Grinches and Scrooges may abound elsewhere, but in St. Albert councillors are embracing the spirit of the Christmas season.
Although their wish-list might not reach the North Pole in time for the big day, it’s safe to assume Santa Claus has time in between chimney hops to read the local news. If he flips to this page, all most councillors want for Christmas is a little bit of cash for Ray Gibbon Drive.
(Okay, a lot of cash.)
Coun. Wes Brodhead said having the province twin that road would be a nice gift, while Coun. Natalie Joly described a twinned Ray Gibbon and “beautiful traffic on St. Albert Trail” as her Christmas wish.
Coun. Ray Watkins said cash to complete Ray Gibbon from one end to the other would make his holiday season merry.
“I think it will help many things in St. Albert,” he said.
“Mostly, I think it will help open up the west side of St. Albert to development and business.”
For Coun. Jacquie Hansen, a stocking stuffed with funding would help solve many of St. Albert’s other problems as well. Opening up Ray Gibbon would make St. Albert more welcoming for business and could put the city on the map for companies to consider putting down roots.
“There’s just a lot of positive spin-offs,” she said.
“It’s really going to make quite a difference in our future economic prosperity over the next 25 years.”
Coun. Ken MacKay said if funding for Ray Gibbon Drive doesn’t happen, he would wish for the province to come through with sustainable funding for municipalities or for affordable housing.
“It would be a nice wish. I guess it might even be considered a Christmas miracle,” he said.
If St. Albert makes Santa’s nice list, Mayor Cathy Heron is wishing for a better banquet and conference facility for weddings and for nonprofit organizations to meet.
“If I could somehow facilitate a private investor to come and build a banquet hall … I think that would be a good win in the next few years,” she said.
Aside from funding and facilities, some councillors have gifts they’d like to see given to St. Albertans as a whole.
For Brodhead, a capital plan that has been properly hashed out is something councillors could give the community in 2018.
“I think a lot of the capital angst, or just this whole capital deficit, is really manufactured by plans that we’ve put in place that have all come to fruition at the same time,” he said.
“And they’re all needed – but what we need to do is take a look and say, okay, we can’t do all of them at the same time, what are our priorities and how are we going to fund it?”
And as St. Albertans sit down to enjoy their mincemeat pies and plum pudding, MacKay said having St. Albertans get their own Christmas wishes answered would be the best gift of all.
“I would really want to make sure people have the best possible 2018 and were able to achieve all they dream and hope for,” he said.
And for Joly, a white Christmas would be the perfect cause for celebration so she can get outside for some of the winter sports she enjoys.
“(I want) a couple feet of snow that magically doesn’t hit the roads so we can skijor,” she said.
Coun. Sheena Hughes’ Christmas wish-list was still a secret as of press time.