Growing forward in Lacombe this year

With the dawn of a New Year, as we look forward to new beginnings and endeavors, to making plans

With the dawn of a New Year, as we look forward to new beginnings and endeavors, to making plans and keeping resolutions, I would like to reaffirm my commitment as mayor to our citizens: that your council will continue the work of building and growing this City responsibly and sustainably by honouring our long history and rich heritage, and by being responsive to the needs and desires of our citizens.

Let us begin by reviewing some of our accomplishments over the past year and taking a look at some upcoming priorities for 2015.

After a successful solid waste pilot project in 2013, the municipality launched a single-stream residential blue box recycling program in spring 2014. This new program improves the effectiveness and sustainability of waste management in our community.

Can Pak Environmental, the City’s service provider, diverted 358,350 kg of recyclable material from the landfill last year.

Also last year, after hearing the concerns of our residents, council responded by undertaking a number of upgrades to the Lacombe Spray Park, including the addition of grass and shaded areas.

The enhanced spray park offers families a fun, safe and comfortable oasis to enjoy the summer weather.

One of the key priorities identified in council’s strategic plan was the development of a regional public transit service.

We worked collaboratively with the Town of Blackfalds and the City of Red Deer to successfully launch BOLT Transit in 2014.

The regional bus service connects our three communities, and provides an important and affordable quality of life benefit for users.

Long awaited upgrades to Maple Drive were completed last fall, making the road safer for pedestrians and improving traffic flows.

This project has been in the making since 2002 and I am glad we were able to work with the Canadian University College to see it through to completion.

Site services at the Len Thompson Industrial Park Phase II were completed and the park is ready for light industrial development.

The 15-acre park has lots with layouts designed to provide future businesses with high visibility along Hwy. 2A, and easy access along Len Thompson Drive.

The industrial park is also the future home of the Planning and Operations Services Shop.

As well, staff completed the Whelp Brook Basin Study in 2014, which is a comprehensive stormwater strategy for municipalities in the Wolf Creek and Whelp Brook watersheds.

The plan provides development guidelines to ensure future developments maintain the capacity and integrity of the streams within the drainage basin, preventing or reducing future flooding.

I am happy to report that the groundwork at Lacombe Market Square, formerly known as Wolf Creek Crossing, is well underway as they prepare to build a new commercial shopping centre this spring. This new development will attract new retailers, encourage economic growth and increase business and employment opportunities for residents.

My one election promise to voters was to bring a new hotel to Lacombe and last fall I was pleased to announce the construction of the 83-room Best Western Plus Inn and Suites by Michener Park.

Construction began in September and is scheduled for completion in late summer 2015.

The hotel will also feature a swimming pool and water slide, a fitness centre, conference spaces and a boardroom.

After much deliberation by council and public input, the City has committed $10.8 million for renovations and upgrades to the Lacombe Sports and Leisure Complex, in order to ensure public safety and to accommodate future demand.

Work will be done in phases to cause minimum disruption to user groups.

The detailed design of the new Lacombe Police Facility is nearing completion, and we are looking forward to construction commencing in spring 2015. This much anticipated facility will be better suited to meet the policing needs of our growing community.

Finally, when looking into the future, we must consider development on lands surrounding the City. The City of Lacombe and Lacombe County are moving forward this year with our Intermunicipal Plan Review.

The plan looks at land use and servicing of land on the peripheral of the City and how we might work cooperatively in the development of these lands.

As we move forward into the new millennium, council and staff will continue to work collaboratively with residents, service organizations, businesses and other stakeholders towards a more sustainable City.

We will enthusiastically look ahead to the future and plan for continued growth, build the necessary infrastructure, maintain our facilities and offer the services required to maintain and improve our collective standard of living.

We will work together as a community to ensure that the City of Lacombe remains the best place to live, work and play in Alberta.

Steve Christie is the mayor of Lacombe.