Wheat­land County op­poses mem­ber­ship to Cal­gary Board

In­clu­sion with Cal­gary Re­gional Growth Board doesn’t sit well

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Sub­mit­ted The Drumheller Mail

Wheat­land County is speak­ing out about its mem­ber­ship in the Cal­gary Re­gional Growth Man­age­ment Board.

Ac­cord­ing to the reg­u­la­tion dis­cus­sion guide pre­pared by Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs, “It is pro­posed that Growth Man­age­ment Boards be com­posed of the large ur­ban mu­nic­i­pal­ity (i.e. Cal­gary or Ed­mon­ton), all ru­ral municipalities that are ad­ja­cent...”

Wheat­land County is not, nor has it ever been, ad­ja­cent to Cal­gary and yet, ac­cord­ing to the Al­berta Gov­ern­ment, it is still be­ing forced into the Cal­gary Metropoli­tan Re­gion growth man­age­ment board.

“We are, first of all, against any type of forced par­tic­i­pa­tion,” stated Reeve Glenn Koester. “We have made our po­si­tion clear with sev­eral let­ters and dis­cus­sions with Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs.”

The most re­cent com­mu­ni­ca­tion from Min­is­ter Larivee (Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs), re­ceived Jan­uary 12, 2017, states, “...the in­tended out­come of the growth man­age­ment boards is to en­sure that plan­ning around the largest ur­ban cen­ters in Al­berta oc­curs in an ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive way...it only makes sense to also in­clude por­tions of Wheat­land County...”

This is un­ac­cept­able to Wheat­land County and, ac­cord­ing to Coun­cil, there is con­cern they will lose their abil­ity to de­ter­mine their own growth if forced onto the board.

“Re­gard­ing the vot­ing struc­ture, it is un­ac­cept­able that one mu­nic­i­pal­ity has the abil­ity to con­trol the agenda through the dou­ble ma­jor­ity vot­ing model,” Koester ex­plained. “The Board’s growth and ser­vic­ing plans will be de­ter­mined, based on the planned vot­ing struc­ture, by the City of Cal­gary. There are ob­vi­ously go­ing to be dif­fer­ent perspectives and dif­fer­ent needs be­tween ru­ral and ur­ban groups but, be­cause of pop­u­la­tion rather than merit, the con­cerns of the ru­ral groups will not be ad­dressed,” Koester continued. “Even if every ru­ral com­mu­nity that is part of this pro­posed Board votes to­gether, the large ur­ban cen­tre (Cal­gary) has the abil­ity to out-vote them. Add to this, the fact that we will be ex­pected to rep­re­sent and speak on be­half of all the small com­mu­ni­ties within our bor­ders, but have only one vote. The in­di­vid­ual com­mu­ni­ties have no vote on their own, and it is quite clear—this is a dic­ta­tor­ship. Cal­gary is the only one with enough pop­u­la­tion to have any say in the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process.”

The next meet­ing is planned for Jan­uary 20, and the County Coun­cil will send rep­re­sen­ta­tives. “We plan to con­tinue fight­ing this. In its cur­rent form, it is un­fair to us and all other ru­ral par­tic­i­pants,” said Koester.

Glenn Koester… Wheat­land County Reeve

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.