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Last updateWed, 29 Mar 2023 10am

Wheatland County denies animal sanctuary permit

Wheatland 2021

Wheatland County Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) denied a development permit application from The Alice Sanctuary to continue fundraising and volunteer activities at the sanctuary during the Tuesday, March 14 MPC meeting.
The role of the MPC is to act as the Development Authority on any development permit or subdivision applications which may involve a discretionary use; all current members of council sit as commission members, and is currently chaired by Division 4 Councillor Tom Ikert.
“An application was submitted to obtain a development permit for the sanctuary, and mitigate concerns raised by local residents regarding vehicle traffic generated by clients visiting the parcel,” explained Development Officer Suzanne Hayes during the meeting.
The application initially came before the MPC during its February 14 meeting after The Alice Sanctuary, located north of Highway 564 approximately 26 kilometres west of the Village of Rockyford, applied for a development permit following reports to the County about activity on the parcel.
At the time, MPC members decided to defer decision to a later date to allow both the applicant and adjacent landowners the opportunity to attend the meeting and, if permitted, speak on the application.
According to the sanctuary’s website, it was founded in 2014, and there are currently some 200 abandoned and rescued farm animals housed at the facility. Public and private guided tours are held at the facility during the summer, along with small fundraising activities to support costs of caring for the animals; larger fundraising activities were previously held onsite but have since been moved offsite.
“Keep in mind, this is here because there is an issue already with the neighbours, and it wasn’t asked-this was developed onsite without getting the permission from this authority first, and it’s been operating for a number of years,” MPC Commissioner Scott Klassen stated.
He added adjacent landowners had raised concerns over increasing traffic to the sanctuary, along with the potential for security and biosecurity risks.
It was noted the care of animals at the sanctuary was considered a permitted use due to the parcel’s zoning within the Agricultural District; however, the tour and fundraising activities being held at the facility were not permitted under the zoning, requiring a development permit.
During discussions, MPC members Shannon Laprise and Donna Biggar expressed, if the permit was approved it would give the county a better chance to “monitor activities” at the facility, and would give the sanctuary a two-year period to address traffic and other issues. After two-years, The Alice Sanctuary would then need to reapply for a development permit, giving the opportunity to reconsider the application and review whether any of the issues reported by adjacent landowners had been addressed by the sanctuary.
Commissioner Klassen moved to deny the application, which was supported in a vote of three in favour and two opposed.
The Alice Sanctuary will still be able to continue regular animal care operations, but will not be permitted to hold tours or other fundraising activities onsite.

Airport manager awarded Queen's Jubilee medal

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Drumheller Municipal Airport manager Patrick Bonneville was recognized for his efforts since taking over management of the airport in 2021 to revive and make it a “gateway to the community” with a Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Award medal during the regular Town of Drumheller council meeting on Monday, March 20. Patrick and his wife Catherine have helped renovate the airport terminal building to improve internet connectivity and include meeting room spaces. They have also been instrumental in organizing some fly-in events, including a stop by charity expedition Give Hope Wings and Edmonton-based non-profit Elevate Aviation which supports and introduces women and youth to aviation career opportunities in August 2021. These events have attracted upwards of 200 visiting aircraft and hundreds of spectators, and the Drumheller Municipal Airport has continued to grow in popularity among the aviation community, thanks to the efforts of the Bonnevilles. At the presentation were (l-r) Drumheller and District Chamber of Commerce President Deana Hannem, Patrick Bonneville, and Drumheller Mayor Heather Colberg.

RAVE communication tool supports crime reduction organizations

SSgt Harms

Police and citizen crime reduction groups now have a new communication tool that is paying dividends in helping to fight crime.
Earlier this month, a Drumheller RCMP investigation led to the arrest of three people and the recovery of a stolen truck, trailer, and snowmobile. Part of that success was using the eyes and ears of groups like Citizens on Patrol and Drumheller and District Rural Crime Watch.
The RCMP has rolled out a new communications tool called RAVE.
“The RAVE communication platform. It is a relatively new platform for pushing messages out to rural crime watch groups and Citizens on Patrol,” said Staff Sergeant Robert Harms. “It is for things and people we are looking for, and property crime definitely sums up a good portion of that.”
He explains it is used when the police are on the lookout for things such as stolen property or a suspicious person, or trying to locate a person. RAVE is a one-way platform that can send out emails or texts to members, and in turn, they can use their resources and observation to aid the investigation.
“We have pushed out a number of messages, including in March, and one investigation resulted in the recovery of a stolen enclosed trailer, truck and snowmobile. These were a direct result of the RAVE communications platform and those groups,” said Harms. “They serve as extra eyes and ears for us.”
“It demonstrates the partnership and success of doing that.”
He recently met with Drumheller and District Rural Crime Watch, and members expressed their satisfaction with the tool.
“The advantage of it, is we are administering it locally through this detachment and we can actually push the message out very quickly. Two days ago, there was a report of a stolen truck in town, and in about five minutes, we had a message out to our rural crime watch group,” he said. “It makes for timely messaging for sure.”


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