Having repeatedly not seen a benefit in supporting the organization, the Town of Strathmore has voted to no longer be a part of the Canadian Badlands.
A recommendation to decline the opportunity to provide financial support and continue membership within the Badlands was put forward during the regular council meeting on June 2.
Upon voting in favour of the recommendation, town administration was also directed to prepare a letter to Canadian Badlands Ltd. notifying them of the decision.
Mayor Pat Fule said during his time on town council, membership has not been a worthwhile investment and the money could be better used on other projects.
“For the past several years that I’ve been on councils, there hasn’t seemed to be a lot of things that have been generated by the Badlands group that we could see as real, tangible things that would benefit the town,” he noted. “For example, we’d asked for more, better signage for quite a while to show we were part of the Badlands and it took a while for that to happen.”
One of the primary incentives for maintaining membership with the Canadian Badlands was to attract tourism into the area – something that was sorely lacking for Strathmore.
Fule suggested that when tourists think of the Badlands, they think more to the Drumheller area instead.
Councillor Lorraine Bauer had put forward a motion to council asking them to wait three months on their decision to allow the Badlands to prepare a presentation, and potentially persuade the town to stay.
“They are really looking to do things a little bit differently, and I was just hoping that Strathmore would wait until we had a presentation before pulling out,” she explained. “I see it as (losing an) opportunity for collaboration on our part with the other municipalities that are remaining in the Badlands.”
If council had elected to support the motion, the delay would have caused the decision to be made after the 2022 budget deliberations. The decision to withdraw lends the town $7,575.68 to rededicate to other uses.
Bauer said as she has sat on the Canadian Badlands board of directors for the past year, she is personally disappointed by the decision, but will continue to support council in having made it.
“They (Canadian Badlands) are really looking to do things a little bit differently,” she noted. “I’m worried that we just won’t have the opportunity to be a part of a group that is really going to be looking at perhaps rebranding and expanding what the Badlands could be, to our neck of the woods.”
Fule said he thinks there would be more benefit to instead work closely with Wheatland County, Siksika Nation and various villages in the area on projects and to promote tourism.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times