County councillor wants to give money back to Town of Cochrane

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Division 9 Coun. Crystal Kissel is looking to step up goodwill and give back to Cochrane.

The Cochrane Lake councillor will be seeking support at the Jan. 9 county council meeting to give back land sale proceeds to the town’s new pool – the Jayman BUILT Aquatic Centre.

“I am hoping I will have the support of my fellow councillors in giving this money to the new pool,” said Kissel, who resides just north of Cochrane on an acreage in the county.

Kissel will be proposing the county donates the $255,000 that Cochrane recently paid to the county for jointly-owned lands – one parcel the town required to upgrade the wastewater transfer station and the other for dedicated roadway as part of the Griffin Road expansion – back to the new facility that is enjoyed by many county residents.

She commended the “amazing facility” which includes the aquatic centre, as well as Phillips Curling Centre additions to the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre (SLSFSC), which was opened by both municipalities but operated by a board.

Mayor Jeff Genung said it’s a welcome gesture.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction … I’m hoping it’s a sign of things to come where our municipalities and councils can work together,” said Genung, stressing that the former council was not happy with the county only contributing one-third – around $2.2 million – of what the town requested for the SLSFSC addition.

Kissel said that Cochrane’s sentiments of being shortchanged by the county are well-known and she feels like this would be a good segue toward the two new councils to work together better.

“I really feel this would be good for everyone … we have done a similar thing in Airdrie,” she said, with reference to the county donating land back to the City of Airdrie for needed Yankee Valley Boulevard upgrades for $1.

She added that while she is hopeful her fellow councillors will be supportive, she understands they are still reeling from the approved $14 million in budget adjustments from the Dec. 12 council meeting.

The costly decision to redirect reserve funds will resolve a decade-long dispute over water and wastewater services to a beef processing plant – Sunterra Beef – in East Balzac.

The town’s fundraising initiatives for the SLSFSC expansion are at less than half of its goal – $4.6 million has been fundraised to date out of $10.6 million.

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Lindsay Seewalt

Lindsay is a senior Eagle reporter who has transformed her penchant for storytelling into the craft of writing. She has a knack for getting the scoop on stories and is a strong interviewer. The U of C and MRU English/Journalism graduate is committed to telling every story through a new lens, from a fresh perspective. Currently, her focus is on news and politics reporting, including town hall. She has a passion for providing a platform for underdogs, grassroots movements and those who have the courage to put themselves out there. She bases the strength of her stories on the depth of her connection with her interviewee, which is best done over too much coffee.