COLUMN: Coun. Jim Elford (Photo credit Black Press file)

Congratulations Creston!

Submitted by Coun. Jim Elford

Last fall a gentleman posted on social media that he hadn’t seen any changes in Creston over the past decade. While I was shocked to see that comment, I thought maybe some of Creston’s incredible accomplishments haven’t been visible to some people in the community such as the completion of the Arrow Creek water pipeline which utilized $7.8 million in grants, or the recently upgraded Schikurski Park pumping station. This $1.25 million pumping station was upgraded using a $750,000 grant and more recently prevented our community from running out of drinking water when the Erickson Improvement District had a water mainline break which affected the delivery of drinking water to the Town of Creston’s reservoir. The bio solids handling system at the sewage treatment plant, also not visible to the public, was completed with a $2.58 million grant. Each of these infrastructure upgrades are necessary to the health and viability of our community.

More publicly visible achievements are the award-winning Official Community Plan and the downtown community washrooms. The municipality acquired the Creston Education Centre, including seven acres of land and a commercial property on Canyon Street. This acquisition included the use of $200,000 in Columbia Basin Trust grants in the purchase. The Town of Creston also received an award from the Wood Council for the pavilion and new washrooms in Centennial Park. Additionally, the Creston Rotary Club just completed updating the picnic shelter in the same park.

Over the past decade, there has been the development of a new dog park, bike park, and many new community trails, sidewalks and benches, all significant improvements to our community. Much of the community trails are installed and funded by volunteers. The mini green space next to the movie theatre on Canyon Street has been a terrific improvement to that property which adds to our downtown beautification efforts. Speaking of downtown beautification, that started with new streetlamps and lighting along Canyon Street which improved the overall appearance of the downtown area. The new sidewalk, benches and trees on Pine Street from the elevators are a beautiful spot to appreciate the view of the valley while the construction of the sidewalk improved accessibility and safety for those walking. The Pine Street sidewalk project was engineered, designed and built entirely by Creston staff.

Always catching my attention is our Canada flag, located by the Chamber of Commerce office, installed to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary while the Public Art Connection, including the donkey statue, are great additions to the community. Coming soon we have the Creston Community Park and skateboard park complete with a children’s playground, pickleball courts and a multi-sport court. This new community infrastructure is being developed utilizing over $3 million in grant funding.

These improvements have been completed with the help of many volunteer groups, efficient staff and a fiscally responsible council. For example, in 2008, Creston ranked 81 of 162 municipalities on taxation. In 2018, Creston was 82 of 162. During this time, and after the community population exceeded a population of 5,000 in 2011, Creston was required to increase taxation to pay for increased municipal policing costs.

So again, congratulations Creston and thank you to all the volunteers who continue to move our community forward in so many ways. As the public stated in our Official Community Plan, we want a friendly, walkable community and it looks like we are succeeding!

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