News | DrumhellerMail - Page #3370
Last updateSat, 20 Jul 2024 10am

St. Anthony’s construction on track


    Construction is continuing smoothly on the new St. Anthony’s School on North Dinosaur Trail, and is on Schedule.
    There has been a flurry of activity on the site across from the Drumheller Health Centre since ground was broken on March 27 on the $13.7 million project of a new Catholic K-12 school. The construction is right where it should be says Hans Woehleke associate superintendent, administration & operations for Christ the Redeemer School Division.
    “Everything looks like we are on schedule,” he says. “The construction crews are moving forward and the time lines look quite good.”
    Assistant superintendent Vincent Van Hyfte, says favourable weather has helped the project advance at a quick pace. He says there were some early delays as site work to mitigate the mines below the surface, but it wasn’t significant.
    Most recently he said people can see the new gymnasium walls erected.
    “We are very pleased with the work that is moving forward in a positive way.
    The school has been a long time coming since the original Drumheller Solution was announced in September of 2005. The facility was designed by Barry John of Gibb Gage Architects. Bay View Constructors Limited of Calgary has been selected as the managing contractor for the new school. They broke ground at  the end of March this year.
     Woehleke says the project realized tremendous savings because of the economic slowdown.
    “It was the exact opposite to what we experienced in Canmore. In Canmore, had we built that school a few years earlier it would have been half the cost. Because of the economy we really benefitted,” said Woehleke.
    He adds they are also on budget.
    The facility is being constructed for a capacity of 550 students. The new school will house two classrooms per grade, have a full size 400 seat gymnasium, separate wings for elementary and junior/senior high, computers and news media areas, a library, chapel, and music and drama rooms
    The school is slated to open in December 2010.

Next step to raise seed money for rail purchase


    Brad Wiebe of Palliser Regional Municipal Services, and Art Stacey and Hal Koberinski of RailWest Management, completed a whirlwind tour of community centres  and halls to espouse the possibilities of  purchasing the rail line from Lyalta to Oyen and continue service.
    The group was in Drumheller on Tuesday evening at the Civic Centre, where about a dozen members of the community came out for the presentation. RailWest management has completed a feasibility study into rail continuation and presented the results.
    Stacey said they have identified a rough break even point of hauling 1,200 cars per year to have a viable rail line. The study is based on grain shipping.
    One of thepossible scenarios they laid out was to purchase the western portion of the line from Munson to Lyalta with a favorable lease on the  eastern portion to Oyen.
    He says there are a number of factors that reflect this being a good option. One is there is a chance they could negotiate a favorable purchase price because of the large numbers of bridges on the west leg. The line is also closer to Calgary and it allows more tourism spin off possibilities. While there may be more competition from large throughput  operators on this portion, this is also a higher producing area. Some of the draw backs include the possibility of higher maintenance costs for the line.
    He explained the process of discountenance and selling off of the rail, and said time is of the essence as they expect  CN to be moving forward  with offering the line for sale in the next few weeks.
    The steering committee looking into the purchase of the rail line has been given the direction to form a corporation.
    Part of the goal of the meetings was to garner support for the line from producers along the line who would be interested in becoming directors or shareholders. From this group they hope people and communities would buy in to the project and raise seed money to be able to make an offer to CN when the line comes up for sale.
 Stacey said the value of ownership my not be in holding a share of the company, but in the value of the service. Producers have the potential of realizing savings in shipping as well as  more convenience.

Pharmacist cuts could disadvantage rural Albertans



  The most accessible health care professional, the one that Albertans have said they are most satisfied with, are facing cutbacks that will reduce services to patients.
    Paul Ainscough, pharmacist and owner of Riverside Value Drug Mart says heath care cuts will affect Drumheller residents.
    “The total reduction in health costs comes directly from the pharmacists," said Ainscough. "In 1992 when Klein had his cutbacks, the pharmacists took a big cut then, and we have never recovered from that. It is going to get to the point that rural pharmacies will not survive."
    Alan Hodgins, CEO of Value Drug Mart Associates Ltd., an organization of 57 independently owned and operated community pharmacies, primarily operating in rural Alberta, believes that Phase Two of the Alberta Pharmaceutical Strategy (APS) will cause most community pharmacies to cut services to their patients.
    “The APS cuts funding to community pharmacies substantially. I know the government is in a deficit situation and they need to look for savings, but this is going to cripple community pharmacies. For years, pharmacists have stepped up to the plate to fill in gaps in the public health system, especially in rural Alberta. Yes, pharmacists fill your prescriptions quickly and accurately but they also intervene when that prescription is not appropriate. You can walk up to them without an appointment and ask about your health related concerns, without a long wait. Many pharmacies deliver medications to individuals who are not well enough to make a visit to the pharmacy. They work with homecare nurses to keep people in their homes and out of hospitals. They work with physicians to optimize patients’ medication therapies. And all of these services are provided to the public without any direct compensation to the pharmacy or the pharmacist.”
    Outside of revenues associated with the sale of prescriptions, community pharmacist services are not compensated through any other mechanism. Pharmacies are not allowed to put a mark-up on drugs; they obtain a dispensing fee and are able to negotiate allowances from generic manufacturers.
    “I think most pharmacists would agree that the current compensation model for pharmacy services does not properly reflect the services pharmacists provide. We agree that the model needs to change. But, taking $200 million out of current revenues for community pharmacy services, cannot be replaced by future promises of $50 million for professional services,” Hodgins explains.
    Hodgins suggests that unless the Government gets the identified “transition” plan right, pharmacists, pharmacies and patients will suffer. “Our pharmacists are not in any type of position to be able to do any more work for less. The cuts outlined will hurt health service delivery to individual rural Albertans. There is an opportunity to get this right, but what we’ve seen announced on Tuesday isn’t right--and the unfortunate reality is that it is patients who will suffer the most.”


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