Sundre town council and Sundre and District Chamber of Commerce members are planning to work more closely together over the coming months to encourage new businesses to locate in Sundre and area, say officials.
Councillors and chamber executive members held a private meeting on Wednesday to discuss a number of economic issues facing the town and district.
Mayor Annette Clews called the meeting very productive, with all sides expressing interest in helping the local economy prosper and grow.
“We've always been working with the chamber and we continue to strengthen that partnership,” said Clews. “We have some ideas and we have to do some investigating regarding recommendations we can put forward this year and what needs to be budgeted for for next year.
“We had an open conversation about things in the community. It was a good brainstorming session on economic development.”
During the May 3 chamber of commerce meeting, a number of chamber members expressed concerns about recent store closures in town.
There are about a dozen empty bays in town right now, including some at the high-traffic Main Avenue and Centre Street corner, members heard.
Chamber president Sherry Tytkaynch said she is pleased the town and chamber are on the same page when it comes to promoting new and existing businesses.
“The town and the chamber are going to work closely together to try to bring new businesses to town and to retain the ones that we do have,” said Tytkanych.
“We are going to work closer together to make our town better. It was an excellent meeting with the town.
“Some people who were at the meeting know land developers so they are going to talk to them about businesses putting out planters or something like that to spice up the town because one thing we hear is the town is blah.”
Much of the work to bring in new businesses and to promote existing businesses is expected to be centred on the town's economic development committee, which includes councillors, town staff, chamber members and others.
Part of the discussion during last week's town-chamber meeting focused on east side servicing, she said.
“They told us they have tendered it out again,” she said. “They are looking at the whole thing. The most important thing that they told us is to get the water over there so this hotel can be built. We need it.”
There was also a discussion about ongoing riverbank erosion concerns along the Red Deer River.
“Nothing is obviously going to happen because of Premier Stelmach stepping down, but hopefully once they had the (leadership) election the riverbank stabilization will move forward,” she said.
The chamber's Save Our Sundre Committee has been working with the town to try to get provincial and federal funding for riverbank stabilization work. To date, no such funding has been made available.
Traffic concerns in town were also discussed during the meeting.
“We also talked about truckers driving through town at Mach speed,” she said. “We thought going to Alberta Transportation wasn't going to do us any good because it is considered a highway.
“We thought that maybe the bylaw department could enforce it more so people feel safer walking on the sidewalks or crossing the crosswalks.”
For more, see Chamber News in this week's Round Up.