Hope-Trust-Integrity! As Strathcona County's mayor, I will be there for you. Follow my Blog to learn more about my vision and thoughts for Strathcona County. Keep up to date on present issues. Together we will keep the Spirit of Strathcona County Ignited! My door is always open, the coffee is always on!
70% of Canada’s petrochemical activity takes place in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. This along with Alberta’s large natural gas supply makes the importance of the petrochemical sector vital to the economy of Alberta and all of Canada. It is therefore very important for Alberta’s political parties’ leaders to answer Mr. Lamphier’s question.
As chair of the Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, I speak for 5 municipalities: FortSaskatchewan, SturgeonCounty, Lamont, Edmonton and StrathconaCounty.We, as well as all Albertans deserve an answer to this question:
“What specific plans do Alberta’s party leaders have to boost the growth of the province’s petrochemical sector?”
All municipalities throughout Alberta need to understand that jobs and quality of life for their residents is as much at stake as that of the Heartland’s.
Issues that affect Alberta’s economy have a trickle down effect on other important issues such as health and education. To ignore key economic issues is ignoring the source of the Alberta Advantage.
It seems that all promises are based on oil and gas revenues. Why, then, are these leaders not recognizing and maintaining these assets?
Will the leaders of Alberta’s political parties come forward and answer Albertans?
I have just returned from a petrochemical conference in San Antonio, Texas. What a busy week filled with great opportunities for potential business for the Alberta's Industrial Heartland and for Strathcona County!
Upon our arrival to this beautiful city, the AIHA board and Economic Development officers from each municipality met to go over the itinerary and names of the various companies we were going to be meeting with. Then it was of to two networking events where we introduced ourselves and took the opportunity to invite company representatives and CEOs to the AIHA luncheon we were holding the following day.
The next morning, we all gathered for breakfast at 7:30 at the Conference Centre and hear the opening session. Three panelists addressed the present and future climate surrounding the petrochemical industry. Canada was referenced a couple of times but it was obvious that many conference attendees were unaware of our (AIHA's & Alberta's) huge resource base. It made our presence here even more important and it is one of the reasons why we must attend these conferences.
Our team later split into two groups so that we would be able to attend two meetings before our luncheon. I was part of the group who met with Platts, a major company who we want to connect with.
At our luncheon, I had the pleasure, as AIHA chair, to provide welcoming greetings to close to 50 guests from various companies coming from all over the world: Russia, Japan, Brazil, and the U.S., just to name a few. This was an excellent opportunity to showcase the Alberta Industrial Heartland and all it has to offer. Later on that afternoon, we once again went in two groups to meet with various company representatives. My group met with Williams, an amazing company already present in the Heartland.
Afterwards we were invited to the San Antonio City Hall to meet with their elected officials, their economic development representatives, and the Canadian Consulate. What a great visit! I will be bringing back some good ideas that we could possibly look at for Strathcona County, such as their Alamo Academy, a concept for job creation and training.
That night we met Barbara Korol, the Director of Hydrocarbon Processing from Alberta Energy, Barbara also happens to live in Sherwood Park!
On Tuesday morning, we had meetings with three companies who have a presence in the Heartland: Air Products, Air Liquide, and CBI. This was followed by a very interesting lunch presentation by Dr. Bates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense. He spoke on Country Security when oil and gas are at stake.
In the afternoon we met with the Port of Antwerp, Belgium to compare chemical cluster comparisons. Tuesday evening the AIHA and EDO had dinner together to discuss this conference and future strategic plans for the Heartland.
Attending this conference was an important opportunity that allowed us to present the Alberta's Industrial Heartland to the world. We need to let others know what we do, what we offer and how we are the best.
Spring has finally arrived to Strathcona County! Take advantage of the beautiful weather and enjoy our many trails and parks.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend a meeting of Alberta's mid-size city mayors which was graciously hosted by the City of Medicine Hat. What a great meeting it was.
It is very important to stress the importance and benefits of our mid-size cities working together and sharing our varied experience. There is much strength in numbers.
The focus of this last meeting was on three important areas:
Emergency medical services, with a special focus on ambulance services in our municipalities.
The need to focus on supporting equitable funding for policing.
Communicating with Municipal Affairs regarding sustainable funding and a four year term for municipal elected officials.
I am very pleased to announce that we will get to showoff our beautiful Strathcona County as we host the next Alberta Mid-Size City Mayors' Meeting this up coming August.
On a different note, upon my return from Medicine Hat, I was pleased to find out that Strathcona County has been ranked #1 out of 190 Canadian municipalities in MoneySense business magazine's report in not 1 but 2 categories! We are ranked #1 for Best Municipality in Canada to Raise Children AND #1 for Best Municipality in Canada for Jobs. We also ranked #11 in the Best Municipality to Live In category! MoneySense Magazine used Statistics Canada's information to compile, weigh and rank 190 cities and towns in Canada by 22 separate categories. This is the first year that the magazine included Strathcona County! You can read their report through these links:
The following was given to the Sherwood Park Rotarians at our last morning breakfast meeting and I wanted to share it with everyone. -- Mayor Linda
A. Peace and Understanding
Rotary Peace Day is Rotary's Anniversary of February 23, 1905.
