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Last updateTue, 18 Jun 2024 12am

Should companies from outside Drumheller be able to join the Chamber?

    At least one member of the Drumheller and District Chamber of Commerce is not happy with the board’s current policy of allowing outside companies who do business in the valley to join the Chamber.
     Fred Makowecki is upset that a company from Strathmore, which makes signs and doesn’t have a local office, but does provide a service in the valley, is able to join the Drumheller and District Chamber of Commerce. Makowecki said competition is not the issue.
    “It is not about the competition I couldn’t care less, if you don’t conduct your business well you are not going to succeed,” he said. “What I do have a problem with is a sign shop from Strathmore that took out a membership with the Chamber of Commerce. It has no employees in town, as far as I know no business licence, no investment in the community. If you give them $100 for a sign, he gives his money to the Rotary Club there (in Strathmore) or whatever they do.”
    He brought this issue up with the Chamber of Commerce.
    “How can you sell a membership to a company 90 kilometres away with no investment in the community? You are supposed to be promoting business in town that employs people. It is for the health of our community,” said Makowecki.
    He received a response from the Chamber of Commerce. President Barry Fullerton said the topic was vigorously discussed, but the Chamber came out supporting its current policy.
    In a letter to Makowecki, Fullerton said:
    “…In the end, the majority saw no reason to make any changes to our present practices in accepting new members from outside of Drumheller. It was felt that in 1968 when our name was changed to include ‘and District’, business was done very differently than it is today where many products and services are bought online. A company from outside that is already doing business in our community who seeks us out to purchase a membership is putting, in a small way, money back into our community through the many projects the Chamber participates in.”
    Makowecki feels that including 'and District,' but not providing a geographical border, is a slippery slope.
    “If you let Strathmore in, and draw a circle, wouldn’t that include Balzac then? Does that mean Sportchek can then take a membership in the Chamber of Commerce… am I the only one that sees this as wrong?”
    He feels the Chamber’s role is to support local business.
    “Chambers of Commerce are advocates for the businesses in town. They are a group that pulls together and says, ‘Come here and we’ll serve you.’ They are a mechanism not to just get cheap Visa rates or company insurance policies, they are there to give you a step up and help you compete with exactly this kind of pressure.”
    Fullerton said the policy has been around for many years.
    “We are not here to deter business,” said Fullerton “All we are saying is, if they are going to go out of their way to join us, why shouldn’t we? We are not here to put borders around our town.”
    He said denying a membership to a company that is already doing business in the community doesn’t help the community at all.
    “They are, through our membership, putting a few bucks back into the community into something we control. Talk to some of the not-for-profits, the Atlas Coal Mine would not be here today if it was not for the Chamber of Commerce.”
    He adds that by being inclusive, the community could foster a closer relationship with these businesses.
    “Maybe, somewhere down the line they may in fact open an office here,” said Fullerton. “There are businesses like that, that only come and take money out of the community and you are not going to stop it. Maybe somewhere along the line they may be more involved in the community, that is where we were coming from. There was a lot of heated debate on this, on whether we were going to put up borders and say we were not going to accept membership outside of these borders, but that is not right either.”
    “If you only protect the businesses that are here, the likelihood of you growing is slim.”


Memberships now available for new facility

    The workers at the Badlands Community Facility are striving to meet the newest deadline, December 31, to open the facility, but residents who wish to take advantage of the advanced facility do not have to wait until then to purchase memberships.
    The Town of Drumheller announced that as of Monday, December 5, memberships are on sale for the facility.
    “The goal of the membership structure is to make the Badlands Community Facility and Aquaplex accessible to the residents of Drumheller and area,” explained BCF Business Manager Guy Latour. “These memberships are well below the average cost of other similar facilities in the province.
    “They are also flexible enough that members can decide how long they want to be a member and what facility they want to be a member at,” continued Latour.
    Memberships are available as single facility passes, or a multi-facility pass grants access to both the BCF and Aquaplex.
    Membership to the BCF includes access to a state of the art fitness centre, running track, scheduled drop in activities at the field house, membership pricing on leagues and classes, priority access to locker rentals, towel service, and more.
    Aquaplex membership gives access to the pools, towel service, priority locker rentals, and free aquasize classes.
    A multi-facility pass gives the benefits of both facilities, but at a cost 30 per cent cheaper than what it costs to buy both individually.
    More information regarding pricing and membership options is available at www.dinosaurvalley.com, or through Business Manager Guy Latour at 403-823-1364.
    Memberships can be purchased at the Aquaplex.

New law permits Alberta Sheriffs to screen for impaired drivers

    Under Alberta’s new drinking and driving laws, Alberta Sheriffs will soon have equipment to make roadside demands of breath.
    The Alberta Legislature passed third reading of Bill 26 on Tuesday night. Under this legislation if a person is found to have a .05 to .08 blood alcohol level on their first offense they could receive a three-day driving prohibition and three-day vehicle seizure; the penalty escalates with repeat offenses. These changes are to provincial laws and are not criminal charges.
    The legislation also has more stringent penalties for those with a blood alcohol level over .08.
    “This legislation will be a further tool to police to get drunk drivers off the road,” said Jonathan Denis, Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security. “The tougher penalties target drunk drivers who repeatedly put us all at risk. Cracking down on high risk drivers is the right call for Alberta.”
    One of these tools will be in the hands of the Alberta traffic Sheriffs.
    “The Provincial Sheriffs will be able to further support the drunk driver laws by being able to give drivers suspensions, use screening devices,” said Dan Laville, communications director for the Solicitor General and Public Security. “They can carry the handheld screening device in their vehicle and they can pull over someone who appears to be impaired and check them. If they are between .05 and .08 they can administer the roadside suspension.”
    He says they are not able however to pursue criminal charges without involving a police officer.
    “If it is over .08 they can contact the RCMP or the police to come and deal with the criminal code infraction,” said Laville.  “Once it is over .08 it is a criminal code thing.”
    In Alberta, a Community Peace Officer Level 1, often a person hired by a county to enforce bylaws, can be approved to enforce moving violations under the Traffic Safety Act and elements of the Gaming and Liquor Act.
    Some can have enhanced authorities that could include Criminal Code Authority granted for the offenses of theft not exceeding $5,000 and mischief not exceeding $5,000. They could also be able to enforce criminal code warrants and investigate and submit reports involving non-injury motor vehicle collisions.
 According to Laville, a Community Peace Officer will not be granted the ability to make a lawful breath demand.
    “Only Sheriffs will be able to use a screening device,” said Laville.
    According to the policy and procedure manual for the Public Security Peace Officer, impaired driving offenses should not be actively sought by a peace officer.
     If a peace officer encounters an individual they suspect is impaired, they are to immediately contact the police service of jurisdiction and request assistance. The peace officer may have the authority to arrest the person pending the arrival of the police under the criminal code, but the peace officer may not have the authority to utilize emergency equipment to attempt to stop a vehicle to conduct an arrest.    
    If police are not able to attend, it is recommended a peace officer administer a 24-hour disqualification.
    Laville said it would be some time before Alberta Sheriffs will be equipped with the screening device.
    “The next step with the bill having been passed is developing the regulations to support it. An implementation plan is being developed,” said Laville.


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