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Council was wrong on Sturgeon River decision

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  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 25, 2013 06:00 am

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I am disappointed that the Council of the City of St. Albert has decided to "unfund" the Sturgeon River Master Plan (SRMP).

None of the many existing master plans, including the Environmental Master Plan, deal with the issue and goals of the SRMP which was intended to provide a vision, an action plan and objectives on how the river will be cleaned up and stabilized as well as how the river valley will be developed in the future so the community has a river that is "healthy" and adds year-round recreational value for its residents and visitors.

It was interesting to read the city's recent press release that "The concept of sustainability realizes that growth involves the balance of many complex long term elements including social, cultural, environmental, economic aspects of the St. Albert community." This is exactly what the SRMP project charter is trying to address. If the city is truly committed to reinforcing a green lifestyle, council will support the SRMP which would be a working document that is all encompassing.

St. Albert was founded on the shores of the Sturgeon River for obvious reasons. It was a lifeline. For centuries, it served as a travel corridor for aboriginals and voyageurs and as focal point for the Church. It provided food and water for humans and wildlife. It is still referred to as the "Jewel of St. Albert." It is our major community asset and enhances our quality of life. Our brand as a "botanical arts" city should honour the river that gives this city life!

Our river needs help to stay alive and continue giving! I watched it flowing upstream, back into Big Lake, this summer at the Ray Gibbon Bridge, no doubt because of the man-made obstructions in the river: road gravel and sand getting thrown onto the ice all winter?

Our Community Sustainability Department is intended to represent and grow all aspects of the community and, as noted in the recent budget process, residual funds are available for growth projects without affecting the property tax rate, so come on council, think the big picture!

Elke Blodgett, St. Albert


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