To the Editor:
By now most people know that I am not running for re-election this fall. The decision to not run again has been on my mind for some time. Suffice to say I believe I have accomplished most of the goals I set out to do and it’s time for more youthful ideas to lead. I believe I represented you the tax payer as best I could. As in all politics you win some you lose some. Your new council will again wrestle with the many tasks from setting budgets, to allocating resources and to trouble shoot on behalf of our community.
Slave Lake is a remarkable town to live in but sometimes I feel we forget where we were and how far we have moved. Since the fire we have proved our resiliency and commitment to making Slave Lake a better place to live in.
Though the fire of 2011 has dominated my terms on council, I just wanted to remind our community of what was accomplished since then. As a result of the fire we now have new roads, utilities and houses in the SE and downtown. We have a new Government Centre, new apartments, and a new seniors lodge.
A family care clinic to supplement lost medical staff. We have the MRC and all its facilities. We have the Legacy Centre, new ball diamonds, egress routes, traffic lights, intersection changes, and new cross walks with pedestrian lights. We completed 6th Avenue all the way to Caribou which was paved in 2010. Perhaps one of the most controversial changes was changing our water system to chloramination which reduced costs and improved water quality. We have a new fire hall with expanded services including an upgraded fleet, search and rescue and a FireSmart crew, a one of a kind model that proves its value every year.
The Town purchased new equipment when we heard loud and clear that snow removal and street sweeping were important. Our community now benefits from a recycle centre and improved garbage/recycle pickup. New water metres were installed to track consumption. Many of our parks have seen upgrades and the connector trails have seen repairs on both the pavements and bridges. There is a new housing development on our west side designed to provide more accessible housing in Slave Lake’s market. What some don’t realize is that a new cemetery has been developed just up the improved Flat Top road.
Many things happen in the background that we don’t even notice. We prioritized communication between the Town and Slave Lake residents. Sewer upgrades and installations happened. Lift stations were replaced and fixed to improve water delivery. Improvement levies have been reviewed and sidewalk infill system and road rehabilitation has begun based on new objectives.
Are there more things this community needs? Certainly! Your new council will have some big challenges to work through including building a new water treatment facility, supporting airport improvements, supporting economic development, preparing a long term plan for our pool, and marketing our Town to new businesses and residents. Operational and capital budgets take some 90 hours to do based on a philosophy that residents don’t want a tax increase. However something has to give if service levels are to be maintained and improved. And of course relations with our neighbors, Municipal District of Lesser Slave River and the Sawridge First Nation remain paramount.
All in all, this community continues to have a better standard of living than seven years ago. I am sure you can list many more improvements in Slave Lake. Yes there have been some problems like any family, but you work through it and the end product is always better. We had a saying after the fire, ‘Those who were acquaintances are now friends, those who were friends are now family’. I consider Slave Lake a family.
Thank you for your support over the years, for your participation and for your attitude of ‘Let’s make Slave Lake an even better place to live.’
Slave Lake, AB