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Last updateFri, 26 Feb 2021 10am

Development permit numbers show confidence in economy

TownHall

Even in the midst of a pandemic, there appears to be confidence in the local economy with a strong number of development permits being taken out in 2020.
Drumheller CAO Darryl Drohomerski presented the annual update at the Monday, February 1 Committee of the Whole meeting. In 2020 there were 55 residential development permits issued, with 36 alone coming between May and June. This is up from 47 in the previous year.
“I think we were a bit surprised at first,” said Drohomerski. “People were at home and looking at their kitchen or deck or something and decided to do something about it, and coupled with that you couldn’t go anywhere or spend money on your Mexican vacation, people were looking to spend money.”
He adds he has heard from contractors they have been busy and in May there were large numbers of development permits, not just in the Drumheller area, but all the region Palliser Regional Municipal Services serves.
He also notices there has been more real estate moving recently.
“We think it is more people moving to town from other places, so it is great because it helps to drive the economy for the home building, the material business and construction,” he said.
On the commercial side, there were 22 permits issued in 2020, compared to 25 in 2019. He said it appears some businesses took the opportunity of the slowdown to complete renovations. There were two institutional development permits issued.
“We also did some stuff last year with our economic incentive grants for storefront improvements or interior grants we did. We partnered with Community Futures and the Chamber on it,” he said.
While the number of development permits shows a healthy number of residents and businesses were undertaking projects, there weren’t necessarily big projects. The total value of residential permits in 2020 were $2,181,239, compared to $3,195,770 in 2019. The commercial value of permits were $491,400 in 2020 compared to $1,376,205 in 2019.


Embryonic tyrannosaur fossil found near Morrin

Baby claw

Researchers made a significant discovery after finding the first embryonic tyrannosaur fossil at a site near Morrin.
While the Canadian Badlands are renowned for several fossil discoveries, the finding of embryonic fossils is exceedingly rare.
Second author of the study, and University of Alberta PhD student, Mark Powers told the Mail, “These findings are significant as the first recognized and described embryonic tyrannosaurid material. This is a big discovery in the sense it fills in a gap in our knowledge of tyrannosaur growth.”
Tyrannosaur fossils, from juvenile to adult, have previously been found and Powers says the find was “a rare opportunity for any dinosaur species.”
The toe bone was recovered from a site in the river valley north of Morrin Bridge, which Powers says was “rich in small fossil materials.” Other specimens found at the site include eggshells and embryonic dinosaur bones, as well as teeth from troodon--relatives of the raptor.
The fossilized jawbone of a juvenile tyrannosaur was also discovered in Montana and was included in the study.
Crews were unable to return to the dig site in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is our plan to return to search the site of the tyrannosaur claw for more embryonic dinosaur material,” Powers said, adding they are hopeful to return this year.

Province eases restrictions on minor sports training

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Limited school and minor sports training will be allowed under Step 1 of Alberta’s four-step framework to carefully ease restrictions as pressure on the health system declines.

Starting Feb. 8, children and youth will be allowed to participate in lessons, practices, and conditioning activities for indoor and outdoor team-based minor sports and athletics. All games continue to be prohibited.

“Alberta’s government is committed to supporting the health and well-being of children and youth province-wide. While these activities are included in Step 1, there are strong measures in place that must continue to be followed," said Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health. "Let’s all continue doing our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health system that every Albertan relies on.”

While limited indoor and outdoor activities for school and minor sports are allowed, strong public health measures remain in place:

  • All participants must be 18 years old or younger, excluding coaches or trainers.
  • A maximum of 10 individuals, including all coaches, trainers, and participants, can participate.
  • All participants must maintain physical distancing from each other at all times.
  • Participants must be masked at all times, except when engaged in the physical activity.
  • Coaches and trainers must remain masked at all times.
  • There must be limited access to change rooms, including for accelerated arrival and departure, for emergencies, and washroom use.

“Despite this small change, one thing remains the same: we all need to be cautious and make safe choices to limit the spread of COVID-19," said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health. "It is vital that everyone involved diligently follows the health measures as we move forward. Together, we can continue to reduce the spread and keep protecting our health system.”

All other previously announced measures set to ease in Step 1 will also be permitted starting on Feb. 8 as part of Alberta’s four-step path forward.

Indoor masking and distancing requirements will remain in place throughout this stepped approach, and some degree of restrictions will still apply to all activities within each step.

A decision on Step 2 will be made if, after three weeks, there are 450 or fewer hospitalizations and the number is declining. The same re-evaluation period will be used for all subsequent steps.

Metrics based on cases and growth, including COVID-19 variants, are being monitored and will also be used to guide any decisions around the need to pause further steps or potentially increase restrictions.


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