The future for the City of Lacombe is full of growth and opportunity according to Mayor Steve Christie.
Christie provided the 2015 State of the City address to a group of dignitaries, business owners and community members at the Lacombe Memorial Centre on last week.
He began by reaffirming City council’s vision, “To help build a safe, vibrant and inclusive community that welcomes everyone to live, work and play.”
The City’s population increased by 1,021 people since the last census and experienced many highlights throughout the year, including the initiation of a residential blue box program, the opening of the spray park and the impact BOLT Transit has made in the community.
“One of our key initiatives identified in our 2014-2017 strategic plan was to develop a regional transit system,” he said. “We worked collaboratively with the Town of Blackfalds and the City of Red Deer to successfully launch BOLT Transit. This regional transit service now runs within our three communities and provides affordable, accessible, quality of life benefits to all those who use it.”
Upgrades were completed along Maple Drive, improving traffic flows and safety for those on foot. The City also hosted two major curling events over the past year.
“The success of the men’s and women’s provincial curling championships give evidence to what we as a community can accomplish when we all work together,” said Christie. “Looking forward we can expect a busy and productive year, as we start working on planning initiatives and a number of capital projects get started.”
With the 2015 budget approved in December, Christie indicated several new capital projects will be undertaken throughout the year and those to come.
“The new capital projects reflect a number of priorities which include the intersection upgrades at 63rd Street and Highway 12, a roundabout at College Avenue and C&E Trail, a City wide paving and sidewalk replacement program, the development of an affordable housing strategy, the next phases of trail development and the annual fleet replacement program,” he said.
The renovations of Barnett Arena and the Kinsmen Aquatic Centre also continue to move forward, along with the development of a new commercial shopping centre to be called Lacombe Market Square.
“This exciting new development will attract new businesses, visitors, encourage economic growth and increase business and employment opportunities for residents right here in Lacombe.”
An area near the industrial park has also been identified for the new off-leash dog park. The new Lacombe Police Services building is also nearing design completion with construction to begin sometime in the spring.
Christie noted the photo radar program does have benefits for residents, over and above traditional traffic enforcement. “There has been a 26 per cent drop in collisions in 2014, compared to 2013,” he said.
The Fairview Cemetery expansion will also begin this year and the Michener Park ball diamonds will be ready for ball season in 2016.
“Even with the economic downturn, people from across the country, around the world continue to flock to our province in search of a better life for their families,” said Christie. “And those to deal with the increased pressures on our civic infrastructure have developed Imagine Lacombe — it’s our municipal sustainability plan with input from over 1,200 residents.”
The plan will help provide guidance for future development, policies and decisions for the City. “While we maintain our infrastructure to meet out current and future needs, we continue to provide support to many community events that are uniquely Lacombe,” he said.
As a ‘vital cultural hub’ Lacombe plays host to five major festivals including Music in the Park and Lacombe Days. “As you all know, we live in a beautiful City, recognized nation-wide for our historic buildings, our heritage homes and our murals,” said Christie. “We can all be proud of these and all our other accomplishments that we have made in the last couple years.
“And as we move forward, we must continue to work together to meet new challenges, new opportunities with creativity and enthusiasm. Together let’s make Lacombe the best place in Canada to live, work and play.”