Posted on Jul 6, 2017

The vibrant community in which we live

Sherwood Park News - July 6, 2017

June was a month packed with celebrations, farewells and recognition of the vibrant community we live in. We celebrated the incredible leadership of our seniors in Strathcona County. The minister of Seniors and Housing was able to join us in the festivities to thank all of our seniors for their contributions, and reiterated our government’s commitment to working on affordable housing and to continue supporting people to be able to age in place. Our government has allocated $32.4 million for the rebuild of Clover Bar Lodge. This new facility will almost double the capacity to 144 rooms.

The Ardrossan Recreation & Agricultural Society (ARAS) hosted the Old Fashioned Parade & Picnic. As a result of the hundreds of volunteer hours, this event was enjoyed by more than 3,000 folks that came to watch the parade, and many more reveled in the full range of activities at the picnic. I think Leighton Larson and the ARAS team deserve to be commended for the vision they had for this year’s parade. For my own part, my parade entry highlighted the significance of our Indigenous people as we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. We must also recognize the story and our role in reconciliation. I was honoured to be joined by local Elder Willie Alexson and other folks from the drumming circle in Antler Lake.

Over the last couple years, our government has maintained stable funding that counties like ours rely on for vital infrastructure used by so many residents. It was a pleasure to tour the Ardrossan Recreation Complex and Emerald Hills Pavilion with Minister of Municipal Affairs Shaye Anderson. Our government has invested $21 million from the Municipal Sustainability Initiative towards the Emerald Hills Leisure Centre. He left with a better understanding of how the long-term planning of both centres will be critical, as Ardrossan and Sherwood Park continue to grow. As the minister was touring Strathcona-Sherwood Park, he also learned of the leadership and entrepreneurship in our county, as we paid a visit to Peter and his staff at Nitza’s Pizza. Later that afternoon, the minister responsible for Municipal Affairs appreciated the discussions that took place with Mayor Roxanne Carr and council.

Across the province, our government is moving forward with the largest school capital plan project in history, with more than 200 schools being built or modernized. Locally, these investments in education are being celebrated with Fultonvale’s grand re-opening and the Davidson Creek ground-breaking. After a few long years of work to modernize, it cannot be understated the work that was put in by parents, teachers and the school board. On the same day, Fultonvale opened their accessible playground, which was funded in part by a $125,000 Alberta CFEP grant. The slide tops the list of local families’ slides to check out! At the Davidson Creek site, we celebrated the ground-breaking for the future school that will also include up to $250,000 funding to support the construction of a playground.

As I talk to families in our community, one thing that keeps coming up is the high cost of school fees. I know that every September, it can be a real scramble for a family to cobble together the funds to get their kids out the door and into their schools. That’s exactly why I support reducing school fees. The first piece of legislation that was introduced during our spring sitting significantly reduces school fees. When your kids go back to school in September, you’ll notice that your mandatory school fees for items such as textbooks and other instructional material has been reduced. Across Alberta, this will save families hundreds of dollars.

Congratulations to the 2017 grads of ABJ, Ardrossan, SCA, Sal and Facey! For the rest of the students, I hope they enjoy the summer break and explore the many recreational facilities Strathcona County has to offer.

Estefania Cortes-Vargas is the Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Strathcona-Sherwood Park Constituency. If you have any comments or questions concerning this column or other provincial government issues, please contact Estefania at her constituency office located at #19 – 99 Wye Rd., Sherwood Park, T8B 1M1. Telephone: 780-416-2492 or e-mail: strathcona.sherwoodpark@assembly.ab.ca.