Stettler’s new orchard plan. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Stettler town council approves initial ‘orchard’ work

Community orchard proposed for green strip east of mall.

The Town of Stettler is serious about beautification, and to that end approved a community project on the green space east of the Stettler Mall.

The decision came after a presentation to council by Rob Spencer. Mayor Dick Richards welcomed Spencer by saying he was really grateful to the committee responsible for Communities in Bloom, as Stettler looks very attractive all the time.

“I for one have heard lots of really positive comments,” said Richards.

Spencer explained the town’s attractiveness was the reason he was speaking to council, that there were people who’ve suggested the piece of land east of the Stettler Mall – the green strip to the east of the creek – could look a lot better.

“My proposal is to beautify it,” added Spencer.

Spencer said several people felt that the land would wrok well as a community orchard, laid out in rows with trees to the north end and perennials to the sound end. The perennials would work better on the south end because that piece of land has utility lines beneath it, and those plants could be removed quickly in the event of a problem.

The community orchard would be available to anyone in the community.

”It’s not overly complicated,” Spencer stated. “The idea is to put it in and make it as easy to maintain as possible.”

He noted a variety of funding would be sought, including grants, sponsors, and other streams of revenue.

Richards said it’s tough for the council to approve something without a definitive budget.

Councillor Will Brown who lives in that area agreed the green strip isn’t very attractive, while councillor Darcy Bachman asked Spencer if there was a timeline on this project.

Spencer responded that he’d like to see it go ahead as soon as possible, perhaps even with preparation work on the site this fall. He noted the property needs to be made level.

“The idea is to raise it up,” said Spencer.

Councillor Malcolm Fischer stated the project could require a fair bit of funding, and asked if it could be done in stages.

Spencer noted it hadn’t been discussed, but didn’t really want to move ahead unless the entire project could be funded.

Councillor Sean Nolls asked how much money was needed to start work this fall, to which Spencer responded, “Not a whole lot.”

The town council unanimously approved the decision, allowing Spencer’s group to move ahead with work on the location in question along with design.

Stu.Salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca

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