part of the discussion. While working with infrastructure, they plan to have a Dinowalk where visitors can use their phones to discover the new dinosaur medallions attached to the wayfinding signs specifically in Downtown. They will be linked to information on their historical background, backed by the Royal Tyrrell Museum. This is believed to help reinforce branding of the “Dinosaur Capital of the World.”
There are currently 13 total signs to be installed this year with five more to come. Each medallion will be located half-way on the pole with one for both sides.
The idea is to have a map where each visitor is to check off which dinos they see and can be traced back to the unique geography of Drumheller.
A tentative website called Dinowalk.ca has been put in place, all that is needed is content and design work.
They plan to have the public vote online for which dinosaurs they would like to see.
“I don’t know if you can tell but I’m pretty excited,” said Salvatore.
All the money used will be pooled back into the community as a local designer has been hired to make the dinosaur art as well as material sourced locally. Each medallion is make durable and can be easily replaced if necessary.
He further asked council about the possibility of street names like Centrasaurus for centre street, triceratops for third street to create a more authentic Drumheller with dimension. They do not plan on removing existing street names.
They find it will be a great way to work with community and hope to get recognition worldwide.
Money involved is linked with the Economic Development Budget and plans to package their website to the market and region and have a professional look. Simulation photos of what it looks like to live here are an option as well as profiles from locals to use emotion to drive business.
Councillor Tom Zariski noted that people may be tired of revitalizing downtown businesses and want more focus on the entire community. He also wanted to know what the downtown businesses are willing to offer as well.
Councillor Jay Garbutt felt the presentation missed the mark for areas that are key and wished to have more time to have a thorough review with possible polling from the Town website to see what the community will support.
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Ray Romanetz gave an overview of the Quarterly Report from January to March of this year.
The flood mitigation progress report where Mayor Terry Yemen and Romanetz met with the Minister. They were quite surprised to find that federal program the town applied for did not fit the criteria. So far, 6.4 million approved but 100% funding is not happening. The Town may have to finance their portion, as well as ongoing major maintenance is in the hands of the Town. The update on this decision will be back within two weeks.
Romanetz also mentioned the Canada 150 and Downtown street and beautification projects like planters and coloured concrete.
He also explained briefly about the Carbon Tax and its impact it has on operations. A letter has been sent to Premier Rachel Notley.
As another lobbying dealing with the sewer odor in Newcastle, originating from the Royal Tyrrell Museum. A lift station for waste is needed but is now backed by the Minister. A meeting for June 6, is set in place to ‘get it nailed down’.
A number of initiatives including WHMIS and equipment operator safety training has been implemented for all staff.
The outdoor pool opened Monday as contractors are working on the indoor pool. Every second week, there is a meeting to ensure time lines are being met by all parties.
Alberta Transportation is going to do a study to see if traffic lights at a certain intersection on the south side is necessary as the provincial branch is packaging up the recommendation.
There is a plan to change lights to LED in the local arena and possibly the BCF.
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Salvatore gave his quarterly review for Community Services. He mentioned there will be a Picnic in the park within the vicinity of BCF as part of the Canada 150. On Sunday, May 28, the Dinosaur Trail Country Club has partnered with Canada 150 for a Community Golf Day. There will be a BBQ and Cake Cutting at 3pm. It will only be $5 for 9 holes throughout the day.
He found that the tourist website was over performing so they are gradually moving over to Travel Drumheller where the website can bridge to social media.
Good growth was indicated due to the device friendly nature of it. The website has over 45,000 pages of anything Drumheller, which ‘blow’s the museum out of the water.’
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Protective Services quarterly review was explained by Greg Peters, Director of Protective Services. He says that Bylaw work remains steady and a considerable amount of animal work through the winter including animal abuse, has been high.
They have been working well with the Humane Society and the Valley Vet Clinic. They have also been picking up diseased animals and trying to find their owners.
They are working well with RCMP, Enforcing the Community Standards Act with messy properties but said that like anything else ‘it doesn’t happen overnight.’
The disaster recovery application is still awaiting approval. Peters plans to update the flood victims this week to know where they stand but they do expect that it will be approved but may take weeks to get it.
Peters and a co-worker plan on attending a ‘weed school’ in June for one day in Kneehill County.
He explained that business is as usual and there is more than enough to do.


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