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09242020Thu
Last updateWed, 23 Sep 2020 11am

Badlands Boogie returns for sixth performance

harpdog

In its sixth year, the Badlands Boogie is bringing music to the historic Graham Ranch this weekend.
The annual concert, which helps raise funds with an eye on saving the East Coulee Truss Bridge, goes this holiday long weekend with three days of music and camping.
“It is looking like it is going to be nice weather and we are going to have our best Badlands Boogie ever,” said organizer John Barry Graham.
This year there will be over 30 performers including blues mainstay Harpdog Brown. The performers run the range from folk, rock, blues, and rap. There is a collection of musicians such as Cathie Brown and J. McLean. With so many restrictions due to COVID-19, festivals all over have been cancelled, Graham said music fans and musicians are looking forward to the event.
“This will be our year to shine. There are no other festivals going, the bands are just itching to play,” said Graham.
He said due to restrictions because of pandemic they are limited to selling just 200 tickets for the event. They are taking all the recommended measures including social distancing and gathering in cohorts and are providing hand washing and sanitizing stations. The camping area adheres to spacing requirements.
There will be food trucks on-site to provide food as well as other vendors.
He said over the history of the event, they have been able to collect approximately $7,500 for the East Coulee Truss Bridge and is hopeful this year they are able to contribute more to the cause, and over time grow the festival.
The performances begin on Friday, September 4 at 5 p.m. and continue until Sunday night. Tickets are available by going to eventbrite.ca


Wheatland County quashes RemedX proposal

Hussar aerial

Residents from the Village of Hussar and surrounding areas attended a public hearing on Tuesday, August 25 regarding proposed amendments to Wheatland County’s land use bylaw to allow construction of a Class II landfill near the village.
The public hearing received no written responses in support or opposition to the proposal, though the public had plenty to say in-person against the proposed facility.
“We as a council have committed ourselves to be more open to business and attracting new tax revenue. However we’re trying to be smart about it. We’re trying to keep it to less impacted lands,” said Councillor Jason Wilson during the meeting.
The proposed facility would be operated by Calgary-based remediation and reclamation company RemedX, which operates a similar site in Brazeau County near the village of Breton. If approved, the site in Wheatland County would be located approximately 1.6 kilometres east of Hussar and would accept non-hazardous solid materials, which include contaminated soil from oil and gas operations.
While studies and assessments completed by RemedX showed there would be no concerns for the nearby village, residents were unconvinced.
The main topic of concern raised by residents was in regards to increased traffic in the area of Highways 56 and 561. Residents noted the area has already been the site of numerous accidents over the years.
Current estimates by RemedX place traffic increases at approximately 12 trucks going in and out of the facility a day; while these numbers may not seem high, residents had concerns the actual traffic increases, and the risks involved to locals, would be much higher.
Residents were also concerned about rapid deterioration of roads due to the increase in heavy truck traffic, and asked whether RemedX would help support maintenance of these roads.
Aside from traffic increases, residents also raised concerns about odour from the nearby facility and loss of property value. Contamination of surrounding developed agricultural areas, particularly following the closure of the facility, was also a high concern.
The facility would operate for 30 years before closure and, though the site would have ongoing monitoring for an additional 25 years, residents had concerns whether further development in the vicinity would be possible in the future, and whether there would be any unforeseeable impacts for future generations.
RemedX estimated the facility would hire a total of six employees, but these numbers were not enough to sway residents in favour of the project. Residents were unsure of the financial value the village would see from the facility, and the question of whether RemedX would support local clubs and societies or support local businesses through contract work for the facility was put on the table.
Prior to closure of the public hearing, Deputy Reeve Scott Klassen said, “It is my power as an elected official to make these judgements; I look around the room and I don’t see a lot of support.”
Councillor Glenn Koester added, “The whole purpose of the public hearing, whole purpose of the process, is to have the area ratepayers come support it or not support it. They elect their councillors to support them.”
Following the public hearing a second reading of the land use bylaw amendments received unanimous opposition. All members of Wheatland County council approved rescinding the original first reading.
The proposed RemedX Class II landfill was not approved and further development will not go ahead in the area.

Land acquisition underway for flood mitigation program

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Portions of the flood mitigation projects to protect the valley will need to be built on what is currently private land, and the Flood Mitigation and adaptation office have begun the process of acquiring property.
Earlier this year Drumheller Town Council passed a policy to direct land acquisition for flood mitigation, and the town-owned Drumheller land Corporation will be making the purchases. Acquisition could mean complete buyout or right of way to build protective measures.
Scott Land and Lease were selected through a competitive bid process to act as the agent for the program. Chief resiliency and flood mitigation officer Darwin Durnie said the negotiations with landowners have begun in affected areas.
“We have started making offers on land,” said Durnie.
According to the process, phase one of land acquisition will focus on properties that are in the floodway where no engineered solution can be reasonably implemented to protect the property. Appraisals began in July.
The second phase of the process will be for land that is required for improvements or installation of dikes or other structural measures. Because they are still working on detailed designs of what improvements will be required, as these plans are rolled out, landowners affected will be contacted.
“There will be circumstances where we will go across private land, and we are just going to protect the buildings, they (landowners) can use the land that is still on the other side of the dike (for some purposes),” said Durnie.
Funding for acquisition comes from both the provincial and federal grant funding.
He explains the purchase price for the land will be based on an appraisal that will be provided by the Town of Drumheller. If a further appraisal is requested, this will be at the landowner’’ expense. Durnie says under no circumstance will they go below the 2014 appraised assessment.
He notes the Red Deer River is a great asset to the community, and many of these mitigation projects will create new spaces to enjoy the river and the valley. However, the priority is to protect the valley when the river is not an asset but a threat.
“We are spending public money to build a public protection system that makes certain we preserve the value of all properties in Drumheller,” he said.
A detailed description of the process is available at https://floodreadiness.drumheller.ca/land-aquisition-process/


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