Sylvan mayor defends ‘change’

Contrary to belief in some quarters Sylvan Lake is not burning, Mayor Susan Sampson said Saturday.

SYLVAN LAKE — Contrary to belief in some quarters Sylvan Lake is not burning, Mayor Susan Sampson said Saturday.

Speaking at the town’s annual free Community Breakfast Samson compared recent developments in the town to 64 AD in ancient Rome when a scribe proclaimed Rome was burning after a barbarian invasion.

“There is no fire. Sylvan Lake is not burning and it can’t burn,” she told about 200 people.

The annual breakfast is billed as an opportunity to meet the mayor and council one on one and learn more about local projects and other initiatives.

The fire referred to recent administrative shake-ups in the last few months.

The deputy chief administrative officer lost his job in February and the chief administrative officer Helen Dietz was notified that she was terminated about three weeks ago.

Samson said the change was “brought about by council and council only wanting to see a change in the management style at the senior administrative position.

“There is no better time for change than right now,” she added.

The town has “recently completed its municipal sustainability plan which will guide our actions to ensure that we use our resources wisely and leave a better town for future generations.

Samson said for the first time ever the town has completed a strategic plan “which clearly identifies the major capital and operational projects that have been assigned to departments and will be completed annually.”

She said the town is in “excellent financial shape” after its budget was passed in January.

“In the business of municipalities the only thing we can be assured of is there will be change.”

A number of major projects are underway or in the planning stages, including a new RCMP building, town hall, skateboard park and major changes to Lakeshore Drive. The interim chief administrative officer Archie Grover was introduced at the breakfast. Grover is a former deputy minister of Alberta Municipal Affairs.

“It’s a pleasure to be here.

“I’ve spent my whole career in municipal government at the provincial level.

“I’m looking forward to meeting all of you. As time goes by we’ll be looking for a new CAO on a permanent basis.”

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com