Economic uncertainty biggest concern for Mayor in 2016

Economic uncertainty over the next several months will be the biggest challenge for the Town of Stettler, according to Mayor Dick Richards.

Economic uncertainty over the next several months will be the biggest challenge for the Town of Stettler to overcome, Mayor Dick Richards believes.

Richards looked back on 2015 and made some predictions for the community going into 2016.

“Our geographic area means we’re weathering the storm,” Richards said of the crash in the oil industry, which buoys much of Alberta’s industry. “We’re still heavily agriculture-based. It’s our backbone.”

He said despite the shrinking going on in much of the province, Stettler continues to grow and businesses are re-investing, upgrading, updating and building new buildings.

“People are still spending money, so that shows confidence in the area,” he said.

Since Stettler is centrally located in the province, the mayor believes 2016 will make Stettler a destination for people to visit in 2016, especially through sports.

“I spend a lot of time at the SRC (Stettler Recreation Centre) because of my kids, and I hear what people say,” he said. “They’re amazed such a small town has such excellent facilities.”

In 2015, the community hosted several tournaments and championships in hockey, baseball and soccer, including provincials. Richards said he hopes the same will happen again this year.

“I know people are working on it,” he said.

One thing the turn in the economy did was to make the mayor and council realize just how fortunate they were for Stettler’s diversity.

“It could be way worse,” he said. “We were taking things for granted.”

As economic woes plague the province, though, they could trickle down to affect Stettler, as the community is reliant on provincial grant programs and funding to stay on top of major municipal projects, like roads and water.

“The challenge is the uncertainty of what the future holds,” Richards said, explaining that it makes it hard to plan when town staff aren’t sure if programs will continue or be downsized.

“A community can fall behind very quickly (on major municipal projects) if you don’t stay on top of it,” he said. He noted that the town’s staff were diligently watching out for any surprises with Alberta’s new NDP government.

2016 will also be the first full year of the recreation agreement between the Town of Stettler and County of Stettler, an agreement brokered by a provincial mediator over the summer in 2015. The agreement put to bed decades of bickering and back-and-forth over recreation funding.

It’s something the mayor said he’s extremely proud of.

“We were in a place where everyone was ready to sit down and get this done,” he said. “Both sides were able to work it out, and I look forward to continuing to build this great relationship.”

Just Posted

Stettler secondhand charity looks for new home

Superfluity lease not being renewed; will move by Sept., 2018

First auction of 2018 has solid numbers: auction market

Stettler Auction Mart sees 700 head move through Jan. 9

Lars Callieou to entertain in Halkirk on Feb. 10

Volunteer appreciation supper held on Friday night

What to do after online accounts are hacked

Facebook, email and other accounts hold vital information

PETA picking wrong bone with meat tax

Science shows vegetarian diet doesn’t lessen cancer risk

Erskine Professional Motocross Athlete appears in Edmonton

Chad Bauman performs as part of ‘Ground and Gravity’

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Provincial park no more

The province transferred Sylvan Lake Provincial Park to the Town yesterday

Protect pets from canine flu

Sylvan Lake veterinarian spoke to the Sylvan Lake News about the canine flu

Las Vegas shooter acted alone, exact motive still undetermined: Sheriff

Stephen Paddock was behind the gunfire that killed 58 people including two Canadians

Botox, bomb shelters, and the blues: one year into Trump presidency

A look into life in Washington since Trump’s inauguration

New County of Stettler reeve, new councillor to go to conference in Maritimes

County of Stettler selling off ATCO trailers from shop site

B.C. out of the running for Amazon’s next headquarters

Toronto is the only Canadian city left in the running despite the province backing Metro Vancouver’s bid for new Amazon headquarters

Suspected Toronto serial killer targeting gay community arrested

A 66-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

Most Read

Weekly delivery plus unlimited digital access for $50.40 for 52 issues (must live within 95 kilometers of Stettler) Unlimited Digital Access for one year for $50.40 Prefer to have us call you? Click here and we’ll get back to you within one business day.