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Last updateFri, 21 Jun 2024 5pm

Federal, provincial contributions paves way for Rosebud Centre


    Rosebud Theatre is now able to realize a goal it set out on eight years ago and is moving forward on the Rosebud Centre.
    On a chilly Saturday morning on October 3, the provincial and federal government brought the news of a contribution of almost $2.5 million to the theatre in the Hamlet of Rosebud.  
    Rosebud School of the Arts executive director Bob Davis is ecstatic they will be able to move ahead with the two-storey 10,000 square foot development which will expand the theatre’s dining area, gift shop, and add a tourist information centre and flexible teaching space for Rosebud School of the Arts.
    “This project marks a new era for our school, theatre and community, one that will greatly enhance the development of arts and education in rural Alberta while at the same time create jobs, opportunity for youth and important new facilities for tourism and culture that Canadians will enjoy for years to come,” said Davis.
    The federal government came through with $2 million for the project through the Community Adjustment Program. This is a two-year $1 billion national program that is part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan. According to a release, it is designed to provide an economic stimulus by supporting projects that create jobs and maintain employment in rural communities.
    “I’m proud that our government, through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, is making an investment in a facility that will benefit both the economy and environment in Rosebud,” said MP Kevin Sorenson who was on hand for the announcement. “Expanding Rosebud Centre will help create jobs, improve local infrastructure and provide this region with more opportunities for economic growth.”
    The provincial government also chipped in to the project in a big way by contributing $450,000 through the Community Facility Enhancement Program.
    “All strong and vital communities have arts and culture at their core,” said Lindsay Blackett, Minister of Alberta Culture and Community Spirit. “The Government of Alberta is pleased to support this worthwhile project that will provide more Albertans with access to culture and further strengthen economic activity in the community and surrounding areas.”
    The Community Facility Enhancement Program is maintained by the Alberta Lottery Fund and has a budget of $38 million for 2009-2010. It provides financial assistance to build, repair, renovate or otherwise improve Alberta’s extensive network of community-use facilities.
    A release states that in addition to creating jobs, Rosebud Centre will, “further generate revenues by allowing the facility to operate year-round and enable more local and regional events, conferences, and festivals to be held in Rosebud.”
      Davis says preliminary discussion began in 2001 of building the Rosebud Centre. In 2003 and 2004 they began to pursue the project and completed some designs. At the time the federal and provincial government lent their support to the project, as well as other contributors including EnCana and BJ Services.  Because of the economic boom, and the skyrocketing construction costs, the project was shelved. He says these two significant donations will allow the project to move forward. The work is not over however on the fundraising end says Davis. They will still have to come up with about $700,000 to complete the project.
    Construction will begin this October and it is anticipated it will conclude in the spring of 2011.

Back to School Bash showcases youth talent


    The Badlands Youth Initiative held their first event in the valley Friday night with the Back to School Band/Talent Bash.
    A venue was set up at the Freson IGA on Friday night as some of the valley’s young talent took the stage.
    “It was a lot of fun,” said Karla Roberts of the Town of Drumheller. “Everyone was super talented who signed up.  In the audience, there were about 100. For the first event I’d say we had a good turn out.”
    She adds that youth volunteer support was strong with about 16 coming to help stage the show. There were also great community partners with a number of prizes for those in attendance.
    Local band Live in Stereo kicked off the show, and acted as a house band for the talent who followed. Roberts says while there were many musical acts, there was also other styles of entertainment including comedy and dance.
    Roberts explains the goal of the Badlands Youth Initiative is to engage young people.
    “Basically we just wanted to establish something youth could participate in and plan. We have also have funding we can help with,” said Roberts.
    The Badlands Youth Initiative held its meeting on Wednesday night at the Civic Centre to review the Friday night show, as well as brainstorm for their next event.
    Those interested in the Badlands Youth Initiative can check out their Facebook page.

Feasibility study depicts short line railway potential


  The rail continuance recovery plan has taken a big step forward with the recent completion of a feasibility study that depicts potential to develop a short line railway for grain hauling and industry.
    Palliser Regional Municipal Services, on behalf of its shareholders, has  undertaken to study the feasibility of purchasing the rail line from Lyalta to Oyen which was placed on the CN Rail discontinuance list.
    “Based on what these consultants have worked on in the past, it is definitely feasible,” said Brad Wiebe, interim CEO of Palliser Regional Municipal Services.
    Wiebe said the feasibility study focuses on grain handling as the primary use for a short line rail.
    “Additional things such as tourism or industry are great to have, but  are not to be gambled on to be a consistent revenue generator,” said Wiebe.
     The primary rationale for acquiring the line and operating a short line railway is to enable producers of agricultural commodities, particularly those which would otherwise be subject to long - term storage and elevation, to avoid those charges by loading railcars directly, which the short line has received from the Canadian Grain Commission.
    Such producer loading operations result in significant savings for producers in their farming operations, savings which are directly attributable to the ability of producers to load their own railcars and avoid the storage and elevation charges.
    Accordingly, for a standard loaded railcar of 94 tons, each producer car loaded can save each individual operator, an amount of up to $1,541.
    The feasibility study has determined the following benefits of a short line operation:
• Continuation of the payment of property taxes to each town, village or RM through which the rail line operates; 
• The attraction of new business and the rejuvenation of old business facilities to offset the negative effects of prairie grain elevator rationalization programs, in particular the development of producer car loading facilities, as fuel prices and costs related to provincial and municipal infrastructure maintenance and construction continue to rise; 
• Assurance that economic development opportunities for communities located on the line will continue to exist, which opportunities would disappear if the railway were to be abandoned; 
• Avoidance of increasing maintenance and upgrade costs of the grid road system caused by the incidence of increased truck traffic, if the line were to be abandoned; 
• Purchases of fuel, hardware, and other goods and services which engenders the creation and continued operation of local businesses along the line (grain handling, Co-ops, banks, restaurants, insurance brokers, equipment and automobile dealerships as examples); 
• Savings to grain producers of up to $1,350 in elevation charges and other grain company charges per producer car or $3.375 million at 2,500 cars; 
• Avoidance of fuel surcharges passed on by commercial truckers or future highway / grid road user fees. 
• Stabilization of the local economic units adjacent to the Line; 
• Retention of current revenues and increased future revenues (from income tax, shared portion of GST, negative population fluctuations slowed). 
     In consideration of the overall positive results of the feasibility study, the steering committee moved to proceed with a business plan followed by further public meetings. The public meetings are to be facilitated by Rail West Management, the consultant that was contracted to provide the study.
    The consultant will provide an explanation of the business case, financing options and potentials. 
    Public meetings are tentatively scheduled for late October and will include stops at multiple communities along the rail line. 
    At this stage Wiebe says it is especially important that local grain producers that would have an interest in utilizing a short line railway for grain hauling attend to gauge the level of support for the potential of a short line rail operation.


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