Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole said 2019 was an exciting year for Blackfalds and looks forward to breaking ground of the Town’s new twinned multiplex. (Todd Colin Vaughan/LACOMBE EXPRESS)

Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole said 2019 was an exciting year for Blackfalds and looks forward to breaking ground of the Town’s new twinned multiplex. (Todd Colin Vaughan/LACOMBE EXPRESS)

Blackfalds Mayor hoping community continues to be ‘most progressive town in Alberta’

Mayor Richard Poole says 2019 was an exciting year for Town of Blackfalds

Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole said 2019 was an exciting year for the Town of Blackfalds, with many initiatives moving forward in a “positive manner”.

Multiplex expansion

The mayor outlined several successes, including the Canada Games Relay in February; the implementation of a 40 km per hour speed limit; the creation of new Public Works and Community Services building; the introduction of Tutty Pond; and continual growth on the twinning of the ice surfaces at the Blackfalds Multiplex.

“Our Multiplex expansion started in 2018 is a big highlight. We hired ACI Architects to move the project forward and they have produced renderings for both the public and council. They are really working hard to bring that to fruition and we are hoping to go out to our request for tender in the new year,” Poole said.

The twinning of the arena also will coincide with the introduction of a new AJHL team. The team will be soley owned and coached by long-time AAA Optimist Chief Coach Doug Quinn. Al Parada will assume the position of director of hockey operations, general manager and assistant coach. The new team is expected to drop the puck in 2021.

A ground breaking for the multiplex will come some time in the new year and the project will include a needed realignment of Womacks Road.

New high school

Poole said the Town continues to focus on the two key focuses of healthcare and education for residents of Blackfalds.

For health, the town continues to collaborate with the City of Red Deer and the City of Lacombe. For education, the Town is pleased to see Wolf Creek Public Schools progress towards a new high school in the region.

“It is going to be a big boom for Blackfalds and we are pretty much the only community that has 10,000 citizens or more that doesn’t have a high school. It is well needed and we are looking to make that a highlight of our town in the near future,” he said.

Collaborations

Poole also championed the many partnerships the Town has worked on, including: Working with the childrens’ charity Variety to build an inclusive playground in the town and working with the Town’s regional partners en route to winning an American Public Works Association award for the North Red Deer Regional Wastewater Service Commission.

The lone exception for Poole in terms of positive partnerships was the City of Lacombe’s choice to pull out of the BOLT Transportation System, which ferries communters to and from central Albertan communities.

“We haven’t had an opportunity to review that but we will be reviewing it totally because we realize the need for alternative types of transportation. We are going to see what we can do to help facilitate that,” he said.

Budget

The Town recently passed an operating budget which including a 1 per cent tax hike and no changes to current services.

The budget also includes a bridge fund for Blackfalds FCSS and Parentlink, which both were underfunded due to provincial cuts.

“We have such a young community and we built on to our facility right beside our community centre. That is active all day long — there is always families in there and they do a wonderful job. We chose to utilize bridge funding of $21,000 until the end of March. Hopefully we will be successful in getting funding to move it forward into the next stage,” Poole said.

Poole said it will continue to be a balancing act with the province, with MSI funding continuing to be cut for the next two years.

“Our community and all of Alberta will have to find ways to work within that. We are working with AUMA and they are really advocating to make sure the initiatives the government is putting forward and the funding is understandable and will not hurt our communities,” he said.

Poole said it is not fair for the province to download costs of programs like Parentlink on to municipalities.

“We have no provincial services in our community so our FCSS, which receives funding, is always being topped off by us and they are providing service that we would appreciate the province helping out with in a better way,” he said.

Business opportunity

Poole said the town passing the population of 10,000 has opened the doors to business growth.

The introduction of Blackfalds Crossing and a new business mall by the Co-Op shows the town is ready for new business according to Poole.

“We are poised. We have the population and people will start realizing they want to move to Blackfalds because we have good housing prices and everything will move ahead,” he said.

Going forward

The mayor outlined the Municipal Sustainability Plan, which is coming in 2020, as a key document for the town.

“That will be something we look forward too because all of our planning comes from good documentation. We don’t make documents to sit; we make them to move forward. This will show the pillars of our community and will allow people to see what and why we are doing things,” he said.

The town will also undertake a re-branding, which will be unveiled in the new year and include businesses and organizations throughout the town.

“That will be run from our Economic Development people and we know they will do a wonderful job with it,” Poole said.

The Town will also institute two agreements with Lacombe County which will outline collaboration and growth going forward.

“We also will have our Intermunicpal Development Plan and that is with our neighbour Lacombe County. We don’t see problems moving that ahead. We also have the Intercollaborative Initiative which is put down by the provincial government. We are working on that with the County and that will be a work-in-progress. What will come is a clear understanding of how the two communities can work positively together,” he said.

He added the Town will continue to monitor solid waste options, which will be a challenge for many central Albertan communities going forward.

“One of our neighbours (Sylvan Lake) is moving forward with an alternative solid waste plan. If that is a good one, we will look at that but we don’t want to be tied in to anything yet. We are monitoring everything,” he said.

Generally, Poole said it is has been a great year for Blackfalds.

“Council is very positive about the things that have happened over the last year,” he said. “We work well together as a council and I am really excited about the things our council works on. Moving forward in to the upcoming year, we will continue to be the most progressive town in Alberta and we will continue to be great.

“As one of my fellow councillors likes to say, ‘If it is happening, it is happening in Blackfalds’.”

-An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Doug Quinn and Al Parada’s positions on the new Blackfalds AJHL team. The also story incorrectly included a fact about the team going forward. The Lacombe Express apoligizes for the errors.



todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta identifies 573 new COVID-19 cases, 13 deaths on Saturday

There are currently 9,727 active cases of the virus in the province

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Three new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, Alberta under 10,000 active cases

The Central zone sits at 849 active cases, with 52 people in hospital and 10 in the ICU.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced 16 additional deaths Thursday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
No easing of Alberta’s COVID-19 measures Thursday, 678 new COVID-19 cases

The province also hit 1,500 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic

Dean Olsen Missing Poster
Blackfalds RCMP seek public assistance to locate missing male

Dean Olsen was last seen on Jan. 20 in Red Deer County

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the Canadian government should consider sanctions on the U.S. if they refuse to reconsider the decision to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Keystone XL officially cancelled, Kenney vows to fight on

U.S. President Joe Biden cancelled the presidential permit for the pipeline on first day of office

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, updates media on the COVID-19 situation in Edmonton, Friday, March 20, 2020. Hinshaw says residents in long-term care and supportive living facilities will remain the priority as the province grapples with a looming slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine supply. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta long-term care residents remain priority in looming slowdown of COVID vaccine

There are 119 patients in intensive care and 1,463 people have died

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Black Press File Photo
Maskwacis RCMP lay charges for attempted murder, kidnapping, and flight from police

Female victim remains in hospital in serious condition.

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
‘Gut punch’: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney blasts Biden on revoked Keystone XL permit

Kenney said he was upset the U.S. wouldn’t consult with Canada first before acting

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Calgary flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Most Read