News | DrumhellerMail - Page #3155
Last updateThu, 21 Sep 2023 8am

Atlas Coal Mine tipple timber assessed by historic preservation experts


    Expert engineers from the Vancouver-based Macdonald and Lawrence Timber Framing Ltd. were onsite at the Atlas Coal Mine in East Coulee recently to assess the timber condition on its tipple.
    Last year, rot was found around some of the wood joints and this gave Linda Digby, executive director of the Atlas Coal Mine, concern. The affected part is supported by metal scaffolding so her concern wasn't for public safety. She explained to The Weekender her concern was focussed on the longevity of the framework as this tipple is the last one in Canada that allows people to climb.
    After an engineer's assessment, the museum applied for funding and received help from both the provincial and federal governments.
    “We are very lucky, we have all the expertise from Alberta Historical Resources and Parks of Canada Historic Site to help us direct this project,” said Digby.
    The Mine received a few bids from contractors but Macdonald and Lawrence, whom they found through the Timber Framers Guild, impressed them most with their level of expertise, their portfolio and the quality of their equipment.
    “These guys have done historic preservation all over the globe, for instance in Antarctica with the conservation and restoration of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Nimrod Hut. They have also done work on Buckingham Palace, and their resume includes a letter of thanks from the Queen!” she said.
    “It takes a particular kind of expertise to do work on our site, we need a high level of contractor who understands historic restoration and who just has to know how to deal with challenges such as working at heights and with limited access. They also need to be sensitive to the fact that this is a museum and therefore there will be people around. And of course they must have the right trade skills. Macdonald and Lawrence had by far the most compelling package.”
    Engineers came to the site to gather intelligence on the timber. Using specialized machinery, they drilled core samples from the timber to make a profile of its condition, which will help them determine which to replace.
    The work is expected to start in July for a period of three weeks, during which time the tipple tours will not be available to the public.
    The team will then return in September to spend the month finishing the project.

Golden Hills School Division confirms Carbon High School to remain open

    Following a consultation with parents of Grades 9-11 Carbon School students (next year’s high school group) on Thursday May 6, the Golden Hill School Division (GHSD) has confirmed the school will remain open.
    “There was never a motion to close it,” clarified board member, division contact Shirley Buyer, adding “as long as we don’t get people pulling their kids from the school, it will remain open.”
    The consultation served to discuss the enrolment challenges and to invite the school council to provide input on the long term sustainability of the high school.
    Ron Kenworthy, chair of the GHSD, told The Mail the board looked at different schools in December/January to determine if there were any sustainability problems in them.
    “It became apparent afterward that the Carbon School was having decreasing enrolment in their High School, that a lot of kids were going to different schools in the area other than Carbon.
    We thought at that time we should start a conversation with the parents to find out how they are feeling about it because if they were saying ‘ok the school is getting too small’, we’d have needed to do something right now, so we needed to know that,” said Kenworthy.
    “It wasn’t so much about the funding, although it is always difficult to maintain a school with low enrolment, but more importantly, it was how the parents felt about the program being offered. We wanted to speak to the parents whose children are the most affected right now to see if they wanted something done right now.”
    Kenworthy said parents’ views were mixed, but mostly indicating a level of satisfaction with the program.
    He also told The Mail there would be ongoing discussions in the coming year with the school council to ensure the situation was reviewed regularly.
    “We want to start the dialogue with the parents,” said Kenworthy. “The indications we have is that things are not all that well, when you look at the results for example.”
    Jeannette Giesbrecht, Carbon resident with children attending the Carbon School believes they will be facing the same battle next year.
    “I am going to start emailing our MLAs…We need to do something, we can’t lose it next year either.”
    Giesbrecht told The Mail that parents would be having  another meeting to decide what the next step is going to be, adding “I think what we need to do is to start looking at these kids who are going to other schools to try and encourage them to come back because enrolment is an issue.”
    When questioned about how the school board would deal with funding adjustments, Buyer said the school may suffer teachers’ cut so they may have to adjust the timetables.
    She also stressed that people needed to realize these problems were not due to the local boards but government’s decisions.

Tim Hus to release CD at Old Grouch's


    The Old Grouch's Restaurant has a reputation for down home cooking and down home music.
    It was not long ago that recording artist Jaydee Bixby as a youngster would turn up and belt out a tune, and now Alberta recording artist Tim Hus will be releasing his most recent CD at the restaurant Friday, June 25.
    Hus has played in the valley a number of times including at the East Coulee Spring Festival. He is releasing his fifth album, the second on the famous Stony Plain records, founded by Holger Petersen.
    “We have been doing CD release concerts all over the province, but I did want to do one in Drumheller,” said Hus.
    While he has never played at The Old Grouch’s before, he met Fran Nargang at previous concerts, and she extended an invitation to him.
    “I know it is not that big, but I think we could fill it up and have a good one there,” said Hus.
    He is proud of his new release Hockeytown, an album packed with Canadian content.
    “It has all kinds of Canadian cowboy country songs, and the themes go from coast to coast, everything from fishing off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, to hunting gophers on the prairies, to steel mills of Ontario, to hunting the Sasquatch in the mountains of British Columbia,” said Hus. “I called it Hockeytown because that it has a common thread, every town in Canada is a hockeytown.”
    He said he has the stamp of approval from one of the biggest legends in Canadian music. Last summer he completed a six week tour with the one and only Stompin’ Tom Connors. He wrote much of the material for this album while on tour.
    “We’re good friends now, and it was great because every night he would stand up on stage and give me really good plugs like, ‘For 30 years I have been looking for a guy that was proud to write songs about our country, and I would sure like to pass the torch out west to Tim Hus,’” said Hus. “He’s kind of taken me under his wing, and I think we are going to tour western Canada this summer.”
    Before that he will be in Drumheller. He travels with a three-piece band.
    “This way you can get a really close up and personal show at the Old Grouch's,” said Hus.


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.