News | DrumhellerMail - Page #2140
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Last updateMon, 15 Oct 2018 10am

Wind storm hits valley hard

 

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    Gails of wind, snow and rain blasted the region in the early evening on Thursday, April 8, causing chaos on highways as well as region-wide power outages.
    A wind warning was issued by Environment Canada on Thursday, advising of rain changing to snow and blowing snow, ending near midnight with a snowfall amount of 5 cm with wind gusting to 80 km/h.
    Nick Gelych, Southeast Regional Manager at ATCO Electric, told The Mail they started receiving calls from customers at around 8 p.m.
    “The storm affected a large area of east and central Alberta with regards to our service territory. The high winds, rain, snow and icing conditions caused quite a few of the higher voltage transmissions system power outages, which in turn affected the distribution of power to smaller communities.” Gelych explained. 
    It took just over two hours to restore the power for Drumheller on Thursday evening and ATCO was still dealing with power outages within the region on Friday as the storm had moved to central Alberta.
    Al Kendrick, director of Infrastructure for the Town of Drumheller told The Mail the town’s emergency equipment worked well, despite a glitch with one of their communication equipment generators failing.
    Friday was busy spent tidying up the debris and replacing the many road signs which had blown away. 
There was report of a decorative light falling, causing no known damages.
    “We were pretty lucky considering the gust of winds,” commented Kendrick.
    A few properties in Drumheller suffered damages from falling trees with no known injuries.
    Extremely poor road conditions and zero visibility caused numerous collisions on highways across the southern region, forcing road closures.
    The RCMP reported road closures on the QE2, northbound and southbound  in the area between Carstairs and Olds overpass, QE2 southbound lanes north of Highway 53 and Highway 1 eastbound at Strathmore.  

According to an RCMP media release, approximately 54 vehicles were involved in a single collision near the Olds overpass, forcing many travellers to seek overnight refuge in Olds, its college being open to provide accommodation.
    Local businessman Fred Makowecki went to  the  Wildrose Alliance fundraiser in Delia on Thursday evening, an event attended by over 100 people who found themselves stranded when the wind storm started.
    Makowecki told The Mail that most of the people waited for the wind to calm down before making their way home.
    “We were probably the last ones to leave, we left about quarter after three in the morning,” he said, adding “I have lived in Southern Alberta for 31 years and that’s probably the worst I have ever seen.”


Parking Task Force recommends single block of parallel parking

 

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    The Parking Task Force informed council they found increasing existing downtown parking was the most critical of their recommendations.
    Originally set up to review parking options on a portion of 3rd Avenue between 2nd Street West and 1st Street East, John Shoff of the Task Force presented their recommendations to council during the meeting on Monday, April 12, 2010.
    Following their review of the information provided and meetings with Bill Bachynski, Fire Chief, Jay Magus of iTrans, Tony Chelick of Alberta Transportation and Bob Sheddy, local realtor, their most critical recommendations were aimed at increasing parking in downtown as they felt this had a direct impact on the viability of  the downtown retail market.
    To ease traffic flow on 3rd Avenue, the Task Force recommended a new lane designation teamed with a change in the lights cycle on the eastbound/westbound traffic at the Highway 9/3rd Avenue intersection and parallel parking on both sides on the street from the intersection to 1st Street only.
    The new lane designation would introduce two westbound lanes from 1st Street to the traffic lights at 3rd Avenue.
    One lane would be a left and thru and other would be a right and thru with half the cycle of the lights being dedicated to westbound traffic only and the remaining half of the cycle being open to both westbound and eastbound traffic.
    They are suggesting introducing two eastbound lanes with a left and thru and a right only.
    The Task Force also reviewed the curb extensions required for this new setup and recommended a semi curb extension at the NW corner intersection of 1st Street and 3rd Avenue and a curb extension at the NW corner of 2nd Street and 3rd Avenue.
    To improve the current parking shortage in downtown, the Task Force asked that the two parking lots currently being developed behind 3rd Avenue’s south side running both east and west off of 1st Street continue to be developed fully.
    To offer  RV and long vehicle parking in the downtown core, they suggested moving the recycling bins located south of the Waldorf Hotel to the other side of Community Futures building.
    They also suggested implementing a 5 minute loading stall in front of the Royal Bank and the removal of an alley behind 3rd Avenue buildings between 1st Street and 2nd Street  to allow for a better layout of the new parking lot.
    To widen roadways in the downtown core, the Task Force suggested adjusting the angle of the parking stalls by approximately 10 degrees sharper. Shoff explained this would also increase visibility, making angle parking safer.
    Shoff presented findings considered critical pertaining to better signage, a new railway crossing, and a gap study for 2nd Avenue with a view to changing the intersection there westbound which currently only allows a right turn.
    Further recommendations were made that a no oversize parking on downtown streets should be enforced once the new parking lots are created and the alley on these lots to be improved.
    With the intent to push more vehicle traffic to Centre Street and encourage more pedestrian traffic towards 1st Street and downtown, the Task Force recommended the development of 1st Street West.
    As the suggested plan for 3rd Avenue has a limited life span of 5 to 10 years, depending on tourism and the town’s growth, the Task Force highlighted another study will be required in the long term future to see if further modifications need to be done.
    John Shoff concluded that a long range study should be done to ensure parking is kept adequate to make downtown a viable retail market.
    The Task Force recommended that the Town of Drumheller, in conjunction with local business owners, Chamber of Commerce, and various other economic development outlets should become more proactive in the cultivation of a balanced, vibrant, and economically successful downtown core.
    Council will be discussing the recommendations at their next Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, April 19, 2010.

