Mayor Stuart Houston outlines some of the successes in the past year, and what is to come for 2018.
This past year has brought a lot to many people, but for Stuart Houston, it means four more years at the helm of the City of Spruce Grove. His re-election came along with four new Councillors, and he adds the first focus in 2018 will be bringing everyone up to speed.
Looking back on the year though, Houston expresses great pride in the growth of the city. Speaking to what he saw on the campaign trail, Houston talks about community safety, something he see's the city already taking steps to boost. He states, "We've broke ground on the new regional RCMP facility beside Walmart, and that's a good regional partnership with Stony Plain", he continues, "We also broke ground and putting the foundations in right now for a 3,300 square metre protective services building beside our current Fire Hall and it's going to allow us to expand our fire services".
Houston also reflects on the advancements in transportation not only connecting Highway 16A Grove Drive, but also steps forward with the U-Pass. Not only will there be more options available to students bussing from Spruce Grove, but now the city has reached a contract agreement with the universities to accept U-Pass. Houston notes, "this has resulted in a 40 percent increase in ridership with our transit service, and provides parents in our community the opportunity for their kids to go to school and not have to get an apartment in Edmonton or drive a vehicle".
Now looking ahead, Houston sees one of the challenges is being able to provide housing opportunities as he explains, "We have been working on this for six or seven years, and finally this year you're going to see some major development". He adds there will be a large investment into aging facilities which will accommodate the seniors in the city.
In terms of traffic enforcement, Houston says the city is due for a review of the automated traffic enforcement at the end of 2018 and although no decisions have been made yet there are talks of bringing the traffic enforcement in-house rather than using an outside contractor.
Speaking to the discussion around the sport and event centre, Houston notes the federal and provincial governments have plans to contribute $140 million dollars for recreational facilities as he says, "Spruce Grove has been able to take advantage and leverage dollars so we're going to really keep our ear to the floor on that one and see if we can achieve something". He adds the goal still is to build a twin arena in the city.
In conclusion, Houston states, "There's lots of exciting things coming to Spruce Grove this year and beyond and we are going to continue to work to provide a great quality of life and work towards a region without borders with Stony Plain and Parkland County".