Good Ideas Matter: Foster Possibility and prosperity

Erin Stevenson sitting on a hill with Kenton in the background

It’s the art of what’s possible. Think about what we can do, rather than what we can’t. Think of who we, as a City, want to be 25 and 50 years from now. And now let’s backcast so we know what we have to do today to get there.

Success isn’t built overnight. A city doesn’t suddenly become a SMART City because they declare themselves to be. Businesses don’t flock to set up shop in your city just because a resident has asked council for it (I’m talking about you, Costco!).

Things happen because people make it happen. We’re a city of entrepreneurs who support local business and ideas, love this city through in through and want big things to happen. Council reflects that spirit and the art of possible is quite possibly the theme for council for 2021-2025. Maybe the 20’s are the roaring 20s after all!

The Ideas

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

2021 Ideas Going Forward:

  • Create new ways for the city to support local and local led initiatives.
  • Push for SMART City status and prioritize initiatives such as broadband and the Internet of Things (IoT). In order for us to not be left behind, we need to be leaders in the digital transformation transition *
  • As we put renewed emphasis on our industrial lands, we should be creating a strategy to encourage residents to visit and discover what we have “south of the tracks”. This is an area of transformation and renewal and provides many opportunities for growth.
  • We want the city to grow, we want residents and existing businesses to stay and that often means renovations, additions etc. The current system and review process for our Development fees and fines bylaw is not enough. We have to consult residents on costs and not be nickel and diming and creating processes that are not necessarily in line with what residents expect.

Initiatives Currently In progress:

  • Broadband is being rolled out in our industrial areas and city centre and we won’t stop until the whole city is connected to fibre. We can’t be a SMART city without it. We will work with providers to connect Spruce Grove *
  • Continue to support the neighbourhood road renewals. Many of our older neighbourhoods are seeing major watermain upgrades and new roads and it’s a busy construction season. It’s wonderful to see.
  • Continue to support the financial reserves for infrastructure renewal within the corporate plan.
  • It is important that we maintain our cost of living here advantages and that includes  keeping taxes manageable and tax increases reasonable *
  • The City Centre Area Redevelopment plan is two decades in the making if not longer. The heart of our city deserves the facelift and will attract new investment into our city centre *
  • It is always important to be a welcoming community that invites private investment into the community and meets the needs and desires of our community (think Westwind and the baseball stadium). We’re a city on the move and our reputation is a shifting one (in the right direction of course).
  • It’s a pleasure for council to work with the Greater Parkland Regional Chamber of Commerce (GPRCC) to welcome new businesses into the community. Not every community does a ribbon cutting but we do!
  • We have so many partners that we work with to make our city better- whether it’s regionally, provincially or nationally. It might mean many committee meetings and travel to and from, but it’s worth it because we can accomplish so much together.
    • School board relationships
  • The Westwind buildout in phases that may also include the civic centre is a major economic driver and opportunity for Spruce Grove. We finally have some visibility on the highway other than our golf course! Seeing this area built out and others like Easton onHwy 16a is helping drive new business into our city.

Initiatives that have been implemented:

  • The opening of Pioneer Road was an incredible moment as it’s yet another major road to move people to the highway. It also created new opportunities with two new neighbourhoods- Fenwyck and Easton to be built and the building of the new baseball stadium for the Prospects baseball team.
  • The annexation of new lands from Parkland County was a smooth and cooperative process. Spruce Grove annexed 8 quarter sections of land and will provide us with enough land to grow over the next couple of decades.
  • Spruce Grove developed an Industrial Land strategy– this is a critical strategy as it’s important to have a strong non-residential tax base. It also creates local jobs and in turn, more residents to our community. There is a lot of economic spin off with such a strategy.
  • Covid-19 saw us make the easy decision to defer utility and tax penalties for residents and businesses in 2020. While the uptake was small, it was there for those who needed it.
  • A major review of the existing Economic Development Advisory Committee was undertaken and updated to meet the needs and reflect the make-up of our community. A new EDAC committee was created in 2020.

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.