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

International Day of Older Persons celebrations planned on Oct. 1

The Town of Ponoka and the Ponoka branch of the Royal Canadian… Continue reading

Central zone down to 16 active COVID-19 cases

Alberta Health Services’ central zone is down to 16

Ermineskin Kindergarten has a confirmed case of COVID-19

The school has shut down and Cohort 2 is in self-isolation

Ponoka County discusses Poulsen’s Pasture

Policing costs, Bobtail Road bridge replacement and other Ponoka County council briefs

Central zone down to 19 active COVID-19 cases on Thursday

Provincially, 158 new COVID-19 cases were identified

Alberta’s top health official says province is not in a second wave of COVID-19

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday that Alberta had identified 158 new cases in the province

Best of Ponoka Readers’ Choice Awards 2020

Here is your chance to show your support for the outstanding services… Continue reading

8 charged, $260K in drugs and cash seized in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Millet Agriplex to become a hub for indoor soccer

Wetaskiwin Soccer Club will be operating out of the Millet Agriplex this season.

‘We’re losing what makes the Parkland so distinctive,” conservation specialist says

The Lacombe district will lose two sites with provincial park status: JJ Collett and the Narrows

Sylvan Lake woman says Town’s response time to concerns isn’t enough

Glenda Jackman says it took almost a month for the Town to act on her complaint about a playground

Hundreds die from opioid overdoses in Alberta as COVID-19 pandemic hit

Jason Luan said the province is not alone in seeing a rise in deaths,

Wetaskiwin/ Camrose RCMP conduct a joint forces initiative with Camrose Police Service

The multifaceted joint forces initiative with on Sept. 23, 2020 proved very successful.

Most Read