The Town of Drumheller is taking steps to attract more business to town.

A couple of draft bylaws presented to council earlier this month would provide tax incentives for companies to build new, or add onto existing commercial or industrial buildings, and would waive fees for new businesses that take over empty store fronts and other buildings.

"We're talking tax incentives for new builds and major additions for new business coming to town," explained councilor Fred Makowecki, who made the proposal to council. "Everything is based around trying to increase our tax base so that the few of us aren't paying for the whole thing."

"Our equity is being eroded as we watch business leaving or closing down or failing to expand," he argued. "We need to halt that and back it up and start that big ship in another direction. We're hoping that this will start this direction."

The ideas came from the Economic Development Committee appointed by the town, which saw citizen volunteers come up with ideas on everything from how to increase tourist stays in the valley to how to keep business from moving away. A third suggestion is for tax relief for those who tear down derelict buildings and put up something new.

"This was the fruit of the task force and 45 people inputted in that," noted Makowecki. "They're residents of the community, they're business owners in the commuity and they really knocked it out of the park."

While the matter was discussed by town council on Tuesday, it won't receive first reading until later this month after suggested changes have been made. Makowecki stresses there will be public consultation before the final votes, which probably won't be until January.

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