We are just over halfway through the first month of 2023, but what does this year really have in store for Fort Saskatchewan? 

It's shaping up to be a year of transition and growth for the community as city council is preparing for a levy of investments, construction projects, and some potential new recreation possibilities. 

Mayor Gale Katchur sat down with FortSaskOnline.com to chat about what residents should expect in 2023. 

Here are some of the highlights...

Industry investments in the community 

Fort Saskatchewan's placement in the core of the Heartland should continue to help the local economy this year. 

"Dow Canada, we anticipate will make their final investment decision in the spring," said Katchur. "That's a project that will really add to our economy in the heartland region and in Fort Saskatchewan." 

Plains Midstream is also expected to make a final investment decision in the area sometime this year. 

Katchur is excited about the opportunities these could provide the community. 

"When we talk about heavy industry, that really provides jobs, it bolsters our economy and often I say they create the oasis within the province that keeps stability when it comes to jobs and the economy," said Katchur. 

"It's something we are very proud of that we are part of the heartland and have heavy industry." 

A new era of shopping in the Fort? 

Fort Saskatchewan's newest shopping centre will begin construction later this year. It will be dubbed the 'Fort Saskatchewan Common'.

Phase one of construction is slated to get underway in April. 

Though it's been the subject of debate among residents, Katchur has been in close contact with the developer and likes what she's been hearing. 

"Hopefully there will be stores that people have been talking about on social media," said Katchur. "I talked with the developer, and he says he is working hard on getting new stores into our community, not just duplication." 

The 20-acre shopping centre will be located next to Highway 21 across the highway from Home Depot. 

A way to walk across the river

2022 saw the completion of the new Highway 15 bridge and 2023 will see the completion of.... the new Highway 15 bridge? 

The pedestrian walkway underneath the new bridge is slated to open up later this year. 

Katchur says it's been a long time coming. 

"For many years, people have been trying to bike or walk across the Highway 15 bridge and it's really not safe," said Katchur. "The pedestrian underpass will provide safe access for pedestrians." 

"It will also be a connection to the Trans-Canada trail system and the Athabasca trail system."

This is definitely something to keep an eye on in the next few months. 

Evolving local recreation

There could be some changes to how Fort Saskatchewan residents keep in shape this year. 

Earlier this month, the city sent out access codes to encourage people to take part in an online survey about the community's recreation facilities. 

"Right now, administration is out seeking input from residents," said Katchur. "Coming out of the recreation study will help council determine when and where the next facilities will be built." 

"I think that's pretty exciting!" 

City council will also continue to look at bringing a bike skills park to the community, for any avid bikers that are interested. 

A local census is set to roll out

Hot off the heels of the 2021 federal census Fort Saskatchewan will be conducting a census of its own in 2023. 

"We are not confident in the numbers provided [in the federal census] so we believe it's to our benefit to do a new census," said Katchur. "We really encourage you to fill out your information." 

"It is a benefit when we are out marketing our community that development people understand that this a place they want to bring new businesses. 

Currently no word on when that census will start to roll out, but it's something residents should be aware of.