The Drumheller and District Chamber of Commerce is reflecting on 2016 with optimism.
 
The Chamber and Dino Arts Society started off the year dealing with a banged up dinosaur.
 
"It was sad to see the tuxedo dinosaur and little triceritops dinosaur got involved in some vehicular collisions," said Heather Bitz, Executive Director of the Chamber.
 
She adds the insurance money received from those claims will be used to help build new dinosaurs, whether that be int he same place or an alternate location in Drumheller. The Chamber heard plenty of feedback on the yarn bombing of the dinosaurs.
 
"It created a lot of questions and awareness out there. It was a partnership with the Royal Tyrrell Museum in their Foundations exhibit that opened this spring and I thought the participants that did the yarn bombing did an excellent job," smiled Bitz.
 
The Chamber hosted their annual Canada Day parade and tried out a new route to help improve the flow of the parade both during and after the event.
 
"It went fairly well," said Marley Henneigh, Chamber Services Coordinator. "We received a little bit of negative feedback, but overall I'd say more positive feedback and overall I think it was a good route change.   
 
Henneigh adds the Chamber will continue to work with the Town of Drumheller in hosting the parade for 2017, which will be Canada's 150th birthday.
 
This past year the provincial govenment sparked a lot of controversy with their plan to increase minimum wage substantially across the province. This led the Drumheller and District Chamber of Commerce, and other Chambers across the province, to create and distribute a survey to employers to guage what impact the wage increase will have.
 
"The results are still being tabulated. The survey was put together by the Alberta Chambers of Commerce, so our provincial counterpart. This was the third phase of the survey, they had done two previously to that, so we received that survey in the fall," explained Bitz.
 
The Chamber has circulated the survey to their members and business community to obtain feedback on the effects. Bitz noted the results will be given back to the Alberta Chambers so it can be tabulated and presented back to the provincial government.
 
The Business Excellence awards were considered successful in 2016. Approximately 110 people attended the event which celebrates small businesses, employers and employees in Drumheller.
 
"Something new we added this year to the awards this year was online voting, said Henneigh. "People in the community had the option to go online and vote for the finalists and then those scores were added to the scores from our judging committee." 
 
Culture Days was also something new the Chamber helped organize with the art galleries this year downtown and numbers are up at the World's Largest Dinosaur.
 
"2016 was another strong year for the World's Largest Dinosaur. We were certainly pleased with what we saw. From December 1 of last year to November 30 this year we had just over 127 thousand people climb the stairs to the mouth of the World's Largest Dinosaur, which is up 5.4 per cent from last year's figures," beamed Bitz.
 
A portion of admission sales from the W.L.D. and the gift shop go right back into the the community through the World's largest Dinosaur Legacy Fund. This year, the Chamber reinvested 12 thousand dollars back into Drumheller through donation to various sports and community organizations.   
 
Bitz is looking ahead to 2017 with the same optimism she had for the past year.
 
'We're looking forward to another successful spring expo. That is something Marley has been working on really hard and that will be coming to you in April," stated Bitz. " Our annual general meeting will come up in March and we'll be looking for board members to come forward for that."
 
Bitz is expecting another busy tourism season in Drumheller and she says they're always looking for new members to join the Chamber.  
 
After a successful Chamber expo last year, they will be hosting their third annual event at the Greentree Mall from April 21 to 23. 
    

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