Village has a lot on its plate for 2018

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The Village of Longview has a lot of work ahead of it as it heads into the new year.

Longview Mayor Kathie Wight said 2018 will be a busy year, including completing the land use bylaw review, addressing the village’s aging infrastructure and going through the process of a municipal inspection as mandated by Alberta Municipal Affairs.

First on the list is completing the 2018 budget, Wight said.

The Village has filled its three-member council following the Dec. 11 byelection that saw the return of long-term councillor Len Kirk, said Wight.

“We hope to keep taxes down, but it’s hard to say,” Wight said. “Things are always increasing in price so you have to cover these things.”

Among the budget priorities is addressing the village’s aging water and sewer lines, Wight said.

“We have to look into replacing some of our infrastructure,” she said. “The water and sewer pipelines are getting older.”

Wight said some repairs began this year, but a plan needs to be made to address the overall problem in the coming months.

Work will also continue on reviewing Longview’s land use bylaw.

“It’s a big job,” she said. “We want to make sure everything is current and up to date. There were a few amendments that needed to be put in so it’s easier to read.”

Annexation talks with the MD of Foothills are planned in the new year, Wight said, which will allow the community to expand.

A provincial inspection of village operations mandated by Alberta Municipal Affairs will also keep staff and council busy in the first part of 2018. The Province conducted a preliminary review of the Village last spring to identify and better understand the concerns and issues that led to about 100 residents signing a petition seeking a provincial review a year ago. Wight received a letter by Municipal Affairs in early December informing her that a consultant working on behalf of the Province will look into matters connected with the Village’s management, administration and operations.

Council and administration have been working to attract more businesses and residents to Longview with the help of some new committees geared at improving the village with a focus on seniors, the arts and tourism.

While Longview had a rough start in 2017, focusing on replacing the chief administrative officer who was fired the previous fall, Wight said the small community celebrated a lot of success in the following months.

In the spring, the village won the FortisAlberta Earth Hour Challenge by reducing its energy consumption more than any other village. The win resulted in a $5,000 grant to create or enhance energy efficiencies in the community.

Last summer, the village saw good attendance at both its Little New York Daze and Longstock Art and Music Festival, as well as this month’s Christmas supper.

Wight said the Village saw some improvements in 2017, including the conversion of the streets lights to LED heads and about one third of the glow-in-the-dark pathway along the west ridge of the village built. The remaining pathway should be completed in 2018, she said.

“It will encourage people to get out and walk and it will encourage tourists to come and see it because it’s a gorgeous view that looks over the river valley and to the mountains,” she said.

Light Up Longview, which involved the installation of more than 8,000 feet of lights that currently decorate buildings, fences and trees along the Cowboy Trail passing through Longview, was a new addition this year.

The initiative was funded partially by some of the FortisAlberta grant winnings and from donations, Wight said.

The lights, which will remain lit each evening until mid-February, have drawn a lot of extra traffic to the community once the sun goes down, she said.

Wight said the achievements Longview celebrated this year are the result of the dedication of Longview’s close-knit community.

“Council appreciates all the hard work and assistance that the village staff and volunteers have done throughout the year,” she said. “We couldn’t do it without them.”

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