News | DrumhellerMail - Page #2460
02242020Mon
Last updateFri, 21 Feb 2020 5pm

Rowley loses Canada Post Office


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    Famous for its ghost town status, Rowley still had until recently an operating counter Post Office, ran from Lucille and Terry Hampton’s house,  serving around 14 residents and opened Mondays to Fridays. 
    However, following Canada Post review, this post office was marked as a rural outlet under review with a view to phasing it out and was closed down in early December.
    Postal service in Rowley started in 1913 when George Swallow Senior became the first postmaster and ran it from his general store.  Between 1911 and 1913, his son, Henry Swallow would bring the post from Rumsey to Rowley for distribution.
    The Swallows ran the post office for a record 56 years until 1967.  In March 1968, Jack and Beryl MacFarlane took it over.  When Jack passed away in 1970, Beryl carried on running it until she retired in May 1976.
    The post office was then closed for a few months to be re-opened in 1977 with Betty Morell as postmistress. After two years the Morells left the area and the Thomson family from Drumheller ran it for a year.  Margaret and Hugh Crossan took it on from 1980 and more recently, Terry and Lucille Hampton operated it until its closure in December 2009. Incidently, George Swallow Senior was the father of Terry Hampton’s uncle, Henry Swallow.
    In 2004, the post office was issued with its own cancel, which pictured the now famous Sam’s Saloon.
    A super mailbox has now been put in place opposite the old post office, however, residents will now need to go to Morrin or Drumheller if they wish to send or receive larger parcels.
    Rural post offices have played an important role in the history and ongoing daily life of rural Canadians and Rowley’s post office was no exception.  Chris Foesier, Community president, told The Mail: “the post office was the last permanent piece of business in town. It was a way to catch up on the goings on in town, you went to get your mail from a person, now you walk up to an iron box and get your mail from it. The only benefit that I have heard that’s really good is that you can get your mail any time you want, you can get your mail at 1 in the morning!”

Funding partners sought for heritage preservation strategy

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    The Town of Drumheller is seeking funding partners to proceed with a heritage preservation strategy following a motion put forward by  Councillor Bertamini during the council meeting on December, 21.
    Tara Semchuk, president of the Downtown Drumheller Merchants Association told The Mail: “I am glad that it is moving forward and we will hopefully get the partners that we need and get things moving before the summer season.”
    Officials from Alberta Culture and Community Spirit visited Drumheller on December 3 to take a look at downtown, meet with Drumheller and District Chamber of Commerce officials to discuss the program and with town administration regarding the necessary next steps to proceed with a heritage preservation strategy for the Town of Drumheller.
    Following the officials’ visit, alternatives to the Main Street Program have been highlighted, one of the most notable ones being the Heritage Designation Program, although being part of the latter program could be an initial step toward larger scale heritage preservation initiatives, including the Main Street Program. 
    The first step needed to proceed with either program is to complete a heritage inventory. 
    This inventory will evaluate potential significant historic places and clarify their heritage significance and integrity.  The approximate cost is $1,500 per property with 33 properties identified as potential significant historic buildings.
    With a provincial contribution of up to $20,000 towards its cost, the inventory could amount to $50,000 plus, pending on the scope and the exact number of properties included in the inventory.
    Since administration was provided with a motion from council to proceed with participation in the Alberta Main Street Program as a “basic” member in September, the town has completed part of the requirements: providing municipal council endorsement of the membership and historical significance of over 50 per cent of buildings “truly historic” (over 80 per cent expected). 
    In order to receive basic membership status in the Alberta Main Street Network, a heritage inventory and the employment of a main street coordinator have yet to be completed.
    With the Heritage Designation Program, financial commitment will be reduced and individual property owners are eligible for up to $50,000 twice per year for restoration activities that will preserve the historic integrity of heritage buildings.  However, on those grant funded projects, a caveat will need to be added on the title of the property to protect the community-funded investment in the property.
    The main cost implications of the Main Street Program is the hiring of a main street coordinator. The Chamber of Commerce had indicated to Council that they would offer an in-kind contribution of staff time for purpose of main street coordinator, Council has now been advised that chamber is willing to partner on such an arrangement only on a cost recovery basis. Council is expecting the costs for such arrangement for a full time position to be $50,000 to $65,000 per year for 3 to 5 years.
    As costs for the heritage preservation strategy haven’t been budgeted in the town 2010 Project Budget, it is hoped that community partnerships could be leveraged to support this project.
    Heather Bitz, general manager at the Chamber commented: “the town obviously has some ideas whom they might seek out as funding partners, the Chamber of Commerce is probably one of them I would suspect, whether we are in a position to do that, at this stage, I can’t comment too much on it.”  Bitz also confirmed that their intention was to see the Main Street Program in Drumheller.

