Looking back at 2020 High River

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Some big projects were accomplished in High River in 2020, but like the rest of the world, the year was dominated by COVID-19.

Once the reality of COVID-19 hit early last year, most decisions made by High River Councillors were made with the pandemic in mind. For example, many annual events that High River has celebrated for many years, like the Little Britches and Santa Parade or the July 1st fireworks and celebrations weren’t had because of recommended social distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Council had to make decisions on whether to open up the Bob Snodgrass Recreation Complex and also how to do so in a safe way.

The pandemic also changed the way councillors and residents met for meetings as council meetings were held online and are still being done online to this day.

Mayor Craig Snodgrass looked back at 2020 and felt that COVID-19 dominated the year.

“Dealing with the repercussions of COVID that changed all of our lives,” he said.

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“It changed to virtual meetings and we are still doing that and we will be doing that for the foreseeable future.”

The mayor said that CAO Chris Prosser has done a great job dealing with the operational issues, like lockdowns and trying to keep staff safe.

“The town is just like everyone else trying to get through this,” said Snodgrass.

“We came out of it successfully and we’re continuing down that road.”

Everyone’s hope is that 2021 will be a better year not dominated by negative COVID-19 news.

“I think it will be a challenging year, but I just don’t think it will be quite like it was, because we know so much more about COVID and we know what to do when a staff member tests positive and the procedures to take to make sure everyone is safe,” said Snodgrass.

“Once the vaccine rolls out to the general public I think it (the year) will get better and better as we go.”

“The more that your population gets vaccinated, the safer it is for everybody. What that percentage is, we aren’t sure yet. The priority is to get the seniors and health care professionals first and once it rolls out to the rest of us, we will be able to open facilities and keep them open.”

The past year saw most sports, or any types of gatherings canceled and the hope is that as the vaccine is more widely available these activities will be allowed to operate once again.

The mayor said, that council and everyone for that matter is learning their way through this pandemic and that everyone has to work together to get through it.

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2020 was dominated by COVID-19 news, but High River was able to accomplish two major road projects, and the Southwest Berm, which was the biggest positive that came out of the year for council.

Centre Street and 12th Avenue and that Southwest berm were all complete.

“It was aggravating for us and aggravating to the public, but those are the kind of things you need to push through and get done and it’s great to have them behind us and they are completed and we don’t have to worry about any big, big, major road construction other than regular street repairs,” said Snodgrass.

“It was a major leap forward for High River to get these complete. It’s not all of the flood projects, but the major ones are done and the ones that affect the public are done.”

The mayor is hopeful for a better year in 2021.

“Like we all experienced in 2013, there is never certainty that everything is going to be perfect, so you enjoy the days that are upon us and in front of us and 2021 I’m excited for that we have no major construction projects and having all that stuff behind us and so far everything looks good for 2021,” said Snodgrass.

One important project the town is working on this year is the extension to the Fire Hall in High River which the mayor hopes is done by August.

The election is also coming up in October and the mayor is unsure if we will re-running as mayor for the third time. Snodgrass has been mayor of High River since 2013.