The future of the City of Lacombe is full of growth and opportunity according to Mayor Steve Christie.
Christie provided the 2016 State of the City address to a group of dignitaries, Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce members and community members at the Lacombe Memorial Centre last week.
He began by stating that he is a proud Lacombian and is proud of the community’s long, rich history.
“I am excited about the future prospects of our beautiful little city,” he said. “Our community has been growing at a steady rate and a sustainable pace over the past few years and I look forward to sharing with you some of the City’s highlights from 2015 and to discuss the goals for 2016.”
Christie noted the City discontinued the photo radar program in 2015.
“It was a pretty big issue,” he said. “I don’t see it coming back in 2016.”
Christie said 2015 was also ‘remarkable’ for recreation and culture events in the city. Lacombe played host to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the women’s provincial curling tournament, and Coors Banquet One Horse Town, a concert held in the downtown core.
“By hosting these events, we have demonstrated our community spirit to the province and it has put Lacombe on the map as a contender for many more events of this magnitude,” said Christie.
Each year the City undertakes a collection of infrastructure projects, under the umbrella of the Capital Works program.
“It aims to maintain and upgrade Lacombe’s major utilities and transportation systems,” explained Christie. “It responds to growth, physical infrastructure condition and new regulations.”
In the past year, and through a large portion of the Capital Works program, was the completion of the roundabout at College Ave. and C&E Trail. Christie said the City received a one-time grant from the province, which funded the project to completion.
Other items completed throughout the city under the 2015 program included watermain replacements, watermain upgrades, sanitary main replacements, road reconstruction, new traffic lights, sidewalk reconstruction and concrete pad installations at bus stops.
“The City also undertook significant construction and renovation work on key municipal facilities and buildings,” said Christie. “Much needed fire and safety code upgrades began on the Lacombe Sports and Leisure Complex in the spring of 2015. In mid-December, council directed City staff to amend the existing Barnett Arena renovation to include five new dressing rooms with one being designed for a senior men’s or junior hockey team. Once completed these upgrades will serve to enhance the facility for all user groups.”
The City also began construction on the new police facility, located along Wolf Creek Drive, and the Fairview Cemetery expansion project.
“After much consultation with the public, the City constructed a permanent off-leash dog park at 5363 Len Thompson Drive,” explained Christie. “The park is now open to the public and further upgrades to the facility will continue as funding becomes available.”
He added that the City worked hard throughout the year to lay a foundation for future growth through planning, especially in updated documents like the Municipal Development Plan called ‘Growing Lacombe.’
The amount of issued development permits in the city also saw a large increase in 2015.
“Did you know, by the end of September 2015, more development permits had been issued than had been issued for all of 2014?” said Christie. “The total value of these permits was almost $46 million. It was also a growth year for residential builds, believe it or not.”
He said 144 permits were issued in 2015, which almost doubles the 75 issued in the previous year.
“Looking forward, we can expect 2016 to be a busy and productive year as we start implementing plan initiatives and the number of capital projects get underway,” he said. “While we work to maintain and enhance our built infrastructure and lay out the foundations for future growth through responsible planning, we will continue adding to the richness of our community by supporting the many community events that are uniquely Lacombe.”
The City currently hosts five major events including Lacombe Days, Encore Art Show and Sale, Lacombe Harvest and Culture Days, Light Up the Night and Music in the Park.
“These events attract many artists, performers and visitors to our community which keeps us vibrant, creative and inclusive,” said Christie. “And of course none of these events could be successful or even take place without the commitment and efforts of our volunteers, our community organizations and efforts of all those involved in our service clubs.”
Christie added the city’s vibrant business community also contributes to what makes this city what it is.
“It is widely accepted that municipalities with thriving business communities remain successful and sustainable,” said Christie. “In knowing this, we work hard to create the right conditions and opportunities for local businesses to be successful. In turn, businesses have prospered, breathed new life into communities providing jobs for residents and shopping opportunities for consumers.
“So with this we must continue to work together to meet the challenges and opportunities in the years ahead with creativity and enthusiasm.”