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Good Ideas Matter: Cultivate Sustainability and Liveability

Over 15 days of 30+ degree heat here in Spruce Grove (so far) this year, a record. The air has often been filled with smoke from massive wildfires. Everyday, it seems we’re hearing of another disaster that can be attributed to climate change.

It’s action time. The city believes in climate action and there’s plenty we’ve done and can do to help lessen our impact.

Climate change is destroying our path to sustainability. Ours is a world of looming challenges and increasingly limited resources. Sustainable development offers the best chance to adjust our course.

Ban Ki-moon
Erin Stevenson sitting on a yellow metal bench in the community garden


The Ideas

There are 3 sections- ideas for going forward, current initiatives in progress, and initiatives that have been implemented.

2021 Ideas Going Forward:

  • The city should not be car centred. We need to embrace multi-modal ways of getting around the city. Walkable city centre and neighbourhoods is a minimum.
  • Continue to explore and research ways to reduce our waste (waste to energy, recycling, compost). This is a regional problem and possibly a good Shared Investment for Shared Benefit (SISB) project.
  • Connecting our communities with our neighbours and making it safe to commute even in our industrial area and to services like the Eco centre, dog park and food bank.
  • Engage with residents regarding the land use bylaw. We’ve consulted with the development community, now it’s time to hear from residents. It’s time to find out whether we should be allowing liquor stores or pubs in neighbourhood strip malls. What are the benefits? Are we building the city sustainably?
  • We hear many of the same type of complaints over and over, but because of existing bylaws, there is very little that can be done. Is it time to review our dog and domestic animal control bylaw and determine whether cats should be included? Is it time to strengthen our noise control bylaw? I think so.
  • With the provincial government relaxing liquor laws, our municipality will have to review whether we would like to see responsible adults be able to drink responsibly in parks.
  • School bus passes are expensive. We have a local on-demand transit network. It’s time to explore ways to encourage youth to take local transit, whether it’s with a reduced fare or even free. Many students take on part-time jobs and access to transit opens up the opportunities for our youth without adding more cars to the road.  
  • Explore the creation of a dog park on the east side of the city.

Initiatives Currently In progress:

  • The city has a Climate Resilience Express action plan that we follow and I support it.
  • We’re not ignoring climate change at the city and we will not be afraid to make the tough decisions regarding our impact on sustainability in the city.
  • We continue to work through the initiatives laid out in the Social Sustainability and Cultural master plans
  • We have a very popular community garden in our city centre with a wait list. We need to build more community gardens, consider edible fruit trees in the city (it’s free food), look at locations for some orchards where we can grow all sorts of fruits and berries. *
  • Continue to advocate and push for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). The province has said they’ll bring in legislation, we need to ensure they do. The cost is on the municipalities in Alberta to handle the costs of recycling the product. IN every other province, EPR exists. It is time Alberta catch up.
  • Parks around Spruce Grove are seeing upgrades as they age or new safety measures are introduced. The park system here in the Grove is top notch and I support keeping our parks up-to-date and accessible.
  • Clean energy improvement program
  • Continue to monitor greenhouse gas usage and reduce where we can to meet targets.
  • Support the continued funding of the Heritage grant program
  • Support Local transit. Currently it is on-demand but we should be reviewing ridership and opportunities to increase riders in the community.
  • Support our membership in the Edmonton Metropolitan Transit Service Commission (EMTSC) as it rolls out in phases over the next few years.
  • Support updating Central Park and the skate park.  

Initiatives that have been implemented:

  • Council passed the Single use plastics ban bylaw in 2021. It will be brought in as of January 1, 2022. This was done after much research and consultation with local businesses and works in conjunction with the federal ban on plastics.
  • I am thrilled to see Council approve funding and the land for the trail connection to Stony Plain. It has only been 25 years in the making.
  • Covid relief- support for local non-profits during Covid
  • Pride is part of liveability wan the Canada and provincial flag purchase went a long way to show our community pride in 2020.
  • The mayor’s legacy–Spruce up Spruce Grove!
  • We have two historical designations in our city (the McLaughlin Home and the Grain elevator). It’s part our history and happy we created a policy to preserve them.
  • The Open Space area bylaw was updated to reflect new trends and ways our open spaces are being used.

