Mayor Mayer discusses the Augustana Camrose relationship, community projects, and why he likes what he does.
How have you seen the change from Camrose Lutheran College (CLC) to the U of A Augustana Campus (Augustana) and the dynamic between the town and students?
Well we’ve been here since 1963, we have seen the evolution over that period of time with the change from CLC to what we have today in the form of the university. All through the process there has always been a good relationship between the students and the community.
I think the University advocates that type of relationship for students to work in the community and get a feel for it. From a city perspective, we’ve been very fortunate over the years to have the campus in Camrose. We look forward to the growth of the operation over the years to come.
There’s a lot of students who work part time and volunteer at the women’s shelter, and they both benefit from seeing both sides of the equation. It’s the same with other business opportunities where they work out of the university and get a feel for the real world out there. There has always been some of that community learning but there has been more emphasis put on that in the last three, four years. It’s good for the businesses, it’s good for the students.
Are there any major projects for Camrose that students should be excited for?
There’re some major projects that we’re certainly looking at getting underway this year. The community bus has just about got a year under its belt now, it’s becoming known and getting more usage. We’re trying to finetune the hours and pickup locations to get to as many people as we can. I think that’s going over well.
As far as projects we have committed ourselves to move forward with the expansions to the swimming pool, which has been something that’s been needed for years. It will entail building on an addition which will house more lanes for all the people who want to swim. It will not have the depth problem that exist with the pool today so the swim clubs will be able to hold their meets here as well. The existing part as it is will be renovated and become more of what I call a family situation where younger children can come and the water can be a little warmer.
Other infrastructure projects we’re undertaking include the new bridge on 48th avenue by the Co-op. That will probably start late this fall or in 2018 depending on when we can get all the engineering plans in place. It will be going to a seven lane road, one of which being a turning lane, with an increasing grade starting further west so you don’t have such a steep slope. That also gives us better room to put a pedestrian walkway underneath it to tie the walking paths together. I think that will be well received by people.
Another major project we have to undertake in the next year or two is the new wastewater treatment plant as well. We made the commitment to proceed with that.
Those are the big projects along with normal roadwork and maintenance. There’s a lot on the plate. We’re hoping the government will not reduce the grant funds that we have been getting and they’ve indicated they won’t reduce them but we haven’t got the commitments just yet. Some of our activities will be curtailed if we don’t get that but hopefully they will deliver the commitment.
What is your favourite part of what you do? What makes it all worth it?
Seeing the community develop. Seeing us being able to answer the majority of needs, and as many as we can for the people of Camrose. In regards to the bus we’ve got a good response from some of the people who didn’t have a way of getting out and around. That’s always a good feeling.