Message from Chief Administrative Officer Al Hoggan
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered many facets of life for the residents and business community of Rocky View County. The pandemic also demonstrated how our community can pull together to help each other, and to protect the health of our friends, family, and neighbours.
Earlier this year, I decided to play a lead role in Rocky View County’s economic development activities. As you may know, Rocky View County is the envy of many Alberta municipalities for our strong balance of residential and commercial development, which allows us to keep taxes low and our economy stable. Even though we have seen tremendous success in the past, we’re not immune from the economic conditions facing Alberta including the effects of the pandemic, the prolonged economic downturn, and the downloading of provincial costs.
We took an early proactive stance, and I established the CAO’s Economic Recovery Task Force this year. The Task Force consisted of councillors, local business leaders, and key County staff who investigated potential actions for businesses, residents, and the County to stimulate economic recovery and build resilience for the future. Our report was accepted by Council and implementation has begun.
Some of the indicators that our economic approach works include the recent opening of a major Leon’s store, the beginning of construction for Amazon’s second major facility and a new 1.3 million sq.ft. Lowes warehouse, and the recent announcement of a Sobeys Customer Fulfillment Centre that will bring about 1,500 jobs to the County by 2023.
Despite the adversity of a public health crisis, our community has demonstrated resilience, ingenuity, and solidarity. These values are the backbone of our community. Combined with our willingness to pull together, I have hope that we will emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever.
My team is continuing to reduce red tape at the County by developing a new land use bylaw that Council has approved. It sees a 70 percent reduction in the number of pages, and a 35 percent reduction in the number of land use districts, all while ensuring that we continue to plan the municipality in a sound manner.
Administration has also worked hard to change our processes to be more responsive to the needs of residents and business owners, for everything from a special event permit to a land use re-designation. Whether you’re dealing with us online, by phone, or in person (hopefully soon) you’ll find a much more responsive Rocky View County.
But one of my team’s biggest accomplishments is the lean, efficient, and effective day-to-day management of the County’s programs and services. This work isn’t high profile or exciting. It rarely generates news. But it is the very thing that allowed us to reduce taxes by three percent this year, and see a close-to zero percent increase projected for 2021 – for residents and business owners alike. I’m very proud of the hard work, difficult choices, and smart decision-making that staff have made and continue to make.
I want to thank Council for their governance and leadership as we strive to help Rocky View County remain a great place to live, work, and play.
On behalf of all County staff, I wish you a safe and happy holiday season. I look forward to bringing you more news and updates in 2021.
Chief Administrative Officer
Rocky View County
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