Our hopes for the New Year

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Another year is almost in the books and as we look ahead there a few things we are hopeful for in the New Year.

On the political front, we are waiting to see how our new municipal council will fulfill its mandate and election promises especially in light of recent revelations.

Development was a major issue during the campaign and many elected councillors vowed to slow development to allow community infrastructure – especially roads – time to catch up to the massive growth the town has experienced.

Earlier this month, a report by town administration revealed there is enough development already on the books to double our population in 20 years and many of those new homes have been approved and construction is pending. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how councillors who swore to slow the breakneck pace of growth in this town will achieve that promise.

It will also be interesting to see if our new councillors, many of whom said they wanted council to be more community-led will work out what that looks like. Four failed that test during the vote on the urban hen pilot project. There is a lot more to accountability and communication than posting videos on Facebook paying lip service to the community or streaming lengthy council meetings that will be watched by a handful of people. Actual action and allowing community choice proves a willingness to give the power back to the people. Whether you are for or against chickens, the fact a majority of council voted against a small test project perpetuates the almighty attitude we have come to expect from government – something we should all want to see change. The pilot would have discovered how or if an urban hen program would work and truly gauge community support. That is how decisions should be made, not by bowing to a few squeaky wheels or friends.

We are excited to see the results of Motion 110 put forward by Cochrane/Banff MP Blake Richards. The motion calls for a study and recommendations to improve supports to families who suffer the death of an infant. We sincerely hope this motion passes and we encourage citizens to write to the government expressing support for the motion.

We are hopeful the supporters of the proposed Big Hill Haven emergency women’s shelter garners immense support over the next year. This project is long overdue and we need a locally supported shelter that will help women and families escape violence.

We are also hopeful the government grants the requested funding to Bethany Cochrane to complete its proposed expansion. As Cochrane’s population continues to age – 11 per cent are over 65 – the additional units ranging from assisted living to long-term care will be needed to help people age in place.

Once again we are impressed with the spirit of giving by Cochranites. From those who pay for other people’s coffee to organizations donating thousands of dollars and gifts to Christmas Hamper campaigns, there is no shortage of stories of generosity and we hope to see that continue next year.

Happy New Year.

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Cochrane Eagle