Mayor feeling positive for 2014
Nolan Crouse delivers annual State of the City address
Wednesday, Feb 12, 2014 03:30 pm
Mayor Nolan Crouse was busy predicting a positive year on several fronts during the annual State of the City address at the chamber of commerce luncheon Wednesday.
“I have great optimism about our future,” Crouse said, summarizing his address as looking forward to a year of positive economic growth, infrastructure maintenance, social makeup, a new environmental plan, regional collaboration and more.
Crouse was addressing a full house at the Enjoy Centre, covering everything from economic indicators to waste diversion numbers. He also showcased some aspects of council’s 2014 priorities.
The last few years have seen accolades from different sectors “heaped” on St. Albert, he said.
“It says to us we have a great community,” Crouse said, but added it also offers an opportunity.
“We have some more work to do.”
On the economic front, he noted that there’s been increased competition over the last few years in residential and non-residential development.
Tackling the topic of the city’s corporate health, he pointed at a $74-million reserve balance as a positive indicator.
“We’re not going broke. In fact, we’re setting ourselves up for growth,” he said. “We have a good balance sheet.”
On the environmental side of things, St. Albert is diverting 67 per cent of its waste and advancing composting in city facilities.
Crouse reeled off the numbers for how many social groups, not-for-profits and other organizations make up the social fabric of the community.
“We all have a responsibility to build this community,” he said.
Council is paying attention to the city’s changing demographics, which include a climbing proportion of the population over 65, he said.
He noted there are a number of seniors moving to this city from Edmonton. While an increasing seniors population isn’t an issue, he said, there is an issue if St. Albert becomes known only as a retirement community.
“Council has decided we need to take an age-friendly look at our community,” he said, noting this means for all ages.
Tragedy struck multiple St. Albert families in 2013 as a result of traffic fatalities and Crouse noted the city’s Safe Journeys to School project that has been started as a result.
“The families who suffered through this deserve better,” he said.
He highlighted capital projects, social, environmental and economic priorities for the crowd.
Crouse, who also serves as chair of the Capital Region Board, also gave several examples of regional co-operation.
For St. Albert, that includes working with Sturgeon County on a joint agreement.
“We’re going to find a way forward,” Crouse said.
Crouse then fielded questions on topics like school site size, a proposal to re-align St. Anne Street and light industrial development.