By: Mayor Terry Yemen
Let me begin by saying we have seen democracy in action the past few weeks. Residents have shown keen interest in their community and want to see Alberta’s greatest community continue to grow and flourish.
This is also the priority for me and this council. This is why I will be writing a monthly letter detailing what’s been going on over the past month and what we can look forward to as 2015 progresses.
At the last council meeting, council passed the operational and capital budget for 2015 which included a 2% increase in property tax based on assessment.
It’s never easy having to increase property taxes but it is important to understand that this increase is below the national inflation rate and I’m sure many communities would welcome ONLY a 2% increase.
The upcoming tourist season is looking very exciting with events that are already planned. The Gran Fondo bike race will be running again in June, town staff are busy planning Canada Day celebrations, and the Dinosaur Valley Marathon is set for September.
The Drumheller Festival Committee is working with Tough Mudder to bring the event back to the valley for the September long weekend. Organizers and visitors are very excited about the new obstacles Tough Mudder is preparing this fall!
This past month we also learned that TELUS will be investing over 7 million dollars in upgrades to their system in Drumheller.
They will be installing new fibre optic technology from Drumheller to Nacmine and will have 60 to 80 TELUS workers in Drumheller from the end of March to about the start of October as well as 5 new employees working out of Drumheller.
We are only the 3rd community in the province to receive this technology because of valued cooperation between town administration and TELUS. After this project is complete, Drumheller will be one of the most advanced communities in North America in terms of connectivity.
With the fall in the price of oil and all the negative spinoff that goes with it, the valley is truly fortunate to have a stable tourist industry to fall back on as an economic driver.
This year promises to be a challenging one economically for all Alberta communities but we must remember that this isn’t the first, nor will it be the last time the oil and gas patch has faced challenges.
I feel confident things will get better and Drumheller will once again have a burgeoning oil and gas sector in the near future.