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Last updateFri, 19 Apr 2024 5pm

Hussar Stag Auction tops $50,000

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    The Hussar Stag Auction  had another great success bringing in just over $50,000 for the Hussar Ag Society.
    The annual dinner and auction took place on November 20 and came away with a great result to keep the Hussar Arena operating through the season.
    “It is for the Agriculture Society. The $50,000 runs our arena for most of the winter,” said Ben Armstrong. “It is all community based.”
     He says, “The result was a little lower than organizers expected, however it was a great evening with great items donated by supporters of the community.”
    Chinook Credit Union was one of the tip bidders. They took home the coveted shovel. This has become a trophy each year for the winning bid. It went for over $2,000. Chinook Credit Union also was the top bidder to have their name at centre ice at the arena. It also went in the area of $2,000.

Rowley loses Canada Post Office


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    Famous for its ghost town status, Rowley still had until recently an operating counter Post Office, ran from Lucille and Terry Hampton’s house,  serving around 14 residents and opened Mondays to Fridays. 
    However, following Canada Post review, this post office was marked as a rural outlet under review with a view to phasing it out and was closed down in early December.
    Postal service in Rowley started in 1913 when George Swallow Senior became the first postmaster and ran it from his general store.  Between 1911 and 1913, his son, Henry Swallow would bring the post from Rumsey to Rowley for distribution.
    The Swallows ran the post office for a record 56 years until 1967.  In March 1968, Jack and Beryl MacFarlane took it over.  When Jack passed away in 1970, Beryl carried on running it until she retired in May 1976.
    The post office was then closed for a few months to be re-opened in 1977 with Betty Morell as postmistress. After two years the Morells left the area and the Thomson family from Drumheller ran it for a year.  Margaret and Hugh Crossan took it on from 1980 and more recently, Terry and Lucille Hampton operated it until its closure in December 2009. Incidently, George Swallow Senior was the father of Terry Hampton’s uncle, Henry Swallow.
    In 2004, the post office was issued with its own cancel, which pictured the now famous Sam’s Saloon.
    A super mailbox has now been put in place opposite the old post office, however, residents will now need to go to Morrin or Drumheller if they wish to send or receive larger parcels.
    Rural post offices have played an important role in the history and ongoing daily life of rural Canadians and Rowley’s post office was no exception.  Chris Foesier, Community president, told The Mail: “the post office was the last permanent piece of business in town. It was a way to catch up on the goings on in town, you went to get your mail from a person, now you walk up to an iron box and get your mail from it. The only benefit that I have heard that’s really good is that you can get your mail any time you want, you can get your mail at 1 in the morning!”

Funding partners sought for heritage preservation strategy

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    The Town of Drumheller is seeking funding partners to proceed with a heritage preservation strategy following a motion put forward by  Councillor Bertamini during the council meeting on December, 21.
    Tara Semchuk, president of the Downtown Drumheller Merchants Association told The Mail: “I am glad that it is moving forward and we will hopefully get the partners that we need and get things moving before the summer season.”
    Officials from Alberta Culture and Community Spirit visited Drumheller on December 3 to take a look at downtown, meet with Drumheller and District Chamber of Commerce officials to discuss the program and with town administration regarding the necessary next steps to proceed with a heritage preservation strategy for the Town of Drumheller.
    Following the officials’ visit, alternatives to the Main Street Program have been highlighted, one of the most notable ones being the Heritage Designation Program, although being part of the latter program could be an initial step toward larger scale heritage preservation initiatives, including the Main Street Program. 
    The first step needed to proceed with either program is to complete a heritage inventory. 
    This inventory will evaluate potential significant historic places and clarify their heritage significance and integrity.  The approximate cost is $1,500 per property with 33 properties identified as potential significant historic buildings.
    With a provincial contribution of up to $20,000 towards its cost, the inventory could amount to $50,000 plus, pending on the scope and the exact number of properties included in the inventory.
    Since administration was provided with a motion from council to proceed with participation in the Alberta Main Street Program as a “basic” member in September, the town has completed part of the requirements: providing municipal council endorsement of the membership and historical significance of over 50 per cent of buildings “truly historic” (over 80 per cent expected). 
    In order to receive basic membership status in the Alberta Main Street Network, a heritage inventory and the employment of a main street coordinator have yet to be completed.
    With the Heritage Designation Program, financial commitment will be reduced and individual property owners are eligible for up to $50,000 twice per year for restoration activities that will preserve the historic integrity of heritage buildings.  However, on those grant funded projects, a caveat will need to be added on the title of the property to protect the community-funded investment in the property.
    The main cost implications of the Main Street Program is the hiring of a main street coordinator. The Chamber of Commerce had indicated to Council that they would offer an in-kind contribution of staff time for purpose of main street coordinator, Council has now been advised that chamber is willing to partner on such an arrangement only on a cost recovery basis. Council is expecting the costs for such arrangement for a full time position to be $50,000 to $65,000 per year for 3 to 5 years.
    As costs for the heritage preservation strategy haven’t been budgeted in the town 2010 Project Budget, it is hoped that community partnerships could be leveraged to support this project.
    Heather Bitz, general manager at the Chamber commented: “the town obviously has some ideas whom they might seek out as funding partners, the Chamber of Commerce is probably one of them I would suspect, whether we are in a position to do that, at this stage, I can’t comment too much on it.”  Bitz also confirmed that their intention was to see the Main Street Program in Drumheller.

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