The Village of Rockyford had a big year as council awarded infrastructure projects, held the line on municipal taxes, and hosted a long-standing community event after a hiatus in 2020.
In February, the village received provincial funding to help offset additional expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Council gave back to some community organizations which were unable to operate as normal, delegating some $25,000 to help the ongoing costs for the Rockyford Sportsplex, community centre, and library. Council approved a $90,000 loan to help the Rockyford Ag Society repair the ice chiller at the arena following a special council meeting in September; the repairs are estimated at some $120,000.
Council hosted Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Nathan Cooper via video conference during their February council meeting; they spoke with MLA Cooper about the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Alberta Health Service (AHS) 911 dispatch takeover.
While there were some increased operational costs in the presented budget in March, council were able to pass a zero per cent tax increase for residential and commercial properties.
Water and sewer upgrades were awarded in March to ConSite Construction from Calgary and included new tie-ins along with sidewalk and paving repairs; the project was completed within the budget of $645,427 and within the projected time frame. This was one of the shovel-ready projects part of the $500 million Municipal Stimulus Program announced in December 2020 by the provincial government. Repairs for the sewer lagoon were also awarded in September to Knibb Development; council was presented with two options for the repair, both with different warranties and price points, and chose the more expensive option as it carried a higher warranty option.
In 2020 the Rockyford Rodeo and Bull-a-Rama were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic; while the decision was made by the Rockyford Lions to cancel the 2021 rodeo, they proceeded with a Bull-a-Rama in July; some 1,200 people attended the event.
Two candidates tied for votes after ballots were counted in the October municipal election and, after a tie-breaker name draw, newcomers Kathleen Morin and Tyler Henke joined returning councillors Darcy Burke, Leah Smith, and Bill Goodfellow on council. Shortly after the election it was discovered an ineligible voter voted in the Rockyford election, and April Geeraert brought the issue before council, Municipal Affairs, and Elections Alberta before finally bringing her case before a judge in December. It was determined the village would need to remedy the situation through a by-election between Geeraert and Morin.
A date for the by-election will be determined at the January 2022 council meeting.
“Our council continues to work in partnership with our community groups and neighbouring municipalities to provide a great quality of life for our residents and neighbours,” Rockyford Mayor Darcy Burke tells the Mail. “On behalf of council, I would like to wish everyone a healthy and prosperous 2022.”