St. Albert needs a break. I would strongly urge St. Albert city council to seriously consider a one-year moratorium on all new capital construction and land development.
Why? It would really help to build back capital reserves that have been depleted on a number of fronts. Secondly, St. Albert residents are suffering from construction fatigue. In my opinion, the level of local construction has been utterly over the top for the past few years within the city itself and has been exacerbated by ridiculous construction detours related to the Anthony Henday project. Nothing is in such bad shape that it can’t wait a year.
We need a year to re-evaluate the future direction of the city on a number of fronts. First, while the recycling program is working OK, the idea of moving into recycling biodegradables is seriously flawed. The amount of energy it takes to manufacture the plastic containers and to pick up the material has to be seriously weighed against continuing operation of the current recycling depot. These are biodegradables that will naturally decompose into the environment. Many people have garburators that deal with a lot this stuff. There are mulching lawnmowers, and so what if people have to make a few trips to the recycling depot?
On land use, this city may talk the talk on being green, but it certainly does not walk the walk. The amount of highly arable farmland, some of the absolute best in Alberta that is being converted into urban sprawl is disgusting. Not convinced? Take a drive down the Ray Gibbon Drive, and tell me that it doesn’t break your heart that all that farmland is being turned into yet more residential developments. Also, the buffer between River Lot 56 and the Sturgeon Valley areas needs to be seriously addressed so that it can be preserved. Why not convince the landowner to donate it to the Nature Conservancy of Canada so that it can be used as an adjunct to the existing old elevator grounds for demonstration of farming in the past?
River Lot 56 also itself needs to be addressed. It’s dying. This is a dying forest. There needs to be a plan to revitalize the forest with some controlled vegetation control, which means removing some of the old growth. Animals will not live there if it is not revitalized. All forests in the boreal are fire origin forests, meaning that they required renewal about every 120 years, or they die.
These are just some of the issues that need to be addressed. In my opinion, the entire city’s political and social network needs a yearlong retreat to refocus and revitalize our view for the future. We were once a great city. Sorry to say, we are losing our focus and our way.
Tony Kryzanowski, St. Albert