News | DrumhellerMail - Page #5
Last updateTue, 06 Dec 2022 4pm

Wheatland County residents say keep funding the same in 2023 budget

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Ratepayers in Wheatland County were invited to participate in a public engagement survey to provide feedback to council and administration ahead of the 2023 budget process.
The survey, which was hosted by award-winning digital democracy platform Ethelo, was open to Wheatland County residents and landowners between September 6 and October 11; Ethelo has worked on citizen budget engagements with numerous other municipalities, including the Town of Drumheller and City of Brooks.
A similar survey was conducted for the 2021 Wheatland County budget, which received a total of 64 responses; the 2023 budget survey drew a total of 129 participants during the six-week period it was open.
Of those surveyed, 25 per cent of respondents were from the Carseland and Speargrass areas (Division 3); 19 per cent from the Cheadle area (Division 4); 16 per cent from the Ardenode, Nightingale, and Lyalta areas (Division 5); 15 per cent from the Gleichen, Namaka, and Eagle Lake areas (Division 2); 11 per cent from Redland, Rosebud and areas surrounding Rockyford (Division 6) and Cluny, Chancellor and areas surrounding Standard (Division 1), and three per cent from the Dalum and areas surrounding Hussar (Division 7).
Respondents were asked to weigh in on five municipal services--fire, peace officers, agriculture and environment, roads, and parks and recreation--and whether they would like to see funding increased, decreased, or kept the same.
Funding for fire services was split, with 44 per cent wishing to keep the same level of funding while 45 per cent wished to increase this funding. Protective services also saw 32 per cent of respondents inclined to decrease funding, while 44 per cent indicated they would like to maintain current funding levels.
When responses were weighed and “consolidated with equal weight of importance or value” it was determined that 49 per cent of respondents wished to maintain current funding levels for municipal services, 24 per cent wished to decrease funding, and 26 per cent wished to increase funding.

Toy drive for Christmas hampers underway

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The Christmas campaign is underway, and Westergard Ford is once again helping The Salvation Army by being the drop-off location for its Christmas Hamper toy collection.
From now until December 9 residents can bring unwrapped toys and gifts to Westergard Ford and drop them into the trailer provided, these will be used to fill Christmas hampers for families in the community.
Westergard Ford has been supporting The Salvation Army with the toy collection for eight years.
Prior to COVID-19, they would have tags on a Christmas tree specifying the type of gifts that would be suitable. They have discontinued it.
Tiffany Andrew of Westergard says the community has been generous, including Drumheller Minor Hockey, which saw its teams do a collection and make a generous donation to start off the campaign.
She also notes to be mindful of older children and teenagers when looking for gifts as they can be more difficult to buy for.
“The Salvation Army is going to bring us over a list of items they are being asked for, and if nothing else, buy whatever people can find,” she said, adding gift cards are always a good option.
“That way The Salvation Army can get what they need,” said Andrew.
The toys will be picked up from Westergard Ford on December 12 to be sorted and hampers assembled.
Amanda Courtenay of The Salvation Army says they are anticipating close to the same number of hampers as last year, with the possibility of a few more in this economic climate.

New Staff Sergeant plans to provide best policing to community

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A new Staff Sergeant is ready to take over command at the Drumheller RCMP detachment, ending a five month search to fill the vacant position.
Rob Harms started his new post the week of November 14, and joins the Drumheller detachment from his post at the Nanton and Claresholm RCMP detachments where he has spent the last four months in a temporary role with the Piikani Nation RCMP detachment helping to oversee operations and address some issues.
“Every detachment I’ve been at…my mandate is really simple-it is to provide and make sure we’re providing the best policing to the community,” S/Sgt Harms tells the Mail.
S/Sgt Harms is already familiar with Drumheller and surrounding areas, having served at surrounding detachments in Brooks, Stettler, and Three Hills and has had previous interactions with the Drumheller detachment.
He adds he spent his down time hiking and biking in the Drumheller Valley and got “fairly familiar” with the area while at the Three Hills detachment.
Most of his policing experience has been in small towns and communities, and S/Sgt Harms says he is familiar with both the municipal and rural sides of enforcement.
“I am very pleased to be transferred to Drumheller; Drumheller and area has always been a favourite place of both my wife’s and I,” S/Sgt Harms says.
Before joining the RCMP as a sworn officer 13 years ago, S/Sgt Harms served 10 years as a volunteer under the RCMP Auxiliary Program; he also worked in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for seven years, and in the oil and gas industry as a director for a public oilfield company.
He says his prior experience has been beneficial in his career in the RCMP.
“I came to the RCMP as a regular member already with 10 years exposure to policing, so it was extremely beneficial,” he says.
S/Sgt Harms says he will work with the priorities laid out by the community prior to the departure of former Staff Sergeant Ed Bourque in June 2022.
These priorities include crime reduction with a focus on reducing substance drug abuse, engaging and involving the community with policing to remain accountable and transparent, and enhancing education and awareness.


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