"The way to war is a well-paved highway and the way to peace is still a wilderness." - Paul P. Harris 1945.
The Rotary way works! But Rotary has no patent on it, for it is the Golden Rule in action. Any person, any nation, can apply it by displacing negative hatred and fear with goodwill based upon understanding. Peace among nations is not impossible of attainment; they can find peace if they will." Paul P. Harris, January 1946 (Passed away in 1947).
Rotary's Peace Action - 1. Provides future leaders with education at six Rotary Peace Centers around the world. 2. World Understanding initiatives.
B. World Understanding
Partial excerpts from Frank Deaver writings (Rotary Club of Tuscaloosa, Alabama)
World Understanding is part of Rotary's fourth ideal of International Service
Thought provoking - Our world is full of minorities: racial and ethnic, religious, political, and many more. Interestingly, Rotarians also constitute a minority: of the more than six billion people in the world, our number is only a little more than 1.2 million. What makes Rotarians different is that we are a distinctly privileged minority. We are all too often the victims of a lack of understanding, or perhaps more accurately, of misunderstanding. We give to the Rotary Foundation, but we are only minimally aware of how our contributions are spent. February challenges Rotarians to introduce one minority (ours) to other minorities (those who are in need) at home and abroad.
How shall Rotary further its goal of World Understanding, and its ultimate goal of World Peace?
1. We must recognize and admit to our differences, whether they be differences of
national pride, ethnicity, language, politics or religion.
2. We must focus on our commonalities, not on our differences. As Rotarians, we have
embraced lofty goals of humanitarian and educational programs through our Rotary
Foundation. Understanding leads to respect, respect to friendship, and friendship to
service. Only with understanding can we be bound together in the common goals of
Rotary friendship and service.
Written by Dennis Pommen
Reprinted with permission.
Yesterday's New Year's Eve event around Broadmoor Lake was incredible. I received so many positive comments. Great job everyone. Thank yo to all Strathcona County staff and amazing volunteers who made this all possible.Thanks to all! At our Mayor meet and greet table over the 5 hours my staff and I were there we handed out over 2000 sugar cookies . Wow!
Thank you to Diana and Theresa for organizing the Meet and Greet table and ordering the delicious sugar cookies from Sobey's. I would also like to thank Councillors Vic, Peter and Brian for coming out and helping!
Have a wonderful New Year's day and an even more wonderful and blessed new year!
Being bullied is a terrible experience. Most of us have experienced some level of bullying at one time or another in our lives.It is often painful and affects one’s self-esteem. As adults, we try and cope with it using the tools we have developed over the years. But what about children who are being bullied? Children do not yet have these tools; they do not have the emotional strength to face this. Sometimes the result of the self-esteem damage is too much for a child to handle and sadly leads to heartbreaking results.
Livy Jeanne is a talented 16 year old singer – songwriter from StrathconaCounty who was mercilessly bullied.This remarkable young woman decided that enough was enough and that something needed to be done to bring awareness to our community.Since she was 11 years old, Livy has been involved with many charities, giving of her time and talent to help our local and global community. A year ago, she decided to speak out and give support to all those who are being bullied.She wants to encourage them and give them hope.
I will let Livy tell you her story, in her own words:
“I am Livy Jeanne, and I’m here to tell you that there are 160,000 kids each day that beg to stay home from school because they are being bullied. I was one of those 160,000.
I cried a thousand tears before I realized that I had the ability within myself to turn away from the hurt, that I wasn’t alone and that there were people I could count on, people who cared for me and saw me for who I am.
I could have easily turned to drugs, alcohol, cutting, conforming or even just disappearing… But I didn’t. By finding my passion (which is music) I found a place to express myself, find some personal strength and feel good about who I am.
I feel a responsibility to connect with kids like me- the ones who have reached out for acceptance, struggled with being judged and wondered where they fit into this crazy world.
By sharing my story and my music, I want them to know that I GET IT – because I’ve been there. And I’ve figured out that we are all important, unique and special individuals who matter. There is nothing wrong with being ourselves – and starting right now, today can be different!!
WE DON’T HAVE TO BE INVISIBLE…”
Livy has also started a blue “Awareness” bracelet campaign endorsing the Kids Help Phone line.
This last year has been marked with excitement, drama, strategic decision making and most of all defining and standing up for Strathcona County’s needs and rights!
Excitement comes from the amazing activities and events being held in our new Community Centre and all around the County in all our other rural hamlets.To start 2011, it was magnificent to feel all the positive energy and ambiance of our New Year’s Eve celebrations.My very first Mayor’s New Year’s Levee was a success.Other annual highlights include the Josephburg Chicken supper, the Ardrossan lobster fundraiser, and the South Cooking Lake Trail Days.These are just a few wonderful events throughout the year that took place.
