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Council Notes from Committee of the Whole Meeting Monday, March 14, 2022


Council Overview
Information from Drumheller Town Council Committee of the Whole Meeting Monday, March 14, 2022

Deputy Mayor Tony Lacher opened the meeting and made several opening announcements.
He congratulated the Badlands Community Facility (BCF) on its 10 year anniversary on Saturday, March 12. At the celebration, the Drumheller Elks branch was awarded for its 100 years of service in the Drumheller Valley.
The Drumheller Resiliency and Flood Mitigation Office (DRFMO) is hosting the Riverside Drive Traffic Impact Assessment virtual information session on Wednesday, March 16 at 6 p.m.; an information session for Willow Estates is also scheduled on Friday, March 31 at 6 p.m.
Drumheller’s primary investment management service provider, CIBC Hobson Chahal Advisory Group portfolio managers, James Hobson and Charet Chahal provided the Committee with information regarding the town’s investments and the impact of ongoing world events.
Hobson Chahal is one of the largest firms in customized investments, working with some 55 municipalities and other public organizations and charities.
Mr. Hobson shared the United States recently reported the highest inflation in the last 40 years; the Canadian inflation rate is projected at about four per cent in 2022. However, the longterm forecast for Alberta is good, with a projected Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 4.3 per cent–the fastest projected growth compared to other provinces and the national average.
Alberta could have the strongest provincial economy for the next two years and Mr. Chahal explained how the firm is helping to maximize the town’s investment profits amid volatile markets.
Manager of Economic Development Reg Johnston presented the Committee with the Extended Tourism Strategy previously identified as a strategic priority by council.
Mr. Johnston, TravelDrumheller Executive Director Julia Fielding, and Director of Infrastructure Dave Brett looked at various ways to help tourism business in the off-season, identified as September through March.
A need to widen the tourism season has been identified to help businesses thrive through the slower spring and fall months; this is being done through creating a new events calendar and promoting winter events such as Festival of Lights to promote Drumheller as a winter destination as well.
Ms. Fielding shared the Rocky Mountains are the only busy tourism location in Canada during the winter months and Destination Canada is also looking to widen the Canadian tourism season.
Mr. Johnston also provided a briefing note on Drumheller’s Residential Incentive Program bylaw amendment. Council asked for more information prior to considering a third reading to amend the Residential Incentive Program bylaw during the February 22 regular council meeting.
Feedback was requested from developers and they noted, while they are aware of the program, it is “not top of mind” and there needs to be more communication.
Allowing secondary suites was favourably looked upon as it would allow for greater affordability. These developments are encouraged under the Municipal Development Plan (MDP). Despite initial concerns, Mr. Johnston noted the Town’s property assessor has proved secondary suites can be assessed separately, though it will require additional administrative work.
Drumheller’s program was compared to similar programs in other municipalities; many of the comparable municipalities did not offer similar programs. Edson and Innisfail offer similar programs, though there are some differences; Edson’s program does not list any price parameters within the program and deferred property taxes become payable once certain conditions are met; Innisfail’s program offers potential reimbursement of up to $15,00 for approved projects, and multi-dwelling developments may qualify under this program.
As it is a seller’s market, lowering listing prices could be perceived as providing an unfair advantage as there are no comparable new-built homes within the proposed price range and developers noted it is difficult to build new developments for under $300,000. Most current builds are in the range of $530,000.
The final amended draft of the Residential Incentive Program will be brought before council for consideration.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Darryl Drohomerski provided an update on the CN Rail lease. The Town has been talking with CN Rail since about 2018 to develop a lease for “Rails to Trails,” an opportunity to turn former CN right-of-way into trails for walking or cycling. There are several kilometres running throughout the town from Wayne to Midland and, if signed, would give the town the ability to develop trail infrastructure.
Mr. Brett provided an update on the Wayne road Bridge 11 community engagement. Design work is underway and being finalized. Permit approval has been received from federal and provincial governments for the proposed design, and they are currently working on some land issues. Community engagements with Wayne and Dalum residents will move forward once these issues have been resolved.
Mr. Brett and communications officer Erica Crocker will meet with a consultant to develop a full community engagement plan and communications; these will be brought before Drumheller and Wheatland County councils for review and comment within the coming few weeks.
Ms. Crocker gave a communications update on the public participation survey. Data from a survey conducted in 2017 may be considered outdated, and it is recommended a new survey be conducted to determine community social needs, especially following the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Questions for the new survey are drafted and will be brought to Council for review later this month.
The meeting adjourned to closed session.

Complete minutes from council meetings can be found on

www.drumheller.ca once they have been adopted.

