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Last updateFri, 14 Jun 2024 6pm

Cenotaph move highlight for council

    It has been a busy and tumultuous year for Drumheller town council.
    Council has completed its first full year mandate and they had their plate full going in.
    Mayor Terry Yemen holds one accomplishment above all others.
    “The thing I am proud of the most, and I think council is too, is the moving of the cenotaph to a place of honour,” said Yemen. “If you didn’t do anything else in a year and you did that, then you did good.”
    He is also proud of the town’s involvement with the celebration of the centennial of coal mining. This year, the community celebrated with a number of activities including May Day, pony days, a number of cultural displays and performances, and participation in the Calgary Stampede Parade.
    One thing that has dominated council and much discussion in the community is the Badlands Community Facility. While construction has faced delays, it is hoped it will open early in the new year. Yemen said council played a role in putting it back on track.
    Other infrastructure projects last year included the completion of the upgrade to the Drumheller  landfill, valued at $7.8 million. It also wrapped up, after about four years a $16 million upgrade to the wastewater treatment plant.
    Council also opened up dialogue with the Drumheller Institution to renegotiate its water and wastewater contract, and this is a priority for council moving into the new year.
    Another contentious issue in 2011 year was the reaction from residents of East Coulee on the expansion of the waterline. Council recently received the results of a survey of residents and the majority have voiced opposition.
    Moving forward, council held its annual retreat before Christmas identifying its priorities moving forward. They include the Badlands Community Facility funding strategy, renegotiating its utility rates contract with the Drumheller Institution, making a decision on the relocation of Town Hall, beginning to explore design and committee structure for Phase 2 of the Badlands Community Facility, and preliminary plans for the Town of Drumheller’s 2013 centennial celebrations.


Nordic Oil to explore coal gasification in Drumheller area lease

    Nordic Oil and Gas, through its 50 per cent owned subsidiary Green Coal Canada Ltd. is planning to drill four to six test wells in the Lower Horseshoe Canyon coals to explore whether an underground coal gasification project is viable.
    The Mail reported on Nordic Oil and Gas in 2009 shortly after it reacquired leases it held through the 1970s to the 1990s. The leases northwest of Drumheller encompass about 10,000 acres and have a large deposit of recoverable coal.
    Coal gasification is the process of producing natural gas from coal. Chairman and CEO of Nordic Oil and Gas Donald Benson explained the basic model of coal gasification to The Mail in 2009. Two wells are drilled and connected laterally by the formation. At the source, well saline water and oxidants are injected. The second well uptakes the products of oxidizing the coal. At the surface the product is separated into hydrogen, methane and carbon monoxide.
    This type of project has the potential for the reinjection of carbon dioxide into a formation working as a carbon capture model.
    In a press release dated December 19 of this year it states that initial interpretation from existing logs are favourable for this kind of project.
    In addition, the company is looking for a customer to buy its coal from a planned coal mine where the company has significant amounts of recoverable coal. The company also has plans of selecting a dedicated team of professionals to implement Green Coal Canada’s objectives.
    Nordic Oil and Gas is a Winnipeg-based junior oil company involved in exploration, development and production of oil, natural gas and coal bed methane. It is active in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Christ The Redeemer resolution on school construction adopted by School Board Association

    After the difficulties faced by Christ the Redeemer School Division in completing the new St. Anthony’s School, the division is hoping to eliminate similar problems for other school projects in the future.
    Christ the Redeemer School Division presented a resolution to the Alberta School Board Association to review the approval process for school construction. The division proposed to specifically look at a prequalification bid process as well as a review of the low bid requirement of Alberta Infrastructure for the construction of new schools.
    The resolution was adopted by the School Board Association as policy at their fall general meeting.
    Last fall construction of the new school ground to a halt when the school division parted ways with Bayview Contractors. In January of 2011 Foothills School Division ran into trouble with the same contractor.
    Christ the Redeemer has since went to bond and hired Cana Construction to complete the job. The school is slated to open this spring.
    “We felt very strongly we needed to do different things so others wouldn’t have to face a similar situation,” said Christ the Redeemer School Division superintendent Michael O’Brien.
    According to a backgrounder on the resolution, completion of contracts awarded for school construction through the current approval process (including contractor prequalification and the requirement to select the low bid) has been problematic for some jurisdictions. Alberta Education prequalifies contractors who are bonded and insured, who then bid on school construction contracts.
    School jurisdictions must then accept the lowest bid from a prequalified contractor.
    Some jurisdictions have experienced significant time delays and cost overruns due to non-performance by contractors who were prequalified but not able to fulfill all requirements of the contract.
    The new St. Anthony’s School was budgeted for about $13.5 million. O’Brien said that due to delays caused by difficulties with the contractor, the project will come in over budget, though since work is still being done he does not have a figure. The overrun will be made public.
    “We are over budget, but that is the natural outcome when you move from one contractor to another; you incur more architectural fees as the project goes on, there are more consulting fees,” said O’Brien. “We are working through this with the government right now…our modus operandi with ourselves, and Alberta Infrastructure and Alberta Education is to work together on the project.”


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