The Kin Playground in West Stettler Park has its grand opening.

The Kin Playground in West Stettler Park has its grand opening.

Business thrives in Stettler despite economic uncertainties

Stettler’s economy, while battered by the slumping energy market, held strong in 2016, with businesses earning awards and permits...

Stettler’s economy, while battered by the slumping energy market, held strong in 2016, with businesses earning awards and permits holding steady. The County of Stettler’s public works shop, its borrowing bylaw defeated in a plebiscite, isn’t out of the public’s eye quite yet.

This is the second of a two-part series looking at the paper’s top stories of 2016. See the previous edition for part one.

Town, county councils meet in rare joint sessionJuly 6, 2017The Town of Stettler and the County of Stettler meet in a joint session to discuss overlapping matters. It was the first formal meeting since 2013, and was an amicable gathering.

Communities in Bloom judges impressed with StettlerJuly 13, 2016Once again, Stettler rolled out all the stops to impress the Communities in Bloom judges who came to Stettler as part of the annual competition. The weather cooperated with judges, providing a sunny, warm day for the tour.

County of Stetler to use reserves, MSI capital funding for new public works facilityJuly 20, 2016County of Stettler councillors choose to use their reserves and capital funding to pay for the new public works facility rather than attempt another borrowing bylaw.

Govt’s coal phase-out plan slammed at Stettler meetingJuly 27, 2016The Alberta government’s accelerated phase-out of coal energy generation was the topic of discussion of a gathering with local politicians, including MP Kevin Sorenson, local MLAs, mayors and reeves. Concern about jobs and energy prices caused the meeting to run long.

County building permits comparable to 2015, town downAug. 3, 2016The economic slump didn’t hurt the County of Stettler’s building permits for the first half of 2016, with the numbers up from the previous year. However, the town saw a decrease in permits as residents and businesses opted to be fiscally reserved.

Sernecky resigns from councilAug. 10, 2016Karen Sernecky, a Town of Stettler councillor, officially tendered her resignation at the town’s council meeting. The busy councillor, who balanced several community projects, committees and work with her council projects, resigned because she was moving out of the town.

Kids, adults play in the rain during grand opening of new parkAug. 17, 2016The new Kin Playground at West Stettler Park officially opened with a free barbecue, a fund-raising bake sale, and an unwelcome cloudy and rainy sky. Despite the weather, both adults and children alike came out to play on the playground and revel in the new, accessible play area.

Humane treatment vital to farming animalsAug. 24, 2016The annual Alberta Open Farm days works to introduce people to Alberta’s agriculture industry, especially those who otherwise would have no, or limited, access. Primrose Farms, south of Big Valley, opened up their milk operation for the day to introduce people to the future of milk farming automatic milking machines.

Clearview adopts new approach to track student successAug. 31, 2016Right before the start of the 2016-17 school year, the Clearview School Board announced the focus of the year would be strengthening relationships between the school board, its staff, students and parents.

Pilots from near and far fly in for annual breakfastSept. 7, 2016The annual fly-in breakfast at the Stettler Airport is another success, with planes coming in from all over Alberta and Saskatchewan for the day. Plane aficionados took the opportunity to come and visit with pilots, examine the many different types of planes, and enjoy the scrumptious pancakes and other breakfast goodies.

Stettler town council undecided about bridges at West Stettler ParkSept. 14, 2016Council heard that Parks and Recreation staff had received complaints about the bridges at West Stettler Park in regards to safety. The bridges, which were put in place when the park opened years ago, are designed to complement the natural environment. Despite staff bringing forward several options, the town’s council decided to leave the bridges as-is for now.

SolutionCorp ranks 80th on 2016 PROFIT 500 listSept. 21, 2016Stettler’s SolutionCorp, which made the PROFIT 500 list at 127 last year, bucked the slumping economy to better its profits and rise to 80 on the list. Smart thinking, strategy, and “sheer grit” were behind the company’s ascent.

Treasure hunters descend on rummage saleSept. 28, 2016The annual Kinette/IODE rummage sale was another success, with people lining up in the dismal weather to get a chance at being first to go through the recycled goodies.

