Oct. 10, 2017
New downtown plan finalized
Town council breezed through giving bylaw 29-2017 its second and third reading at the Oct. 10th meeting. The newly adopted bylaw is connected to the revamp of the downtown and main street area plan, which was awarded to GSA consultant Dnyasesh Deshpande back in November 2016.
Town director of planning and development Laurie Skrynyk wrote in a report that Deshpande and team have done a lot of work in trying to connect the community to the project.
“Since the award of the contract to GSA, we have undertaken an extensive public process which included open houses, focus group sessions, a multi-stakeholder workshop, surveys/questionnaires, social media updates and press releases,” she said. “A draft of both plans was presented to the steering committee in early July 2017; steering committee members and administration reviewed the drafts and provided feedback to the consultant. It was consensus by those who reviewed the draft plans that they captured the vision and direction provided throughout the various public consultation events.”
Skrynyk added, “The new plans will provide strategic direction to ensure the long term sustainability of the downtown and Main Street areas and have helped spark interest in the rejuvenation of this area.”
Deshpande said he’s pleased with that he and his team have put together for Slave Lake.
“We understand that this area is important,” he said. “We have created six different character areas with the ‘Nature Unlimited’ theme. We’re pleased to say that 95 per cent residents who filled out the survey (around 200 individuals) having to do with the theme agreed it is fitting.”
The main takeaway from the stakeholder meetings and public forums is that Slave Lake’s downtown area isn’t doing as well as it could be. Deshpande told council that with a lot of hard work, this is something that can be resolved.
“The feedback we received is that downtown businesses are suffering, there is a lack of distinct image along with lack of cohesion and unique destinations and connectivity,” he said. “In the next 15 years Slave Lake’s downtown will be vibrant, charming, tourist orientated and seen as a gathering place.”
Councillor Philip Lokken, acknowledging the lengthy time period, asked Deshpande for recommendations on how to keep the community interested.
“The key, in my opinion, is to set up a downtown plan implementation team and include locals,” said Deshpande.
Town projects moving along
In the CAO update, Chief Administrative Officer Brian Vance said council that the 2018 budget and capital plan are underway. Other larger-scale projects included in the written report were the regional water line, road rehab, CN Rail light upgrades and the sewage lagoon upgrade. The gist of all of them is that Town is working on completing them and things are moving in the right direction.
Pool open Oct. 10th
Vance also provided welcomed-news about the Northern Lights Aquatic Centre in his report. According to him, “the pool is still on track to open October 10th and the health inspector came in last week.”