When I started to put this review together, I was going to hit on the high points, however, after being asked numerous questions from residents; I decided to explain what we have been up to over the past three years. I must say it has been an incredible journey thus far. Working with every member of this council and our administration has truly been inspiring. We have had so much support from the community and for that we are truly grateful. When this Council was sworn in three years ago, no one could have imagined we would continue to watch a downturn in oil & gas, an economic decline due to COVID-19 and of course, dealing with this world pandemic. These events may have slowed us down; however, it did not stop us.
Following are some of the Community Initiatives we have addressed:
- Mayor and/or Councillor(s) will attend community monthly meetings when requested;
- Christmas tree back in the center of downtown;
- Expansion of Festival of Lights each year, thank you to FCSS, Chamber of Commerce, Town staff and organizing committee;
- Town worked with drumhelleronline.com for a single community calendar;
- The Drumheller Medical Standing Committee works closely with AHS regarding numerous healthcare services. They are very involved with RHPAP to promote rural health. This initiative resulted from the Economic Task Force;
- Celebration of Excellence is now a combined event with the Town, Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club bringing the organizations together annually;
- The Downtown Plaza began on the street and has now expanded to a test site in the old Elks space;
- Donated pianos placed downtown with the support of the Drumheller Penitentiary and DVSS;
- Coffee with Mayor and/or Council prior to COVID;
- Welcomed the first Pride crosswalk to the Valley;
- Worked with Alberta Transportation by adding lighted crosswalks on 2nd St W at Dollarama and Bridge Street;
- Annual Christmas Tree Burning event at Newcastle Beach;
- Photos of past Councils now displayed upstairs at the BCF;
- New fenced dog park at Newcastle Ball diamond area and looking at future sites;
- Toboggan hill created on 9th St SW at the end of the soccer fields;
- New user-friendly website design to be released in February;
- Scatter garden for Cemetery – to be completed 2021.
It has been said that if a community looks inviting, people tend to want to visit and live there. We have added a number of enhancements such as:
- Flower pots downtown;
- Planters, trees/shrubs planted along Highway 9 and 10 corridors with the support of Alberta Transportation;
- South Entrance cleaned up;
- Traffic barrier removed on 2nd Avenue W and 2nd St W to allow for better access into and out of downtown;
- Elks building demolished and site turned into year-round plaza;
- Enhanced downtown vibe with three portable patios for outside seating;
- 20/20 Earth Day Challenge;
- Removal of old washrooms and outdoor kitchen at the Hoodoos with plans to redesign the area from funds collected for parking;
- Approval of vegetation maintenance program – will help in future so residents do not have to report unsightly Town areas;
- Various utility boxes covered along Highway 9 and 838 with the support of Dino Arts;
- Three old buildings removed along the tourism corridor;
- Trail from Hoodoos to Cambria has been manicured;
- Tree grant to businesses along tourism corridor to help beautify properties;
- Removal of numerous old signs on both billboards and buildings
- Awarded IT responsibilities to Reality Bytes, a local company;
- Council and Committee meetings are now broadcasted online to the public;
- The Town created a New Vision:
- "To Be the Cleanest, Friendliest, Most sought after community in Alberta" - thank you to the businesses and residents who have helped to promote this.
- Town purchased the former Trican Building, now home for Public Works. This allowed a cost savings of over $4 million dollars compared with new construction;
- Roger Brooks came to assess the Valley; he created a list of 98 suggestions to attract more visitors to the valley. To date we have completed 54 of those with the support of businesses and organizations. A large portion of the remainder will be included in the downtown revitalization project;
- New Citizen's on Patrol office beside Town Hall;
- Brought back Staff Awards Recognition program after seven years - presentation at the staff Christmas party;
- Created a Tourism Overview report to help assist in getting funding from the Minister of Tourism;
- Travel Drumheller now has a full-time employee to promote the Valley. This will assist us in bringing attention to the Ministers for future grants and resources;
- Passed an updated Community Standards Bylaw and approved a Tourism Corridor Bylaw;
- In 2019, Administration found a 5% savings on the budget;
- Started a user pay strategy for parking at the Hoodoos charging $2.00. The funds will be used to update the parking lot instead of using only taxpayer dollars. We netted $40,000.00 in the first two years and the program will continue in order to refurbish the area;
- Presented a Resolution to Alberta Urban Municipal Association asking for support from other municipalities; the intent is to ask electrical companies to balance out costs for our rural communities. It passed with over 85% support and now it is being worked on by AUMA. It was also brought forward in the legislature by our MLA Nate Horner. We will continue to lobby the provincial government and work on gaining support by other communities for real change;
- Implemented new Town app called SeeClickFix allowing residents to report issues directly to the Town 24 hours a day as well as broadcast important messages to residents; part of our efforts to improve communication flow;
- Royal Tyrrell Museum lift station is in place to control odour in Nacmine and Newcastle;
- Our local Fire Department is now certified to be part of the Medical First Responders program;
- New Town branding enhances the uniqueness of our Valley;
- Took on the huge undertaking of updating our 2010 municipal development plan and the land use by-law to acknowledge our Valley as a flood community.This was one of the largest community engagements we have seen to date.It included meeting with community associations, Chamber of Commerce, real estate offices, individuals and more;
- Created online forms, credit card acceptance, etc. to better assist, respond and serve our residents and businesses;
- Updated the purchasing Bylaw so local businesses have a greater opportunity to bid on products and services;
In 2018 we set up an Economic Taskforce. 45 community members came forward to help.We are proud to say we have completed or are in the process of completing over 35 of their suggestions and ideas. We will have a new Economic Development Manager in this winter who will help us continue to move the rest of the suggestions forward. It has been incredible to watch so many organizations work together to look for ways to help our business community. COVID has changed things for many communities, however, we will continue to work hard to find new business for the Valley.If any of you have ideas or leads please reach out. We realize we do not have everything that everyone wants, however, we are proud of those who have stepped forward to open businesses within the Valley; working to offer a variety of services. If opening a business was easy, everyone would do it, so please support our locals when possible.
