News | DrumhellerMail - Page #3329
Last updateFri, 19 Apr 2024 5pm

Community Futures outlines vision for healthcare training at former hospital site


    Community Futures hosted a public forum at the Civic Centre on Monday November 30, to introduce a project they have been working on, and share their vision with the community on the possibility of bringing post secondary education in Drumheller.
    Community Futures explained this project was at the early stages and the purpose of this public meeting was to get feedback from the community to check what the focus should be.
    “The vision is post secondary education in Drumheller with specialized medical services delivery” explained Jordan Webber, Project Lead for Community Futures.
    Webber said that following regional studies, using measurements such as earning potentials and quality of life, health came out on top. As the former hospital was recently sold to new owners and became available for a project within the community, teamed with opportunities in the health sector, Community Futures saw the possibility to provide health training and medical delivery in Drumheller. Webber went on to explain that the bottleneck in rural health being practicum placements, merging the medical delivery with the health training would provide the practicum placements that a project like this needs to have a critical mass of students to make the project sustainable.
    Community Futures is sourcing funds to complete a  business plan and currently looking at engaging a 2 year LPN program and later maybe expanding this to EMTs, RANs, lab technicians etc.
    Currently the healthcare system is very good at acute care, however Alberta Health doesn’t cover some other sectors such as chronic and diagnostic needs.  Under this model those specialized services could be brought to the area.
    “This is also the opportunity to draw specialists to Drumheller to provide services we don’t currently have”, Webber stressed, “research on this project still needs to be done to ensure the right fit and what would work here.”
    Webber then explained they truly believe the impact of post secondary education would put a positive economic spin to the town and make the future of Drumheller and the region more sustainable.
    The organizers explained this can only happen with the support from the community and Community Futures wants to engage with the community to make the project a successful one.
    “This has to be a community driven project...We are here to plan the project and get it up and running but the community will be running it internally”, highlighted Ken Edwards, from the Poet Group, a company which specializes in strategic risk analysis and hired to come up with a sustainable model for this project.
    They are primarily looking at drawing students from the local area but can also look at broader areas.
    “A lot of coordination has to come together and we have met with the local doctors, the hospital, specialists, the Drumheller institution, and   a lot of different stakeholders,” confirmed the organizers. “We need to hear from the community what they would like to see here, we already know the hospital system here would be interested to have practicums.”
    Following the opener, the public was then asked for their questions and feedback.
    Q. What can we do? A: Think about what focus this should have, what do you see happening in your town?
    Q. Have they looked at alternative medicine? A: Not yet, we are trying to stay mainstream to create a solid program.
    Q. What about approaching other schools? A: The bigger colleges such as Red Deer may not have it in their scope to have the resources to promote Drumheller or to draw students to Drumheller in a way to make an educational facility here successful in the long run
    Q. Where is resistance expected? A: From the community if they feel this is forced upon them so we want to make sure that this is a business model and as much as this will be part of the community, it shouldn’t be a welfare model.
    Q. So what is the next step?
    A: Developing a business plan, which is expected to happen in the next 4 to 5 months. 
    Community Futures also needs to engage one or two people from the public to be part of the committee. 
    There will also be public meetings every 6 weeks to show progress and get feedback.
    For further information about this project, please contact Jordan Webber of Community Futures on 403.823.7703.

