By Jessica Jones
In his second term in office, Town of Rimbey Mayor Rick Pankiw’s primary focus in the upcoming year is to see needed upgrades to the town’s infrastructure completed.
The mayor had time to reflect on accomplishments, and he also discussed the finer balancing act of budgeting, service levels, and ratepayer expectations, earlier in the month.
“The focus is the same as almost every year and that is to continue to upgrade infrastructure, whether it be fixing old infrastructure, paving, new sidewalks, curbs, whatever the budget let’s us do,” Pankiw said.
He also made sure to mention that upgrades to the trail system, alongside the Lion’s Club, has taken some precedence. The summer construction season, however, is what the mayor has set his sights on, particularly the upgrades to the four-way stop that combines 50th Street and 51 Avenue, Hwy 20 and Hwy 53. He says the underground pipes, a five lot radius, for stormwater have to be dug up and replaced. It’s a more than $4 million project that will be implemented in stages.
Another substantial project that he hopes will be started on next year, is to deal with stormwater on the west side of Rimbey. This all hinges, though, on the balancing of potential grant funding and budgeting, he said.
“Especially in the last four years we have seen a challenge with the economy, it’s a challenge everywhere,” Pankiw explained.
“We try to keep taxes in line and close to even as we possibly can, but it’s the toughest balancing act and once you sit in the chair, you realize how tough it really is.
“But we will look forward to bigger and better things, and hopefully a better economy, and the only way that will happen is if there is a change in the federal government,” Pankiw said, further noting that “it’s too early to tell” how municipalities will be impacted by the recent provincial government change under Jason Kenney’s UCP.
The thing he is most proud of in his six years as Mayor, though, is the Rimbey Seniors Lodge featuring, 80 lodge suites — a massive $20 million, modern building.
“I would like to say that I was a big part of the team lobbying the government, hiring the architects. It’s a huge accomplishment for the town,” Pankiw said.
He was also sure to mention that his door is “always open.”
“People are welcome to stop by the Town office, my number is out there, I like to hear what people have to say, they are the boss at the end of the day.”