By Mabell, Dave on September 22, 2017.
Lethbridge Herald -coaldale
There’s been plenty of growth in Coaldale over the last 10 years.
New restaurants and stores have opened on the town’s west side, families have moved into new homes in several parts of town, and new businesses and operators have been attracted to the northside industrial park.
And the town is poised for still more growth, says three-term Mayor Kim Craig. He’s running for re-election when Albertans go to the polls on Oct. 16.
“I have been blessed to serve alongside many dedicated councillors that allowed me to lead the vision for a better Coaldale,” he says.
Part of that vision has been the town’s steady growth. When the latest annexation initiative is complete, he notes Coaldale’s population could equal that of neighbouring Taber.
“We’ve added a lot of commercial space,” keeping residents’ dollars at work in town.
But Craig is more excited about the impact of the construction of an $18-million regional headquarters for the RCMP, who now provide service in Coaldale. It will represent the largest capital investment in the town’s history, he says.
“It will stimulate a lot of economic activity.”
Work is also proceeding on the Molloy Drain project, Craig says. It will create 300,000 cubic metres of storm water storage space, he points out, while also increasing the town’s wetlands park area around the Birds of Prey centre.
“It will be a very esthetically pleasing project,” he predicts.
Through careful budgeting, Craig says, town council has also put aside $1 million for a recreation-focused project. What form that will take will be decided by the incoming council.
First elected to council 13 years ago, Craig says the town’s elected leaders have worked their way through a number of issues over the years including the nation’s economic crisis in 2008 and serious floods in 2010 and 2012.
“The result is a booming Coaldale economy (with) much-needed infrastructure development.”
It’s a story Craig has repeated across Alberta, he says.
“I have cultivated strong relationships with Coaldale’s municipal partners,” including Lethbridge County and the city, as well as at the provincial level.
Experience counts in municipal government, he says. Several of the longest-term members of Coaldale council are retiring, so there are opportunities for younger members of the community to develop their leadership skills.
As Coaldale residents retire, Craig says, they should have the services they need to “age in place” without having to move to Lethbridge. A transit link to Lethbridge could be a step in that direction.
“I think out of necessity it will happen.”
But today’s seniors are being provided a handi-bus service, he adds.
“People should not have to move away. That’s a tragedy.”
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