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In with the new


What a year!

Some of us are no doubt grateful 2019 is finally behind us. Others are looking ahead with trepidation to what 2020 might hold.

It's New Year's Day, and that means it's time for all of us to reflect on what went well – or poorly – in the last year and how we can do better from here on out.

2019 began with something of a resolution to a tragedy that deeply affected families in our community. The sentencing of semi-truck driver Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, whose inattention behind the wheel killed 16 people and injured 13 more when he crashed into the Humboldt Broncos team bus in April 2018, brought part of this devastating chapter in St. Albert's history to a close, although St. Albert's Jaxon, Stephen, Conner and Logan will never be forgotten, nor will the efforts of their families to make Alberta's roads safer.

Residents continued their long and proud tradition of speaking up: twice at the polls, when they gave St. Albert NDP MLA Marie Renaud another term and elected first-time UCP MLA Dale Nally to Morinville-St. Albert, and when they returned Conservative MP Michael Cooper to his seat; and many times over the course of the year when municipal decisions and developments rubbed them the wrong – or right – way.

As usual, the pages of the Gazette's opinion section have been filled with people's thanks for their neighbours, criticisms of political decisions and general musings about issues near and dear to their hearts.

And speaking of our paper, the Gazette's online presence went through its own change as we launched St. Albert Today. It was more a complete remaking than just a facelift, and what a journey that has been – it's made us rethink how and when we deliver news, and we think we're better for it. As newspapers increasingly struggle to attract a digital audience, we've put our best foot forward and we're looking forward to growing and improving in 2020. We hope our commitment and devotion to telling the stories of St. Albertans has as much of an impact on you as it does on us.

Here at home, St. Albert has some exciting developments coming up in 2020. While the term "municipal development plan" might put you to sleep, St. Albert's upcoming revamp to its foundational document – aptly titled Flourish – is all about setting the stage for our city's future. What will we look like years and decades from now as we approach 100,000 people? That will all be built from this document. It's also the gateway to some valuable developments – parcels of land that aren't currently serviced like the Lakeview Business District and Badger Lands can start to have plans drawn up once Flourish is in place.

Federally and provincially, who knows what 2020 holds? Alberta has a spring budget coming out in a few months that we're expecting will be painful for many groups in our province. We also have a tenuous minority Liberal government leading the country – but with any luck we'll make it through 2020 without having to hold another election.

No matter what struggles lie ahead, we know there are plenty of positives in store as well. St. Albertans will no doubt share those positives amongst each other, and we'll deal with the struggles as they come – together, as a community.