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Last updateFri, 27 Nov 2020 3pm

Drumheller council doubles local vendor differential

Drumheller town hall

Amendments to the Town of Drumheller’s purchasing policy was brought before council during the regular Monday, November 9 council meeting.
Changes to the policy included doubling of the pre-tax local vendor differential from five per cent to 10 per cent which, according to Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Darryl Drohomerski, will bring Drumheller in line with other municipalities.
“The goal is to support local businesses wherever possible,” Drohomerski said. He added, “The 10 per cent differential allows the local supplier to better compete with the large players on the same product.”
This change will allow local businesses to compete with non-local suppliers and vendors on purchases, before tax, of up to $25,000 for contracts not involving provincial or federal monies.
Drumheller & District Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Heather Bitz told the Mail, “In light of the current economic conditions, this change will be positive for local businesses who are looking to do business with the Town of Drumheller. Back in 2017, the Chamber of Commerce advocated to the town to have a local supplier pre-tax differential included in the purchasing policy, so we are happy to see it remain and now, at a higher percentage.”
Other changes included increasing allowances for the Director of Infrastructure to award purchases of up to $100,000, previously $25,000, to help streamline services for the department, and increasing direct purchase limits from $5,000 to $10,000.

New COVID-19 restrictions in place

COVID geomap

COVID-19 numbers in Drumheller continue to rise, and last week, the community was designated an enhanced status with new restrictions in place.
The enhanced status came last Thursday, November 12 as the number of active cases in the valley rose to 11. As of Monday, November 16, there are 25 active cases in Drumheller and one death.
“We ask that all residents make an effort to limit non-essential travel to metro areas or other hot-spots,” says Heather Colberg, Mayor of the Town of Drumheller. “Continue to be diligent on proper hand hygiene, physical distancing, and wearing a mask when you cannot be distant.”
The enhanced restrictions set by Alberta Health Services (AHS) include both mandatory and voluntary measures to prevent the spread. This has had an impact on the community, and businesses and organizations are making adjustments. On Monday, November 9, a resident at Maple Ridge Manor tested positive, and the resident population was tested.
“Contact tracing will occur as per the process in the event the case is confirmed by the lab as COVID-19, and isolation and monitoring of other residents is being implemented as per public health guidelines,” said Heather Kipling of AHS.
The Pioneer Trail Centre was also closed because of potential exposure, as were a few other businesses.
Dr. Veronique Ram of Riverside Medical Clinic says it is important for the community to make adjustments to be safe.
“I think I speak for many when I say that the rise in numbers definitely makes me nervous. I know there’s lots of talk about how this is only a cold, and many manage just fine with it,” she said. “But the concern of a strain on our health system is significant. We are a small but busy centre. Leadership is working tirelessly to keep us running and safe but we need the community to take this seriously and follow the recommended safety measures.”
Drumheller Associated Physicians have changed their protocols at the clinic, returning to conducting appointments by telephone.
“Due to the growing number of Community cases in Drumheller, the Drumheller Associated Physicians will be going back to all appointments by phone calls only,” it states on its Facebook page. “If the Physician needs to bring you into the clinic, they will arrange the in-person appointment with you. The Walk-In part of the clinic will continue to run, but we will ask you to remain in your vehicles until it is your appointment time. The Physician in the Walk-In will call you first for screening purposes and making sure they are handling each patient appropriately to their needs.”
While so far Drumheller has not introduced any further measures, the province has. Premier Jason Kenney announced these measures on November 13.
These include:
• Restaurants, bars, lounges, and pubs must stop liquor sales by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m. - applies to Class A, B, or C licences (Nov 13-27).
• 15-person limit on social and family gatherings - indoors and outdoors – where people are mixing and mingling.
• 50-person limit on indoor and outdoor wedding ceremonies and funeral services.
• Faith-based gatherings limited to 1/3 capacity at one time.
Voluntary measures include:
• No social gatherings inside your home or outside of your community. Instead, socialize outdoors or in structured settings, like restaurants or other businesses that are subject to legal limits and take steps to prevent transmission.
• Limit of 3 cohorts: your core household, your school, and one other sport or social cohort. Young children who attend child care can be part of 4 cohorts.
• Wear a mask in all indoor work settings, except when alone in a workspace or an appropriate barrier is in place.
• Employers in office settings should implement measures to reduce the number of employees in the workplace at one time.
Currently, there is one active case in Starland County and seven in Kneehill County, however Wheatland County has been deemed enhanced status with 27 active cases.

Kneehill County donates fire trucks to Paraguay

KHC Firetruck Donation

During the regular Kneehill County council meeting on Tuesday, October 27, council passed a motion to donate two Kneehill County fire trucks to the Alberta Society for Firefighters Abroad (ASFA).
Kneehill County purchased four new fire trucks, receiving them in late September. The option to dispose or donate three units, two former department units from Acme and Carbon, along with a spare unit, was presented to council.
“Council is happy to be donating these trucks to this worthwhile cause, and hopes the donation of these apparatus will assist those less fortunate with their fire safety and training,” Kneehill County Reeve Jerry Wittstock said in a statement.
The ASFA operates out of Lacombe, though it has members and supporters across the province of current and former emergency services personnel.
Their primary base of operations abroad is in Paraguay and, over the years, ASFA has made “seven significant donations” including a recent donation in October 2019 of an aerial apparatus.
Fire departments abroad must have a secure facility to store donated equipment and apparatus, as well as support from their local municipalities. They must also demonstrate an ability to fundraise to ensure the department is sustainable so donated units will have a “long second life.”
In previous years, ASFA has also sent small groups to those municipalities receiving donated units to train Paraguayan firefighters on operation and maintenance of the units.
The current spare, a 1986 Mack pumper known as K2, has been used when department units are out of service. However, due to its age it can no longer be used as a frontline unit. It also requires major repairs and volunteers would require additional training due to the difference in pump operations from other county units.
“Operational cost (for K2) is approximately $4,000 (per year),” said Grosfield during the presentation. “If it doesn’t pass a test or has other major repairs, it could be $10-$20 thousand; older trucks cost a lot of money to fix if something goes wrong with them.”
Grosfield recommended K2 be replaced with the former Acme engine E21, a 2000 Freightliner engine. E21 has two years left as a frontline unit and, according to Kneehill County Fire Chief Dan Marsellus, “The potential for this truck in training is very valuable.”
Marsellus added E21 could save department units from being taken out of service for training, noting departments are looking to run “at least two pump courses this year.”
Deputy Reeve Fay McGhee made a motion to donate K2 and the former Carbon unit to the ASFA; the motion passed with one opposed and six in favour.
The units will be taken to ASFA in Lacombe where they will then be transported to their final destinations in Paraguay; which municipalities would receive the units was unavailable and will be sent with equipment, personal protective equipment, and supplies.
Councillor Kenneth King, based on recommendations from Marsellus and Grosfield, motioned to replace K2 with E21; the motion was carried unanimously.


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