January 4, 2024

Mayor and Council’s Year in Review and 2024 Goals

With the unprecedented fire and flooding this last year, 2023 was like no other for Yellowhead County. Still, for Yellowhead County Mayor Wade Williams and Council, several highlights showed that the municipality persevered and accomplished many of their goals and plans while still providing essential services to county residents and businesses.

For 2024, Mayor Williams is excited that it will be a productive year for Yellowhead County, focusing on delivering municipal services and new capital projects while rebuilding the damaged infrastructure caused by the devastation from this past spring.

What were the most significant accomplishments that Council achieved over the past year?
  • Our strategic plan that guides administration through Council’s 4-year vision. Council has an appetite for capturing Yellowhead County’s Heritage, including the fires and floods of 2023.
  • Continuing to build on the communications tower system to enhance communications and broadband services throughout the County.
  • Several community-focused accomplishments that include completion of the Cadomin Pump Track, the groundbreaking of the Cadomin Community Hall, the celebration of Robb’s 100th anniversary, and significant upgrades to several of our community cemeteries.
  • The overall disaster response for a year where Alberta had ten times the average amount of forest area burned and over 1.5 times the average burned in Yellowhead County.
  • The continued operations, post-disaster, of the municipal operations and rebuilding of County resources that were damaged during the fires and floods.
  • Continued focus on the County’s municipal infrastructure replacement plan.
  • Focused review and development plan, with Edson, for the YCE Multiplex Centre.
What were the biggest challenges to overcome in 2023?
  • The wildfires and flooding were a significant challenge for our County and residents. We are incredibly proud of being able to react to these disasters as we did, with a focus on the prevention of loss of life and minimizing damage to infrastructure and property.
  • Post-flood infrastructure inspections, assessments, and repairs that included nine major culverts and 19 bridge structures.
  • Concerns from Council that the County wasn’t included in a provincial drought support program due to no data being gathered for Yellowhead County, although our ag producers and farmers were significantly impacted.
  • Infrastructure capital development was significantly impacted in some cases by the disasters and mother nature.
What can residents expect from Council in 2024?
  • Continue progress on our Strategic Plan and capital asset management plan, including a long-term road and bridge development plan.
  • Continued progress on the YCE Multiplex Centre.
  • A $500,000 grant commitment to the Yellowhead Ag Society toward the replacement of their indoor riding arena.
  • We look forward to more large-scale energy projects that focus on new progressive environmental technologies, such as the Cascade Power Project and other planned projects that include Novus Earth (Fresh Bay) and the Canyon Creek Pumped Hydro Project.
  • The recruitment and addition of more YC firefighters. We hope to encourage more residents to be part of our volunteer fire department.
  • The completion of the new Niton Fire Station.
  • The addition of new towers that are part of the County’s program to expand coverage throughout Yellowhead County, increasing options for commercial and industry coverage, and play an important role in the safety of our residents and staff.
  • $70,000,000 in capital projects that are part of our long-term vision for capital programs in our County.
  • Develop a resident-focused plan for the level of FCSS services offered in the County as a whole.
What challenges do you expect to encounter in 2024?
  • We will continue to work with our community to engage them on our projects.
  • We continue to plan for any potential disasters, and we are doing this by keeping communications open with other government agencies such as Alberta Ag and Forestry, Alberta Wildfire, our local MLAs and the appropriate provincial Ministers.
  • Our world is a different place, and we will continue to find ways to operate efficiently in the new economic climate.
Moving Forward.

I would like to thank the residents of Yellowhead County for their cooperation and resiliency during a very difficult and extended disaster situation.
I want to thank Yellowhead County staff and firefighters for the extended hours they put in away from their families during this most difficult time. A short time is much more manageable than 60-plus days.

There were many lessons learned during this past year of multiple disasters, that were all occurring at the same time. Yellowhead County is confident that we are as ready as we can be going forward. We will continue to learn and implement strategies and technology as information becomes available.

Mayor Wade Williams, Yellowhead County