The Town of Stellarton had a strong 2017. It was a year with many highlights.
The Town hired a new Engineer, Blaine Murray. The Engineer is a critical lead staff position within our municipal unit. Blaine joined the Town of Stellarton staff team on July 3rd. In the short time since, he has proven his competences to Council, and his leadership skills to the Public Works crew.
The Town, along with the other two levels of government, have made significant investments in infrastructure. These investments will pay dividends for many years into the future. We laid many lengths of new water and sewer pipe; and there was over $1,300,000 worth of new asphalt laid on Stellarton streets in 2017.
The NSCC, long a big part of our small town, invested over $15,000,000 into the campus in Stellarton. Their state of the art facility is now complete, serving students and the community.
Our Town recognizes the importance of recreation, and as such made improvements to existing facilities. We invested, along with the province, $45,000 into our ballfields in Evansville. As a result, they were a beehive of activity this year, and will be for many years to come. The Town purchased over $25,000 in new equipment for our Valley Woods playground. The nature themed playground equipment will be installed this spring. We also reinvested over $60,000 in capital upgrades to our rink, improving the users experience.
The Town allocated $10,000 for a new dog park, adjacent to the William M Sobey Soccer Complex fields. The new dog park has been a welcome addition for residents looking for a safe place to take their pets for exercise.
2017 has been a strong year for Stellarton. However, 2018 is shaping up to be even better.
All indications point to the fact that the cannabis production facility located at 114 Acadia Ave will become operational in 2018. That would mean a new, major employer, has come to town. I am willing to bet that every municipal unit in Canada has a Christmas wish of bringing a new, major employer to town. Here in Stellarton, that wish has a very strong possibility of coming true in 2018.
Adding to the economic optimism in Stellarton is new activity at the Albion Business Park. Council reduced the price per square foot in 2017, which prompted interest in new developments. There are currently six letters of intent for lots in the business park. Serious developers are looking at attracting national chains to our park. Council is considering utilizing Provincial Bill 177, which allows municipalities to phase in new commercial assessment increases over ten years. Essentially, it provides tax incentives to new businesses that locate in one of our two business districts, the Albion Business Park or the Downtown. Stellarton Town Council is serious about trying to create economic growth in our town.
We will launch a new website in January 2018. Keep your eyes peeled, with the launch we are including eight videos that feature different aspects of our town (ex – Recreation, Restaurants, Business, etc.). Tony DeCoste produced the videos, and Council is very proud of the final product. We know our residents will thoroughly enjoy the videos. However, the main purpose of the videos is to attract tourists and potential new residents. The videos do a great job of showcasing our town.
Even with all the positive prospects of 2018, the Town of Stellarton enters the New Year with a touch of melancholy, as 2018 will be the retirement year of our Town Clerk, Joyce Eaton. She has been with the town for 48 years of dedicated service. We hope to have a new Town Clerk in place over the winter. Whoever made the decision in 1969 to hire Joyce Eaton for the front office, made a decision that benefitted our town for the next 48 years. Although we will never be able to replace Joyce, we do expect to find someone quite capable of leading Stellarton’s staff team. If we can fill the Town Clerk role with someone of the same caliber as we found for the Engineer position, the Town of Stellarton will be well served by its’ two top staff members for many years to come.
Merry Christmas and all the best in 2018!