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Last updateWed, 23 Sep 2020 11am

Minister of Community and Social Services visits Drumheller

Horner and Sawhney

Rajan Sawhney, minister of community and social services, spent last week visiting a number of towns across Southern Alberta, wrapping up with a visit in Drumheller on Friday, August 21.
Minister Sawhney spent the day with Mayor Heather Colberg and members of the Drumheller Valley Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), Drumheller and Region Transition Society (DARTS), and local Drumheller-Stettler MLA Nate Horner.
“We talked a lot about the program itself and what DARTS does for the community and all of the community relationships that exist,” Minister Sawhney told the Mail. “Similarly the FCSS visit with the staff was a good overview of everything that Drumheller does as a community with their FCSS dollars.”
Sawhney has visited Drumheller numerous times with her children, though this was her first visit in her capacity as minister.
Sawhney, a born and raised Calgarian, received a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science, and a master’s of business administration from the University of Calgary. Prior to entering the political field, she spent more than 20 years in the oil and gas industry while also balancing family life as the mother of four children, and as an avid volunteer.
As minister of community and social services, Sawhney said her office was “very anticipatory of the fact we would see increased needs” stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know once federal support runs out with CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) that we will have some issues with income tax filing. Those are things I hadn’t anticipated,” she said.
Mental health, addictions, family and domestic violence, and homelessness are concerns which have an effect on a provincial level, rural communities and urban centres often handle these social concerns in very different ways. Minister Sawhney noted part of her motivation for visiting with rural communities was to get a better understanding of their specific needs.
In Sawhney’s constituency of Calgary-North East, many social concerns are due to language and cultural barriers faced by newcomers to Canada. Locally, and in other rural areas, the concerns come from struggles to access services as there are often fewer providers available.
Although services may not be as abundantly available as in urban and city centres, Sawhney noted the services accessible rurally often “collaborate and synergize” more effectively than their urban counterparts.
Minister Sawney added the services provided locally by DARTS is important for the community saying, “It’s so critical to serve persons with developmental disabilities and they (DARTS) are probably the gold standard of what I have seen across the province.”
FCSS also is a very crucial part of providing social service needs to communities, serving more than 200 municipalities in Alberta. Sawhney noted the visit across Southern Alberta will help her better understand the different needs of municipalities and to better tailor the services to fit the needs of their communities.

Film project shines spotlight on Red Deer River watershed

Media Release Stories Sept2020 1

Where does our water come from? How much do we have? A new film project led by the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance aims to answer these questions and raise awareness about the Red Deer River watershed as well as water and land issues in central Alberta.
Water remains a mystery to many Albertans, and the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance’s short film will help communities understand where our water comes from, how much we have, and profile challenges and opportunities moving forward.
The remote headwaters of the Red Deer River are a place few people have visited. Water in the Red Deer River watershed originates in the Skoki Valley of Banff National Park, before travelling downstream through communities including Sundre, Red Deer, and Drumheller.
A film crew travelled to the true headwaters of the Red Deer River in Banff National Park in late August, riding on horseback to reach faraway Oyster Lake and Red Deer Lake.
Filming will continue in September and will crisscross parts of the watershed ranging from Sundre Country, through Red Deer, Starland County, and Special Areas in the east. The Red Deer River Watershed Alliance plans to release the film in late 2020, with a focus on reaching municipalities across the basin.
The project is supported through funding from Alberta Ecotrust Foundation, the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, Dow Canada, the Red Deer, and District Community Foundation, and Rocky View County.

Red Shoe Rock for fetal alcohol awareness

red shoes

Drumheller is participating in an event to raise awareness of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) by looking out for a Red Shoe Rock.

The South Central Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Committee, The Central Alberta FASD Network, and the Growing Families Society of East Rural Counties are supporting the event.

A Red Shoe Rock is an international awareness campaign giving voice and support to those affected by prenatal alcohol exposure.

Participating is easy. Gather some rocks and paint them with red shoes, and hide them in the open for others to find.

If you find a red shoe take a picture and upload it to the Facebook Group “Red Shoe Rock Stop FASD,” and let people know where you found the rock.

For more information go to or


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