News | DrumhellerMail - Page #4
Last updateWed, 29 Mar 2023 10am

Starland looking to expand business opportunities

StarlandCounty 2021

Starland County is looking into hiring an economic development officer in hopes to drum up some business for the county.
Starland County Council recently approved a motion to hire an economic development officer for a one year term, with a six month probationary period. Council also moved that three councillors and one staff member attend the 2023 Economic Developers Conference.
Reeve Steve Wannstrom says they are looking at opportunities to expand their tax base.
“We want to put out some feelers and see if we can attract something for the tax base,” said Wanstrom.
He says Starland has some advantages including available resource-rich land, and a strong community.
The recently released Alberta Budget also focuses on building economic capacity throughout the province and in rural areas.
Drumheller-Stettler MLA and Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Nate Horner announced The Alberta Agri-Processing Investment Tax Credit, which will provide a non-refundable tax credit of 12 per cent of eligible capital expenditures for corporations investing $10 million or more to build or expand agri-processing facilities in Alberta.
The budget includes $10 million over three years for rural business supports and economic development capacity building initiatives and a further $10 million over 2 years for rural tourism investment programming.

Kneehill County receives response from Transportation Minister over Bigelow Bridge

Kneehill County Council

Kneehill County received correspondence from Alberta Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors Devin Dreeshen regarding concerns over the condition of a bridge within Kneehill County municipal boundaries, but under the jurisdiction of Alberta Transportation, during the regular Tuesday, March 14 council meeting.
Council had previously directed administration to draft a letter to Minister Dreeshen in December 2022 after it was determined the bridge, which crosses the Bigelow Reservoir along Highway 587 northwest of the Town of Trochu, was determined to have several deficiencies to the bridge structure following a provincial inspection in February 2022.
“In the letter (from Minister Dreeshen’s office), they indicate they are looking to do some planning and engineering; however, it’s not yet on the funding list,” said Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Mike Haugen during the March 14 meeting.
He explained, although the province is “getting ready to go” there is not yet a date for when repairs will go ahead and, at this time, no funding has been put towards these repairs.
As the bridge is located along a provincial highway, maintenance and repairs falls under the responsibility of Alberta Transportation.
During the December meeting it was noted Alberta Transportation did not anticipate it would repair the bridge “anytime soon” and it was not anticipated to be included in future budgeting plans, which prompted the letter to Minister Dreeshen.
In his letter, dated January 17, Minister Dreeshen stated, “...budget deliberations are underway and this project will most certainly be considered for inclusion in Budget 2023/24.”
CAO Haugen added administration is working to arrange a meeting between council and Minister Dreeshen to lobby to have these repairs moved up in priority, and it is hoped the county can obtain some letters of support from some of the industries which would be affected by a potential weight restriction or bridge closure ahead of this meeting.

Wheatland County denies animal sanctuary permit

Wheatland 2021

Wheatland County Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) denied a development permit application from The Alice Sanctuary to continue fundraising and volunteer activities at the sanctuary during the Tuesday, March 14 MPC meeting.
The role of the MPC is to act as the Development Authority on any development permit or subdivision applications which may involve a discretionary use; all current members of council sit as commission members, and is currently chaired by Division 4 Councillor Tom Ikert.
“An application was submitted to obtain a development permit for the sanctuary, and mitigate concerns raised by local residents regarding vehicle traffic generated by clients visiting the parcel,” explained Development Officer Suzanne Hayes during the meeting.
The application initially came before the MPC during its February 14 meeting after The Alice Sanctuary, located north of Highway 564 approximately 26 kilometres west of the Village of Rockyford, applied for a development permit following reports to the County about activity on the parcel.
At the time, MPC members decided to defer decision to a later date to allow both the applicant and adjacent landowners the opportunity to attend the meeting and, if permitted, speak on the application.
According to the sanctuary’s website, it was founded in 2014, and there are currently some 200 abandoned and rescued farm animals housed at the facility. Public and private guided tours are held at the facility during the summer, along with small fundraising activities to support costs of caring for the animals; larger fundraising activities were previously held onsite but have since been moved offsite.
“Keep in mind, this is here because there is an issue already with the neighbours, and it wasn’t asked-this was developed onsite without getting the permission from this authority first, and it’s been operating for a number of years,” MPC Commissioner Scott Klassen stated.
He added adjacent landowners had raised concerns over increasing traffic to the sanctuary, along with the potential for security and biosecurity risks.
It was noted the care of animals at the sanctuary was considered a permitted use due to the parcel’s zoning within the Agricultural District; however, the tour and fundraising activities being held at the facility were not permitted under the zoning, requiring a development permit.
During discussions, MPC members Shannon Laprise and Donna Biggar expressed, if the permit was approved it would give the county a better chance to “monitor activities” at the facility, and would give the sanctuary a two-year period to address traffic and other issues. After two-years, The Alice Sanctuary would then need to reapply for a development permit, giving the opportunity to reconsider the application and review whether any of the issues reported by adjacent landowners had been addressed by the sanctuary.
Commissioner Klassen moved to deny the application, which was supported in a vote of three in favour and two opposed.
The Alice Sanctuary will still be able to continue regular animal care operations, but will not be permitted to hold tours or other fundraising activities onsite.


The Drumheller Mail encourages commenting on our stories but due to our harassment policy we must remove any comments that are offensive, or don’t meet the guidelines of our commenting policy.