“I think our biggest project (we completed in 2013) I would have to say is our civic election. It was great, our community gave me such a great council to work with . . . they are anxious to do some things,” he said of his cohorts. “And they all work well together, none of them are afraid to speak their opinion, which is important.”
Also in line with big accomplishments for the municipality in 2013 include the issuance of 19 building permits for new homes, an increase from the previous year. The homes will be family dwellings, which will be ideally utilized by new families coming into the community.
“The other thing that I was happy to see in terms of new home development was we have issued some building permits for (multi-family units), which is something that Raymond is really in need of, some diversity in housing,” Bohne said.
Adding of a second chiropractic office, daycare, hardware store, denture clinic and expansion of the grocery store have also contributed to the town’s growth over the past year said Bohne. He also added he was pleased with the way locals have taken advantage of the partnership between Raymond and the Lethbridge Community Futures Foundation.
“(They) provide interest-free to businesses that want to improve their storefronts and their business. That will continue into 2014 and we are really happy to see that,” he said.
“So we are excited that business continues to grow in town, that’s a good thing for our community, it helps to keep people in our community and spend money in our community and that’s good and fair.”
Growth potential is something the town has been very proud of over the recent years, and are looking forward to in the coming years. Ideally speaking, if 20 homes could be built each year, in Raymond, it would be “a good sustainable growth pattern for a community this size.”
“Those are all really good things happening in our community. The more businesses we can get established in our community, the better retention rates we have for the people and services provided,” he added.
Two other big events in 2013 for Raymond were the announcement of the partnership between the town and Westwind School Division on the Victoria Park Sportsfield and the winning of the TSN Kraft Celebration Tour. A feat which brought national publicity and $25,000 to put towards the new park.
“(Also) the Building Canada grant that we received for our ice arena improvement, which was for $125,000. We can leverage that with our money and have half a million to spend on upgrades for the ice arena,” Bohne said.
“Looking to the future we have a number of projects that continue on our radar, they are long-term projects that we hope we can bring some closure to as we continue to move forward.”
However projects on the horizon for the town can be tough to plan for in advance, as dealing with the provincial government and grant monies can be a timely and frustrating process.
“I’m looking towards things like the new lodge that we are in dire need of and time is starting to run short. I’m hoping we have some definitive announcements on that in the 2014 year,” Bohne said of one of the town’s priorities. “We have highway realignment for the 845, that’s on our books and the provincial radar. We are also continuing negotiations with the province over the future of the Raymond Care Centre, which is deteriorating rapidly as it sits empty and is vandalized.”
Another ongoing priority for the town resides at the Ridge Reservoir, where the water quality continues to alarm surrounding citizens with foul taste and odours. Keeping infrastructure up to date is another costly, but necessary expense the town tries to stay on top of each year.
“We are looking forward to making some big advances (to Victoria Park) in the new year, which will really enhance our recreation services and make a major draw for people moving in to our community, they like to have recreational services available to them. It not only keeps people coming in to the community but when they are here they spend money and that’s good,” Bohne said of the project.
“The other issue that is a continuing challenge for us is the infrastructure in our community. We have some aging infrastructure and we need to pay attention to that. You need to improve infrastructure every year or you get behind.”
Although the community is “great,” Bohne feels there are many things they could do better, like thinking of new ways to get people involved with the community, or making new families feel part of their new home.
“We are looking forward to the new year, it should be an exciting 2014,” he said of the future. “We have no reason to think our growth won’t continue, we have a lot of indicators that show it will. We were just shy of 4,000 people last year, so this year I’m sure we will break the 4,000 barrier, which is kind of significant.”