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Last updateTue, 23 Jul 2024 1pm

Landlord challenges utility structure


    The owner of a Drumheller trailer court feels he is being discriminated against by the Town of Drumheller with recent changes to the way utility bills are being levied, and is willing to go to the Energy Utilities Commission to find a solution.
    Anthony Audia, owner of Greenwood Villa Mobile Home Park has seen a 300 per cent increase in his water and wastewater bill in the last three years. This year, he saw an especially large increase after the town changed how it bills for apartment buildings and manufactured home parks.
    Under the changes, each dwelling unit in an apartment complex or lot in a manufactured home park will be billed the $10 fixed rate for water and the $10 fixed rate for wastewater. Owning a property with 110 hook-ups, his bill increased by $2,200 a month, a cost he’ll have to pass onto his tenants. Even for the 15 lots that are unoccupied, he pays the flat rate.
    “Last year when they raised the rates, I kept quiet, but this is too much,” said Audia. “My tenants cannot afford another $50 increase per month. One-third of them are pensioners, there are some who are on AISH and some who work for minimum wage. In good conscience I cannot do that and this town cannot do that.”
    “I used to pay $3,000 per month a year ago, and last year it went up to $5,000 on average. Now it’s $9,000 in January.”
    This makes him worry about the impending summer months when usage goes up maintaining the property and playground.
    Audia adds he is  not able to make rental increases until November 2010.
    He said this is unfair because the whole property runs off one water meter, and Greenwood Villa maintains the entire infrastructure.
    “They don’t fix the road, I do. I maintain the sewers. If there is a break, I pay for the water that is lost,” he said.
    He said, in fact, he treats much of the sewer water that comes from the property, cleaning out the solid waste annually before it hits the sewers and municipal water treatment plant.
    “We do everything in our power to do things right, and they come back with this, I am out of my wits,” he said. “I tried to develop a community where people can be friendly. We have worked very well with the RCMP to clean up the place. We are looking after both the social and the building community.”
    Michael Roy, director of Corporate Services, said the town made the changes to make it more fair.
    “We had some members of the community comment it was inequitable that all the units in an apartment or a trailer park only had to pay the single fee, whereas a homeowner had to pay the same fee,” said Roy. “Council reviewed it and decided each residential unit would have to pay the fee.”
    He said he has seen the same practice in Taber.
    Roy explains the rate it is based solely on the number of units and not the number of water meters or sewer lines. The flat rate, he said is not related to the infrastructure.
    “That is the base fee we charge everybody, regardless of the amount of water consumed,” said Roy.
    Audia is pursuing the matter and has sent correspondence to the Alberta Utilities Commission. It is written into the Municipal Government Act that a resident can appeal to the commission and it can rule if the billing for the utility service does not conform to the public utility rate structure established by the municipality, has been improperly imposed, or is discriminatory.
    Audia has also sent a letter to Drumheller Town Council and hopes they can come to a resolution.
     He states, “Between February 19, 2010 and the time that the Alberta Utilities Board sets a hearing date, I am available to the Town of Drumheller to come to a resolution of this complaint. I would like to address Council, Mayor and administration on this issue through an in camera meeting…in the meantime, the ‘complaint to the Alberta Utilities Commission’ continues.”  
    Audia adds he has talked to councillors Sharel Shoff and Terry Yemen on the issue, and they have been receptive.

