The Drumheller Mail takes a look back on the high­lights of 2016 in our neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties.

The Drumheller Mail - - YEAR IN REVIEW 2016 -

“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.”

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