Stettler gets new development officer – Spotlight

Familiar face with a new hat – Leann Graham is now in charge of planning for the development of the town and she says she intends to pursue further studies in municipal management.

Familiar face with a new hat – Leann Graham is now in charge of planning for the development of the town and she says she intends to pursue further studies in municipal management.

JULIE BERTRAND

Independent Reporter

On Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011, Leann Graham got some good news: Council unanimously carried the motion at its regular meeting to create the new position of development officer and to assign Graham to that position, after two and a half years she spent as the planning and development clerk at the town office.

Graham (27) was born and raised in Stettler. Apart from a five-year period in her late teens and early twenties spent in Red Deer for higher education purposes, she has lived in Stettler all her life.

Moving back to Stettler turned out to be a very easy decision for her.

“When my husband and I got together, he was living here and I was living in Red Deer,” says Graham.

“I was doing the commute for some time and it started to get wearing.“

She was coming home every weekend and after a while, she realized that her life was in really Stettler, along with her friends and family.

She is very keen about her new job and says she believes she brings energy and enthusiasm to the town office.

Last December, Graham completed the Applied Land Use and Planning certificate program through the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Extension.

The program combines courses in geography, landscape architecture, environmental science and Geographic Information Systems. It was specifically designed for professionals working in municipal planning, development and municipal bylaw enforcement.

“I’m still pursuing some more local government administration courses through the University of Alberta. I’m going to continue to advance with my education,” says Graham.

What she really likes about her new job is that it’s constantly changing.

There is no typical day at the office for her.

“I come in at 8:30 a.m. and things that come across my desk are always different,” explains Graham.

“That’s what keeps it so interesting and so challenging. “

The town is working on some big projects, but she cannot talk about them, due to the town’s confidentiality agreement.

“There are some big projects on the ride for the town,” says Graham.

“With our confidentiality, we are tied until that public application is made.”

At the office, she often works on projects with Rob Stoutenberg, town CAO, and Melissa Robbins, director of operations. However, this also varies constantly.

“Really, the town office is one big team, so we kind of all work together on projects,” says Graham.

“Everybody has an expertise in different areas, so we kind of consult with one another on a daily basis.”

According to her, Stettler also has a constantly changing future.

“Everything is always so different, which means it’s kind of hard to forecast for the next five years,” says Graham

“It is a little booming community and I think we are going to see quite a bit of growth.”

When asked about the challenges that Stettler might be facing in the future, she has to really think hard about it.

“I would say highway commercial development, commercial growth are something that we’d be facing in the next five years.”

Deep down, she hopes that Stettler won’t change too much, because she loves the town as it is.

“I have such an attachment to Stettler. I don’t know if I would even want to see anything major drastically happening in town,” says Graham.

“Yes, of course, I want to see growth, but not necessarily huge changes.”

In her free time, she can be found relaxing with her husband, their family and friends.

“I love curling in the winter. In the summertime, we are always at the lake,” she says.