The February Leduc Regional Chamber of Commerce was host to a brand new hotel that opened its doors in December. The Hilton Garden Inn was the elegant, modern and lovely host of this monthly function attended by close to 150 business people and community leaders.
These luncheons take place on the first Friday of the month and usually start with a networking session that is quite popular with the luncheon guests. The tables of eight are conducive to lively chats, the exchange of business cards and business information being shared. Proud to be showing off their new property, several Hilton executives were seen greeting guests and supervising the service. Gaurav Singhmar, the hotel’s GM was in attendance, graciously meeting some and being introduced to others. Cheryl Rose, a familiar name to many local business people, is a Marketing and Sales Director for the Hilton brand, and now calls Leduc home.
The main attraction for this particular luncheon meeting was the State of the City by Leduc Mayor, Greg Krishke and the State of the County address, delivered by Leduc County Councillor Audrey Kelto in Mayor John Whaley’s absence.
City of Leduc Mayor Greg Krishke was, in his usual fashion, a dynamic and fun speaker. To open his State of the City address, he admitted looking forward to this annual early in the year tradition. Supported in the luncheon crowd by the majority of his council members, he summarized the topic he was to tackle. The City of Leduc’s vision statement of wanting to build a community of ‘integrity, unity and strength’. He shared that the City of Leduc’s population grew by 1,000 new residents in 2011 and acquired 460 new residential housing units and that this growth needed to be managed in a responsible way. He referred to the 2010 Community Report that was designed to lead this community into the future, such as the addition of 800 meters of walking trail added to the south end of Telford Lake and the gradual implementation of the 2010 Telford Lake Master Plan, a plan that concerns one of Leduc’s major assets!
Mayor Krishke reminded the attentive audience that unity can be achieved by pride (the City of Leduc hosting the Alberta Scotties recently, a flawless success) or by tragedy (the Suntree fire that destroyed six homes and the tragic loss of a young colleague.) He continued to list various initiatives meant to enhance the well-being of our citizens, such as the discussions to build a Splash Park in this community. Fiscal responsibility is a top priority for our City management, as it collaborates with other municipalities in creating a long-term fiscal responsibility plan and works in harmony with Leduc County to make this region strong and competitive.
C-Line, the transit system introduced in late 2010, had a successful 2011, seeing a monthly increase in ridership numbers. Affordable housing was increased in the City with the addition of 24 units in two more buildings. Exciting plans are a reality to develop the 65th Avenue interchange, in collaboration with the Edmonton International Airport, Port Alberta, Leduc County and other commercial and industrial entities in the region. Working effectively is also a priority, so, as promised in the Mayor’s 2011 address, City processes and procedures are being reviewed, to maximize time and talent and minimize duplication and weak practices. Vacant positions are being scrutinized, with the purpose of trying to integrate them into existing positions. As the City of Leduc is seen as a community of choice, the last five years have shown an outstanding demographic growth. This growth requires that we look into a Police Review, and a Fire Protection Master Plan. Planning for the future so that emergency services match the needs of a growing population.
This population now enjoys new, more technically savvy forms of communication, although shared the Mayor with a chuckle, face-to-face communication is still much appreciated! The community has banded together to support and build an awesome recreation centre that last year alone hosted 100 major events. In conclusion, Mayor Krishke boldly stated that the strength of our community can only be achieved with the support of its citizens, and that the City management has one main goal in its sights, to provide the best quality of life to its citizens. This was a summary of the official State of the City of Leduc address document.
State of Leduc County Address was Delivered by Division 7 Councillor Audrey Kelto
Ms Kelto started her speech by offering regrets and best wishes from the Leduc County Mayor, John Whaley. In a surprising move that kept her audience spellbound, Mrs. Kelto announced that she was going to leave the ‘numbers’ in the little booklets on the tables, to instead highlight the various Leduc County divisions and their little-known landmarks. The first order of business was to remind the audience of how large the County really is. It covers 2,600 square kms, and stretches 104 kms from east to west. Leduc County has a primary focus: agriculture. In the central region, an excellent soil can be found so it encourages many types of crops to be successfully grown and harvested.
Division 1, at the east end of the County, now includes the Hamlet of New Sarepta (since one year ago) we’re committed to the growth of this community and are working with community groups to upgrade the Agriplex so it will become a multi-purpose community facility. Visitors to the area can camp at Joseph Lake, or enjoy the Ministik Bird Sanctuary, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
Division 2 holds nearly 30 subdivisions, their residents close to the Town of Beaumont and the City of Leduc. At the heart of this division, sits the Hamlet of Rolly View, a Communities In Bloom champion with a strong community spirit.
Division 3 in the west is a central region that is host to the Nisku Industrial Park, the second largest park of this nature in Canada. Its 30,000 workers commute in and out of the park daily. County Council has recently given the go-ahead for the Nisku Spine Road between 41 Street and 25th Avenue that will eventually alleviate the flow of daily traffic. Future development will be facilitated in the East Vistas by a recently approved Local Area Structure Plan; that’s a plan that will come to fruition in the next several decades.
Division 4 is host to the Edmonton International Airport, which is continually being developed. It’s the fifth busiest airport in Canada. Twelve new shops and restaurants were recently added to the Main Hall, and the new hotel, terminal and control tower will be completed by the end of 2012.
Division 4 is also home to several important recreational facilities and landmarks, such as:
– Leduc #1 Energy Discovery Centre, representing a critical oil discovery and now an important tourist destination.
– Castrol Raceway, Rabbit Hill Snow Resort which attracts thousands of winter sports enthusiasts every season and finally Shalom Park, a world class water skiing facility on the North SK River.
In Division 5, you will find Jubilee Park day use area and campground located on the picturesque Wizard Lake. Wilton Park is one of many thriving community halls in the County that host events all year-long.
Division 6 is the south west part of the County. Rolling hills, mixed farm land and heavily treed areas are host to countless oil jacks, gas wells and oil tanks. Pigeon Lake is a huge tourist attraction that welcomes 30,000 visitors each year. A small historic area is Rundles Mission that was built in the late 1800s. At the west end of this division, you will find the Village of Warburg and the Hamlet of Sunnybrook, two thriving communities, that despite their size, hold numerous clubs and sports groups.
The Village of Thorsby is at the west end of the County and boasts a wonderful sports centre, the Arctic Spas Recreation Complex, named after the leading employer in that region.
Division 7 sees a mix of small and large business. Home-based machine and welding shops share the land with the Genesee Power Station that provides many jobs and leads the way in environmentally safe practices. In the north west corner of that division, Telfordville Community Hall will celebrate its 100th anniversary later this year.
As Ms Kelto resumed her talk, she adds that, “Signs are pointing to a positive economic turnaround in our region, which means we can look forward to another 100 years of health, prosperity and regional collaboration to ensure the continued longevity of our communities and our people.” Farmers and community leaders are positive when looking at the next few years.” Hopefully this presentation, even in summary, will make you more familiar with Leduc County.
In closing of this Chamber of Commerce lunch report, Cheryl Rose was happy to see so many of the luncheon’s guests take in tours of the Hilton Garden Inn’s wonderful facility. The bright and elegant foyer, dining area and bar, the spacious pool and hot tub, the great banquet room and uniquely appointed boardroom. This hotel is a signature creation that highlights the chic and modern Hilton look. With many executive suites to suit all business needs, we expect this hotel, located at the east end of the Nisku Industrial Park just south of Airport Road, will see many events and visitors in the near future.