News | DrumhellerMail - Page #2474
01182020Sat
Last updateFri, 17 Jan 2020 3pm

Back to School Bash showcases youth talent

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    The Badlands Youth Initiative held their first event in the valley Friday night with the Back to School Band/Talent Bash.
    A venue was set up at the Freson IGA on Friday night as some of the valley’s young talent took the stage.
    “It was a lot of fun,” said Karla Roberts of the Town of Drumheller. “Everyone was super talented who signed up.  In the audience, there were about 100. For the first event I’d say we had a good turn out.”
    She adds that youth volunteer support was strong with about 16 coming to help stage the show. There were also great community partners with a number of prizes for those in attendance.
    Local band Live in Stereo kicked off the show, and acted as a house band for the talent who followed. Roberts says while there were many musical acts, there was also other styles of entertainment including comedy and dance.
    Roberts explains the goal of the Badlands Youth Initiative is to engage young people.
    “Basically we just wanted to establish something youth could participate in and plan. We have also have funding we can help with,” said Roberts.
    The Badlands Youth Initiative held its meeting on Wednesday night at the Civic Centre to review the Friday night show, as well as brainstorm for their next event.
    Those interested in the Badlands Youth Initiative can check out their Facebook page.

Feasibility study depicts short line railway potential

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  The rail continuance recovery plan has taken a big step forward with the recent completion of a feasibility study that depicts potential to develop a short line railway for grain hauling and industry.
    Palliser Regional Municipal Services, on behalf of its shareholders, has  undertaken to study the feasibility of purchasing the rail line from Lyalta to Oyen which was placed on the CN Rail discontinuance list.
    “Based on what these consultants have worked on in the past, it is definitely feasible,” said Brad Wiebe, interim CEO of Palliser Regional Municipal Services.
    Wiebe said the feasibility study focuses on grain handling as the primary use for a short line rail.
    “Additional things such as tourism or industry are great to have, but  are not to be gambled on to be a consistent revenue generator,” said Wiebe.
     The primary rationale for acquiring the line and operating a short line railway is to enable producers of agricultural commodities, particularly those which would otherwise be subject to long - term storage and elevation, to avoid those charges by loading railcars directly, which the short line has received from the Canadian Grain Commission.
    Such producer loading operations result in significant savings for producers in their farming operations, savings which are directly attributable to the ability of producers to load their own railcars and avoid the storage and elevation charges.
    Accordingly, for a standard loaded railcar of 94 tons, each producer car loaded can save each individual operator, an amount of up to $1,541.
    The feasibility study has determined the following benefits of a short line operation:
• Continuation of the payment of property taxes to each town, village or RM through which the rail line operates; 
• The attraction of new business and the rejuvenation of old business facilities to offset the negative effects of prairie grain elevator rationalization programs, in particular the development of producer car loading facilities, as fuel prices and costs related to provincial and municipal infrastructure maintenance and construction continue to rise; 
• Assurance that economic development opportunities for communities located on the line will continue to exist, which opportunities would disappear if the railway were to be abandoned; 
• Avoidance of increasing maintenance and upgrade costs of the grid road system caused by the incidence of increased truck traffic, if the line were to be abandoned; 
• Purchases of fuel, hardware, and other goods and services which engenders the creation and continued operation of local businesses along the line (grain handling, Co-ops, banks, restaurants, insurance brokers, equipment and automobile dealerships as examples); 
• Savings to grain producers of up to $1,350 in elevation charges and other grain company charges per producer car or $3.375 million at 2,500 cars; 
• Avoidance of fuel surcharges passed on by commercial truckers or future highway / grid road user fees. 
• Stabilization of the local economic units adjacent to the Line; 
• Retention of current revenues and increased future revenues (from income tax, shared portion of GST, negative population fluctuations slowed). 
     In consideration of the overall positive results of the feasibility study, the steering committee moved to proceed with a business plan followed by further public meetings. The public meetings are to be facilitated by Rail West Management, the consultant that was contracted to provide the study.
    The consultant will provide an explanation of the business case, financing options and potentials. 
    Public meetings are tentatively scheduled for late October and will include stops at multiple communities along the rail line. 
    At this stage Wiebe says it is especially important that local grain producers that would have an interest in utilizing a short line railway for grain hauling attend to gauge the level of support for the potential of a short line rail operation.

Town takes step towards Main Street Program

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    Drumheller Town Council took the first step in Drumheller applying to become an Alberta Main Street Community.
    At a Committee of the Whole Meeting on September 21, council heard a presentation on the Alberta Main Street Program. This program provides a membership network, funding and expertise to municipalities to help restore historic integrity and architectural character to traditional main streets across Alberta. It serves to revitalize Alberta downtown areas.
    This week at council, director of Community Services, Paul Salvatore, asked council for direction on the possibility of bringing the Main Street Program to Drumheller. Council approved to apply for a basic membership in the Alberta Main Street Program.
    “This is progress in a positive direction,” said Michael Todor, member of Downtown Drumheller Merchants Association.
    Basic memberships are offered to communities that are actively working towards designation to be an accredited Alberta Main Street Community.
    According to the Alberta Main Street website, it comes with many benefits including an on-site visit, recommendations for implementation and advancement to accreditation.
    Additional basic membership services such as peer support, ongoing comprehensive training for Main Street coordinators and board members, subsidies for registration cost to attend the annual National Main Street Conference, technical assistance relating to the standards and guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada and advice on heritage tourism programs and marketing and priority access to cost-sharing from the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program (MHPP).
    Salvatore outlined the next steps in working towards becoming an enhanced member and being an accredited Alberta Main Street Community. These include completing an inventory of the historical resources in the district selected to be part of the Main Street Program. Salvatore said this would run in the area of about $1,000 per property. Another step would be to confirm the historical significance and integrity of the buildings in the footprint. The other step would be to employ a Main Street coordinator, approved by the program. The program would also need approval from a municipal government body. 
    “The benefit of the program is that the town would be able to identify the historic resources in more detail land identify the preservation strategies to support long-term viability for the Town of Drumheller,” said Salvatore.
    Councillor Terry Yemen proposed a motion to apply for membership in the Alberta Main Street program working towards becoming an accredited Main Street Community.
    After discussion, council set the parameter that there would be no monetary commitment at this point in time.

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