News | DrumhellerMail - Page #14
Last updateTue, 11 Aug 2020 5pm

Dear COVID-19:

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This weekend I stained my deck. I’ve always been more of a books over brawn kind of gal, but during CoVID, I’ve become determined to make my yard a summertime oasis. After all, I won’t be travelling very far this year and I love being outside, enjoying the sun. Our yard gets perfect evening warmth and I intend to maximize that good fortune.
    Having never stained a deck before, I had to do some research. Thank goodness someone warned me to pressure wash it first. And gave me the hint to spray it with Spray Nine Degreaser. What
a difference it has made.
    This is one of my many summer home projects. I’m certainly not the only one on a mission to tackle home improvement projects.
    The Bank of America surveyed over a thousand Americans about their plans during coronavirus and more than 70% have decided to work on home renovations. Similarly, in Canada, the CoVID Consumer Spending Tracker shows an increase of 25% on household items and construction supplies.
    For many, it’s something to do with the time they have as a result of not travelling this year. For others, it’s stress relief. In some cases, needing a home office forces improvements. For certain people, it’s finally working through that to do home list that’s been on the fridge for too long. Millennials top the list for spending on such projects, set on doing things themselves, defying the common criticism of the generation as spoiled.
    Toronto Star even has a home renovation challenge during CoVID (#StarChallenge). Readers can send photos of their gardens, decks, porches, or any sort of home renovation project. I bet the number of projects in Drumheller is high. There’s definitely more hammering and sawing around our neighborhood. Don’t even try to find a swing set, matching Adirondack chairs or patio furniture for a good price locally. They’re sold out. I struggled to find even a hose holder. In Quebec, it’s impossible to get a pool anywhere. Home Depot shares are up 35%, Sherwin-Williams is up 26% and Canadian Tire up almost 80%.
    Summer Staycations have taken over. Now if only Mother Nature would stop sending us so much rain.
    Have you undertaken a home renovation project during CoVID?

Dear COVID-19 is a weekly column supplied by Drs. Rithesh and Veronique Ram

Jobs available as economy relaunches

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While the community slowly relaunches as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there are still employment opportunities available in the valley.
The pandemic response has wreaked havoc on the economy nationally and locally. While Alberta numbers of infections have remained on a slow incline, parts of the economy are starting to reopen in Drumheller, much of that has to do with the tourism and service industry.
Darcy Paarup, career advisor at MH Enterprises, says there are positions available in the valley.
“Right now a lot of employers are looking for workers, but I think a lot of workers are a little unsure or a little uneasy going back to work at this point in time, but there is definitely a demand for people to go back to work,” said Paarup.
Currently, the MH Enterprises job board shows a variety of postings and Paarup says they also have several private postings where they are able to match workers with employers.
“With everything shut down during May and June all the tourism-related businesses are trying to ramp back up as quickly as possible so they can have a season and make that revenue to get them through the winter season,” she said.
Drumheller CAO Darryl Drohomerski says it has been a challenge for the town to fill a number of its summer positions, many of which the town received grant funding to fill. These are summer labourers as well as summer camp positions.
Javid Hashimi, owner of Jiffy Lube, says he has been operating through the pandemic as an essential service, and so far consumers have been slow to return. Another challenge is having his staff return.
“The guys are not coming back to work,” said Hashimi. “I have been working alone since mid-March.”
He says because of the pandemic he has had to cut hours and is closed on weekends. With reduced hours and his worker able to collect benefits, he says there is no incentive for them to return.
“I put up an ad and I am not getting applicants,” he said.
He understands that in some business employees might be hesitant to return to work because of concerns about spreading COVID -19, but at his business, there is very little customer interaction.
“With us, there is pretty much no contact if you want it that way. You can do email transfers, and receipts can be emailed to you. There are no print outs. We basically have zero-touch,” said Hashimi.

Residential Incentive Program proposed

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    Drumheller is a well-known and much loved destination for tourists in Central Alberta. Manager of Economic Development, Sean Wallace, is looking to entice people to see the town as not just a beautiful place to get away, but a place to stay with his proposed Residential Development Incentive Program.
    The program would offer a sliding property tax abatement for the duration of the incentive period (four years for single-family dwellings and five years for multi-unit dwellings), on all new, eligible developments.
    “These homes do not currently exist. Giving three years of partial or reduced taxes can lead to 60, 70, or 80 years (of taxes) to collect,” Wallace said.
    There are currently more than 100 homes on the market in the valley, but those in the range of $180-$250K are often older homes in need of repairs and updating. Most newer houses are often higher-end and outside affordability for the demographics the program hopes to draw.
    “Younger millennials and seniors want newer homes,” Wallace said, adding these demographics do not want to inherit problems and renovations that come with buying older homes.
    Regulations within the bylaw would ensure residential, or single-family dwellings would not become income properties. Multi-unit dwellings would have a rental cap of $850.00/month (indexed to the Canada Consumer Price Index) for the duration of the incentive period, and would need to be maintained as rentable dwellings for no less than 10 years.
    At the July 6 council meeting, Wallace noted that similar programs have seen success elsewhere and have driven economic growth within their communities. He hopes the Residential Development Incentive Program would not only draw new residents to the valley, but also stimulate a boom to help diversify the local economy.
    The proposal is expected to return to council for a third reading on July 20.




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