I personally believe in community spirit and pride.One of the many highlights of being your Mayor is attending as many community events as possible.I have made some awesome memories this past year and have met so many of our residents.I loved the Irish stew at the Partridge Hill Community Hall for the St. Patrick’s Day event.The community of Brookville always teams up great pyrogies and Ukrainian food with great fellowship at their Ukrainian Christmas event held every January.
Enjoying a hotdog and ice cream after a ride on a beautiful mare at South Cooking Lake Trail Days and watching the families and children loving the candy toss was amazing.Events such as this bring back such wonderful memories of a simpler, easier life.It recognizes where we all came from and it celebrates our history and community spirit.
Of course, it’s always exciting to officially start the Christmas season in the Heartland with the Lighting of the Christmas lights at Heartland Hall.I love listening to the children sing Christmas carols.It’s always a pleasure talking with residents and seniors and I especially enjoyed the famous chili made by cooks at the Partridge Hill Community Hall.The nativity display at the Bethel Lutheran Church, thenutcracker’s at Good Hope Community Hall and all the other messages atthe Brookville and Bremner Christmas celebrations added charm to all the excitement.
Hastings Lake and Antler Lake continue to have wonderful community gatherings especially at the Red Barn.Thanks for the invite!
There was plenty of drama through the year.Thinking back on this, I refer to a quote from President Teddy Roosevelt. In his speech “Citizenship In A Republic” delivered on April 23, 1910, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
The quote from President Roosevelt’s speech reminds me of why I aspired to be your Mayor.This quote says that the opinions of the people who criticize and observe others from the sidelines are meaningless, and that all the credit is due to the man who is actually in the arena, trying, failing, getting up again and fighting for what they believe in.I believe in the people of Strathcona County.I believe in you and I believe in our community.You need (and deserve) to be heard, to be protected and safe, and to be healthy and to be respected.I disapprove of injustices and will fight hard to correct any.
The majority of you have said we must continue to fight for our full treatment hospital; to bury the transmission lines, and to ensure proper transportation corridors which include overpasses and adequate exit routes.I have and will continue to be in the arena.I am and will be your voice.
Strategic planning sessions with Council and administrative staff identified the need for a rural strategy.The Heartland was also identified as an important area to plan for.The County identity branding initiative, with a public engagement process was identified.Council further believed and endorsed a complete organizational review of our organization.We fully support the pursuit of excellence in customer service.
During this year, I was honoured to be asked to represent Canada along with two other Mayors, Mayor Debra Button from Weyburn, Saskatchewan and Mayor Shari Decter Hirst from Brandon, Manitoba in a trip to Kiev, Ukraine.This trip highlighted the important need for economic and gender equality opportunities.This trip was a Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) initiative connecting Canada with the Ukraine.Benefits for us are many.Positive trade opportunities, labour force expansion, business connections, positive political relationships and investments into the future for both countries are just a few.
The Alberta Industrial Heartland Association (AIHA), of which Strathcona County is one of five municipalities, also includes the City of Ft. Saskatchewan, the County of Lamont, the County of Sturgeon and the City of Edmonton.AIHA has expanded their mandate to market themselves in the global world and to attract the eyes of the world to the largest hydro carbon processing centre in Canada.I am presently chair of this association and have just returned from Doha, Qatar.With growing, cost advantaged feed stocks, supportive logistical systems and a supportive government environment, the AIHA is set to become a global centre for petrochemical and energy processing.
The primary purpose of trip was to attend the World Petroleum Congress which is held every three years.It is the Olympics of industry.Myself along with the Executive Director of AIHA, met with potential industry investors considering the Heartland for future investment.Along with talking about who we are and what we can offer, this will open the doors to more business, therefore more jobs and further economic stability.
Both these opportunities were supported financially by FCM and AIHA respectively.
Thirdly, Communities in Bloom is a nationwide initiative that has put the bloom into communities.The trees, flowers and amazing infrastructures, not to mention the exceptional volunteer pride, facilitates further growth in pride and health across Canada.Next year our capital region will be hosting the national conference and Strathcona County will be part of this monumental event.I also had the pleasure of attending the 2011 event in Quebec City.
Speaking of the Capital Region, the Capital Region Board, with 23 partnering municipalities, continues to work towards better governance, transit, affordable housing, GIS systems and possible economic opportunities.We are a strong voice at the table.
It has been busy.It has been exciting.Most of all it has been an honour to represent Strathcona County as your Mayor and to work together with a team of Councillors who are caring and passionate.
We have hard working dedicated staff and an amazing community of residents, businesses, agricultural richness and industry.We are the best municipality in Alberta and dare I say Canada and the World.
2012 will be just as exciting!
Happy New Year and the best to you and your family,