The multi-day sale sees a good portion of the donated clothing, housewares and other items sold, with the money going back to the charities.

Firefighters, volunteers work together for food driveOct. 5, 2016The annual Emergency Services Food Drive saw Stettler’s finest firefighters, community groups and companies come together to go street-by-street collecting food for the Stettler Food Bank. Though food donations were down slightly, monetary donations were right on target.

Wm. E. Hay students receive over $34K in scholarships, bursariesOct. 12, 2016Wm. E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus students, both junior and senior high, attended two scholarship and bursary awards nights. Students were recognized for their hard work and efforts throughout the year, with academics, volunteer service, attendance and other factors being weighed in final decisions.

End of an era: Stettler Auction Mart changes handsOct. 19, 2016After 25 years, Stettler Auction Mart owners Jim Abel and Greg Hayden passed on the auction reins to Darrell, Darla, Gary and Leigh Rairdan. With no family wanting to take on the family business and ready to move on, the two had quietly sought buyers who would be able to carry on the business, finally selecting the Rairdans.

Stettler’s movers and shakers in business honoured at awards galaOct. 26, 2016Bonnie and Donnie Lynn were named the female and male citizen of the year at the annual Board of Trade business and citizenship awards gala on Oct. 20. The event was a sparkly affair that brought together the best and brightest of Stettler’s community, both business and individual, to recognize their efforts in making Stettler a growing hub in central Alberta.

Stettler shines at Communities in Bloom nationals, wins 5 bloom bronze ratingNov. 2, 2016Stettler continued its five-bloom streak, as its recycling, renewal, green programs and beautification efforts continued to make it a standout in the international intermediate competition. The community also received honourable mention for its efforts, and had its environmental initiatives highlighted.

Annual rotary dinner binds community in friendshipNov. 9, 2016For more than half a century, the Rotary Club of Stettler has hosted its annual Friendship dinner in Stettler, bringing together people from all walks of life and community service together on a Friday evening. While the turnout was one of the lowest in recent history, with many competing events happening in the community, there were multiple draws on people’s evenings.

Remembrance Day marked with honour as community pays homage to veteransNov. 16, 2016The community filled the Stettler Performing Arts Centre as people came to pay homage to the community’s veterans, both past and current, as well as those serving today. The annual ceremony was led by Rosalind LaRose, the district 4 commander.

Town council spends $36K to better employee safetyNov. 23, 2016Stettler town council voted to approve a roughly $36,000 tender to purchase Build-A-Box safety system for trench work in the community. While the winning bid was the more expensive of the two, the winning bidder best met the criteria set out by operations.

Community supports hospital through annual Festival of LightsNov. 30, 2016Stettler’s Community Hall was a bustling place all week long in the final week of November as the annual Festival of Lights continued on its annual mission to raise money for the local hospital. Started decades ago as a tree decorating day and auction, the event has grown to a five-day-long event, with varied types of activities to keep everyone interested.

‘Almost, Maine’ drives home the message of love to rapt audienceDec. 7, 2016Fraught with controversy after rumours of supposed nudity in its script, the Wildcat Theatre performance of “Almost, Maine” went off without a hitch (and without any nudity), filling the Performing Arts Centre each night of the performance. The play, made up of various shorter plays demonstrating and announcing the message of love, was met with rave reviews.

Town of Stettler council begins work on interim budgetsDec. 14, 2016One of the surefire ways to know the year is coming to its end is the delivery of the town’s interim operating budget, which is required under the Municipal Government Act. The budget will remain in place until all funding is in and the town’s council approves a final budget in late spring.

Councillor Ernie Gendre censured by county councilDec. 21, 2016After several meetings and deliberations over the past few weeks, the County of Stettler council censured Councillor Ernie Gendre in a regular council meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14.

Downtown shines late during Night Before the Night BeforeDec. 28, 2016The annual downtown Night Before the Night Before festival saw downtown shopkeepers keep their stores open late, offer up special deals, and offer treats to shoppers. Stores were busy as the community came out for last-minute gifts and bargains, and hayrides drove people up and down the street.

If you missed the first part of our Year in Review, it can be found in the Dec. 28, 2016 edition of the Stettler Independent or online.