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June 18, 2024 June 18, 2024

Stirling 2023 in Review

Posted on January 18, 2024 by admin

By Heather Cameron
Westwind Weekly News

According to Scott Donselaar, Chief Administrative Officer for the Village of Stirling, 2023 was ‘a great year for the Village of Stirling.’

Part of why the year was great, Donselaar says, was because the Village received core infrastructure funding from the Alberta Municipal Water Wastewater program, which is allowing them to undertake a large-scale project to upgrade their lift station twin the forcemain line which moves wastewater to their lagoons.  This project, Donselaar says, will position the Village of Stirling for future growth and development.  

In addition to obtaining the core infrastructure funding, Donselaar says, the Village also commenced with a Land Use Bylaw Rewrite.

“In 2019, we undertook a review and rewrite of all our statutory development regulations and since 2019 we have completed our Intermunicipal Development Plan; our Municipal Development Plan and the Land Use Bylaw will be the final document,” said Donselaar. “The completion of these three documents will provide the framework and development planning and requirements for the future.”

Donselaar says that the Village also worked with private landowners to achieve increased development and address infill; grew their municipal corporation of Ridge Utilities; looked at their branding; worked towards enhancing recreational opportunities; and continued with their previous programs such as road rehabilitation.  

“The Village administrative and public works team continue to find innovative solutions and worked hard to offset the impacts of inflation,” said Trevor Lewington, Mayor of Stirling. 

Some of the innovative highlights of the year, Donselaar says, include the Village of Stirling starting a partnership with What’s Popin’, adding a soda franchise to the local pool’s concession, and implementing a Clean Energy Improvement Program, which allows homeowners to leverage loans through the municipality to provide for energy efficiency and clean energy improvements to their homes.  The Village, Donselaar says was also able to make improvements to their service levels and work to add enhancements to facilities and also partner with the Town of Raymond to contract them to provide solid waste pick up services at a rate which saves the community money and provides capital diversion in not having to purchase a garbage truck as it approached end of life.

Donselaar says that the Village of Stirling even partnered with Barons Eureka Warner FCSS and wrote an Alberta Community Partnership grant, which would represent 16 communities in the region to have a service review and needs assessment done for FCSS.  

“We were successful in obtaining the grant and Stirling will be administering it on behalf of our partners,” said Donselaar.

The Village of Stirling’s collaborations, Donselaar says, includes being part of the Canada’s Western Gateway Trade Corridor, which is a large group comprised of Municipalities and Business to drive growth and economic development withing the region.   

Donselaar says that the Village also routinely collaborates with their neighbors to share services. Lewington says that an example of such collaboration occurred when the Stirling Fire Department deployed many volunteers over multiple deployments to assist with the wildfires in Northern Alberta this past year. 

“We were pleased to be able to support fellow Albertans in their time of need and were pleased to see our investments in training and equipment for the fire department pay off,” said Lewington.

Donselaar says that the Village of Stirling is working with the Towns of Cardston, Magrath and Raymond to engage a regional marketing initiative.

“We worked with the 16 Communities of Barons Eureka Warner FCSS to successfully apply and administer a grant which will address the services offered by FCSS. We worked with the County of Warner to participate in and host regional meetings to collaborate on local regional issues.” said Donselaar.

The Village, Donselaar says has even helped contribute to Alberta by being ran efficiently and participating in a number of regional economic development initiatives which have a positive impact to Alberta’s overall GDP. 

“I believe the Village continues to grow and evolve,” said Donselaar. “Between the 2016 and 2022 we experienced the highest growth per capita of any municipality in Alberta.  Our population demographic has also changed, and we have continued to see people from varying backgrounds move to Stirling and they are wanting to participate and volunteer within the community.  I believe the community is welcoming and open to change which drives growth and evolution naturally.

Council, Lewington says, appreciates the countless hours volunteers across the community invest to make Stirling a place where families thrive.

“From our community events committee that plans festivals and celebrations to volunteer first responders in our fire department to the library board to parents support the school – these are the folks that make things happen in the community,” said Lewington.

As far as 2024 goes, Donselaar says, the Village applied to the Alberta Water and Wastewater Program for funding to make large improvements to their potable water supply distribution and if they are successful in acquiring funding, that project will begin implementation in 2024.  

Most importantly, Donselaar says, celebrations for the Village of Stirling’s 125th Anniversary will occur throughout 2024. Lewington says that the Village of Stirling is excited to celebrate the community’s history with the 125th anniversary commemoration but at the same time use the festivities to look ahead to an exciting future with new housing and commercial growth planned.

“Many of our goals our ongoing, as a municipality is always looking to improve how it provides services to our residents and visitors,” said Donselaar. “Council has done an excellent job of trying to communicate with the public and in 2024 we are employing more technological methods to convey information outside of website updates and social media use. The only way any organization can achieve success is by having a team which works well together and are all committed to the common goal.  Council sets the direction for the goals and the team the Village has is the key to ensuring these goals are achieved and being honest with Council on if they are achievable.  From the Mayor to the Summer Staff member, everyone has an important role to ensure success.  We achieve this by being open; honest; creative in our approaches; and showing each other support in all directions.  The team is the reason we succeed.”

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