With the Town of Drumheller paid parking pilot wrapped up on October 31, the Town is beginning to reach out to the surrounding municipalities to engage in discussions about potential intermunicipal funding agreements.
Wheatland County, which borders Drumheller to the south and southeast, directed its administration during the regular Tuesday, October 17 council meeting to bring a Request of Decision forward at its next council meeting regarding a proposed intermunicipal funding model.
“Drumheller is unique as it is the only municipality not supported by the surrounding counties, but bordered by four counties,” Drumheller Mayor Heather Colberg tells the Mail.
She says that starting the paid parking program at the beginning of October “opened Pandora’s box,” and has resulted in the Town receiving numerous phone calls, letters, and other communications from residents in the surrounding areas who have concerns about the program. While the program aims to help offset additional infrastructure costs and pressures due to the influx of visitors coming to the Drumheller Valley every year, there were some concerns about how this program would impact those residents who do not live within the municipal boundaries of Drumheller but use the services provided.
The parking program uses Fredericton, New Brunswick-based company Hot Spot Parking, Transit, Taxis.
Although Mayor Colberg says the implementation of the paid parking program was never intended to “create a divide” between residents and area residents, she says it has forced the conversation to begin between the Town and its municipal partners.
Unlike other town municipalities, like Stettler and Strathmore, that are fully encompassed within a county and automatically are granted intermunicipal funding, Drumheller is bordered by four counties but does not belong solely to any entity except itself.
Mayor Colberg says she has reached out to the municipal leaders of Kneehill County, Starland County, Wheatland County, and Special Areas, and is looking forward to discussing how to move forward.