The Alberta government will be helping to support additional construction of berms in the Town of Drumheller, as it announced on Tuesday, February 28 it would provide an additional $27.3 million to the Town; this is on top of the original commitment of $20 million from the province for land buyouts and acquisitions.

 This funding announcement was part of the 2023 provincial budget of some $24.5 billion announced by Alberta Minister of Finance Travis Toews, and includes increased funding for education and health. The budget also anticipates a $10 billion surplus.

 “Mayor (Heather) Colberg is a great advocate for the Town,” Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation and Drumheller-Stettler MLA Nate Horner tells the Mail. “It’s great news (the funding announcement), and I’m pleased (Mayor Colberg’s) advocacy paid off.”

 In May 2022, Mayor Colberg and Drumheller Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Darryl Drohomerski lobbied the provincial government for additional funding due to escalating costs on several projects, including the Drumheller Municipal Airport lighting project and flood mitigation.

 Mayor Colberg says, with the addition of the $27.3 million, this will bring the total project budget to some $81.5 million.

 “Honestly, I was emotional when I heard the announcement,” she tells the Mail.

 Although the province has announced the additional funding, Mayor Colberg notes the Town is still waiting to receive this funding and find out if there are any requirements, similar to how the original $20 million was only to be allocated for land buyouts and acquisitions. She anticipates this additional funding could help cover additional costs due to the province increasing the design flow rate from 1,640 cubic metres per second (cm/s) to 1,850 cm/s and may allow construction of some previously unfunded berms in the community.

 “I want to commend past councils, previous to the two I’ve been on-the work that was laid down by them, the work that’s been done by administrations,” Mayor Colberg says. “It’s been talked about for years, and I’m just glad we’ve been able to make it all happen. At the end of the day, the goal is just to make the community safe, and the safer we can make it the less worry we have every spring.”

 Along with the $27.3 million flood mitigation provision, the Alberta government has also increased funding to support a Healthcare Action Plan, a new Affordability for Albertans program to help offset increased costs affecting Albertans, and increased funding for both kindergarten to Grade 12 education and post-secondary education.

Published on Mar 08, 2023 at 06:00lji-alta-mp-kurek-drumheller-town-hall

MP Kurek talks environment, ethics, flood mitigation at town hall

Battle River-Crowfoot MP Damien Kurek (right) held a series of three town hall meetings on Tuesday, February 28, including a stop in Drumheller on Tuesday evening. Among those who attended the meeting included Starland County Reeve Steve Wannstrom, Drumheller Councillor Tom Zariski, and Drumheller Mayor Heather Colberg. (Submitted by MP Damien Kurek’s office) Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

Battle River-Crowfoot MP Damien Kurek held a town hall meeting with residents of Drumheller on Tuesday evening, February 28, drawing a full audience to the Town of Drumheller council chambers.

 This was the third town hall meeting MP Kurek held on Tuesday, having held town hall meetings in Three Hills and Morrin in the morning and afternoon respectively; there were some 40 people in attendance at the Drumheller town hall meeting.

 “This is meant to be a dialogue,” MP Kurek shared during his opening remarks. “I want to leave the proverbial door open so we can continue this conversation, because it didn’t start when I walked in and it shouldn’t end when I leave.”

 During his opening remarks, MP Kurek explained his role as a member of the opposition and making sure the voices of all Canadians-especially those in rural areas-are heard, and the rural-urban divide he has seen first-hand.

 He spoke of his role as Vice Chair of the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development, a role to which he was recently appointed in November 2022 at the suggestion of newly elected party leader Pierre Poilievre. 

 MP Kurek also discussed his role as a member of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, which he explained “does a lot of boring stuff,” but is “the furthest thing from boring” during scandals. 

 He noted he was a member of the committee during the WE Charity scandal, and the committee played a role in stopping over $900 million “going to a friend of the Prime Minister,” and more recently dealt with Minister of International Trade Mary Ng’s awarding of a contract to a friend.

 Following his opening remarks, MP Kurek opened the floor to the gallery. 

 Topics ranged from loss of government trust at a federal level, Canada’s role in energy and supplying foreign countries with natural gas resources, controversies surrounding the World Economic Forum and World Health Organization, and the current scandal regarding possible interference in the 2021 federal election.

 Some audience members also brought up concerns about the Drumheller flood mitigation project and the impact it has had on the community. They also noted there has been no remittance from the federal government for repayment to the Town for work which has already been done on several berm projects throughout the valley.

 “The federal government made a commitment, and they need to honour that,” MP Kurek said. He added this is something he has been in discussions with Drumheller Mayor Heather Colberg and Town council, along with the federal government, and is hopeful there will be some “good news soon.”

 MP Kurek thanked those who attended the town hall and expressed his appreciation for the towns of Drumheller and Three Hills, and Starland County for allowing him to hold these town hall meetings, and the hospitality he experienced during each of these stops. He also encouraged residents to reach out to his office with any questions he could not answer during the meeting, or with any issues pertaining to the federal government such as passport wait times.

 The House of Commons resumed on Monday, March 6.

Stories By Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 08, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   The Drumheller Mail   Drumheller, Alberta

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