October '09 Newsletter

Town Council News

October  2009                                                                      Volume 4, Issue 4

Countdown to Athabasca Centennial begins

Athabasca Mayor Colleen Powell cuts into a celebration cake featuring Athabasca's official 2011 Centennial logo, just unveiled at the Centennial countdown event on September 19.

The winning Athabasca 2011 Centennial logo has been announced and a Centennial Celebration website is up and interactive. Now it’s time for residents to roll up their sleeves and begin planning in earnest for the year long event. It is approaching faster than some may think.

When Centennial Committee members, hopeful logo contestants and interested members of the community gathered at the Athabasca Regional Multiplex to launch the Centennial countdown on Sept. 19, the need for additional community-driven advance planning was emphasized.

“This is Athabasca’s event – the whole year (2011) can be used to celebrate the Athabasca 100-year celebration,” noted committee president Bill Black. “We want to encourage people who have ideas to bring them forward.”

While members of the Centennial Committee may be involved in planning some of the events, their role is largely to promote Centennial awareness, theme continuity and the importance of planning events well in advance. The number and range of events and the overall success of the year-long celebration will depend on the initiative taken by members of the community at large.

“I encourage anyone who represents any group to get together with your people to see what you can do to tie your 2011 event into the Centennial theme,” advised Bill.

Possible projects could include special or enhanced public events or performances; family, school and club reunions; permanent monuments, large or small; art projects; buildings and more – anything that has a local focus and can be related to the Athabasca Centennial theme.

Athabasca Centennial Logo

One of the highlights of the Sept. 19 Countdown event was the unveiling of the official Athabasca 2011 Centennial Logo which is now available for a variety of promotional uses.

The winning entry belonged to Kenton Boswick. Kenton’s logo features the peak of the Athabasca Train Station in the foreground, backed by the Athabasca River, the Highway 813 bridge, rolling hills and a setting sun, all emblazoned with stylized letters saying “Athabasca 100th”.

More than 60 entries were submitted in the logo contest, held earlier this year. Artists of all skill levels were represented and several were on hand for the unveiling.

To view a copy of the winning logo, click here.

Another highlight of the September event was a silent auction offering dozens of items donated by local businesses, organizations and institutions. Enthusiastic bidders circled the auction tables, keeping an eye on the bids for their favourite items. Proceeds from the auction will go towards centennial events.

One popular auction item, donated by Kay O’Connor, was a photo enlargement of an Athabasca street scene from about the 1940s. The photo is enclosed in an attractively rustic wood frame and shows the Athabasca Train Station, period vehicles, grain elevators and other landmarks.

Since the photo provides such a beautiful representation of Athabasca history, the winning bidders—the team of Mayor Colleen Powell and Town CAO Doug Topinka—have donated it to the Town of Athabasca where it is now on display at the Town Office.

Athabasca Centennial Website

Centennial Committee member Joan Veenstra provided highlights of the new, interactive Athabasca 2011 Centennial Celebration website: http://www.athabasca2011.com.

Joan referred to the current pages of the site, including the home page stating the mission of the committee, a Calendar and Events page, a page with a list of committee members, a Links page and a Contact Us e-mail link.

One feature displayed on every page is an actual timer counting down to Athabasca’s big Centennial Celebration in days, hours, minutes and seconds.

The Links page provides links to the Town of Athabasca website and a Centennial Forums Site where committee members and members of the community can post information and engage in discussion.

Committee president Bill Black sees great potential for the Centennial Forums as a communication resource.

“The intent is to have correspondence between committee members and anybody in the community who visits the site,” notes Bill.

Over time, the Athabasca Centennial website will develop to include news, photos, blogs and other features to help promote the fast-approaching 2011 celebration.

Visit and bookmark the website at http://www.athabasca2011.com

The Centennial Committee meets regularly and all interested members of the community are encouraged to attend the meetings. Visit the centennial website and send an e-mail expressing your interest to be added to the mailing list for notices and updates.


Town of Athabasca Sustainability Plan

Participants discuss details during a focus group planning session for the Athabasca Sustainability Plan, October 3.

