News | DrumhellerMail - Page #3150
Last updateThu, 21 Sep 2023 8am

Drumheller-Stettler constituency remains intact, adds Paintearth


    Many area municipalities are breathing a sigh of relief, as only small changes were suggested to the Drumheller-Stettler Constituency electoral boundaries.
    The Alberta Government charged the Alberta Electoral Boundary Commission with realigning electoral boundaries to reflect the population, and to add four more seats. An interim report was filed in February of this year with sweeping changes that lumped Drumheller and Brooks being included in a single riding, and Wheatland County being included with communities to its west. The final report was submitted to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly on June 24, and it appears the suggested changes were not as drastic as the interim report suggested.
    Drumheller-Stettler will remain intact, although now it includes a small portion of the of Olds-Three Hills-Didsbury riding to the west and it also encompasses the County of Paintearth.
    This conclusion falls in line with submissions made by Councillors Karen Bertamini and Andrew Berdahl, who made submissions to the commission at a public meeting.
    “This was our first option,” said Berdahl. “I think the changes are reasonable. I still have some concerns about the size of our constituency, but I think the commission has done a good job in difficult circumstances.”
    Ross Rawlusyk, CAO of Starland County, said the county also felt the inclusion of Paintearth to the  Drumheller-Stettler Riding was an attractive option.
    “It makes sense,” said Rawlusyk. “We have a lot more in common with Paintearth than we do in Newell. And there are a lot more similarities in agricultural practices and the same school issues and population issues. There is a lot more commonality there.”
    He agrees with Berdahl that the one issue that still faces the electoral division is sheer geographical size.
    “How many Canada Day Parades can an MLA go to?” he chuckles.
    Ben Armstrong, Reeve of Wheatland County, is relieved about the report, as the Brooks-Strathmore riding remained intact. His concern was that Wheatland would be included with more urban populations changing the dynamics of the riding.
    “With the numbers as they are now, if you take the boundary and move it where you’re looking at moving it, you’d change the dynamics. The numbers change. The numbers don’t concern me that much. If we’re a little less or a little more, that’s not an issue; it’s the dynamics of what you’re making that area into,” he told the commission at a hearing in Brooks.
    He is satisfied the commission made the right decision.
    “It sounds like they took most of our comments to heart,” said Armstrong. “Our biggest problem is that Chestermere is totally urban. It has no link to rural people.
    “It sounds like they were listening to us. That is pleasing because with some of the things we have been talking to them about, they haven’t been listening to us.”
    Part of the commission’s responsibility was to add four more seats. The commission suggested two more in Calgary, one in Edmonton and one in the rural area.
    CAO of Kneehill County, Kevin Miner’s biggest concern was that rural Alberta would lose representation.
    “It sounds like they ironed out a few of the problems that were there. For us it is not always just ‘what does it do to Kneehill County’ but we think of this in terms of the number of rural MLAs. That is a larger issue for us and to protect that may be more important to us.”

