2021 to be a year of positive change

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Warmer weather, melting snow, and longer days are sure signs that 2021 has arrived. When driving around, you might even catch some of the really early-season motorcyclists!

2021 will be a year of moving forward! It will undoubtedly be a year of change — a year of positive change.

Our challenges in 2020 led many of us to reconnect with friends and family, gave us time to learn and reflect, prompted us to become more active, taught us a renewed love of the outdoors, and helped us become more resilient.

As our cross-country ski trails soften and the skating ribbon at Broadmoor Lake Park melts, it is time to embrace the trails and spring! Let’s dust off our runners, inline skates, bicycles, scooters, and skateboards. Looking at fields and sports facilities — find a safe place to swing your bats, clubs, and racquets and loosen up for the sports season!

On Monday, March 8, the county’s Spring Recreation Guide goes live along with online registration. The county’s dedicated staff have strived to develop programming that maximizes recreational opportunities while complying with the Alberta Government’s COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions.

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Two large facilities are scheduled for further design and construction consultation this year: Pointé-aux-Pins Acres, our upcoming multi-purpose agricultural facility, and the new indoor turf field house. Council is excited to hear about site shortlists for the field house in the coming months.

In 2020, we also made many new furry friends as sales and adoption of pets soared. As Editor Lindsay Morey aptly referred to them, our pandemic pooches are great companions who love and demand our attention. That demand for attention also leads to dogs becoming our best encouragement to get out and be active! If you have used Deer Mound or Sally Stewart parks over the past year, you will have had first-hand experience of their incredible use.

As a result of parking concerns and the heavy use, council is looking into other options for temporary off-leash parks. A key consideration in these temporary off-leash parks will be locating them within walking distance inside of neighbourhoods. Ideally, most Sherwood Park residents will be close enough to walk and not drive to the nearest dog park.

Please check out the Free Recreational Opportunity page on the Strathcona County website for additional recreational opportunities. A couple of the upcoming events are free snowshoeing on March 7 and March 11, and Gallery@501’s hosting a virtual tour of the “Walking Gently: Spirit Stories and the 13 Moons” exhibit on March 11.

To answer a question that I have heard a few times this week from people with rollerblades, motorcycles, and bicycles — our street sweepers and trail cleaning machines are sitting ready; if it stays warm, we’ll be riding and rolling shortly!

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I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all of our excellent county staff and departments for their efforts and dedication through 2020. Our staff’s commitment, creativity, and adaptability allowed for an increased emphasis on supportive services. The departments designed new services and hosted unique and modified events, which were met with kind comments and “thank you’s” from citizens about our staff. We all have been proud of our Strathcona County staff, but 2020 provided them the opportunity to truly demonstrate the care and passion they have for our community.

Together our experiences in 2020 will help us craft 2021 into our happiest, healthiest year yet. Have a happy 2021!

Strathcona County Ward 3 Coun. Brian Botterill was first elected in October 2013. He can be contacted by calling 780-464-8149 or by emailing brian.botterill@strathcona.ca.

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