The first draft of the Town of Athabasca Sustainability Plan (TASP) is being prepared and members of the community will have one more opportunity to offer input before the plan is finalized and approved by Town Council.

The last of three Focus Group sessions will be held on Saturday, November 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Athabasca Regional Multiplex. Like the first two, the third meeting is open to everyone and Council encourages all interested members of the community to attend. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

The TASP is a non-statutory document that the Town of Athabasca will use to guide decisions and revisions to the Town's other master planning and regulatory documents. The Municipal Development Plan, Land Use Bylaw, Area Re-development Plan and Heritage Plan are examples of statutory plans that will be affected by this document.

Sustainability plans go beyond what is generally covered in land use and development plans. The TASP will assist Town Council and Town staff in evaluating municipal decisions relating to infrastructure, economic initiatives, social services, heritage initiatives, recreation initiatives, cultural initiatives, and governance matters.

There are four specific questions being addressed through the TASP planning process:

1.      What is the current situation in the Town of Athabasca?

2.      What is the desired situation for the future?

3.      How can we get there? (achievable and realistic initiatives)

4.      How can we measure our successes and keep ourselves accountable?

Workshop discussion in the first Focus Group session (June 20) focused on the first two questions.

Workshop discussion in the second Focus Group session (October 3) revolved around results from the first session, followed by a period of brainstorming to determine objectives and strategies to help phrase answers to the third and forth questions.

The primary purpose of the October 3 session was to help develop an outline for a first draft of the TASP.

The Focus Group Sessions were facilitated by Jane Dauphinee, a planner with Municipal Planning Services (Alberta) Ltd. Municipal Planning Services is working in collaboration with the Town of Athabasca to prepare the TASP.

Following the October 3 session, Jane prepared a comprehensive summary which was made available to Council members, community stakeholders, Focus Group members and other interested parties for review and to provide feedback before completing the first draft of the TASP.

The summary covers each of the four Pillars of Sustainability: Community Well Being, Strong and Supportive Social Infrastructure, Economic Prosperity, and Environmental Integrity and Protection.

For each pillar, a set of objectives is identified, as listed below. In the actual summary, each of these objectives is supported with respective strategies, implementation tools, and indicators (how progress will be monitored).

The objectives outlined in the summary include:

Pillar: Community Well Being

Objective A: To ensure that all residents have reasonable access to recreation opportunities.

Objective B: Maintain current, and encourage future, development of recreation opportunities which are appropriate to the scale of the community.

Objective C: To support and encourage cultural diversity and creativity.

Objective D: To create and support an aesthetically pleasing community.

Objective E: Respect, celebrate and promote heritage/commit to investing in our heritage.

Objective F: To work towards a harmonized and coordinated communication strategy among disparate groups within the Town and the region.

Objective G: Ensure that Athabasca is a safe community.

Pillar: Strong and Supportive Social Infrastructure

Objective A: First class community health care network in Athabasca.

Objective B: Support and grow tertiary education opportunities.

Objective C: Nurture a culture of learning and creativity.

Objective D: Create opportunities for a wide variety of housing options.

Objective E: Athabasca is a diverse and inclusive community.

Objective F: Foster the well-being of all community members during every stage of life.

Objective G: Value and support the Town’s strong spirit of volunteerism.

Objective H: Improve communications and cooperation.

Objective I: Provide gathering places for community members to spontaneously interact and celebrate.

Pillar: Economic Prosperity

Objective A: Business Retention – Athabasca is a healthy economic environment in which businesses can thrive.

Objective B: Business growth and expansion

Objective C: New business attraction

Objective D: Investment attraction

Pillar: Environmental Integrity and Protection

Objective A: The Town will be a good steward of its natural resources.

Objective B: The Town will plan and develop infrastructure for future needs with consideration for the natural environment.

Objective C: Future infrastructure developments will support/foster economic prosperity, environmental integrity, strong and supportive social infrastructure and community well-being.

Objective D: Optimize use of natural resources.

Objective E: Foster local self-reliance (food, energy).

Objective F: Future development within the Town of Athabasca will generate no net loss to riparian areas.