Recycling programs expand across region


    Residents of Kneehill, Wheatland and Starland counties may notice something new when they visit the transfer stations to dispose of their household garbage. 
    The Drumheller and District Solid Waste Management Association has been busy delivering new containers to 18 transfer stations across those regions, which will be used for recycling paper and cardboard.
    However, people will need to wait until the end of March before using those new bins.          To accommodate the trucks used to pick up the new recycling containers, a new building is being constructed at the Drumheller landfill, its completion is expected by the end of March.
    A new supervisor has also been hired to deal with the increased workload, and a request was made for an extra three minimum security inmates to work at the site when the new building is operational.
    Although people have already enquired about those new containers, Tammi Nygaard,  operations manager at the landfill told The Mail they will need to do a very strong educational campaign closer to the time the containers will become operational to raise awareness.
 “I am going to visit the schools, the seniors group, get brochures printed, get the information out through the counties’ newsletters. We think it is going to take us a year, possibly two, until everybody understands and knows what we are doing and trying to accomplish.”    
    Nygaard further explained, “I want as much of the paper and cardboard taken out of the waste stream and recycled.”
    Well aware of the divided opinions on whether recycling is helpful or harmful to the environment due to the added carbon emission from the trucks, Nygaard said, “If you talk to the Recycling Council of Alberta, they will tell you ‘yes, it might cost a little bit on your carbon emission as you are transporting, but the other side of it is, you are not using virgin material, so you are not cutting down trees, you are using less water, less energy, less of everything when you use a recycled product.’...So yes, you may have to transport a little bit farther, you might lose some of your carbon credits on that, but in my opinion, you are still better off to recycle.”
    Longer term, there are plans to open up the recycling program to include more than paper and cardboard.
    Nygaard is currently working hard on a new solid waste Bylaw. 
    Some of the new Bylaw’s objectives are to encourage commercial business to recycle their paper fibre and to eliminate non-recyclable waste from being disposed of in the recycling containers from the commercial sector.
 “We have commercial businesses that bring their cardboard and their recyclables to us.  When they bring them to us, we want them to be clean, we have problems with certain commercial businesses in town that have these compaction units...and what’s happening is, we are getting garbage, rotten meat, metal, etc," said Nygaard.
    The Bylaw will also help deal with the public waste disposal side to prevent the public from scavenging recyclables from the containers and to prevent the public from disposing of waste material other than recyclables at the community drop off.
    She explained, “Dealing with disposal of the incorrect waste left at community drop off is a huge cost to us and it is a liability. We don’t want paint and chemicals to be left there, it is an environmental hazard.People can bring their paint here to be disposed of free of charge.”
    As well as introducing a Bylaw to help deal with the commercial and residential waste disposal and recycling, Nygaard told The Mail they were also considering introducing cameras at the drop off sites.

Wayne’s Jack Evans enters Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame


    A former Wayne resident who worked his way up through the hockey ranks is being honoured posthumously, by being inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame.
    “A rough rugged hombre, 'Tex' as he is known to his teammates is gradually honing his defensive skills to a superior level,” reads a description of Jack Evans on his 1956 hockey card when he played for the Rangers. “Opponents rate him one of the toughest defenders in the league.”
    Evans, who passed away in 1996, is one of this year’s inductees into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame. This comes just two years after the Drumheller Miners Allan Cup championship team was inducted. Brent Pedersen of Drumheller nominated Evans in the outstanding achievement category.
 According to, Evans played for the Lethbridge Maple Leafs from 1947 to 1949 before playing three games with the New York Rangers. He jumped back and forth between the NHL, AHL and WHL and eventually worked his way into a full time role with the Rangers. It was with the Chicago Black Hawks that he really shone. He was part of the 1961 Stanley Cup winning squad, playing along side Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita. He made All-star appearances in 1961 and 1962.
    He retired from playing hockey in 1972 and went behind the bench to coach. He led the Salt Lake Golden Eagles of the Central Hockey League to two championships and  was selected "coach of the year" three times. He coached in the NHL for the California Seals, the Cleveland Barons and ran the bench for the Hartford Whalers from 1983 to 1988.
    Rugged is a good description of Evans, according to Jim Fisher, who is also part of the nomination committee for Hockey Alberta.  Evans, in his playing days, was 6’ 1” and 185 pounds but he stood up to the best of them.
    “As a hockey player he was well respected. Rather than talk, he played the game well,” said Fisher. “His defense partner was Pierre Pilote who was the flashy type of guy. They would talk about Pilote a lot, but I thought if you look closely, it was Evans who was anchoring that defense.”
    "No one took any liberties with him.”
    Off the ice, Fisher describes him as astute and quiet.
    Evans is among three inductees in the achievement categories, which also includes the 1977 to 1980 University of Alberta Golden Bears and the 1970-1971 Red Deer Rustlers.
    To be nominated, the person must have lived in Alberta for at least five years, must have personal and professional accomplishments in the game of hockey, must have made an impact in the game beyond a local or regional level and must have received significant other recognitions. Nominations could be made for either an individual or team, active or retired.
    The induction ceremony will take place at the Hockey Alberta Awards Gala on Saturday, June 12 at the Capri Hotel and Convention Centre in Red Deer.
    The Alberta Hockey Hall of fame is located within the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in Red Deer.   


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