Council donates $5K to Drumheller museum

Kneehill County councillors debated a donation to a Drumheller museum, noting Torrington’s Gopher Hole Museum (pictured) is more local and may also need help. ECA Review/S.Salkeld
Written by Stu Salkeld

Kneehill County councillors decided to donate $5,000 to a Drumheller museum after a 4 to 2 vote. The decision was made at the Jan. 10 regular meeting of council.

The request for $5,000 came from the Badlands Historical Museum Society to repair their facility’s roof to help attract users.

“On Oct. 12, 2022, Reeve Wittstock was invited by the Badlands Historic Society to hear a proposal involving five regional areas coming together and creating a 4-H rally point,” stated the agenda memo.

“The proposal includes that every summer 4-H youth will be visitors to the alternating venues which include Starland County, Wheatland County, Kneehill County, Special Areas and Town of Drumheller.

There could be 30 to 40 youth from 4-H clubs from all over Alberta visiting our area for three days each summer.

“When speaking with [the museum] and asking if this will be a one-time commitment and what the funds will be used for, he explained that the funds will be used to fix the museum roof. Once the roof is fixed then the museum can be utilized as the rally point for the 4-H students to come each summer to the area.”

Councillors actually heard this request at an earlier meeting and tabled it for more information.

The staff memo noted the society owns the facility in question and no agreement yet exists with 4-H. Other municipalities mentioned have already committed funds to the project.

Coun. Carrie Fobes asked if 4-H currently uses the facility and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Mike Haugen answered no, not as far as he knows.

Fobes responded she would like to support the request but felt $5,000 was too much, and instead suggested $1,000.

Fobes stated Kneehill County has many museums located within its own boundaries which may need financial help and Fobes felt granting that much money to a museum in Drumheller would open up a can of worms.

Coun. Faye McGhee asked the reeve if, at the museum meeting, he got the sense that this facility would be used by Kneehill County residents.

Wittstock responded there was a “build it and they will come” attitude at the meeting but he could not say if 4-H intends to use the facility as described.

Coun. Ken King stated there are a fair number of Kneehill County residents in the south and southeast areas that go to Drumheller regularly and the museum’s request also noted the repaired roof would help protect the historical collection. King stated he would support a $5,000 grant to preserve the history of the area, “Precedent or no.”

Coun. McGhee stated she sympathized with an effort to preserve history but $5,000 sounded like a lot of money for a facility outside Kneehill’s boundaries.

Fobes mentioned the Gopher Hole Museum in Torrington which is within Kneehill’s boundaries may be planning renovations and felt councillors should think about museums within Kneehill.

Wittstock chipped in that historical significance is important and he’d hate to see anything happen to the museum’s collection.

The staff memo noted the current Recreation, Community, Arts and Cultural Events budget has $5,800 in it.

Councillors approved the $5,000 request from the Badlands Historic Society by a 4 to 2 vote, with Wittstock, Coun. Wade Christie, McGhee and King in favour, Fobes and Coun. Laura Lee Machell-Cunningham opposed. Coun. Debbie Penner was absent from the meeting.

Playground plans

Councillors unanimously approved a request from the Village of Acme for $500 to develop the Acme Rose Park Playground.

CAO Haugen stated in his agenda memo the playground project was a partnership between Acme and the Acme Seniors Association, with the recreational attraction intended to be all-inclusive and located in Rose Park.

Haugen noted some equipment has already been installed at the site and a letter from the village indicated they expected new equipment to be installed in May of this year.

The CAO also noted the Acme seniors applied for a provincial government grant and received $93,380 for the playground.

Haugen stated Kneehill County in the past has granted funds for a toddler playground and playground rehab within the Acme community.

It was noted that, if granted, the funds would come from the Recreation, Community, Arts and Cultural Events budget which is proposed to receive $10,000 in 2023.

Councillors unanimously approved the request.


Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.