Town council hears about SouthGrows’s past year By Kenyon Stronski Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Taber Times SouthGrow Regional Initiative has been busy during the summer months. Joining remotely to present the annual operations of the SouthGrow Regional Initiative at town council’s regular meeting held on Aug. 16 was their Executive Director Peter Casurella. Casurella stated that from spring of 2020 to summer 2021 was a weird year and the association had to do a lot of pivoting to do in order to deliver on their promised and mandated projects. “Despite everything it was a very encouraging year because we struck up a very useful partnership with Economic Development Lethbridge in order to deliver services to the region during the height of the pandemic. That was a result of the relationships that we and you built,” stated Casurella. “Highway 3 and out involvement with the Twinning Association continues to be a success story that we are proud of.” Casurella also revealed the association has a zero emissions vehicle infrastructure program rolling out. “SouthGrow is one of two in Alberta that got funding from Natural Resources Canada — 50 per cent funding to fund the installation of electric vehicle chargers. It is a way to contribute to infrastructure development and future proof out communities. It was supposed to start in September but the election call threw a wrench into those plans so it’ll start a little later.” The association has been pushing for broadband in southern Alberta for a long time, and had found one that worked well. Grants for a pilot project in Milk River were applied for and they got the money. The Rural Development Network of Canada was very interested in helping support the project. “So we now have two big projects waiting grant approval to finish and then we’ll connect all of SouthGrow. We will hopefully have good network all across southern Alberta, south of Calgary. I am proud to say we will have helped make southern Alberta one of the most connected regions in the entire country.” To end the presentation, Casurella wanted to emphasize the opportunity for energy in Alberta. “I want to talk to councils and start to advocate and talk to the government about the economic opportunity that exists in alternative and fuel energy for Alberta just in the way we talked about the importance of broadband.” Town council accepted this presentation as information.
Kenyon Stronski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Taber Times