Westwind Weekly News
The Village of Stirling council voted at its Feb. 21 meeting to move forward with its plans to bring solar energy to town, with a town hall tentatively scheduled for May 9.
“We completed our due diligence,” said Mayor Trevor Lewington. “We were able to speak with some other Alberta communities, both local and further away, and we have concluded that there are minimal risks.”
The village now needs to due some engineering work with Enmax, the company that’s also in solar installation talks with Raymond.
“Our goal is to try and figure out how to install enough solar panels to become a net-zero community,” said Lewington.
“What that means is our solar panels that we install on public buildings or on public spaces will offset our municipal consumption.”
In addition to informing the community of the public project, the slated town hall is intended to generate interest in residents getting solar panels installed on their homes.
CBC show could come to village
Council also discussed the possibility of bringing “Still Standing,” a CBC show focused on the stories of small municipalities, to Stirling.
“They look for towns and villages that are typically under 3,000 people, where they might have struggled in the past or where there’s unique challenges,” said Lewington. “Typically, they’re rural in nature.”
The show recently profiled nearby Vulcan, which has a population of 1,917, according to the 2016 census.
“They’ve expressed some interest in potentially featuring Stirling,” Lewington said.
“Nothing’s been confirmed, but we’ve been talking to their production team about some of the history of Stirling that’s unique and the reasons that the region is interesting to talk about.
“There’s no guarantee CBC will pick us. It was more just to see if council was supportive of having the conversation and putting our name forward.”
Lewington added that council was “very much” in favour of gaining “national exposure” for the community.
The mayor says the community’s status as one of the nation’s last agricultural villages, combined with its high-speed fibre optic network and rich history as part of the “Mormon Trail” with Raymond, Cardston and Magrath, make it a prime candidate.
“We’ll see if they agree,” he said of the CBC.
School modernization fundraising update
Phase I of Stirling School’s modernization, which includes upgrades to its administrative offices, common space, library and a brand new library, is scheduled to be complete by April, but the village is still fundraising.
Although the renovations are split into two phases, the fundraising is for the entire project, which is pegged at $1 million, of which the town has raised about $300,000.
“There are a number of grants and a number of other commitments that are still pending,” Lewington said. “The group’s quite confident that we’ll reach our goal.”
The local Lions Club plans to pitch in to help purchase some of the school’s new equipment.
“A good chunk of our high school students have been actually taking their classes at the community centre, so there’s temporary classrooms that were set up (there),” said Lewington.
“Those students will be moving back to the gym hopefully (in) the first week of April, and then the construction will move to the other half of the school, and those students will move over to the community centre.”
At the grand opening of Phase I, the village plans on hosting a fundraising event.