Mayor Ye­men looks back on chal­leng­ing 2016

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Krystin McHugh

Mayor Terry Ye­men said 2016 was a sta­tus quo year for Drumheller and there were many pos­i­tives that went along with the tough year the Town faced.

In 2016, the Val­ley hosted 3 suc­cess­ful events. There was an in­crease in par­tic­i­pants in both the Di­nosaur Half Marathon and the Gran Fondo bike ride. Drumheller also held Tough Mud­der in 2016. Though num­bers were down, Mayor Ye­men said this was cred­ited to the global and pro­vin­cial econ­omy. Both the Di­nosaur Half Marathon and the Gran Fondo Bad­lands will be back in the Val­ley for 2017.

Drumheller saw a huge in­crease in tourism in 2016. This type of in­crease seems to hap­pen as a re­sult of the suf­fer­ing econ­omy. Drumheller saw this type of in­crease in 2008 as well. Mayor Ye­men said it can be a re­sult of peo­ple be­ing un­able to do big elab­o­rate va­ca­tions and see­ing what is avail­able more lo­cally. The mu­seum saw some re­ally great num­bers and this would con­trib­ute to a record break­ing year.

Mayor Ye­men said, “An­other pos­i­tive for 2016 would be the tourism year. We haven’t got all the re­sults yet but if not a record break­ing year, it would be closer to record break­ing. Drumheller is truly for­tu­nate to have tourism. Peo­ple like to crit­i­cize that we are a tourist town but we are blessed to be able to fall back on our old sus­tain­able friend, tourism. We haven’t been let down by tourism yet.”

Since Canada is cel­e­brat­ing 150 years this up­com­ing year, Drumheller is look­ing at how to cel­e­brate with more than just a big elab­o­rate Canada Day. Ac­cord­ing to Mayor Ye­men, a com­mit­tee has just been formed to make plans for a few dif­fer­ent events to cel­e­brate out­side of the reg­u­lar Canada Day Cel­e­bra­tion.

Many projects were started in 2016 such as the pool mod­ern­iza­tion and wayfind­ing sig­nage. Th­ese will both con­tinue into 2017.

Mayor Ye­men said the two main pri­or­i­ties of 2017 are the pool mod­ern­iza­tion and flood mit­i­ga­tion.

He also said, “2016 had more chal­lenges than wins re­gard­ing the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment.”

Although Drumheller has been ap­proved for 2 grants re­gard­ing the ex­ten­sion of dykes in New­cas­tle and rais­ing the dykes in Mid­land, Drumheller is still fac­ing a 1.2 mil­lion dol­lar short­age to get to where they hope to be. Ac­cord­ing to Mayor Ye­men there are still 9 projects wait­ing to be ap­proved by the prov­ince. The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment has promised to look into th­ese projects early in the year of 2017 and Mayor Ye­men said he is ex­pect­ing an­other round of ap­provals in Fe­bru­ary.

In 2016, the Town met with Cana­dian Se­na­tor Grant Mitchell to dis­cuss flood mit­i­ga­tion. Mayor Ye­men said Se­na­tor Mitchell seems to have opened up some doors for them as far as the flood mit­i­ga­tion and pos­si­bly some ad­di­tional fed­eral fund­ing. “We are hop­ing for a real solid ap­proval for flood mit­i­ga­tion and we still need it by both lev­els of gov­ern­ment.”

“We will still be knock­ing on doors as far as flood mit­i­ga­tion goes. The pool mod­ern­iza­tion will also be a pri­or­ity.”

The be­gin­ning of 2017 ush­ers in a new bud­get that still needs to be fi­nal­ized.

Mayor Ye­men said, “With coun­cil and ad­min­is­tra­tion work­ing to­gether, we were able to keep in­creases to a bare min­i­mal for ev­ery­body by way of prop­erty taxes and user fees. This is a con­tin­ued win for Drumheller.”

The Town has also made a point to reach out

and in­volve the peo­ple of the com­mu­nity. They have re­vamped the web page to in­clude more in­for­ma­tion as well as video of the coun­cil meet­ings. Ac­cord­ing to the Mayor, there is a part on the Town’s web page that has a spot for peo­ple to send in ques­tions or com­ments in or­der to en­gage with the Town’s ad­min­is­tra­tion di­rectly. The Town of Drumheller web­page can be found at www.di­nosaur­val­ley.com

“We just need to get the mes­sage out there for others to get en­gaged in what is go­ing on and not just the cof­fee shop talk that isn’t based on facts,” Mayor Ye­men said.

2017 is an elec­tion year so this year could see many changes to the town’s ad­min­is­tra­tion. The elec­tion will take place in Oc­to­ber.

Terry Ye­men… Mayor of Drumh­ller

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