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Town Council lays out priorities for new year

    Drumheller Town Council has identified its priorities for 2012 at its priorities setting workshop held last week in Drumheller.
    The priorities include funding strategies and the phase 2 design for the Badlands Community Facility, the 2013 centennial celebrations, relocation of Town Hall, and the utility contract with the Drumheller Institution.
    “For any organization to make progress, there has to be a clear set of goals and expectations,” said Mayor Terry Yemen, “this is what council has accomplished at their retreat in order to move forward.”
 In regards to the funding strategy, the first phase of the facility has a budget of about $23 million, with $5 million coming from reserves, $6 million from provincial and federal grants,  $6 million from long-term borrowing and $6 million from fundraising.
    A committee had been created with the task of leading the fundraising. The town contracted Nine Lions for $223,000 in the fall of 2010 to help in the task. Currently the results of the fundraising effort have not been disclosed to the public, but are expected to be released when the facility opens.
    Another priority for council is to start looking at the second phase of the Badlands Community Facility by beginning the design and committee structure.
    Mayor Yemen said the second phase would differ from the current phase because it will simply be twinning the arena and the completion of a curling facility. Because there is not as broad of reach to different community groups, the consultation may not be as wide reaching.
    “You are going to skate in a skating rink and you are going to curl in a curling rink, there is less of the multi-use component,” said Yemen. “We will still want public input into the project.”
    The town is also getting ready to celebrate its centennial come 2013 and is already looking forward to forming planning committees to make it a year not to forget.
    Mayor Yemen said they’re not simply looking at a single celebration, but hope to recognise different dates and milestones for the community in its 100 years of history and plan events around them.
    One idea he likes, however it is still in the idea phase, is a monument to mark the centennial. He is excited with the plan for the Miner’s memorial, but hopes they can build one to mark the centennial of the town as well.
    “I would like to see a bronze in the entrance of the community facility. A life-sized statue of a miner,” said Yemen. “They are expensive, but there is some money available through grants. We have so many of these legacies, and we see so many dinosaurs, but people forget so quickly nobody came here looking for dinosaurs, they came looking for coal, and I think to have a bronze in the facility would bring it home to everybody.”
    He says he was impressed with how the coal mining centennial committee worked and hopes some of those members sign on to work with the centennial celebrations. He adds that community support is crucial in making the centennial a success.
    Another issue council hopes to deal with in the coming year is reworking its utility rate contract with The Drumheller Institution. This document has not been renegotiated since 1978. The town sent notice to the institution to open discussions to bring the rates in line for the cost related to delivering water in 2012.
    Another decision for council to tackle this coming year is the relocation of Town Hall. This year the town studied the cost of renovating the current Civic Centre and Library as a new location for Town Hall. 
    Some of the advantages of the new location are that  it is a more modern facility , centrally located and is handicapped accessible. The project has already received initial approval for funding from the Municipal Sustainability Initiative.
    These priorities help to develop the town’s Strategic Business Plan, which includes council and staff priorities. The Strategic Business Plan will be presented to council for formal adoption early in the new year.


Seniors recount Christmas in the Valley

    Christmas has changed considerably in the Drumheller Valley. inSide Drumheller sat down with Cecil and Ida Botkin and asked if they could share their Christmas memories.

Ida: Both of our parents were really poor. Maybe we would get a pair of socks for Christmas, but nothing else.
    Then one year my dad came from Oregon with his sister. She brought us each a doll. A doll is something you never forget when you’ve never had one.
    He’s about the same.

Cecil: Only worse.

Ida: You never even got a doll.

Cecil: We were farmers and we had nothing for Christmas. We didn’t even celebrate it, because we were so poor. We were lucky to get clothes.

Ida: My mom and dad used to raise geese and chickens for Christmas dinner. We usually had a goose for Christmas. But, they couldn’t afford to buy a turkey. Other than that we had all the vegetables we needed.
    In 1944 we each had a weekend off for Christmas, so we got married. But, he went in the army right after that.

Cecil: We got married on the 23rd. That was our Christmas present. Two weeks later I was in the army.

Ida: That’s why we did it, because he had got his call already and we wanted to get married before he left. We’ve had 67 Christmases together.

Ida: We had our first daughter on November 30. We were in Barrie, Ontario, at that time. What do you do with a baby for Christmas? They don’t care whether they get anything or not.
    But we made sure that our own kids never suffered for anything.

Awareness of holiday check stops growing

    ‘Tis the season for safe driving, and it appears so far Drumheller residents are getting the message.
    The Drumheller RCMP has stepped up its enforcement and has been staging a number of check stops leading up to and through the holiday season. Staff Sergeant Art Hopkins said awareness of the check stops is getting out.
    “Last Friday night and Saturday they were really busy,” said Hopkins. “People are talking about it.”
 On top of the weekend check stops, Drumheller RCMP are also implementing random check stops.
    “If you are caught driving under the influence, there are many things that could happen, ranging from driving prohibition to vehicle seizures,” said Hopkins. “That is not including what could happen if someone gets hurt as a result of your actions while under the influence. The financial implications to you and your family are huge should you get caught driving or are involved in a collision where someone gets hurt.”
    Hopkins said so far, during their check stops, no drivers have been charged with impaired driving.
    “There have been some minor drug possession charges and some open liquor charges, but there haven’t been any impaired drivers or 24 suspensions,” said Hopkins. “We have had a couple no insurance and other violations.”
    He said the random check stops will continue through to the new year.
    Bottom line for Hopkins: if you are planning on drinking, plan on a ride home.


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