Turner Valley council plans to continue with ongoing Town projects, bylaws and procedures in 2021 while working with its neighbours to the east to change the scope — and possibly the name — of the area.
“We want to finalize our amalgamation report for the Province in co-operation with Black Diamond – which is a big part of our 2021 year,” said Turner Valley Mayor Barry Crane
While COVID-19 dominated every move in 2020, Turner Valley was able to work with Black Diamond to take the steps towards amalgamation.
During the July 16 Friendship Agreement meeting, Black Diamond and Turner Valley town councils passed a motion to notify the Province of their intent to formally enter into amalgamation negotiations.
“A memorable step in 2020 is setting the path to finalize talks with Black Diamond in regards to amalgamation and getting an answer one way or the other (in 2021) if that is feasible or not,” Crane said.
Crane said Sept. 15 is the deadline to get the amalgamation papers to the municipal affairs minister.
“The minister won’t have an answer prior to the municipal election (Oct. 18), so we will have a regular election then they will produce an answer by January (2022),” Crane said.
There was plenty else happening in 2020 at the Turner Valley council table – and since mid-March many decisions pivoted on the changing winds caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There were so many things going on in 2020,” Crane said. “One of the highlights was being able to adapt to meet the changes of COVID-19.”
Those changes included making sure residents could cool off in the summer with a dip in the local waterhole.
“One of the highlights was ensuring the pool (Dr. Lander Memorial Pool) was open through COVID,” Crane said. “Families being able to use the pool — under restrictions — as well as the outdoor rink was one of the benefits from a recreation standpoint.”
Reservations had to be made at the pool in 2020 and the pool didn’t open until a later date.
Crane said another key issue was revising the Town’s land-use bylaws.
“We were able to dig into our land-use bylaw and getting that started and moving that work into 2021,” Crane said. “As well adopting a new council procedure bylaw and preparing for our Sunset Boulevard project were highlights.”
Council passed a 2021 capital budget of $4.41 million in December. Of that, the lion’s share is going to upgrades to sanitary-stormwater replacement on Sunset Boulevard of $4,286 million.
Crane called the new council procedure bylaw a training manual for new councillors.
He added councillors having to attend meetings online had its pros-and-cons, but he would prefer meeting with the public.
“For council the Zoom meetings have turned into a bit of a cost benefit because there is zero travel,” Crane said. “It has lessened some stress that way.
“But we look forward to getting back to face-to-face – it's extremely important that we are in the public eye and available to the public when it is expected.”
The present council is on a time crunch to get its 2021 goals completed -- the mayor and councillors’ seats are up for election in October.
“It’s been my experience that the last year of a term for elected officials is filled with lots of action,” Crane said. “Our first motion at the end of 2020 was to do a service level review in the first quarter of 2021.
“So that what we are producing for the community in regards to service levels are what they are expecting, we will try and fine tune that.”
Future projects include work on Arrowhead Park down by the Decalta bridge and the Turner Valley pathway system.
As for Crane running again he said he wasn’t about to let that cat out of the bag as of yet.