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Last updateThu, 29 Feb 2024 12pm

Community Futures Big Country launches Home Share Drumheller

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Local organizations in the Drumheller Valley have collaborated to find a solution to a long-term issue – a severe seasonal housing shortage.
Area residents expressed enthusiasm for the idea of introducing a home share platform to the region. Support for the project has resulted in a commitment from the Prairies Rural Opportunities Fund (ROF 2.0) which will allow the home share concept to soon become reality.
The lack of short-term housing has been identified as a major roadblock to the growth of the region’s tourism businesses and attractions. The Drumheller Valley Housing Strategy and the Travel Drumheller Destination Development Plan identified “securing housing for seasonal employees”, as a very high priority. The Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) proposed a home sharing platform to help address labour shortages and housing constraints – major obstacles limiting the delivery of a world-class tourism experience.
Two Canadian companies, Happipad and Canada Home Share, recently announced a partnership that will introduce a home share platform to the region. Home sharing connects homeowners with an extra room in their home with seasonal employees looking for rental accommodation. The support that is now in place means funding will be available to the first fifty homeowners who sign onto the home share platform and are matched with renters. Grant funding will cover program fees for the first two years of the project (through to March 31, 2026). happipad.com/drumheller
The Happipad home sharing platform allows hosts to set their own terms, establish their own rules, and connect to renters who are looking to make a positive contribution to the community. The platform screens renters and hosts, conducts background checks, prepares rental contracts, and matches for compatibility. This thorough approach ensures that accommodations are safe, secure, and sustainable.
The home share program will benefit business and tourism operators as well as residents who are looking to supplement household income. The local economy will be strengthened as additional resources become available to support local businesses. The program will also create opportunities to build community, whether it means vulnerable residents requiring modest support are able to continue to live independently, or those seeking social connection are able to find it by opening their homes to those in need of accommodation.


Highland gala chases away winter blues

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The deep freeze in the valley can only be warmed by the sounds of the Celtic flute, the Bodhrán and the sounds of the highlands.
The East Coulee School Museum has the cure for the winter blues as it brings back the Highland Gala.
The event on Saturday, January 27 at the Badlands Community Facility includes music food and fun. After a hiatus, the event is back to get the blood flowing.
The event celebrates the highlands. Along with a buffet dinner, they will be piping in the Haggis, and even featuring a scotch tasting. There is also a silent auction.
On the stage will be a local favourite, The Wayfaring Fiddlers, as well as Celtera, a mainstay on the prairie Celtic scene.
Executive director of the East Coulee School Museum Barb Steeves tells the Mail, that aside from the East Coulee Spring Fest, the Highland Gala is one of its main fundraisers and the funds go to the museum’s restoration fund.
While they have completed extensive work on the building envelope, they want to work on the site.
“The sidewalks are in pretty bad shape so we want to replace those, and we have to replace the disability ramp because it no longer meets code, and repairs to the steps to the front door,” said Steeves.
It has been a good year for the museum. They have been working on rebuilding its community engagement and letting the community know they are active.
Tickets are available for the Highland Gala. For information, or call the East Coulee School Museum at 403-822-3970, or go to www.ecsmuseum.ca and purchase tickets online.

Mother Nature delivers wintery blast

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Many Albertans were struggling this past week while temperatures dipped to almost -50 degrees with the wind chill factored in. A number of residents in Drumheller kept heating and plumbing technicians busy with service calls due to their furnaces quitting or pipes freezing.
To say Randy Hardy with TKNT Mechanical has been busy this past week is an understatement. He can’t even guess how many calls he has received since the temps dropped but estimates around 20 calls on the weekend alone. He enjoys helping people as much as possible and has done his best to keep up with the demand, but the calls are non-stop.
“It’s just on and on. I do my best to help people in need but people should be better prepared,” says Hardy. “Make sure you have extra filters for your furnace, and it is operating properly. Any holes in your house, plug them off and have extra electric heaters on hand. Also, in the case of a power outage make sure you have plenty of provisions stocked.”
Many residents are asking for car battery boosts or towings. According to AMA’s website, as of Monday, January 15, 2024, wait times for Drumheller are two hours long.
Brad LeDrew, General Sales Manager for Western GM Drumheller, spoke to the Mail about the free rides they offer to residents when temperatures dip below -30 degrees. This is the fifth year they have done this and you don’t have to be a customer to receive a ride.
“Dozens and dozens of rides have been given out since Thursday, and we have continued offering them daily for as long as the weather remains this cold,” says LeDrew, “Our service department has also changed dozens and dozens of car batteries in the last week.”
Just like with their homes, people need to be prepared with their vehicles in these frigid temps, especially with their batteries. “Because modern vehicles have so many electronics, including advanced safety systems and sos systems (like OnStar), they are constantly drawing energy from your battery, twenty-four-seven. So, when you get into the minus thirties, and your battery is four or five years old, it’s basically no good anymore,” states LeDrew, “The way you can help when it’s cold like this, is to connect a ‘Trickle-Charger’ onto your battery overnight. It’s only going to put a volt or two into your battery to keep it topped up. The other critical thing is to make sure your block or pan heater is plugged in.”
Drumheller’s RCMP Staff Sergeant Robert Harms tells the Mail only one call directly related to the cold weather was received on Thursday, January 14, 2024. At approximately 1:30 p.m., RCMP received an iPhone S.O.S and OnStar S.O.S that a motorist travelling from Saskatchewan to Drumheller was stranded without fuel near Dorothy, AB. The motorist was dressed properly for the weather, so there were minimal safety concerns, and a tow truck was dispatched to assist the driver. Harms states that all motorists should plan ahead during the cold and extreme weather season.


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