Breathing Easier This Summer
Without a doubt, summer is my favorite season. While strong arguments can be made for spring, I am a summer guy who loves the warm weather, the opportunities to go camping, lay on a beach or simply enjoy being outside. I don’t mind the hot days of summer, though it seems that in this region those truly hot days are few and far between.
With the move to stage two of the re-opening plan, this summer will seem extra special as we can finally get together with the people we love. As vaccine rates go up, cases of COVID-19 go down and the number of people in hospital declines rapidly, we will all be able to breathe a sigh of relief this summer.
Enjoy the good things that summer has to bring. More than anything, enjoy the new found freedoms that coming with moving to stage two.
County Moves to Re-opening Facilities as Provincial Restrictions are lifted
On June 10, outdoor recreation resumed without restrictions, including field, diamond, court and spray park access, and youth and adult sports.
- Some indoor recreation re-opened on June 10 including arenas, dry surfaces and activity bookings for the Millennium Place wellness centre. On June 14, activity bookings for wellness centres at all locations, lap swimming and aquatic fitness will resume. Booking information will be online here.
- Spray parks, which were allowed to open on June 1st with restrictions, have had all fences removed as restrictions were lifted.
- [email protected] exhibits opened at 1/3 capacity on June 10 and Festival Place bookings will resume on June 16.
- All programs will adhere to strict provincial restrictions and guidelines, including smaller participant capacity, masking and distancing.
- The County is working on plans for stage three of the provincial “Open for Summer” plan. Programs will be reintroduced safely, and residents will be supported as we begin reopening indoor services.
Businesses Move to Re-open
- As of June 10, indoor recreation, entertainment and other settings including recreation centres, arenas, casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, galleries and libraries are permitted to open at 1/3 capacity.
- Strathcona County Library will resume Browse & Go+ in-person services at 1/3 capacity on June 15. More information can be found here.
- Gyms and fitness studios may open for individual and drop-in activities. Participants in indoor fitness classes must maintain three metres distance.
- Personal and wellness services may resume walk-in services.
- Restaurants are permitted to seat six people maximum per table, both indoors and outdoors.
- Retail shops can host up to 1/3 of their fire code occupancy, but customers and staff must be able to maintain two metres distance.
- While the work from home order is lifted under stage two, working from home is still recommended by the Province.
- Residents are encouraged to support local businesses by shopping local, sharing positive reviews and spreading the word about local shops and restaurants with friends, families and social circles.
- Strathcona County has allowed restaurants to expand existing or open outdoor eating areas.
70 Acre Brew Company Opens
On Saturday June 5, I had the pleasure of visiting Strathcona County’s newest business – 70 Acre Brew Company located at 310-6000 Buckingham Drive in Sherwood Park. Three years in the making, the owners of 70 Acre Brew were delighted to open the first crafter brewer in the community. With a 140-seat capacity and a patio in development, this facility is an exciting new entrant into the hospitality sector. Welcome to Strathcona County!
Integrated Regional Transportation Master Plan (IRTMP) Taskforce
As we head towards summer, the work of the IRTMP taskforce is nearing completion. Ultimately this plan will guide the region on transportation planning decisions for the next 25 years as the region is expected to grow by a million people. The plan has focused on how we move people, goods and services across the region and towards markets that go beyond our borders. It contemplates dedicated truck/bus lanes as one strategy to reduce congestion. It focuses on roads, rail and pipelines. As it contemplates the transportation network, consideration is given to moving people and products to and from employment nodes such as Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. In so doing it considers what portions of the network need to be upgraded to move traffic as efficiently as possible.
Awards of Excellence
What a pleasure to celebrate the winners of the 2021 Awards of Excellence in the County. The 2021 Strathcona County Awards of Excellence recipients have distinguished themselves and contributed to our community in many ways. Showing leadership, strength and courage to help others, building a safer community and mentoring our youth are some of the achievements that will be celebrated at the Strathcona County Awards of Excellence. Congratulations to all of the winners:
- Mayor’s Award
- Agricultural Leadership
- Arts, Culture and Heritage
Strathcona County Library Bookmobile
- Community Service
- Economic Diversification
Engage Construction Management and Consulting
Kepler Academy Emerald Hills
- Heroism and Leadership
Eileen and Ian Edwards
- Outstanding Group
Friends of Strathcona County Library Society
Strathcona County Diversity Committee
- Service to Seniors
Linking Generations Society of Alberta
- Service to Youth
CanTeen Youth Hub
Breaking the Cycle Conference
On May 31, 2021 I had the pleasure of attending the virtual Breaking the Cycle Conference hosted by the Saffron Centre. Once again, the centre put on an excellent event with a focus this year on healthy masculinity. If you missed out on hearing their amazing line-up of speakers, I would urge you to reach out to Saffron regarding possible opportunities to view the sessions on video. Keynote speakers Jesse Lipscom and Dr. Jody Carrington.
As COVID continued unabated this spring, The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) held this annual conference on line. Congratulations to my colleague, Katie Berghofer who was elected to the national board of directors as one of Alberta’s representatives. Strathcona County will be well served by her voice at the National table.
Senior’s Week Drive Through Event – June 7
What a great activity! The Senior’s week drive through event took place in Centennial Park on June 7. Though the rain forced the event to shut down early, it was a pleasure to see so many seniors come through and to have a moment to visit with them. Our seniors are a vital part of this community, so it was a pleasure to be able to celebrate them in this way!
Hydrogen Projects Announced
Over the past few weeks there have been two significant hydrogen announcements in the region. On May 13, Suncor and Atco announced their intention to build a joint venture project located in Strathcona County and Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.
