During the town council meeting on Dec. 15, the idea to potentially move to city status was once again brought to the table.
Mel Tiede with town administration presented to council based on a report that was submitted for the council agenda, that also available for the public to view online.
“Council considered this question somewhat in the past,” said Tiede. “The report outlines advantages and potential costs of city status.”
Mayor Pat Fule mentioned during the meeting that if Strathmore did take on city status, one of its new responsibilities would be taking on the maintenance of Highway 817.
He asked if it would be possible, depending on the state of the highway, for the province to bring the road up to a certain standard before Strathmore would take ownership of it.
“In my experience, the province is not often receptive to the ask, but we could certainly ask the question,” said Tiede.
According to Tiede, the town is not currently aware of the full condition of the highway, though it has previously presented challenges to the town as far as keeping it maintained.
Councilor Denise Peterson expressed she wished to hear from the Towns of Okotoks and Cochrane regarding why they have chosen to maintain their town statuses.
“I think they had done some really good financial planning around it … and they do have some similarities, both being on major routes like we are, (and) they have some advantages that we don’t have necessarily,” said Peterson. “I’d be really interested in looking at it further, because I know Cochrane has been on the cusp … they’re seriously considering going to city status and I think it would be worthwhile to just gather information.”
Fule suggested reaching out to the Town of High River as well as Okotoks and Cochrane for information about their own debates regarding a potential switch to city status.
Councilor Brent Wiley questioned the advantages of changing to a city status, not seeing any direct benefits outlined in the report.
“The only positive would be one that is put forward by the economic development type people, that it would raise the awareness of the city, or potential city,” explained Tiede. “I would counter that would be very short-lived and I think there are more disadvantages financially than moving in that direction at this time.”
For the time being, council accepted the report as information and did not make a conclusive decision.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times