News | DrumhellerMail - Page #2912
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Institution expansion underway

    The Drumheller Institution is one step closer to its expansion, and construction has already begun.
    In August of 2010, the expansion, which would see 96 beds added to the Medium Security Unit and 50 beds to the Minimum Security Unit, was announced.   The project budgeted $15 million for the Medium Security Unit expansion and $110 million for the Minimum Security Unit expansion.
    Since then Dowland Contracting, headquartered in Innuvik was awarded the contract on October 4 of this year. The construction is valued at $10,826,723, before GST.
    Work is currently underway.
    The expansion, when announced, was said to increase the capacity of the Institution in response to the federal governments’ Truth in Sentencing Act.  Prior to the act, a person who is being held in presentence custody would receive two-for-one credit for their time served.  With the Truth In Sentencing Act a person would receive credit at a ratio of one-to-one, except when circumstances justify up at a 1.5-to-one ratio.
    The federal government is currently work to passing its Safe Street and Communities act, which includes toughening up penalties for a number of crimes.
At the time of the initial announcement, then Warden Mike Hanly expected the expansion could create about 30 full time positions.
    While the 96 bed Medium Security Unit expansion is underway, Melissa Hart, senior media relations officer for Correctional Services Canada says a competitive process is underway for the 50 unit Minimum Security annex and construction is expected to be underway in the spring.
The project is anticipated to be complete in 2013-2014.


Opponents to Midland Park drilling seek resolution

    A surface consultant for Evolve Surface Strategies confirms Bearspaw Petroleum’s willingness to participate in an Appropriate Disputes Resolution (ADR) process with landowners who object to a development across the river from Nacmine, with an Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) facilitator present.
    This was confirmed in a letter to a Nacmine resident who has objected to Bearspaw Petroleum’s plan to drill three directional wells from an existing surface lease in Midland Provincial Park near McMullen Island and the walking trail.
    At this point, Bearspaw has not made an application to the ERCB for the project.
    Evolve delivered notifications to residents of Nacmine, who are across the river from the proposed drilling in July of this year informing them of the proposed project. In September, a surface consultant sat down with four Nacmine residents to hear their concerns.
    In a letter dated November 14 to an objecting resident, on behalf of Bearspaw, Evolve provided a formal response to some  of the concerns. It also expressed  an openness to sit down with a facilitator from the ERCB.
    “This will give you, Evolve and Bearspaw, the opportunity to discuss any further questions or concerns you may have in a safe and structured environment with an ERCB representative to facilitate communication flow,” states the letter.
    In regards to the walking trails, while they will be closed during the construction in the interest of public safety, the letter states that Bearspaw acknowledges the significance of the walking trails and understands the importance of reopening the trail as soon as possible.
    It also provoked a portion of the ERCB’s directive 038 on noise control to explain acceptable noise levels, another concern of residents.
    The response also said the project is licensed for sweet gas, and that there will be no H2S, or sour gas encountered at any time during the drilling or completions.
    One concern expressed was the drilling could be underneath historic mineshafts in the area. According to the letter, Bearspaw is currently investigating the Atlas Coal Mine and the whereabouts of mineshaft schematics.
    The drilling, if it goes ahead, is said to last 10-14 days per well, and drilling will continue 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Completion activities are expected to last one week per completed zone per well and will be restricted to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The letter states there will be no permanent flare stacks required for the site and flaring will be restricted to 4 hours per day. It is only required when the service rig is on site.
    The letter says Ghostpine Environmental Services has been engaged to conduct a pre-site assessment for the project. Included in the assessment reports is documentation of known species in the area, their sensitivities and recommendations on how to mitigate the impact on noted species.
    Ghostpine also recommends mandatory spill contained and erosion control measures during and after construction because the site is in close proximity to the river and on the floodplain.
    Bearspaw also acknowledges that Bearspaw is responsible for remediation and reclamation of its sites, and would be required to reclaim the location once the facility is no longer in production. In the event of a spill or a contamination occurrence, Bearspaw is required to report the spill to the ERCB, advise residents and undertake immediate action to remediate.
    An Appropriate Dispute Resolution process can take a number of forums, according to the ERCB including direct negotiation, ECB staff facilitation, third party mediation, arbitration or an ERCB public hearing in hopes of coming to an agreeable solution. These may be used in all types of projects.
    Staff facilitation can take place before a company files an application. The facilitator is there to allow parties to communicate openly and respectfully. They can provide technical information and explain the ERCB’s processes. The facilitator is not there to rule on matters.
    If this process is successful in satisfying the concerns of residents, the company can file its application without pending objections.

Drumheller MS Society welcomes new Walk Coordinator

    The Drumheller and Area Chapter Multiple Sclerosis Society held its appreciation night on Thursday, November 17, at Whifs Flap Jack House. Attendees were treated to a dinner generously provided by Whifs.
    The night was also an occasion to welcome the new MS Walk coordinator Dianne Snyder.
    Dave Watson, who had previously coordinated the MS Walk, stepped down after years of dedication to help raise funds for MS research.
    The Enerflex MS Walk is the main fundraiser for the MS Society and it accounts for nearly all of the money raised.
    A portion of the money raised goes to research, but the majority stays in Drumheller to provide assistance to those with MS. There are roughly 75 people in the valley with the disease.
    Multiple Sclerosis is a neurological disease where the body’s own immune system attacks the insulating sheaths around nerve cells. A wide range of physical and cognitive symptoms can accompany the disease. So far, the cause is unknown.
    Alberta has the highest incidence of MS in the world.
    The next Enerflex MS Walk will be held on May 6, 2012. Donations or sponsoring teams can be done through www.mswalks.ca.
    “The research keeps getting closer and closer to finding a cure,” said Deb Wynia, a member of the MS Society.


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