Work of art runs afoul of town bylaw


    Lawrence Eisler appeared at a hearing at the Council Chambers, Town Hall on Tuesday, December 1st, to appeal a decision made by the Municipal Planning Commission to refuse the existing fence on his property, 436, 3rd Street East, Drumheller.
    The refusal cited Land Use bylaw 10-08; Part VII General Land Use Regulations Section 41 Fences and Hedges a) In a residential district, a fence or hedge located within the front yard of a lot shall not exceed 1.2 m (4ft.) in height.
    Eisler’s front yard construction is no ordinary fence. When Eisler took over ownership of his grandparents’ house, he started a renovation project which would incorporate history from the lives his grandparents led in Drumheller, and his artistic vision.          His grandfather, Nicholas,  was born in Ukraine and after much travelling settled in Drumheller where he met Eisler’s grandmother, Anne, also born in Ukraine. Nicholas then became the town’s barber and Anne settled in as a respected teacher.  Unfortunately Eisler’s grandfather passed away when Eisler was very young so he didn’t get the chance to get to know him very well.  As he started on the renovation, Eisler wanted to incorporate as much as his grandparents’ history in the property.
    “I have taken a small neglected piece of property and injected it with a little piece of myself, of my family, of my friends, and with the friendships that I am now developing…all of this with the passion that I feel for this place that I am inextricably bound to,” explains Eisler.           
    Part of his vision included the building of a structure in his front yard Eisler refers to as a sculpture:  “the white section of the sculpture was in reference to him (Nicholas) and as I began to engage with the community and began to learn more about him, I would add to this piece. It was white to reflect the idea of the blank canvas, waiting to be drawn upon.”
 When he found out his grandfather had been the town’s barber, he thought about assembling redundant pieces of the cedar siding from the property in a manner so as to resemble waste cuttings of hair. 
    During construction of the structure, in 2007, Eisler was contacted by the Town regarding his property and the work being done in the front yard. As a result of various conversations, Eisler agreed he would apply for a building permit before completing further work on the house.  During the following 2 years, Eisler did no further work due to personal health issues and heard nothing more regarding this issue.
  In September 2009, he received a letter from Development Control advising: “a recent inspection has shown the erection of a fence-like structure, which was in excess of 1.2m (4ft) in height, and an attached deck fastened to the single family dwelling within the front yard of the lands.”  It was also stated that permits had not been approved for these structures.
    Eisler then submitted an Application for Development Permit, detailing the proposed development as Sculptural Courts/Sculptural Frames. This application was rejected and Eisler lodged an appeal which was heard on Tuesday.
    The Appeal Board started by explaining this was a semi-judicial board which cannot rule against the decision but only make recommendations, and any further appeal would need to go to Provincial Court of Appeal.  The board also advised that any supporting documentation which was not provided at this hearing would not be admissible if the decision was appealed.
    Each person present was given five minutes to contest the decision and Eisler started by reading a letter explaining his intent and vision, arguing the fence was a sculpture and highlighting he had found no reference to sculptures in the Bylaw database. He also stated that no-one had objected to his construction and people had been very supportive, particularly the immediate neighbours.  The board then asked Eisler for clarification on certain points.             When asked if Eisler carried on working on the structure after the permit refusal, he confirmed he had, and he later  explained that, as he felt this was a sculpture, Eisler wanted to show what the construction would look like at a more advanced stage.  The board reiterated it could not debate whether the fence was a sculpture, and could only decide whether the ruling was correct.
    People present then presented their cases, highlighting they felt the construction made an impact, and it was “the best thing that had happened in the street for a long time”,  furthermore this was “an asset to the community and it should be encouraged rather than discouraged”.  A friend of Eisler who helped build the structure, said: “when I saw the result, I was shocked and amazed how beautiful it looked.”.
    Concerns were expressed about the encroachment on neighborhood property, Eisler confirmed he had had agreement from the neighbours and  the board pointed out a formal agreement would need to be made and recorded on the property deed.
    A petition and letters of support containing 30 signatures and a letter against the construction, describing it as “an eyesore” were also presented to the board and read. Eisler also suggested the board meet with him on site to get a better understanding of the sculpture.
    The board confirmed they are required to make a decision within the next 15 days.

DCHS singers to accompany dancing at Olympic Torch Relay celebrations


    More local talent is stepping up to help the valley celebrate the arrival of the Olympic Torch on January 16. 2010
    Local musician and teacher Jillian Augey created a choir to perform at the Olympic ceremony. Combining the DCHS junior high choir, with senior high volunteers has formed an energetic and talented group of singers.
    Courtney Morse (known as Sally Bowles from Cabaret) will be soloing. The performance even includes choreography and coordinating outfits.
    The choir is grateful to Tara Semchuk for sewing, Luigi  Vescarelli and Encana for donating the hoodies, and Carol Todor for assistance.
    Jillian and Carol are working together to create a stunning performance that will showcase local talent. There will be about 20 dancers and 25 singers on stage in total.
    The singers and dancers are   thrilled to be involved in such a memorable opportunity.
    To take in the event there is one more day set aside to obtain tickets for the Olympic Torch Relay Celebrations. Committee members will be distributing tickets at Greentree Mall this Saturday December 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


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