Airdrie has the Province’s ear on local issues, Brown
By: Matt Durnan
| Posted: Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 11:13 am
The Province is beginning to take more notice of Airdrie as the city continues to grow, that was the message from Mayor Peter Brown during his State of the City address, on June 18 at the Woodside Golf Course.
“We (Airdrie) represent what other communities in this province are going through,” said Brown. “When ministers visit us, they will not forget who we are, our business and community leaders will keep pushing the Province and I want them to be frankly sick and tired of hearing from Peter Brown.”
For the mayor’s second term, he explained that the City has streamlined its priorities moving forward to maintain an acute focus on what is to be achieved by the current council.
“Well-managed growth, sustainable transportation and economic prosperity through more local employment opportunities” were highlighted by Brown as major focal points for his second term.
Brown commended the City’s Economic Development team, calling them the “best in the province.”
Since January, the City has issued 167 business licenses, a number that is about on par with what the City normally sees, according to Economic Development Team Leader Kent Rupert.
“We average around 30 to 50 business licenses per month and it kind of varies depending on the time of year,” said Rupert.
In total, there are more than 3,100 licensed businesses in Airdrie, that include, home-based, storefront and industrial.
Brown made note that new jobs are cropping up as well.
“Propak has expanded to the old Cam Clark Ford building that will create 175 new jobs,” said Brown.
“These are engineers, these are people coming into our community, bringing money, bringing investments, buying dinners and filling up their gas tanks here.”
With job creation and more people moving to Airdrie, there is a need for places for people to live, Brown said.
“I should make note that with these apartment buildings, they are usually phased in,” Brown said.
“With the King’s Heights Apartments, they were sold out in each building the day they got occupancy, that’s how much our community needed rental space.”
City staff issued 271 construction permits in 2013 which included 17 new buildings with construction costs of $71 million, up from $45 million in 2012.
In 2013, seven new apartment buildings went up in Airdrie, totaling 481 new units, with the bulk of those coming in Prairie Springs and King’s Heights at a total of $31 million.
Brown also took time in his address to touch on the issue of health care in Airdrie, indicating that there will not be a new hospital in the city any time soon, but the Airdrie Health Foundation (AHF) is still working to bring 24-hour health care to the community.
“We’ve been working with how we are going to expand on the services that exist in Airdrie while making sure that our existing services are sustainable,” said Brown, who also chairs the AHF.
“We’ve established a working group with Alberta Health Services (AHS) at the beginning of this year and for the first time in a number of years, they’ve come together and realized that we need their help.”
The working group currently meets bi-monthly, according to Brown, who said the meetings are, “an amazing opportunity for the community to work towards supporting health care staff as well as those in need of health care services.”
The AHF and AHS are working in conjunction to establish a plan centred around service levels and doctor attraction and retention that could be finalized in September, according to Brown.
“A recommendation will be going forward to the Province for a capital request for 2015,” he said.
“Some significant information should be released in the next six to eight months.”
Managing growth in the city was another topic during Brown’s speech, as he stressed the importance of another traffic interchange in the city, likely in the south end.
“We can’t grow responsibly if we don’t know we have an interchange in place,” said Brown. “We need to get this stuff in place, if not in place, at least a plan to pay for it, if that’s not there, then we’ve got nothing. I’m hopeful that by September, I will have some information that I can announce publicly that the Province and the Ministry of Transportation will be supporting us in a good way for getting in and out of our community because right now it’s not great.”
Brown wrapped up his speech by expressing his optimism about the future of Airdrie as well as the current outlook.
“As the mayor, I’m very proud to say that I think we have the best community and best city in Alberta, Canada and around the world to live in,” said Brown. “This is the place to be, this is where you want to be and this is where all you business leaders want to go.”