Objective G: Encourage and facilitate “green” design.


Objective A: (Transparency and Accountability) Foster an environment of civic engagement.

Objective B: Integration and adaptability

Objective C: Active engagement and outreach to encourage citizen participation (face-to-face, grassroots, personal).

Objective D: Set strategies that are purpose-driven, results-oriented and include targets and indicators.

Objective E: Base decisions on facts, efficient use of resources, long term objectives and the principles of sustainability.

After receiving additional feedback, Jane completed the first draft of the TASP and again presented it to Council members, community stakeholders, Focus Group members and other interested parties for review. She will meet with Council and the TASP Community Advisory Group to discuss the draft and make additional changes before the third Focus Group Session, scheduled for November 14.

The purpose of the third and final Focus Group Session is to allow public review of the first draft of the TASP and to gather more feedback before preparing the final draft.

Council emphasizes the importance of all interested members of the community being in attendance for the final Focus Group Session.

The meeting will be held in the Athabasca Regional Multiplex from 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 14. Lunch will be provided.

For more information, contact the Town Office at 780-675-2063; or Jane Dauphinee, Planner with Municipal Planning Services (Alberta) Ltd., 780-486-1991.


Development in Athabasca

It seems that almost wherever one looks in Athabasca, the signs of development and growth are apparent. Despite the threat of impending winter, construction crews continue to remain busy on various projects ranging from housing to infrastructure to institutional and commercial.

Three homes are going up in the new Wood Heights Subdivision where water and sewer lines are already in place, and sidewalks and some of the residential roadwork have been completed.

The main line of the sanitary sewer line has been installed along the south border of the new subdivision and after delays caused by excessive groundwater, the remaining sections of the sewer line have successfully been installed down Wood Heights Road, south. Reclamation work on the road itself is underway and area residents anticipate the reopening of the road.

Also on Wood Heights Road, the Regional Water Treatment Plant is beginning to take form. Projected to be operational by August, 2010, the plant will accommodate the needs of communities located throughout Athabasca County. The facility will be governed by the Aspen Regional Water Services Commission.

On the south hill in Athabasca, just around the corner from Edwin Parr Composite High School, construction of the new Pleasant Valley Lodge is underway. Once built, the new building will replace the existing one located at 5210 – 47 Avenue. Pleasant Valley Lodge is governed by the Greater North Foundation.

At the other end of town, on University Drive, Athabasca University’s new Academic and Research Centre is also taking shape. Scheduled for completion in mid-2010, the building will significantly increase the current office space of the university.

In the downtown business district, groundwork for the new Buy-Low Foods grocery store is continuing. Alternative parking has been made available across the street, east, while the existing store remains operational.

Details of additional development in the Town of Athabasca are available to the public in the recently released third-quarter summary. Check with the Town Office to view the summary.

Three houses under construction in the new Wood Heights Subdivision, down Wood Heights Road.

Sidewalks and streets are already outlining portions of the new Wood Heights Subdivision.

Sewer line construction resumes on Wood Heights Road early in October after crews successfully overcome excessive groundwater issues.

Despite the threat of early winter in mid-October, crews continue to work on the Wood Heights Road sewer line.  In the background, the new Aspen Regional Water Treatment Plant begins to take form.

When it becomes operational next year, the Aspen Regional Water Treatment Plant will serve the needs of communities throughout Athabasca County.

The new Pleasant Valley Lodge rising from the ground just around the corner from Edwin Parr Composite High School.  When complete, the new building will replace the old facility, presently located on 52 Street and 47 Avenue in Athabasca.

Athabasca University's new Academic and Research Centre begins to take shape on University Drive, across from the Athabasca Regional Multiplex.

Staff members, construction crew and other interested parties watch as the walls start going up on the new 28,000 sq. ft. Buy-Low Foods store in Athabasca, Oct. 22.  The new store will open in April of next year, replacing the old 17,000 sq. ft. store.

One of several 11,000 lb. cement forms being installed on the East Hill in Athabasca to secure and guide Telus underground telecommunications cables, September 29.

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