By Nikki Jamieson
For the Town of Vauxhall, 2016 was the year of the pool.
As the town entered into the final stretch to get its new community pool up and running by the Canada Day weekend, the community came together to make it a reality.
“Opening our new outdoor community pool, it took a lot of hard work and donations from the community,” said Margaret Plumtree, mayor of Vauxhall. “So proud of how Vauxhall and District came together to make the pool a reality.”
In addition to community support, in early April 2016, Vauxhall town council was pleased to announce they had received a $350,000 grant from the Alberta Community Partnership program, which allowed them to order and install the double-racer slide later on in the swimming season. Although no official grand opening was held, the pool opened its doors on June 27.
Ironically enough, obtaining grants was the town’s biggest challenge, according to Plumtree.
“Grant money for projects are becoming less and less, therefore increasing competition. The town office administration works diligently on looking and applying for grants. It’s a team approach, everyone pitches in to help.”
With the pool up and running, the building next to it, the Community Hall is the town’s next big project, with the town hoping a group of people like the Vauxhall Friends of the Pool society — the driving force in getting the pool back up and running — would take an interest in the project.
“Its very much so in need of repairs, updates, from all the use over the years,” said Plumtree. “If we can get grants, I would like to see it set up perfectly for events and fundraisers as well as being more durable for sport training. The community centre is a vital part of our community.”
Also on the project list is getting fibre-optic Internet into Vauxhall. Since Dec. 15, 2016, the town of Vauxhall has reached the 24 per cent mark, and needs only 50 more people to sign up to signify interest in Axia’s fibre optic network, after which they will hit the 30 per cent threshold and Axia will install their fibre optic network for free in the town. Adding that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has ruled that broadband Internet is a basic essential service in late December 2016, Plumtree hopes this will become reality in 2017.
“I would love to see Vauxhall obtain this vital infrastructure/utility. During our Joint Economic Development strategic planning I pushed for broadband and fibre optics to be part of our future,” said Plumtree.
“Once Vauxhall is connected, I want to support the M.D. of Taber to get their wireless providers connected as well. Then regionally, we can advertise Taber and District as a hub for connectivity. This will allow for tourism and economic development opportunities, not to mention quality of life for our residents.”