City of Lacombe Mayor, Grant Creasey says the City saw no shortage of challenges in 2021. However, in addition to the challenges, there have been several exciting developments for the City of Lacombe which saw a lot of growth in 2021 that will like continue on into 2022.
Expanding economic developments will continue to be a priority
“We've had some exciting new openings in the city here with our East area. I believe that we can call it the Vesta Recreation area… We had an awfully strong year for business growth and business licenses, which was positive through a difficult period,” said Creasey.
The Mayor says Lacombe saw over 40-million-dollars worth of development in 2021 that he looks forward seeing progress into to 2022.
“When a person, looks back through the books to see that's about the highest it's been since 2016, which that year in itself was a little unusual because the world energy pricing was so high,” said Creasey.
Maintaining the ongoing the economic development of the City will continue to be a priority for City Council heading into 2022 as several new developments are constructed and new businesses open.
“We want to make sure that our land use bylaw and the policy and bylaw framework that we have in place is conducive for that ongoing investment and development,” said Matthew Goudy, City of Lacombe Chief Administrative Officer.
In 2021, the City granted an extension for Canadian Tire to apply for a development permit to build in the City’s East Area Development off of Highway 12. The extension was granted until the end of December of 2022, but Creasey is hopeful for the development proceeding this year.
The location of the East Area Development. Image courtesy of Google Maps.
“I would suggest that no company, regardless of its 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 applications to our building department forthcoming late in this year,” said Creasey.
The City also looks forward to implementation of the Downtown Area Redevelopment plan which will help to bolster local businesses and attract people to the downtown area.
Adjusting city services for sustainability
In addition to economic development, the City is looking forward to making adjustments to some of the current essential services to ensure they function more efficiently and sustainably.
“We want to make sure our service levels are sustainable and that our funding stays sustainable as we look to improve, particularly the delivery of our core services. We have an issue here in the city, wherein we lose a lot of water to leakage, due to older pipes and various infrastructure issues. Then, we actually also end up pumping a lot of rainwater to Red Deer for treatment for sewage,” added Goudy.
Among those services, waste management will also be tackled this year. Creasey says it may bit longer before residents see any changes or improvements but he is optimistic about the current options the City is considering.
“I think regionally we are working towards some solutions that I think will bear fruit. However in saying that, I want to be realistic and acknowledge that these types of things do take an awful long time to implement. I admit I'm probably more encouraged now than what I have been over the past half a dozen years with some of the things that we have under consideration,” said Creasey.
Challenges in 2021
The Mayor noted that one of the most major challenges of 2021 continues to be the COVID-19 pandemic but in some respects, the management of the pandemic has evolved.
“One thing that has gotten easier is that in general, people seem a little more accepting of. change or whatnot. I'm not necessarily sold if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but people expect there to be changes now and understand the importance and reasoning behind it a little better perhaps,” said Creasey.
Goudy added “You're more readily able to sort of pay attention and allocate resources and your efforts towards the pandemic because it's more of a known quantity but you see efficiency elsewhere suffer because of those reallocated resources. It's tough to say whether it's gotten easier or not, it's just become more routine than in the past.”
Overall the Mayor is very pleased with the direction the City has taken under the continually challenging circumstances and pressures involved with the pandemic.
“I don't think a person needs to look too far wide to see that Lacombe has been very fortunate to have made some good decisions and be in an appropriate position to come out on the on the winning edge of the last few years of unfortunate and confusing times,” he added.