The Drumheller Mail takes a look back on the highlights of 2016 in our neighbouring communities.
“I see the Bull-a-rama mov - ing forward as a great one day community event. It’s obvious when you ’ re in r ural Alb erta and you s ee all t he spectators that c ome when you put on rodeos and bull-a-rama s, that Rural Alb erta is still a pr etty important place. People like to still be attached to those roots and traditions ,” Ma yor Bur ke said.
Rockyford is a v illage built on t hose traditions of r ural Alberta. A ccording t o Ma yor Burke the infrastructure of the town showc ases t hese traditions. There are plans t o continue to upg rade many different aspects of the town to stay with this theme.
“Visitors ha ve said w alking down the main street of Rockyford is like w alking t hrough Heritage Par k and we ar e proud of t hat.” Ma yor Bur ke said.
According to the Mayor, the Community Cen ter, which was built in t he 1960s is c urrently under going a r etrofit. The Comm unity Cen ter’s entranceway w as de signed t o stay w ithin t he f acade of t he turn of t he c entury and is 90 per cent complete.
Mayor Burke said, “We w ill continue utili zing pr ovincial and f ederal f unding t hrough the M unicipal Sust ainability Initiative (MSI) for capital replacement of inf rastructure. It’s a 10-year replacement plan and we ar e a bout five ye ars into this plan. This will include new sidewalks downtown and new side walk lig hting which will have a turn of the century look keeping up the facade.”
Rockyford is als o going t o enjoying t he ne w Whe atland water system and is a big p art of t he e stablishment of t he project.
The V illages of Ro ckyford, Hussar, and St andard; and Wheatland Coun ty cr eated a r egional p artnership t o develop a r eliable and c ost efficient w ater supply t o t hese municipalities and the hamlets of Gleichen and Rosebud. This partnership t hen e stablished the Whe atland Re gional Corporation ( WRC) t o pr ovide a municipal r egional w ater s ystem. According to CAO S onnenberg, Ro ckyford ha sb ecome t he admini stration f or WRC. The ne w w ater s ystem will he lp s ervice t he v illages in the sur rounding area, such as Standard, Gleichen, Hussar, Rockyford, and Whe atland County.
CAO Sonnenberg said, “Providing t he admini stration f or WRC is just a part of our commitment to the project. It’s basically a new water system that will give us a mor e consistent supply of water.”
Phase 1 w as a pproved by the government July 30, 2016. The first pha se include d ne w raw w aste w ater line s f rom the r eservoirs t o t he St andard treatment plant. A s well as inst alling a p otable w ater line t o Gleichen and w ill tie in the new Wheatland County School.
Mayor Bur ke said. “That’s exciting for Gleichen residents because water quality has been an issue. W RC sa w t his a s a priority and so it was included in phase 1.”
Phase 1 w as a pproximately a $22 million project. Government of Alb erta w ill c ontribute $20 million over five ye ars through th e W ater fo rL ife program. “The government approved phase 2 of t he pr oject in D ecember of 2016. This w ill b e completed by Mar ch of 2018.” Mayor Bur ke said. “This w ill have a ma jor im pact on t his community her e and t he WRC. We did not e xpect this to happen for five or si x more years.”
Right now P hase 2 is in t he design pha se and w ill include an e xpansion of t he w ater treatment plan t in St andard and building of t he p otable water line t o Ro ckyford. The projected c ost f or P hase 2 is $18.4 million.
“We are going t o see an investment here in the area alone of about $36 million b etween phase 1 and pha se 2.” Ma yor Burke said. “I t hink that’s just a r eal kudo s t o t he ar ea t o see t hat ty pe of mone y b eing spent to insure a b asic necessity of lif e for the residents in this w are. I am r eally pr oud of t he p artnership. I am ver y pleased with the funding from the federal and Provincial government and t he underst anding of the need here and being able to approve the project.”