BY KALISHA MENDONSA
Looking back over the year, there have been many developments and changes within the City of Lacombe.
Some of the bigger projects include the renovations of the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex, formerly known as the Lacombe Sports and Leisure Complex.
As well, the Regional Wastewater Line received funding from both the provincial and federal governments, allowing the project to begin construction in 2017.
Another major project completed was the new Lacombe Police Service station, that brought with it greater capability for LPS members to actively serve the community.
Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie said these projects were crucial to the City’s development, and that he looks forward to the completion of the new Sportsplex and to the Regional Wastewater Line to continue to build up the City.
“With the wastewater line, we received a great announcement with the federal and provincial governments signing off on a funding agreement through Building Canada Funds. We were approved and feel great about that,” Christie said.
The federal government agreed to contribute 50% of the project funding, the provincial government contributing 40% and the Regional Wastewater Commission – which includes Lacombe, Blackfalds, Lacombe County and Red Deer – covering the final 10%. That project will move forward into 2017.
When the new sportsplex was renamed for its title sponsor, Christie was ecstatic about the confidence the Gary Moe Auto Group was placing in the City project, enough that they wanted their name attached to the project for future use. Christie said this was an important community facility that serves many different groups in the area.
“We have minor hockey, we have ringette, lacrosse, curling and swimming. This is a hub for our recreation facilities and I think the renovations will definitely enhance the facility for all user groups,” he said at the time.
The renovations of the sportsplex were necessary structural upgrades that were designed to enhance the facility for many years to come.
Perhaps one of the largest accomplishments for the City was the completion of the new LPS station, re-designed and re-located to better equip the local police force with the tools they need to serve the community now and in the future. The enhanced facility features new radio technology, new holding cells, a community meeting space and upgraded IT equipment.
During the official opening of the new facility, Christie was onhand to congratulate the LPS, saying the facility was a, “Feather in the cap of Lacombe” and that he was very pleased to see what was to come.
“This facility has been talked about for years and it’s something that will be here for many years to come – it’s something you want to do right.”
All of these projects, and more, helped to build up the City and establish its reputation as a growing municipality. In addition to these infrastructure projects, the City also continued to celebrate cultural festivals such as Light Up the Night, the Culture and Harvest Festival and Lacombe Days.
These events continue as a testament to Lacombe’s community-mindedness and will continue as planned for the coming year.
Lacombe County also had a busy year, with plenty of infrastructure upgrades to bridges in the County, and sharing the celebratory success of the rest of the Regional Wastewater Commission as their project will move forward to the construction phase in 2017.
As well, the County celebrated several environmentally-conscious successes and released their highly anticipated Lacombe County Agricultural Guide, which was designed to support and share the vision of Lacombe County’s agricultural community and assets.
“This year, we were able to move forward with numerous projects that helped us to shape our identity as a County, and to share that identity with outside municipalities,” said County Reeve Paula Law.
The County Agricultural Guide is a culmination of years of research, work and identity-driving projects that came together to be released this year. Lacombe County council had previously said in meetings that they wanted to be known as an agricultural community and this guide was meant to help reinforce that identity and the County as a place to do ag-business.
Law was also excited about the completion of a number of bridge structure upgrades, as these are a major area of time and effort for County staff. She said these are an important issue to Lacombe County in order to keep up their levels of services and to provide safe infrastructure for use in the municipality.
She also said she was excited about the completion of the two remote shop locations that helped to decrease the amount of driving for County staff, especially in the winter months, and that these shops will help members of Lacombe County to be more accessible and able to provide necessary services to citizens of the County.
All in all, it was a busy year for the City of Lacombe and for Lacombe County. There were many infrastructure upgrades, new policies and a large number of public engagement opportunities for both the City and the County.
These aspects are important to note as they served the communities and citizens of the City and County through 2016, and will continue to do so into 2017 and beyond.
–with files from Lacombe Express