File photo.

Looking back on 2018

Mayor Sean McIntyre looks back on the events of 2018 in Sylvan Lake

A new year is an ideal time for us all to look back, reflect, and celebrate our accomplishments! We’ve had a busy 2018 in Sylvan Lake – new initiatives, public consultations, long-range planning, and enhanced services; all with a focus on the future.

Through the REIMAGINE SYLVAN initiative, Sylvan Lakers worked together to create an exciting new 20-year vision for our waterfront. An inspiring amount of public input went into the plan, with hundreds participating in online surveys, in-person open houses, and design workshops. The result is a collective vision for our future that we all can be proud of. The REIMAGINE process formed our Sustainable Waterfront Area Redevelopment Plan, which is scheduled for final adoption early in 2019.

Another 2018 highlight includes the approval of an updated Municipal Sustainability Plan (MSP); a plan that provides our community with a roadmap to follow for the next 10 years. The MSP includes goals, and targets that promote sustainable environment, community well-being, economic resiliency, sustainable governance, and smart growth. We have already made progress in achieving some of our MSP goals/targets, and continue to work towards a sustainable community.

In June 2018, we celebrated the long-anticipated opening of Sylvan Lake Advanced Ambulatory Care (AACS) – a primary goal for our community since 2011. By Christmas 2018, AACS had already helped over 7,000 people from Sylvan Lake and the surrounding area with non-life threatening conditions. Thanks to an incredible effort of teamwork, community, and collaboration, Sylvan Lake has better access to health care through AACS. Thank you to the many, many volunteers, donors, and supporters that made this possible. Thank you to Alberta Health Services, our dedicated local doctors and medical staff, the government of Alberta, and the amazing group of volunteers from the Sylvan Lake and Area Urgent Care Committee. The service is open daily from 7:30 AM – 10:00 PM at the Sylvan Lake Community Health Centre.

Thanks to a generous donation of 20 acres of land by the Pogadl family, conceptual design of a future 80 acre sports and recreation park took shape in 2018. Conceptual plans were created through in-depth consultation with local youth and adult sports groups, and refined through further public engagement opportunities. Detailed designs for Pogadl Park are planned to take place in 2019.

The Province of Alberta transferred the former Sylvan Lake Provincial Park to the Town of Sylvan Lake early in 2018, along with $1.94 million in funding dedicated to park improvements and operating expenses. A number of improvements to Sylvan Lake Park include new trails, trees, shrubs, signage, and turf rehabilitation. Further updates are scheduled for 2019.

The improvements to 48 Avenue, south of the NexSource Centre, were completed in 2018. Upgrades included placing overhead utilities underground; replacing existing water and sanitary mains; adding a storm water main, improving pedestrian walkability with the addition of sidewalks, improving street lighting, and installing traffic signals at 48 Avenue and Centennial (50) Street.

I’d be remiss not to mention a few other notable achievements including:

    • The roll out of our new “blue cart” recycling program (fall, 2018);
    • New Culture and Tourism position to implement the Town’s Culture Master Plan, and develop a Tourism Marketing Strategy;
    • Adoption of a Festival and Events Strategy;

Ongoing number of new programs and special events, including hosting a major international sporting event – the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup pre-tournament game between Team Slovakia and Team USA.

In the fall, the Town of Sylvan Lake commissioned a 2018 satisfaction survey to measure the quality of municipal services, and resident satisfaction levels with those services. The Town of Sylvan Lake uses this data to identify areas for improvement, and set targets and goals to achieve within the next two/three years. The results were encouraging – all up from our 2015 study.

  • 97 per cent of respondents indicated that quality of life in the Town of Sylvan Lake was either good, or very good;
  • 82 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they feel a sense of connection in the community;
  • 85 per cent of respondents indicated that they were either satisfied, or strongly satisfied with the services offered by the municipal government;
  • 85 per cent of respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of customer service provided by Town service staff.

As we look to 2019, our strategic focus remains on core infrastructure. Some key projects and initiatives we are looking forward to include:

  • Working with the Sylvan Lake Regional Wastewater Commission to complete construction of the regional wastewater line to the City of Red Deer wastewater treatment plant. This ensures that wastewater generated by Sylvan Lake and region is treated responsibly and by methods that meet all regulations, while protecting our environment. The regional line should be operational by summer of 2019.
  • The rehabilitation of 50 Avenue is set to begin in 2019; this is an important multi-year infrastructure replacement project to rehabilitate a key roadway, address aging underground infrastructure concerns, and improve pedestrian safety in the area.
  • Background and supportive work has commenced to prepare the way for a No Landfill Disposal Facility in Sylvan Lake. The Town of Sylvan Lake has signed a Master Services Agreement, and Facility Ground Lease with Fogdog Energy Solutions Inc. – a major step forward in the process. Preparation for a No Landfill Disposal Facility in Sylvan Lake will continue in 2019, awaiting approval from Alberta Environment and Parks.

With many more projects and initiatives on the way, Sylvan Lakers are encouraged to check out sylvanlake.ca/subscribe to sign up for email details and updates.

As Mayor and on behalf of Councillors Payne, Parsons, Hanson, Mearns, Rilling, and Kloss, thank Sylvan Lakers for working with us to help build a complete community that is resident-focused, visitor friendly, and a great place to do business, and raise a family. When we work together as a community, we are capable of great things.

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