Local groups team up to issue Earth Day Clean-up Challenge

 

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    “Who do you think picks up after you when you throw your garbage out of your car or as you are walking down the road?”
        This is the question Trish Parker, chair of Communities in Bloom (CIB) asks herself when she sees the garbage that lines the streets of Drumheller  now the snow has melted.
    Coffee cups, fast food wrappers, dog excrements, cigarette packets and many more unwanted waste items are revealed that people unlawfully dispose of.          
   As well as the Town of Drumheller spending resources every year during spring, many residents and businesses devote their time voluntarily to clean up Drumheller.
   On Earth Day, every year, The Royal Tyrrell Museum organizes a trail trash challenge and sends some of their staff to clean up around the museum and its neighborhood trails.
  “Over the last few years we have noticed that it has gone better so our effort is definitely making a difference," said Mike Dooley from The Royal Tyrrell Museum.
    CIB, the Drumheller Institution Inside-Out program, the Inn at Heartwood and Encana also organize an Earth Day cleanup, inviting residents and businesses to join them.
   This year, the museum is teaming up with other groups as well as downtown merchants and the Drumheller Dragons for the Earth Day cleanup, taking place on Thursday, April 22. 
   The idea is to challenge all residents and businesses to take part to help make Drumheller a garbage-free town.
   “It is a great event, it is definitely a worth-while cause, everyone should work towards a cleaner community,” said Dooley.
   A study by the University of British Columbia looked into the reason why people litter, their research points to several factors that may impact on littering behaviour:

  • feeling that someone else (a hired litter picker) will pick it up.
  • the gap between attitudes and behaviours (what people believe and what they do).
  • number, placement and appearance of bins at or near the site.
  • absence of realistic penalties or consistent enforcement.
  • people thinking the item is not litter (eg. cigarettes, food scraps).
  • people not being willing to look for a bin.
  • lack of social pressure to do the right thing.
  • lack of knowledge of the environmental effects of littering.
  • amount of litter already present at a particular site.
  • presence and wording of signs referring to litter.
  • for some smokers, it has become an “accepted norm” to throw used cigarette butts on the ground.   

    Unless someone cleans up litter, its effects may be seen for years.

Did you know…

    According to a study by the University of British Columbia, this is the time scale for some items to biodegrade:

  • up to 5 months for cotton rags.
  • between 2-5 months for paper.
  • 6 months for orange peels.
  • up to 12 years for cigarette butts.
  • 5 years for plastic coated paper cartons.
  • up to 20 years for plastic bags.
  • up to 100 years  for tin or aluminum cans.
  • 450 years for plastic 6-pack holder rings
  • 1 million years for glass bottles
  • Forever for plastic bottles.

    Darcy Nundahl, Community Enforcement supervisor for Drumheller, explained to inSide Drumheller, “littering is covered under the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act…but it is pretty tough to enforce unless you actually catch people doing it.”
    In fact, his figures show that in 2009 there were only 14 reported incidents to Community Enforcement and warnings issued.
    Nundahl encourages people to report unlawful littering, and explains a complaint can be made online too, by going to www.dinosaurvalley.com/bylaw-enforcement-licensing.  From there, people can access their “online reporting” system and as long as people are happy to testify, the complaint will be dealt with.
    Some businesses devote resources to cleaning up other people’s garbage, such as the Drumheller McDonald's restaurant.
    Brandi Schneider, owner, told inSide Drumheller “We send our staff around the block to pick up garbage as part of our regular routine. 
    We are equalling frustrated with people littering and this is why we provide so many garbage cans on our lot…I know that the perception is a lot of it is our food garbage because we send our people to pick up the trash, but it is all types of garbage, cigarette boxes, etc.
    If you look at our parking lot, people will be right beside a garbage can and yet they will throw their garbage out of their vehicle. I want a clean Drumheller too.”
    Tammi Nygaard, Drumheller Landfill operations manager, also feels strongly about littering and has tried to reduce the garbage on the highway which may come from vehicles’ unsecured loads going the landfill. 
    “A lot of people don’t secure their load when coming to the landfill,” she explains, “we try to be educational first and we implemented a surcharge for unsecured loads back in 2004.”
    Alberta Transportation runs two programs to help with highway cleanup, the annual highway cleanup and the adopt-a-highway programs. 
    With the first program, any non-profit group can register their interest and be paid up to $100 per kilometre of highway cleaned, usually the first or second Saturday of May. The other program is on a voluntary basis.
    Moh Ashraf, highway operations engineer for Alberta Transportation explained to inSide Drumheller, “the highway cleanup program originally was an educational program, so when people pick up the garbage, they realize,"if I am going to throw it out of the car window next time, somebody has to come and pick it up’, it is the tax payers money that is involved, we encourage kids from nine to get involved, so they can become educated when they grow up not to do this.”
    Cleaning up litter has a cost. Every year, the efforts of volunteers who clean up Drumheller and the area are greatly appreciated.
    However, if they did not have to clean up after others, that energy could be redirected to other projects to benefit the community.
    All it takes is for people to put their trash in the right place.
    If residents feel there is a shortage of trash cans in a particular area, the Town of Drumheller can be contacted to assess the area and a new trash can will be put in if they find there is a need.

For more info…

    For details about Drumheller’s Earth Day Clean-up challenge, contact Trish at 403-823-0129.
    For details about Alberta Transportation’s highway cleanup programs, contact Moh Ashraf at 780-415-1030.
    Or log on to transportation.alberta.ca/605.htm


Will you go on vacation sometime this winter?