This year has been unlike any other before. While we all faced the unknowns and challenges brought on by the COVID-19 Pandemic, the District of Sparwood pulled together, transitioned with the changes, and accomplished many of our strategic priorities.
Looking back on 2020, there are several highlights that myself, and Council are most proud of. Although we cannot list all of the achievements, we would like to speak to a few of the most notable.
The Recreation Master Plan had been a big focus of 2020. Mayor and Council worked diligently to engage residents every step of the way in the creation of this Plan. With various open houses, discussion sessions, surveys and more, the draft Master Plan was recently presented to the community. We sought feedback on the draft plan nearing the end of 2020 and have gained valuable insight on how residents would like to see the future of recreation be developed in Sparwood. On the same topic, the implementation of the recreation management software RecDesk, has assisted and streamlined the way patrons can view, learn about, sign up and pay for recreation programs. The timing of this could not have been better as this new online software has allowed our Leisure Centre to be able to easily accommodate the changes brought by COVID-19 restrictions, and thus, has allowed patrons to continue to utilize the facility and participate in programs with minimal impact.
Over the summer, Public works finished the Aspen Drive pathway, connecting the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce and Titan Park with the new tunnel access connecting residents with the golf trail network. The project included the remainder of a boulevard at the Causeway Bay entrance and added a service truck access to the Save-On Foods parking lot. The District is working on repairing degrading sidewalks throughout the community and have repaired and widened three sections in 2020. The District also started phasing in the Michel Creek Road pathway connecting residents on the east side of town with a 2.5-meter pathway to the rest of Sparwood’s trails. Further improvements to Sparwood’s Active Transportation Network are currently in the planning phase.
The new Middletown Crossing was completed in 2020 which saw the construction of the Komatsu building come to fruition. We are excited for this building to open and look forward to further investment and builds in this area in the future. Speaking of building and development, 2020 was a particularly busy year for the Planning and Development Department and of course, COVID-19 created new challenges. The year began with public engagement on the Centennial Square Revitalization project during a Winter Street Party which saw hundreds of residents attending. Additional work on this project continued throughout the year which included applying for and securing grants and a design modification based on public input. Plans to commence work is expected to begin in 2021. 2020 proved to be one of the busiest seasons for the municipality since 2011. A total of 22 new single family dwelling permits, 3 multi-family dwelling permits, 12 manufactured home permits and numerous renovation/addition permits were issued. There was a significant uptake in building energy efficiency with 13 units achieving Step Code 1 status. It is expected that 2021 will continue to see significant building activity in Sparwood.
Closing off the year, a highlight for us, and residents was the Santa Claus Cruise. Mayor and Council were pleased to be able to join Santa in his journey through the community and were glad to be able to share some holiday cheer and chocolate.
With the year at a close, we look forward to a new year with many possibilities and a very bright future.
Correction: In the December 12, 2020 Municipal Budget Editorial, the District’s total managed assets was listed at $84 million dollars. This correct amount is $189 million.
Mayor David Wilks
District of Sparwood