AUMA president Barry Morishita

AUMA president Barry Morishita

Other communities can learn from Sexsmith: AUMA president

Alberta Urban Municipalities Association is an advocacy group for urban municipalities

By Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News

Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) representatives visited Sexsmith, Wembley and Hythe on their annual tour last Thursday.

Barry Morishita, AUMA president and Brooks mayor, said he found several initiatives in Sexsmith intriguing and possibly ideal for other municipalities to replicate.

“It’s been a voyage of discovery and education for me and the board members who join me,” he said.

“I’ve never been to Sexsmith or a lot of the places I go to, and you see the unique way they deal with issues.”

AUMA is an advocacy group for urban municipalities.

Morishita was joined by Angela Duncan, AUMA villages and summer villages vice-president and Alberta Beach deputy mayor and Bill Given, Grande Prairie mayor and an AUMA director.

This is the third year for the tour, which Morishita said was started so AUMA can go into member municipalities and learn more about them. Morishita visited Beaverlodge and Grande Prairie during last year’s tour.

AUMA is also interested in learning about local perspectives and how this can shape the association’s priorities, he said.

Morishita said he hoped to see 50 municipalities this summer and aims to visit all of the more than 260 AUMA member communities by the end of the fourth annual tour.

Last Thursday the AUMA members also stopped by Spirit River and Rycroft.

Sexsmith mayor Kate Potter said she thought the tour went well and the councillors took Morishita, Duncan and Given “basically everywhere” in town, including the parks, schools and newly refurbished elevator.

Morishita said he saw Sexsmith is a community proud of what it has to offer, and he was intrigued by the amount of community involvement in local projects.

The fact that the town has a wellness coalition is unique for a community of Sexsmith’s size, he said.

“There’s lots of things we can take away from Sexsmith and apply them to other communities across the province,” Morishita said.

Particularly, other municipalities can look at the Sexsmith Wellness Coalition and the installation of the solar farm as models to emulate, he said.

The Town of Sexsmith is building a solar farm at the old landfill, with an eye to power municipal buildings.

Potter said the Empower Energy company has installed approximately 1,800 panels, and after another week of work and tests it’s hoped the solar farm will be functional starting September.

“It’s pretty exciting,” she said.

Council adopted a Borrowing Bylaw for $1.06 million in December to finance the project.

Morishita said AUMA can refer municipal leaders interested in wellness or solar power to Potter and the Sexsmith town office for ideas.

“You don’t have to constantly recreate the wheel, you can take these proven templates to do things,” he said.

Morishita described AUMA’s relationship with Sexsmith as positive, citing Potter’s recent appointment to the economic resiliency task force to deal with recent economic downturn.

He recalled last year’s tour of Beaverlodge was highlighted by what he learned about the town’s challenges with infrastructure and securing funding, as well as health care.

He noted the town is seeking upgrades to its hospital and like in many communities, doctor recruitment is an issue.

Morishita couldn’t be reached for comment following the tours of Wembley and Hythe.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Whether the Town of Ponoka gets enough ‘bang for its buck’ under its Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) membership was discussed during town council March 26.
File photo
Town of Ponoka appoints Sandra Lund as CAO

Ponoka town council voted unanimously at its regular meeting on Jan.12 to… Continue reading

Kelowna RCMP Stock Image.
Ponoka RCMP respond to several B&E’s

Calls include complaint of a spray painted garage

Black Press file photo
Maskwacis male charged with 2nd degree murder

18-year-old Kaydence Clark Roasting of Ermineskin Cree Nation was arrested at his residence.

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19.  (File photo)
750 new COVID-19 cases identified in Alberta Sunday

Central zone currently has 1,182 active cases of the virus

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Lacombe is looking at its options for reclaiming sewage lagoons that are no longer needed. Vesta Energy Ltd. has signed a deal to use three lagoons to store water for fracking.
Map from City of Lacombe
Energy company to use former Lacombe sewage lagoons to store fracking water

Vesta Energy Ltd. will pay Lacombe more than $100,000 a year in 20-year deal

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Monday that11 more people had died from COVID-19, bringing the province’s death toll to 1,447. (Photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Eleven more Albertans die from COVID-19

There were 739 people in hospital, 120 in ICU on Monday

World Juniors’ referee Mike Langin makes a called during the Canada vs. Slovakia at the 2021 World Junior Championship at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Dec. 27, 2020. (Photo by Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada)
Former Sylvan Lake man lives his dream at World Junior Championships

Mike Langin was one the 25 Canadian officials who worked during the tournament

The Mountain Cree Traditional Band headquarters in Mirror, Alta. has been the target of theft and vandalism. (Photo submitted)
Mountain Cree Traditional Band’s headquarters broken into five times

AWNTB says not enough been done to deter crime in Mirror, Alta.

Indigenous people gather for a ceremony for Cindy Gladue held at the courthouse in Edmonton, Alta, on Wednesday, January 13, 2021. Bradley Barton, a 52-year-old long-haul truck driver from Ontario on trial for manslaughter, is accused of killing Gladue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
People stand in support of mother as new trial gets underway in death of Cindy Gladue

Bradley Barton, a long-haul truck driver from Ontario, will now be tried for manslaughter in the 2011 death

(Photo submitted)
RCMP say ice climber seriously injured after reportedly falling 12 metres near Abraham Lake

Police say man’s injuries were serious but not life-threatening

U.S. military units march in front of the Capitol, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 in Washington, as they rehearse for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, which will be held at the Capitol on Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden aims for unifying speech at daunting moment for U.S.

President Donald Trump won’t be there to hear it

Facebook/ The Open Door 24/7 Integrated Response Hub- Wetaskiwin.
Wetaskiwin residents show support for 24/7 Integrated Response Hub

Wetaskiwin residents and City Council members showed support for Hub with positive signs.

Most Read