AUMA Conference around the corner

Some of Stettler’s town council will be heading to Edmonton in early October to attend the annual AUMA conference.

Some of Stettler’s town council will be heading to Edmonton in early October to attend the annual Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) conference.

Mayor Dick Richards and councillors Al Campbell, Malcolm Fischer and Will Brown will be joining several members of staff in Edmonton for the multi-day conference. During the conference, council and staff will have the opportunity to meet with members of the Alberta Legislature to discuss concerns, attend presentations and workshops, and hopefully come back with answers to some of the major concerns expressed by area residents, like the narrow corridor of Highway 12 heading through Stettler.

Path lighting for West Stettler on the go

Town council voted unanimously to direct staff to work with ATCO Electric to light up West Stettler Park, making it easier for the popular, natural park to be enjoyed after the sun sets.

Lighting in the park was identified in the last budget as a concern and the town set aside $50,000 to install pathway lighting some time this year.

The town has been in talks with ATCO Electric about the possibility of solar lighting, as the town hoped the lighting would have a “netzero” impact, meaning the cost of powering the lights would be offset by the solar energy.

However, with the winter months approaching, ATCO Electric warned council that solar-only lights wouldn’t fit the needs of the park with the shorter, darker winter days not providing enough energy to last the evening. Having the lights tied to the power grid and a solar array set up, designed to sell energy to the provider when the lights are off, and draw power from the grid when there’s no solar energy, was another option, town CAO Greg Switenky explained after the meeting.

In the end, councillors decided to go ahead with the grid-tied lights, with an estimated cost of $57,976, plus GST.

Mayor Dick Richards expressed some concern over the motion and an amendment was added stating that the town would look at having solar options in the future to reduce the lighting’s impact on the power grid and the town’s wallet.

Whether the lights will go up this year is another question though, as ATCO Electric may not be able to install them before the snow. If it’s too late to get the lights in this autumn, Switenky said they will be installed early next year.

The lights themselves are designed to be spaced decently apart to allow the park to still function as a dark sky area, but provide enough light for pathways.