By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
The community of Coaldale came together on June 17 to celebrate the grand opening of the new Civic Square building. Local residents, elected officials, faith leaders, and dignitaries from the Indigenous community all gathered to mark the occasion.
With Town offices located on the second floor, and big plans underway transforming the space behind the building into an outdoor gathering spot, the entire structure and surrounding area has been designed with functionality and community in mind. Following the sale of the old town office, administrative staff have been working out of the building for several months. While council has been holding regular council meetings at the new Civic Square location within one of the board rooms, the first meeting in the completed chambers was officially held on Monday, June 26. Now that the technology has been calibrated, the public will be able to observe the open portion of meetings at the new location moving forward. Large glass windows and a spacious gallery were designed to encourage community engagement, with literal structural transparency for open portions of council meetings, courtesy of the floor to ceiling windows.
Located at 1801 20 Avenue, Civic Square houses a large atrium designed and constructed with events in mind. The grand opening also unveiled the newest feature, a living wall with over 2,000 living plants which are irrigated by way of a reverse osmosis drip system which supports the design feature entirely without the use of soil, whereby the roots are exposed to moisture on a timed cycle. The feature was previously discussed in the planning and budgeting stages but was ultimately donated to the Town by the developer of the project, Shift Real Estate Investments. The modern feature ties into the site’s clean design while also keeping elements of the historical townsite by way of large photos in the main atrium.
In addition to Coaldale’s sidewalk projects completed in 2021, the Civic Square building and outdoor gathering space incorporates features and amenities aimed to encourage community to utilize it as a third space, that is a communal space outside of the home and office in an attempt to further curate a thriving and vibrant downtown for residents and visitors alike.
Following the grand opening, Mayor Jack Van Rijn said in a news release, “through the process of bringing Civic Square to life, we have seen our community come together to serve a common goal, hand in hand.”
“We have witnessed the emergence of strength when people set aside their personal agendas and work towards the greater good,” he continued.
Van Rijn said the space will also function as its own anchor for town council and staff and said, “We will engage in thoughtful dialogue, recognizing that every voice matters, and by working in unison, we can effectively find innovative solutions to issues that affect the town. We will join forces with neighbouring municipalities, businesses, educational institutions, and community organizations, realizing that by combining our resources, we can create a brighter future for every Coaldale citizen.”
In addition to the various design features intended to enhance the recreational and functional capacity of the building for community members, Town Council has also adopted several other features and initiatives to improve the accessibility to communal spaces. Along with the official flags on display at the Town office, a fourth community flagpole was installed on site earlier this year. As well, town-organized events such as the Summer Fest event in August, will utilize the various infrastructural features of the outdoor gathering space to improve programming for attendees.