Drumheller to bloom without blooms this year

    Drumheller will not be entered in the Communities in Bloom (CiB) competition this year, co-chair of CiB, Trish Parker, recently announced, but will remain a Friend of Communities in Bloom.
    When CiB judges visited the area last year, the Drumheller valley received 4 blooms and a special mention for community involvement for overall performance in criteria that highlighted the community’s effort in environmental responsibility and beautification.
    Impressed by much about what Drumheller had to offer, the judges also found the area was missing many of the fine details to be awarded the top 5 blooms Drumheller received in 2006 and made recommendations on how to improve the grading.
    Parker told inSide Drumheller, “The CiB judges who visited us last year gave us some excellent recommendations and we are working on implementing their suggestions. We have decided to spend our efforts doing this instead of bringing the judges to town this year.” 
    She added that the group was still working diligently on beautifying Drumheller “One Block at a Time” and that they had partnered with many stakeholders to beautify the entrance to Historic Downtown by the Atco Electric building.
    In July, the group is also organizing a Garden Tour in partnership with the Garden Club and the Badlands Community Garden Society.
    “CiB in Drumheller is only a small part of bringing this town to a world-class tourist destination. All parts of the community must get involved and work together to make this happen,” Parker concluded.
    Some of the recommendations pointed to a need for the Town of Drumheller to increase personnel to look after the green spaces.
    Al Kendrick, infrastructure services director told inSide Drumheller the town has addressed some of the problems mentioned in the judges’ report, adding they were not big enough to hire an expert from Olds College to dedicate time to tree and urban forest management but they hire contractors when needed.    
    “I don’t think people realize the size of Drumheller. It is 125 square kilometers, and for what we have for staff, they do an absolutely excellent job of going around and keeping it in pretty reasonable condition in my opinion,” Kendrick said, adding the department was tied to a three-year budget.
    Councillor Sharel Shoff told inSide Drumheller she felt the town should be looking at the green space as beautifying Drumheller is important for the residents and also for visitors.
    “The budget is due in the fall but we are already talking about it a little bit now,” said Shoff.
    “I will check to see what the budget is and what we are spending it on and if there is any chance of having a little help.”
    In the meantime, Parker said that the CiB would welcome new members to join and help create an award winning community.

Retailers make efforts to reduce plastic bags

    A new agreement by grocery industry groups and the Province of Alberta is expected to see a drastic reduction of plastic grocery bags.
    Liked for their convenience, but loathed for the strain they put on landfills and the mess they create, the Alberta  government and Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors, Retail Council of Canada, Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, and the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores have reached a voluntary agreement to cut the number of plastic bags in circulation. They have set a target of seeing the 2008 number of bags cut in half by 2013.
    “Many Albertans are concerned with the number of plastic bags littering streets and entering landfills,” said Rob Renner, Minister of Environment. “This agreement with retailers is an important step in reducing plastic bag waste in every community.”
    Many retailers in Drumheller are already taking steps to curb the number of bags.
    Darryl Jacques, manager of Freson IGA said as much as the bags are a convenience, grocers are concerned with the waste generated by bags, and says more customers are choosing not to use them.
    “More people are conscious of it for sure,” said Jacques. 
    Freson IGA, like many other retailers, have been selling reusable shopping bags. This could help the store’s bottom line by not having expense of supplying plastic bags for many orders.
    “There is an expense, it’s not that great, but when you look at it over the year, it does add up,” said Jacques. “At the same time, we are not trying to make money on reusable bags.”
    Dave Kosolofski, controller for Drumheller Co-op says they too are making an effort to promote reusable shopping bags. 
    “On occasion we’ll do promotions where we give the reusable bags away with certain purchases to get them out there and people using them,” said Kosolofski.
    The store makes other efforts.
    “We try to minimize as many plastic bags as we can throughout the course of the day,” said Kosolofski. “We also accept the plastic bags back in our recycle centre, and we ship them back for recycling. So we do try to keep them out of the landfill by recycling them through our wholesaler.”
    He says plastic bags cost the store anywhere from 3-5 cents each, and while some retailers have begun to charge for bags, he says this is a route the Drumheller Co-op would not explore.
    Some industry best practices list include:
Reduce usage of new plastic bags
•    Train staff to put a sticker or tape on large items instead of bagging.
•    Offer consumers a choice to bring their own bag.
•    Train staff to maximize the efficient use of bags by increasing the number of items packed in each bag.
•    Train staff to ask consumers if they need a bag for smaller purchases.
Provide alternatives to plastic bags
•    Promote and offer for use/sale reusable cotton, net, or recycled plastic bags in lieu of providing free plastic bags.
•    Offer reusable bags for sale at cost, a deep discount or, in some instances, at no charge.
•    Offer reusable bin programs.
•    Offer recycled cardboard boxes as a carry-out option.
•    Offer compostable carry bags for sale or at point-of-sale.
Provide incentives to consumers to reuse or use alternatives
•    Provide consumers with incentives (i.e. rebate, loyalty points) to change behaviour and use fewer plastic bags or no bags at all.


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