Council Notes from the Regular Council Meeting Monday, March 7, 2022



Council Overview
Information from Drumheller Town Council Regular Council Meeting
Monday, March 7, 2022

Mayor Heather Colberg opened the meeting and made several announcements.
Council meetings continue to be held virtually as the audio system in the council chambers are currently being upgraded at Town Hall.
The North Drumheller Dike community information session is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 10 on Zoom.
The Badlands Community Facility (BCF) will celebrate its 10 year anniversary on Saturday, March 12 with activities and cake cutting.
Mayor Colberg addressed the tree removal scheduled for early March in Centennial Park, Midland, and Newcastle. Pathways and trails will be closed and signage will be installed in the affected areas notifying visitors of the closures and ongoing work in these areas.
Biologists will conduct sweeps of the areas for owl and other migrating bird nests to reduce the impact on wildlife. A landscape plan is being developed to restore the ecological area and the health of trees in these areas will be assessed; trees listed as in good to fair condition will be replaced at a five to one ratio with five trees, shrubs, or a combination thereof planted for every one tree removed.
The Flood Mitigation Office is looking at ways to repurpose trees from these areas and there are ongoing discussions for various art installations and other repurposing projects for these trees; Dutch trees will be disposed to reduce the transfer of Dutch Elm Disease.
Director of Corporate Services Mauricio Reyes presented council with the draft 2022 Operating Budget of $15,644,744 and requested feedback and direction; the 2022 Operating Budget and the document will be brought back for consideration at a future meeting.
Based on the proposed draft budget, there is a proposed increase to municipal taxes of some 3.2 per cent. Mr Reyes explained the provincial Education requisition increased by 1.5 per cent in the 2022-2023 year and this has had some impacts. He added for every one per cent increase to municipal taxes will see an increase of approximately $90,000 in revenue. Other contributing factors include lower assessment values and no municipal tax revenue on properties acquired by the flood mitigation program. The tax rate increase is in line with other comparable municipalities, including Hinton (3 per cent) and Edson (4.90 per cent).
There is an expected 18 per cent increase in user fees compared to 2021 due to easing COVID-19 restrictions. These fees represent recreation revenue including bookings, rentals, and memberships.
There are proposed increases to franchise fees. There have been no changes to franchise fees in the last several years, and over the last three years revenues are estimated around $1.8 million; revenues for 2022 are anticipated to increase to between $1.85 and $1.9 million due to higher electricity and natural gas costs, however the rate is expected to remain the same as in previous years.
Some expenses are expected to increase due to easing COVID-19 restrictions, including wage and benefits for municipal employees-particularly in the recreation facilities. As these facilities were closed or unable to operate at normal capacity in 2021, expenses were below average at approximately $6.99 million; it is estimated had 2021 operated at a regular capacity wages and benefits would have been approximately $7.3 million.
To offset other expenditure increases, administration is proposing reducing amortization and transfers to capital reserves by approximately $291,000.
Administration also proposed changes to several positions, including moving the current Fire Chief position from a permanent part-time position to a permanent full-time position. Creating two Capital Project manager positions is also being proposed with one permanent full-time and one contract position to assist with managing and identifying capital projects for the capital budget.
Council offered suggestions for the draft budget, including reducing the mill rate increase. The draft 2022 Operating Budget will be brought back for further discussion and consideration at a later date.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Darryl Drohomerski presented council with two board applications.
Patrice Wolf applied for an opening on the Drumheller Housing Association (DHA) board and was recommended for appointment. Council approved the appointment of Ms. Wolf for a three year term ending in 2025.
Drumheller Public Library has one vacancy and has recommended applicant Tracy Abildgaard be appointed to the board. Council approved the appointment of Ms. Abildgaard for a three year term ending in 2025.
Director of Infrastructure Services Dave Brett presented council with a request for three appointments for the Drumheller Municipal Airport Commission. The Commission has recommended the re-appointment of Peter Cardamone and Don Ostergard, and to appoint Mattys Nell to fill an open vacancy. Council approved the re-appointment of Mr. Cardamone and Mr. Ostergard and the new appointment of Mr. Nell for a three year term ending in 2025.
Flood Mitigation Project director Deighen Blakely presented council with a request for decision to award the Tree Clearing Tender. The tender closed on Thursday, March 3 to allow the contractors time to complete work within current timelines to limit spread of Dutch Elm Disease (March 31) and impacts on migratory birds (mid-April). Three bids were received from Wright Tree Services of Canada Ltd operating as Arbor Care, DFH Enterprises Inc, and Martushev Logging Limited ranging from under $600,000 to upwards of $1.66 million.
Local companies attended a pre-tender meeting and received courtesy emails as the tender was posted, though no local companies bid on the work.
Council awarded the tender to Arbor Care out of Calgary in the amount of $599,171.24.
Ms. Blakely also presented council with a request for decision to award the Environmental Management Services. To date, regulatory approvals for environmental and land services have been completed on an individual design basis; it has been requested from federal regulatory agencies to look at the overall cumulative effects rather than submit per project. Approving one firm to complete this work will fulfill Alberta Environment and Parks, Alberta Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women, and other regulatory requirements throughout the program.
A request for proposal closed on Tuesday, February 22 and three proposals were received from ISL Engineering and Land Services, SweetTech Engineering Consultants, and Wood Environmental and Infrastructure Services.
Each proposal was evaluated on numerous criteria, including project understanding, key staff, qualifications, and relevant project experience; each firm received a final grade based on these criteria. Based on the overall grade it was recommended the proposal be awarded to SweetTech due to their familiarity with the Flood Mitigation Program and experience on the project. The contract, in the amount of $150,000 for a one-year term, has the option to be extended up to two years depending on the flood mitigation project needs; this contract will be funded by the $55 million awarded for the Flood Mitigation Program.
Mayor Colberg adjourned the meeting to a closed session.

Complete minutes from council meetings can be found on
www.drumheller.ca once they have been adopted.

Council Notes from the Regular Meeting Tuesday, February 22, 2022


Council Overview
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.

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