On June 9, Air Products announced that they will build a $1.3 billion Hydrogen facility in North East Edmonton on the doorstep of Strathcona County. The site would produce hydrogen-fueled electricity and liquid hydrogen for international markets. If all goes according to plan, the site will be operational by 2024.
As the news swirls around these announcements, our understanding of this important resource is growing. Hydrogen has the potential to transition Alberta’s economy to the next stage of development. Hydrogen is quickly becoming the global zero-emission fuel of choice to power our everyday engines and newer fuel cell technology.
It is growing in popularity because it produces very low amounts of greenhouse gases, and its only significant emission is water vapour. Canada is one of the top ten hydrogen producers in the world, and Strathcona County is poised to become a leader in the sector.
There has been a global emphasis on transitioning to greater use of clean energy, with hydrogen playing a key role. With a federal goal of becoming net-zero in emissions by 2050, there is opportunity in the hydrogen sector to see economic growth and diversification, along with significant job creation.
Council Adopts New Territorial Acknowledgement Policy
June 15th was a very special day in Council Chambers as Council participated in a flag ceremony receiving the Treaty Six Nations and the Metis Nation of Alberta flags which will now become a permanent part of the flag display in Chambers. Council also adopted a new Territorial Acknowledgement Policy which more accurately describes the relationship between the County and the First Peoples. Council appreciated the advice of the elders who helped to guide this process. The acknowledgement now reads,
Today, I acknowledge that Strathcona County is located on Treaty Six Territory and the homeland of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region Two and Four. Strathcona County honours the First Peoples of this land. We recognize that we stand upon land that carries the footsteps of Cree, Métis, and Blackfoot amongst many other Nations, who have been here for thousands of years. Therefore, Strathcona County has an inherent responsibility to foster healthier relationships with First Peoples and further the Calls to Action as outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
County Celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day
June 21 marks National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, and Strathcona County is proud to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of Indigenous people. This day will also help bring awareness to the many unprecedented circumstances that Indigenous peoples have endured. From June 19 – 21, the County will host a variety of activities in acknowledgement of National Indigenous Peoples Day.
Recreation, Parks and Culture will support this important day by hosting activities virtually at [email protected], Festival Place and on the county website. Activities include Floral Fish Scale Art with MJ Belcourt, an Edmonton-based Métis artist, educator and curator, Métis Jigging with Cultural Educator Felice Gladue and live fiddle playing by Zachary Willier, and a virtual film screening and discussion group for Treaty Talk: Sharing the River of Life, with Dr. Pat Makokis, Dr. Diana Steinhauer and Knowledge Keeper, Lloyd Cardinal. Artworks from the Strathcona County Public Art Collection, created by Indigenous artists, have also been highlighted on our website for residents to explore.
National Indigenous History Month is a good time to plan your visit to Amiskwaciy (Cree for Beaver Hills) and deepen your learning about the history of Strathcona County and those who lived here for thousands of years. Beaver Hills Biosphere, located within Treaty 6 territory, is a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous Nations, including the Plains Cree, Metis, Blackfoot, Plains Ojibway and Sioux peoples.
Canada celebration activities for all ages and abilities
Strathcona County is also offering a wide range of FREE virtual and in-person workout classes. Classes include dance fit, pre-school, kickboxing, barre, age 50+, and more.
For people who are new to golf and don’t own clubs, check out the FREE (rentals included) Canada Day Golf Clinic at The Broadmoor Golf Course driving range. In addition, with the purchase of a regular-priced green fee, younger golfers can join the fun with a FREE Junior green fee, plus 50 per cent off a power cart rental. Register today by calling the ProShop at 780-467-7373.
Thrill seekers can register to climb, swing, jump and balance their way to the finish through the FREE ninja obstacle course, suitable for all fitness levels and ages 5+ at the Emerald Hills Regional Park.
Free disc golfing (include disc rentals) is also available at the Strathcona Wilderness Centre. Rentals are available at the information centre daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Staff will be on-site the week of Canada Day to show where to go and teach the basics of gameplay. For more information and how to play disc golf, visit strathcona.ca/discgolf.
Residents are also invited to complete the Canada Day Scavenger Hunt for a chance to win a prize.
On July 1, bring the family to the annual Canada Day Pancake Breakfast, with a new drive-thru format in the Festival Place parking lot. Attendees are asked to pre-register their vehicle for a time slot to enjoy the annual pancake and sausage breakfast tradition, sponsored by the Sherwood Park Canadian Progress Club. The attendant will make a contactless delivery right to the vehicle window, in accordance with current provincial public health guidance.
In addition, Strathcona County is bringing food trucks right to your neighbourhood! Food trucks will be visiting five community locations throughout the week.
Food truck attendees will be treated to a variety of vocal performances, including the talented Young Cree Singers on July 1.
Information on fireworks will be announced by the County shortly, as the planning team monitors the provincial health guideline announcements for stage 3.
Mayor to Send Letter to Pope Francis
On June 15 Council passed a motion asking the Mayor to write a letter to Pope Francis and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops encouraging the Holy Father to visit Canada at his earliest convenience to formally apologize to Canada’s First Peoples for the role the church played in residential schools and to ask that all records pertaining to the death of children in these schools be released.
Though largely symbolic, the letter shows solidarity with Canada’s First Peoples as they endeavor to find peace and reconciliation in this sad chapter of Canada’s history. It is hoped that other municipalities will follow suit and add their voice to that of First Nations Communities across Canada.
Strathcona County Municipal Election
On Monday, October 18, 2021, Strathcona County residents will go to the polls to elect the next mayor and council. Please visit the county website at Election | Strathcona County for more information about the election or to learn about recent changes to the Local Authorities Election Act which came into effect in 2020. Nomination forms can also be found on this page.