Mayor Yemen looks back on challenging 2016
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