By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
The Village of Nobleford is eyeing a name change as they approach their 100th year.
With the village being over the population requirement of 1,000 residents needed to achieve town status, according to both the 2011 and 2016 censuses, Nobleford mayor Don McDowell says that now is a good time to go for the name change.
“A lot of these smaller communities, over the last ten years, some of them have peaked and receded rather badly. We wanted to make sure that that wasn’t going to happen to us — we knew we were on a good growth pattern, but we wanted to be absolutely sure,” said McDowell, adding they also wanted to get feedback from the community. “The optics of it look really good; here we are, 100 years ago and together kind of thing. To be able to do it now would be nice.”
According to Alberta’s Municipal Affairs website, there are currently 108 towns in Alberta. In order to qualify for town status, a municipality must have at least 1,000 residents, and can have a population of over 10,000 residents, unless it applies for city status.
A village, which Nobleford is currently listed as, can be formed upon request by 30 per cent of electors in a community with a population of at least 300 people.
In a press release from the town, it noted that the largest increase in population for the village took place between 2001-16, when the population doubled from 610 to 1,278 residents. Additionally, job opportunities in the village have also significantly increased, going from 30 in 2000 to about 300 in 2018.
In order to achieve town status, McDowell said that you simply have to make an application to the province. The government will then look over and discuss the application, after which someone would make a resolution on whether or not to grant town status.
“We have no guarantee that the province is going to come back to use right away and say ‘Go ahead’ kind of thing, but we’re hoping,” said McDowell. “A thousand people is where we need to be, and we’ve gone two census, if you will, since then. And this year, we’re probably going to end up well over 1,400 (in population), so I don’t see any issue with it (achieving town status) at all.
“We are a solid, solid town. With the growth of our industrial park, we have solidified our place you know for years and years to come. We have a lot of jobs here in Nobleford, and of course, that’s what makes a community,” aid McDowell
Although the name change would be mainly just that, as al lot of grant opportunities and policing services will stay the same, McDowell said that the town status could invite more investment into the community.
“One of the big whys is all the communities in southern Alberta are forever trying to attract new business, new homeowners, new people. And while the concept of a village, you know, has kind of a cutesy appeal to it, when you’re going to invest in putting a business someplace, to have that town status, just has a little better ring to it from an economic standpoint.”
McDowell hopes to hear back from the province by Feb. 28, the date of the village’s 100th birthday. A celebration is being planned, and will be hosted in the community complex.
“We’ve been 100 years, clawing our way along, hanging on through some of the tough times, and now we’re ready to spread our wings, if you will.”