A * denotes this idea was a part of my 2017 campaign platform and was happy to support and vote in favour. It does not mean I was responsible for it as it is a council decision to move any initiative forward.

Good ideas Matter: Boost Opportunity and Creativity

With two murals complete, there’s already an ask for us to do more. I get it! They’re stunning, and it’s been an initiative that council has discussed for years. It was great to partner with the Allied Arts Council on this project. Now we’re all driving around analyzing the sides of buildings on their mural suitableness.

Erin Stevenson standing on the rock steps at Kenton Park

The pandemic has been trying on many of us, and the creativity aspect in our city took a hit due to the restrictions that were necessary to keep people safe. We’re known around the region for having amazing Canada Day celebrations yet last year was cancelled and this year was a subdued affair. Our regular programming was either cancelled or scaled back. We feel the desire from the community to reconnect and that’s often through creative outlets. It’s our job to provide those opportunities.

It’s also an opportune time for us to think outside the box and come up with creative ways to deliver cultural events. So, let’s be brave and think big and not let perceived constraints limit our thinking.

The Ideas

There are 3 sections- ideas for going forward, current initiatives in progress, and initiatives that have been implemented.

2021 Ideas Going Forward:

  • Family friendly events around the city that are outside of the box. Think ‘tenting in the park’ ‘walk, drive or pedal in movies’, giants scavenger hunts and pet parades. *
  • There is a desire for more culture in Spruce Grove and to make it accessible. Ideas like a chalkfest or an arts centred summer event where artists come to Spruce and show off their talents (think art wall/art walk/or mural fest)
  • We have pride in our city, yet with the lack of signage on our highways to welcome people, some may beg to differ. Let’s enhance our signage around the city and let’s make it easy to find your way around town. Wayfinding does not just belong in the city centre.
  • More murals! Bring the colour!
  • More outdoor events in general and throughout the year. But let’s take advantage of our long summer nights with music in the park, introduce a summer concert series and provide more social opportunities to residents to get to know each other.

Initiatives Currently In progress:

  • The civic centre is in its design stage (will either be approved or defeated by the 2021-20265 council) but currently the civic centre will include two ice pads, a second library location, the art gallery, a black box theatre, meeting spaces for our multiple organizations in the city and more. This has come a long way in features and way down in cost. *
  • I have long supported having a second library location and even suggested in 2017 that it be part of the new centre. *
  • Support of the arts community with black box theatre. The Horizon stage is wonderful but it has its limitations. *
  • The City Centre Business Association (CCBA) has done tremendous work bringing public markets to the city centre including a Winterfest and supporting Fall fest. We’ve seen our community flock to them and enjoy the vendors, music and food. *
  • Every year, with a generous donation from RMRF , the city is able to buy local art and support our community. The city has an impressive art collection of paintings, sculptures and drawings. Many of the art pieces can be seen throughout the city.

Initiatives that have been implemented:

  • The city purchased acres of serviced land in the Westwind land for future development. At this moment, the idea is to develop the civic centre on these lands. This was all possible due to previous agreements with the developer and forward thinking council members (previous councils) to be able to assemble this land in such a prominent area and help drive opportunity around it.
  • The completion of the first two murals has already brought so much joy and positive chatter. Do check them out at the corner of King and McLeod (near Fas Gas) and on the Cumbria Centre building (west side, where Rainbow Palace is located). *
  • Council supported the RCMP Musical Ride that came to the region in 2019. It was an impressive display for those who came out to enjoy.

A * denotes this idea was a part of my 2017 campaign platform and was happy to support and vote in favour. It does not mean I was responsible for it as it is a council decision to move any initiative forward.