Recent History – 1998
Dec. 2, 1998, By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
Some tough issues were dealt with in 1998, but the good has outweighed the bad according to Mayor Blair Lekstrom in his year in review. By the end of November, council had completed its second year since the 1996 municipal elections.
“Overall, I fee 1998 is one of the best years our city has seen for quite some time,” he said in the report presented to council on Monday. “This report will reflect on many issues both good and bad that the city has had to deal with in 1998, but I strongly believe the good have outweighed the bad.”
The tough issues have include a tax levy on the arena [rebuilding] that was turned down by rural residents in a referendum. As well, the ongoing legal battle with Zurich Canada over who should pay for the arena made carrying out a full capital works program [difficult].
The closure of the curling rink because of the roof, and water restrictions imposed this summer because of an aging water supply system were also problems. But Lekstrom said upgrades to the system should be good enough to take the city well into the next millennium.
“Although it would be preferable to have no problems, I am a realist and know that no matter what problems arise, we will deal with them and resolve them in the best possible manner,” he said.
Lekstrom said 1998 has been a banner year for both commercial and residential development. Commercial developments include the new Lake View Credit Union building, Super 8 Motel, Hyper Toys, Video Update, and sale of property in the Heritage Industrial Park.
Residential development has included a new subdivision on 92nd Avenue between 13 and 14th Streets, a new development on 108th Avenue and 17th Street, 24 townhouses built in the Loran subdivision, RS-3 lots developed on Spinney Drive for 16-foot wide mobile homes, as well as a large number of single family dwellings developed in all areas of the city. As well building permits should be up to about $12 million by the end of the year.
Lekstrom also listed other positive developments, beginning with the Fair Share memorandum of understanding through which the city will realize a $40 million investment by the provincial government over the next 10 years.
Completion of the Memorial Arena was also a major achievement as was winning a court case against Zurich Canada. “Although the judge ruled in our favour, it was no surprise when Zurich filed an appeal which is presently waiting to be heard,” he said.
Regarding beautification, 40 Colorado spruce trees were planted at high profile spots and the project at the corner of 17th Street and Alaska Avenue was completed. “The beautification committee has done a wonderful job and worked endless volunteer hours to make our City a more attractive and inviting location to live and visit,” he said. In conjunction with rural area directors Albert Erbe and Tim Caton and Pouce Coupe Mayor Joe Judge, the city entered into an agreement with the Dawson Creek and District Chamber of Commerce to be the lead organization for economic development. As well, the number of business licences has increased by about 10 per cent.
After long-time administrator took an early-retirement package, city clerk Jim Noble also took on the job of administrator.
Lekstrom was also elected vice-president of the North Central Municipal Association, and vice-chair of the Peace River Regional District, and he sat on a provincial government task force looking at the proposed bank mergers.
“In conclusion, I would like to thank those in our city who help make Dawson Creek a better place and by working together we can only continue the positive trend our city is experiencing,” he said. “Please remember: Positive attitudes breed positive results. Negative attitudes breed negative results.”