The Town of Drumheller could be sharing its expertise in tourism and municipal governance with a community in Central America.
Town Council has agreed to a request from mayor Terry Yemen to bid for a spot in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Partnerships for Municipal Innovation program. They chose Nicaragua as their host country.
"They're looking for help in development, economic development, so that kind of speaks of Drumheller," pointed out the mayor. "They are trying to make a big pitch for tourism. They were riding a bad rap back in the Reagan years and people are scared of the area, but it's changed now and they want to get that message out."
"FCM has set up a program whereby they'll pay for all the travel, they'll pay for the accomodations and what the municipality will have to do would be to provide two staff members and two councillors," explained Yemen. "When you're providing staff members the expectation is that they would not have to take annual leave, so that's the only commitment that the Town of Drumheller would have to make."
Other countries selected by the FCM for aid are Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire and Mali in Africa, Cambodia and Vietnam in southeast Asia and Bolivia, South America.
"I could see where they would pick a big (Canadian) city to go to a big city, but there's a lot of small towns and small cities that are looking for help too," noted Yemen. "It's not just tourism, it's in governance, it's in emergency preparedness and emergency management; Drumheller has some really good, talented people in that area."
The FCM program is funded for five years. The Canadian communities chosen to participate will be announced in coming weeks.
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