- Filming in the Valley- Kevin Costner and Dianne Lane in Let Him Go, Ghostbusters and other film projects;
- Introduced a marketing campaign to live, work and play, posted in Calgary and surrounding area;
- Economic Development Incentives-Developed and approved incentives and Bylaw changes to encourage economic growth and attract and retain new business;
- Town real estate is now being marketed and sold by local realtors;
- Raptor Ridge all season campground and RV resort project in process;
- Flood Mitigation Project has already hired a significant number of local firms to participate in the completion of various components of this Valley defining project;
- Interior and Exterior Grants for local businesses with the intent to support other local businesses; Town working closely with the Chamber of Commerce on this project;
- Community Assistance grants with both monetary and in-kind support provided to community;
- Sale of old Public Works property for new development;
- Community Business Association is going strong and is continually looking for ways to help local businesses.Chamber of Commerce is working closely with this group. It is great to see that almost all of the Downtown buildings are occupied.
Communities all over the province and Canada are vying for funding for their communities. To date we have brought in approximately $60 Million dollars to our Valley in grants. These funds are from both levels of government and other incentive programs. Council and Administration have had numerous meetings with Ministers from both levels of government and Senators to secure the funds below and will continue to request financial support for our community.
- $350,000.00 from Minister of Tourism for Ambassador program, Job fair, Roger Brooks assessment, etc.;
- $10,000.00 Neighborhood Welcome program;
- $480,000.00 for Community Initiatives including social programming and various supports
- $250,000.00 Downtown Revitalization review;
- $7 Million received for Seniors Housing (SL4);
- Approximately $2 million Provincial funding to replace Bridge 11;
- $140,000 to replace airstrip lighting for the Airport;
- $50 Million Flood Mitigation from Provincial and Federal Governments.
To say the least, this has been a very difficult time.As we remind everyone this is a global issue and we are working closely with our Provincial and Federal counterparts to ensure we are doing everything to help control the spread of this virus. We ask for your continued support.
A strong connection between different organizations has been created to help our residents and business community through COVID-19.Thank you to the Seniors Foundation, Salvation Army, Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures, Community Business Association, Town of Drumheller, FCSS, surrounding Counties and many other organizations. Together they have helped residents and business take advantage of the available programs.
Council is now in our final year, yet we will continue to work on a number of projects over the next 10 months:
- Derelict building cases;
- Poverty Reduction Strategy.
- Downtown Revitalization;
- Continuing Flood Mitigation;
- Parks and trail plans;
- And more...
With the municipal Elections coming up in October 2021, I encourage those who are interested in running to do your homework.When I decided to run, I attended Council meetings, viewed many past meetings online and met with eight other Mayors throughout Alberta. I wanted to be sure I was both willing and able, to make the commitment required to serve my Community to the best of my ability. Being on Council has been extremely rewarding for me personally. It has required a lot of time and commitment; however, the rewards have been worth it. If you are interested and have questions, please comment below or call 403-823-0811. As well. you can reach out to any Councillor; they are more than willing to share their experiences.
In closing, on behalf of Council and Administration, we would like to say thank you to the Staff of the Town of Drumheller, businesses, volunteers, committee members, our MLA Nate Horner, our MP Damien Kurek, our citizens and all the other organizations for your endless efforts and hard work to help move our Valley forward. We appreciate your support over the past 3 years and look forward to your continued support for the next 10 months. We will to strive to complete as many projects as possible to help make the Valley a better place for everyone.
Wishing you all the best in 2021!