Provin­cial mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties meet to talk re­source devel­op­ment

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - NEWS - Con­tributed

The lead­ers of the mu­nic­i­pal as­so­ci­a­tions of West­ern Canada’s three prairie prov­inces met in Ed­mon­ton on Aug. 31 to dis­cuss ar­eas of com­mon con­cern.

The Al­berta Ur­ban Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties As­so­ci­a­tion ( AUMA) and the Ru­ral Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of Al­berta ( RMA) hosted the an­nual meet­ing com­prised of elected of­fi­cials and staff from the AUMA and RMA, the As­so­ci­a­tion of Man­i­toba Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties ( AMM), the Saskatchew­an Ur­ban Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties As­so­ci­a­tion ( SUMA), and the Saskatchew­an As­so­ci­a­tion of Ru­ral Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties ( SARM).

Pri­or­ity dis­cus­sion items is­sues in­cluded the chal­lenges that mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have in ac­cess­ing fed­eral in­fra­struc­ture fund­ing, the im­pacts of the as­sen­ta­tion of Bill C-69, as­set man­age­ment, dis­as­ter mit­i­ga­tion, and ad­di­tional fed­eral pol­icy and bud­get com­mit­ments.

On fed­eral in­fra­struc­ture fund­ing, the as­so­ci­a­tions agreed that chal­lenges re­lated to ac­cess­ing fund­ing through the fed­eral In­vest­ing in Canada In­fra­struc­ture Pro­gram are sig­nif­i­cantly im­pact­ing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties’ abil­i­ties to un­der­take in­fra­struc­ture projects. Fur­ther, en­gag­ing mu­nic­i­pal as­so­ci­a­tions is es­sen­tial to en­sure that fund­ing al­lo­ca­tions do not have un­nec­es­sary lim­i­ta­tions.

“Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are re­spon­si­ble for ex­ten­sive in­fra­struc­ture projects and de­mand a fair share of fed­eral fund­ing through the In­vest­ing in Canada In­fra­struc­ture Pro­gram,” stated Ralph Groen­ing, Pres­i­dent of AMM.

“Our provin­cial govern­ments are fac­ing large deficits, we re­al­ize that,” added Al Kem­mere, Pres­i­dent of RMA. “In­vest­ing in in­fra­struc­ture is es­sen­tial to keep our econ­omy run­ning and sup­port con­tin­ued in­vest­ment.”

The as­so­ci­a­tions also dis­cussed as­set man­age­ment and how it sup­ports ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient plan­ning for mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties though ap­pli­ca­tion into the bud­get­ing process. On this item, Ray Orb, SARM Pres­i­dent, em­pha­sized, “Com­mu­ni­cat­ing the ben­e­fits of as­set man­age­ment will help mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils un­der­stand the state of their in­fra­struc­ture, and to plan ac­cord­ingly for nec­es­sary in­vest­ment. This also demon­strates what the in­fra­struc­ture deficit is, so we can ad­dress this ap­pro­pri­ately. Fund­ing for roads and bridges is lim­ited, and bet­ter plan­ning for mu­nic­i­pal in­fra­struc­ture in­cludes sound prac­tices on as­set man­age­ment.”

Other top­ics the as­so­ci­a­tions dis­cussed in­cluded re­spon­si­ble re­sources devel­op­ment, re­cy­cling and in­ter­mu­nic­i­pal col­lab­o­ra­tion.

AUMA Pres­i­dent Barry Mor­ishita stated, “Re­spon­si­ble re­source devel­op­ment is es­sen­tial for the fu­ture of all mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties. This meet­ing to­day demon­strates AUMA’s on­go­ing com­mit­ment to work with our mem­bers and other mu­nic­i­pal as­so­ci­a­tions to move for­ward with a Re­source Com­mu­ni­ties of Canada Coali­tion (RCCC). There is a need to co­or­di­nate our Cana­dian mu­nic­i­pal voice to en­sure mu­nic­i­pal per­spec­tives are be­ing heard on is­sues im­pact­ing re­source devel­op­ment.”

“Saskatchew­an home­towns de­liver ser­vices that their res­i­dents rely on daily, from clean drinking wa­ter to waste man­age­ment,” said SUMA Pres­i­dent Gor­don Barn­hart. “Our cities, towns, vil­lages, and north­ern mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties need to know fund­ing will be there to help our home­towns main­tain and im­prove the in­fra­struc­ture that en­hances the qual­ity of life in Saskatchew­an.”

Dis­cus­sion amongst this group of lead­ers is es­sen­tial to un­der­stand is­sues be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced across the prairie prov­inces. “We value this op­por­tu­nity to con­nect with our col­leagues and have frank dis­cus­sions about is­sues im­pact­ing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties across Al­berta, Saskatchew­an and Man­i­toba,” said Al Kem­mere, RMA Pres­i­dent.

Added Mor­ishita, “Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties on the prairies share many sim­i­lar chal­lenges. We’re stronger when we’re work­ing and part­ner­ing to­gether.”

Photo con­tributed

PRAIRIE MU­NIC­I­PAL­I­TIES MEET: Heads of the provin­cial mu­ni­pal­i­ties from across Canada met in Ed­mon­ton to dis­cussing fund­ing is­sues.

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