Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown delivered his annual State of the City address on June 6 at the Town and Country Centre, highlighting what he deemed remarkable progress made in the city's economic development in the last year, but at the same time taking a shot or two at a lack of provincial funding support.
With a 92 per cent satisfaction rate among owners and operating businesses (as indicated through a community satisfaction survey), Airdrie is proving to be a promising hub for growth and innovation, according to Brown.
During his address at the Chamber of Commerce-run event, Brown shared the long-term vision for downtown Airdrie, encompassing a vibrant community filled with activities, learning, creativity, and possibilities.
Recognizing Airdrie’s proximity to Calgary’s international airport, the mayor emphasized the potential to transform the city’s core into a sought-after destination for residents and visitors alike.
“We want to make our downtown a destination for everyone,” he said. “It’s very exciting times and we are just at the beginning.”
An essential aspect of fostering community connections is Airdrie’s future library and multi-use facility along Main Street, construction for which is set to begin this summer. According to Brown, the future facility intends to provide a space that facilitates interaction and learning opportunities for people of all ages. The library is poised to become a central hub for knowledge-sharing and collaboration within the city.
Airdrie’s mayor’s address also discussed the future southwest recreation centre, revealing council’s recently chosen option that focuses on meeting the diverse needs of the majority of residents. The decision was made during the June 5 council meeting. By prioritizing inclusivity and accessibility, he said the City is working towards creating recreational facilities that cater to the varied interests and preferences of its vibrant population.
Another achievement highlighted by Brown on Tuesday was the progress made in the construction of the 40th Avenue bridge and interchange over the Queen Elizabeth II Highway. Aidrie’s mayor commented that not only has the project been delivered on budget, but it is also on track for timely completion this October. He said the much-needed infrastructure development promises to improve transportation efficiency and connectivity for commuters, benefiting both residents and businesses.
“We’ve done a really good job at understanding when things need to be fixed, and that’s really key to our future success and if you go to other municipalities, the potholes are huge, the challenges are massive – we are ahead of that,” he said.
While acknowledging Airdrie’s municipal achievements, Brown did raise concerns about what he argued is a lack of financial support from the provincial government. He expressed dissatisfaction with the government's minimal contribution to the construction of essential infrastructure, particularly those like the 40th Ave. project.
He also addressed the need for additional public schools in the city.
Comparing Airdrie to other small municipalities, Mayor Brown called for increased advocacy at the provincial level and emphasized the urgency of receiving more support and funds from the higher level of government.
"We stand alone, we need help," he said.
Despite recent progress, the mayor stressed the cost of Airdrie’s improvements must be shared by all. He noted residents are encouraged to recognize the importance of contributing to the city's growth and development through various means, including tax payments and active participation in community initiatives.
“If we don’t get them to pay and be responsible, there has to be an equitable funding formula from the province,” he said. “We all have to pay for these cost increases because the government is not giving us the money that we deserve, and Airdrie deserves better.”
On the topic of local health care, Brown also acknowledged the pressing issue of capacity shortages in Airdrie’s urgent care facility. Recognizing the need for additional resources and provincial funds, he called upon residents to advocate for increased support to overcome capacity challenges and ensure the health and well-being of the community.
“We are working on some things with the private sector right now at the municipal level – not the provincial level – to try and fix the problem through private investment,” he said.
As Airdrie continues to grow economically, Brown expressed determination to enhance the city's infrastructure and community services. By fostering a sense of collective responsibility and urging residents to advocate for the community, he said Airdrie aims to secure the support and resources necessary for sustained growth and prosperity.