After an eventful year in the Stettler area reported on the pages of the Stettler Independent in 2012, a lot more is definitely in store for 2013.
The future of three small schools in Donalda, Byemoor and Brownfield came under the Clearview School Division microscope this past fall and it became a hot-button topic for residents in those communities. The issue is expected to return this year as the board studies all schools in the district.
That could very well be the hot topic during the school board elections next October, as Clearview staff and trustees continue to study whether to close the small schools or keep them open.
No doubt that could stir up heated races in the school board elections, as the terms for both trustees and municipal councils will be extended to four years from the current three.
That longer period, however, could scare off a few potential fringe candidates.
Speaking of elections, the provincial vote last April produced an upset in Drumheller-Stettler as Rick Strankman of the upstart Wildrose party unseated Progressive Conservative cabinet minister Jack Hayden of Endiang. It remains to be seen just how effective an Opposition MLA can be in Drumheller-Stettler.
This year, seniors in the region will welcome the new Points West Living complex, scheduled to open this May in Stettler.
Many developments occurred in the Stettler area last year, with new businesses opening and longtime businesses closing.
Other major plans for new social, cultural and recreational facilities and services could come to fruition this year.
As we look at potential headlines for 2013, we might write:
— Seniors celebrate the opening of a larger and modern seniors’ social centre in the Stettler Recreation Centre to replace an outdated facility in the industrial area.
— A new skatepark is ready to roll in Stettler.
— Stettler Alliance Church finds a new home after almost one year of searching. It will enable the growing congregation to expand after the Town of Stettler nixed further development of the church property on Highway 12 to make way for highway-commercial status.
— Savage Value Drug Mart and ATCO Electric open larger premises in Stettler, while the Red Deer Co-op opens a Stettler gas bar, convenience store and car wash.
— A new bio-energy plant is established in Stettler to produce energy from waste to generate revenue and reduce waste.
What do you think about will be the major headlines this year?
Richard Froese is a municipal reporter with the Stettler Independent. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org