News | DrumhellerMail - Page #2592
09222020Tue
Last updateFri, 18 Sep 2020 8am

Federal renovation tax credit keeps contractors working

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    Drumheller contractors have enjoyed a strong year, and many say it is in part because of the federal government’s Home Renovation Tax Credit.
    The Home Renovation Tax Credit, while still not approved by Parliament, many see as just the right amount of motivation to get to many residential fix-ups homeowners might have put off. The program applies to eligible home renovation expenses of more than $1,000, but less than $10,000, and can reward home owners with a tax credit of up to $1,350, if maximized.   
    According to local contractor Tom Bolin of TNT Bolinbilt, many of his clients are taking advantage of the program.
    “I have seen people get on more projects, and people want more information about the program,” says Bolin.         “People probably aren’t waiting, and are trying to take advantage of the program now.”
    The program has a large list of eligible projects. In general, if it is a fixture of the home, and is not regular maintenance, it is eligible. Ineligible items may include the cost of routine repairs and maintenance; expenditures that are not integral to the dwelling, and other indirect expenditures that retain a value independent of the renovation; expenditures for appliances, audio-visual electronics and financing costs.
    Generally labour by contractors is eligible.
    James Martin of TM Martin Construction Ltd. says he has also seen the effects of the program.
    “We are quite busy right now,” said Martin. “It is a definite advantage for everybody. I  know when we are getting into renovations, everyone is talking about the program.”
    “You do definitely see people doing it because of the program.”
    Martin says many of the clients are launching into larger renovations, and are cognizant of the potential savings.
    “That little bonus sure helps,” he said. “It has prompted people to jump forward with their project rather than waiting another year.”
    The program takes into account purchases made between January 27 of 2009 and February 1 2010.   
    Bolin says one sure sign that people are interested in participating is they are more conscious about getting all the paperwork in order. While before some customers weren’t too worried about filing bills and receipts, more are making sure all the details are taken into account.
    Bolin adds consumers must recognize the program is not a grant. “People have to realize it is a tax deferral, not a rebate, but I am busy all the time because of it, said Bolin.   

Starland County raising awareness of watercourses and road allowances

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It’s fall and Starland County Council is concerned about the number of complaints being received about unauthorized activities occurring in water bodies, and within municipally controlled road allowances.
    Starland CAO Ross Rawlusyk says the county has been getting reports of activities having to do with water and with road allowances that often need approval from Alberta Environment or the county. He said Council decided to send out information to clarify some of these issues.
    "It is primarily educational,” said Ralusyk. “There is a lot of stuff that people may not be aware of, so we thought we would start trying to do a little bit of education on it because we have been receiving calls.”
    Natural surface water bodies including rivers, lakes, wetlands and sloughs perform an important role in the environment. These include functions such as replenishing groundwater to maintain water tables for water wells, providing a supply of water for household and livestock use, conserving species and promoting fish and wildlife habitat, acting as a carbon sink by storing carbon from the atmosphere, and controlling the spread of salts into cropped areas.
    He says residents need to bear in mind the provincial government is the owner of all water bodies, and Alberta Environment is responsible for the management of these resources.
    Alberta’s Water Act requires that an approval and/or a licence must be obtained before undertaking a construction activity in a water body or before diverting and using water from a water body.
    Approvals are required for activities like: partially or completely filling in a water body; any activity that has the potential to impact the aquatic environment including: field ditching, erosion protection, removal or destruction of vegetation or trees within the confines of the bed, shores or bank of a water body; any draining or re-alignment of a water body; and alterations to drainage channels that divert water onto yours or someone else’s property.
    An approval is required under the Water Act prior to undertaking any activity affecting a water body. Any unauthorized activity could lead to enforcement actions under the Water Act or other Acts related to environmental protection. If you wish to report a potential illegal activity that affects a water body, you can call the Alberta Environment 24 hour emergency hot line at 1-800-222-6514. Your anonymity is guaranteed.
    There are also concerns about road allowances.
    “Road allowances are municipal properties. We’ll see an area that used to be all treed, and all the sudden it will be cultivated,” said Rawlusyk. “We are trying to crackdown on the use of our road allowances so we know what is going on.”
    Section 18(1) of the Municipal Government Act notes that the municipality has the direction, control and management of all roads within the municipality. This includes the unused or undeveloped road allowances and trail systems that exist in many areas.
    Council would like to remind all farmers that the 66-foot road allowance is owned by the county, and any farming activity within the road allowance without permission is considered to be unauthorized.
    Council would like to remind all farmers that road allowances are public thorough fares, and access can’t be denied by adjacent landowners. It is also illegal to place rocks or other debris within any road allowance, and vehicles and equipment also can’t be parked within municipal road allowances.
    Starland County Bylaw No. 1091 also prohibits the operation of vehicles on municipal road right-of-way when roads are susceptible to damage because of weather conditions.
    Starland County would like to encourage respect for municipal road allowances, so these public access roads can be used by all residents.
    The Administrative Guide for Approvals to Protect Surface Water Bodies under the Water Act is available through a link at www.starlandcounty.com. Additional information on Bylaw 1091 and activities that are regulated within road allowances is also available on the web site, or by contacting the Administration Office at (403) 772-3793.

Spaghetti challenge kicks off Christmas campaign

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    The Salvation Army kicked off their Christmas campaign  with the 4th annual Spaghetti Eating Challenge at 6 p.m on November 4.  
    This is just the start of a busy two months for The Salvation Army. Those looking for a way to stop themselves from feasting on leftover Halloween candy can donate it to The Salvation Army for filling sunshine bags. Each year 800 bags are filled and taken to seniors at the Sunshine and Hillview Lodges, the Continuing Care Unit and Drumheller Institution.   
    November 20 will be the kick off for the Christmas kettles and will take place this year at the Dragons game.
    Volunteering on a kettle for two hours raises enough money to give a child a merrier Christmas. To volunteer to man a Christmas kettle contact Gunnar Mortenson at 403-823-9825.
    There will be barbecues on November 21 and December 12 at Canadian Tire from 12 p.m to 4 p.m.
    Those who wish to sign up for Christmas assistance are encouraged to register as soon as possible as appointments are being filled fast. Appointments are going to be held at The Salvation Army on Monday, November 23 and Tuesday, November 24.
    To apply for a hamper call 403-823-2215.
    The annual food drive will be held on Thursday November 26, starting at 6 p.m.
    “We have something fun we call the ‘0 for ettiquette for food donations. 1. Open-we do not accept any items that are not properly sealed. 2. Outdated-please check dates before donating food and 3. Own cooking, due to health regulations we don't accept any home made products such as jams etc,” said Salvation Army Lieutenant Rachel Sheils.
    Christmas hampers and toy distribution will be held on December 17 followed by the “Fill your Cart” Dragons game where people have a chance to win their groceries by running food items across the ice to be the first to fill the cart. The winner will keep all groceries in their cart and the total dollar amount of all groceries will be donated to The Salvation Army.
    There are many ways to help The Salvation Army. Volunteers are always needed for Christmas hampers, food drive, working the kettles and a variety of other tasks.
    Last year Christmas was merrier for 138 children who received toys. 107 hampers were also distributed with all trimmings for a holiday meal.

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