Hospital security questioned by Victim Services

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    The reorganization of Alberta Health Services means there may be less security at the Drumheller Health Centre.
    The Mail has learned that coming this year, the Drumheller Health Centre will no longer have the same level of on site security service. Rather, Drumheller will be served by a mobile unit that will serve Drumheller as well as Hanna, Three Hills and Stettler. This is a concern for Judy Nelson, chair of Big Country Victim Services.
    “There is no one at night,” said Nelson. “You know how the parking lot is at night, the staff always ask for an escort to their vehicle, and there is no one there for that.”
    Nelson says from her understanding, it will be a one man crew that will work primarily a day shift, with the four hospitals as the person’s responsibility.
    "They are going to contract security out in the bigger cities, but why not here. There is crime in the rural areas, especially with the penitentiary and the drug problems. It just doesn’t protect the nurses, our patients or anybody,” said Nelson.
    She adds she can foresee problems working with Victim Services. For example, if there is a case of domestic abuse, and the perpetrator comes to the hospital there is no protection.
    “I think about our victims. If things happen over there, and the RCMP are busy, you can’t expect them to be right there when something happens,” she said.
    “I spoke to the head of security in Edmonton, and again it is because of the health cuts. I don’t think people realize… what is going to be happening to security,” she said.   
    She adds she cannot see where the savings will be realized.
    “(By cutting) 300 positions in the whole province, where are they going to save dollars? Because now they are going to have to buy vehicles for all these rural mobile guys, so now you have vehicles, insurance and upkeep. I just can’t see them saving anything, and we are going to be sitting here in Drumheller with no security at all,” she said.
    According to Anthony Weeks, executive director of security and parking services for Alberta Health Services, Drumheller is currently served by security at night and doesn’t necessarily need as much security as it has. In fact, many communities of like size don’t have any security at all.
    “When we look at Drumheller for example, let’s say there are 39 hospitals around the province, acute care sites that would be a similar or same size as Drumheller. When we looked at them, only nine sites had a security presence on site,” he said. “So there were 30 hospitals around the province with similar hospital size and similar patient volumes that have been getting by just fine. So we looked at if we needed to add security to those 30 sites, and we found the risk wasn’t high enough. So, we went back to the nine sites that had security, and asked what makes those sites different, and we couldn’t find anything to validate a physical security need in those specific sites.”
    He said all nine of the sites that had security were located in Southern Alberta surrounding Calgary. It's biggest gaps were in Northern Alberta in the former Apsen Health Region. He explains they are going to adjust their security so it serves the whole province better.
    “As part of this roll-out, we have redeployed our resources so there is a better balance of access around the province for all 39 of those sites,” he said.
    According to Weeks, they are doing this through the establishment of a provincial security operations centre that will give all of the sites 24/7 access by phone to a call centre that can dispatch the police. They are also implementing mobile patrols.
    “At the end of the day we have determined, based on our risk assessment, based on patient volumes, based on peer hospital comparisons, we don’t require physical security at those locations,” he said. “What we have determined is there are local police to help in an emergency situation and there needs to be an investment in training so staff know how to defuse situations prior to calling in security, which is what has been happening at those other 30 sites.”
    “We are not absolving ourselves of these sites, but we don’t have any new money, so we have to use our resources wiser and we have to look at things from a provincial prospective,” he said.

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