News | DrumhellerMail - Page #3
Last updateFri, 01 Dec 2023 2pm

Government invests in affordable housing upgrades

AB Gov 2Color Sky RGB V

Alberta’s government is investing $16 million to upgrade 400 affordable housing units across the province, and some of this funding is earmarked for Drumheller institutions.
The provincial budget has $94 million over three years for capital maintenance and renewal funding. Through an additional $16 million in capital maintenance and renewal funding, 100 units will reopen, and another 300 will continue to be available for use while undergoing preventative maintenance.
“This investment will support housing providers to keep affordable housing online across our province. We will continue to partner with these organizations to ensure we maintain and grow our affordable housing infrastructure across Alberta,” said Jason Nixon, Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services.
The Drumheller and District Seniors Foundation (DDSF) was included in this announcement, and it will be receiving $250,000 for renewal. DDSF Chief Administrative Officer Glenda Youngberg tells the Mail these funds will be used for the provincially owned Senior Manors.
“They have allotted us $250,000 for their owned self-contained units, which means Manor One, Manor Two and the villas here in Drumheller. This is for capital maintenance, so we have to come up with a list of things we need to do in these units,” she said.
The Drumheller Housing Administration (DHA) also benefited from this injection of funding. It was allotted $200,000 for capital maintenance.
The administration is planning on using funds to install roofing on a unit, as well as install basement sump pumps and replace flooring. The bulk of the funds will be for concrete work, installing concrete patios on 26 units, to provide positive slope for runoff away from foundations.
"We are grateful for the commitment from Minister Nixon’s office to support Drumheller Housing to ensure we are providing safe and affordable housing for Albertans," said DHA chair Crystal Sereda.

Drumheller council considers cap on Short Term Rentals

Town Hall

Town of Drumheller continues to work on regulations on Short Term Rentals (STRs) as part of its proposed Business License Bylaw, and during the Tuesday, November 14 Committee of the Whole meeting administration was directed to implement an annual cap on the number of STR licenses, and introduce a differential rate for principal and non-principal residences.
Council previously gave second reading of the Business License Bylaw in October of this year, and made some recommendations to Economic Development manager Reg Johnston to further investigate STR regulation in other municipalities, including how these units are taxed to align with commercial taxation, insurance requirements, and any caps on the number of licenses permitted per year.
It was proposed to implement a differential rate for STR business licenses of $245 for principal residences in which the property owner also resides, and $810 for non-principal residences, also considered investment properties. This would reflect an estimated $55,000 annually, which would help offset administrative costs.
Along with researching business licensing fees, Mr. Johnston also investigated how municipalities tax these properties. Following discussions with Wildrose Assessment and Corporate Services, it was determined other municipalities such as the Town of Canmore had implemented a new municipal tax rate for these properties which sees STRs charged 3.28 times higher than other residential properties.
A new residential subclass would allow for STRs to be taxed at a higher rate to better align with commercial tax rates. However, it was noted this would not be able to be implemented until 2025 due to information required. Another consideration into STRs was whether to limit the number of business licenses approved annually.
With the ongoing housing shortage in Drumheller, it was recommended council implement a cap of 120 STR business licenses per year; there are currently about 104 STRs operating within the Drumheller Valley.
While there were some concerns that limitation could pose some additional challenges, such as reducing competition and increasing administrative work, this could also help to alleviate strain on the local housing market. It could also help to encourage growth within certain sectors of the housing market such as secondary suites, while reducing the number of investment properties which were seen as “primary contributors” to reduced housing stock.
There were also recommendations regarding the insurance coverage required to be held on these properties by the property owner, mandating proof of liability insurance during the business licensing process, requirements to be outlined regarding guest health and safety such as an Emergency Evacuation Plan, and safety measures including fire extinguishers and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors within the property.
It is expected the Business License Bylaw will be brought back to council for third reading consideration in the new year.

Midland community receives ATCO grant

Barrier Free Ice Access

ATCO announced the recipients of our 2023 Clean Energy Community Fund, a new grant-making program that supports organizations on their energy transition journey, and the Midlandvale Community Hall is among the recipients.
Twelve Alberta schools, community groups and municipalities will receive funding to help them achieve their energy and sustainability goals, with projects that include energy audits, community charging stations, solar panel installations and LED light conversions.
“For ATCO, sustainability is more than an aspiration; it is interwoven with our strategy, our day-to-day operations, the products and services we provide, and part of our community investment endeavours,” said Melanie Bayley, President, ATCO Electric. “We are proud to be at the forefront of the energy transition, and in a position to provide financial support to organizations and municipalities who are looking at ways to decarbonize and lower GHG emissions.”
The $15,000 grant received by the Midland Vale Community Hall is to install solar panels to power Skate Shack at the new outdoor accessible skating rink.


The Drumheller Mail encourages commenting on our stories but due to our harassment policy we must remove any comments that are offensive, or don’t meet the guidelines of our commenting policy.