Mayor of Lacombe, Grant Creasey and chief administrative officer (CAO), Matthew Goudy met with the media on Jan. 13 to discuss the City of Lacombe’s year in review.
“This past year has been certainly full of challenges and many of those are ongoing. Thankfully we have had many bright spots too that I prefer to focus on,” said Creasey as he opened the meeting.
He said adjusting to the current conditions was one of the biggest challenges faced by the City and council this year.
“Our administrative team has worked within all the provincial guidelines and continue to provide top notch service and delivered them in an ongoing, uninterrupted fashion for the citizens of Lacombe and they should be commended for that.
Despite challenges there were achievements within the city.
“We had over 40 million dollars of development in the city of Lacombe up to about the end of October this year, which is rather remarkable considering year we’ve been going through,” said Creasey. “Thats about the highest its been since 2016, which that year itself was a bit unusual because world energy pricing was so high. The economy was pretty significant across our entire province so I guess that year and we didn’t particularly stand out, however this year, a person doesn’t have to look too far and wide to see Lacombe has been very fortunate to have made some good decisions and be in an appropriate position to come out on the winning edge of the last few years of unfortunate and confusing times,” said Creasey.
CAO Matthew Goudy said that economic development will continue to be a priority for the City going forward in 2022 and they are currently finalizing the City’s strategic plan.
“(We want to) make sure businesses that are opening are going to continue to succeed in what for many of them, is a challenging market with the COVID restrictions in place. We want to make sure the land use bylaw, and the policy and bylaw framework is conducive for that ongoing investment and development. We want to make sure our service levels are sustainable and that our funding stays sustainable as we look to improve in particular, the delivery of our core services,” said Goudy.
“It has long been a focus of this council to deliver our services as efficiently as we possibly can. While we have made significant strides I think that is one of those moving targets that always is available to improve upon,” said Creasey.
“In addition to ongoing business of the City, council is committed to making decisions in regards to public works building process, which I am excited about,” said Creasey.
They also touched on the future Canadian Tire development on the east side of the City.
“The Canadian Tire Corporation does own a significant parcel of the land in that area and it is certainly of public knowledge that there was an extension to the original agreement between the City of Lacombe and Canadian Tire which extended their obligations 18 months. That brings it further down the road to December 2022,” said Creasey.
“No company regardless of it’s size makes a large financial commitment to purchasing property without the genuine intent of doing something with it. I remain confident that there will be some application for our building department forthcoming late in this year.”
Goudy said he is looking forward to seeing other work continue in other parts of the city, especially the downtown core.
“I know last year, we have a downtown area redevelopment plan committee, and they adopted a number of strategies and projects that they want to see go ahead in the downtown and Council gave us the approval to move ahead with those so seeing those come to fruition in 2022 will be kind of cool.”
Last year despite having to navigate COVID-19 regulations and restrictions, Lacombe did play host to a series of successful events and Creasey is hoping to the City will be able again this year but for now it’s hard to commit.
“I wish I could say it was business as usual. For me to suggest that there are any festivals that are set in stone might be a little premature at this time. I can assure you that having those types of activities remains important to council and administration because it is important to the people of Lacombe and we are going to do our upmost to continue on with those festivities that the public enjoys so much and probably needs now more than ever. In saying that, we have to abide by the rules and regulations set worth by the provincial government.
“If we can, we will,” Goudy added.
“I would like to thank everyone for their cooperation and it’s heartwarming to see the charitable works that go on in this city that I love, and see all the positive interaction that people still have. We are fortunate to live in such a great community, I am hopeful that we are working our way through this pandemic and like everyone I look forward to the day when we can see all these changes in our life, in the rear view mirror.”