Mu­nic­i­pal Ex­cel­lence spot­light shines on Coal­dale

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Front Page - BY HEATHER CAMERON

The Town of Coal­dale and the City of Leth­bridge were pre­sented Min­is­ter’s Awards of Mu­nic­i­pal Ex­cel­lence at a cer­e­mony held at Leth­bridge City Hall on Au­gust 2.

“It’s great to visit this part of the province and present these two awards in per­son,” said Shaye Anderson, Min­is­ter of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs for the Gov­ern­ment of Al­berta. “Across Al­berta, we are so for­tu­nate to have so many ded­i­cated lead­ers and teams work­ing hard to serve our com­mu­ni­ties. What you do and the de­ci­sions you make, touches the lives of fam­i­lies and busi­nesses and the many groups who de­pend on you. That’s why the Min­is­ter’s Awards of Mu­nic­i­pal Ex­cel­lence are so im­por­tant to me; I love hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to honor your ac­com­plish­ments, your in­no­va­tion, and the col­lab­o­ra­tion that is be­ing done to make com­mu­ni­ties stronger.”

Min­is­ter Anderson first pre­sented The Part­ner­ship Award to the City of Leth­bridge and it was re­ceived by Mayor Chris Spear­man. Leth­bridge re­ceived the award for their work and col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Black­foot Con­fed­er­acy Na­tions. “I’d like to thank the Min­is­ter for rec­og­niz­ing the work that we are do­ing for the City of Leth­bridge and for our neigh­bors, the Black­foot peo­ple,” Spear­man said.

“The tra­di­tional knowl­edge con­sul­ta­tion process that takes place within our plan­ning is within com­pli­ance. Work­ing with our In­dige­nous peo­ple, un­der­stand­ing their tra­di­tional knowl­edge and their tra­di­tional his­tory; the land. It’s im­por­tant that we take into ac­count the value of that land to them as we con­tinue to de­velop that land and grow as a city.”

Spear­man says that the City of Leth­bridge was one of the first mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to have a re­sponse to the Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion.

“We make sure we in­volve the In­dige­nous El­ders and we un­der­stand the his­toric im­por­tance of the land to the Black­foot Peo­ple,” Spear­man said. “They alert us to what a piece of land means to the Black­foot Peo­ple when­ever we’re con­sid­er­ing a new de­vel­op­ment and how we might re­spect as­pects of the Black­foot cul­ture as that area is be­ing de­vel­oped. We now in­cor­po­rate that as a stan­dard fea­ture of our plan­ning process.”

Spear­man says that the City will con­tinue to ex­pand the process of con­sul­ta­tion while con­tin­u­ing to de­velop the city to en­sure that First Na­tions’ cul­tures are prop­erly hon­ored.

“Our ul­ti­mate goal is to make sure as our city grows, we re­spect the Black­foot Peo­ple, the Métis Peo­ple, and we make sure that the out­comes with re­spect to hous­ing, with re­spect to em­ploy­ment, and with re­spect to suc­cess within our com­mu­nity are re­al­ized by all who live here. We un­der­stand that isn’t al­ways the case, but we now have the struc­tures and the com­mit­ment in place to make a dif­fer­ence and make sure that every­one who lives within our bound­aries and our neigh­bors are re­spected.”

Fol­low­ing Spear­man’s re­marks, Anderson then pre­sented the Safe Com­mu­ni­ties Award to the Town of Coal­dale for their emer­gency pre­pared­ness project.

“It’s clear from our ex­pe­ri­ences that emer­gency pre­pared­ness is vi­tal,” Anderson said. “I’m now con­fi­dent that Coal­dale’s peo­ple are now 100% bet­ter pre­pared be­cause of their work. Thank you for ris­ing to the oc­ca­sion to do this; you are truly lead­ing the way. We know that these days, dis­as­ters hap­pen more fre­quently and with more power and to be more pre­pared is a big thing for us in this province. Thank you very much for your work on this.”

Ja­cen Abrey, the Deputy Mayor of Coal­dale, was hon­ored to ac­cept the award on be­half of the Town.

He cred­ited all the work to his staff and vol­un­teers for em­brac­ing the town’s emer­gency pre­pared­ness train­ing.

“Pre­sent­ing these awards is an op­por­tu­nity for me to come and rec­og­nize peo­ple that other­wise maybe wouldn’t be and to let the cit­i­zens know how hard these peo­ple work for the com­mu­nity,” Anderson said. “Leth­bridge and Coal­dale work re­ally well with the com­mu­ni­ties around them. When you work with com­mu­ni­ties around you, it is to the ben­e­fit of the peo­ple who live in that re­gion. I want you to know that your ded­i­ca­tion is not only ap­pre­ci­ated by me, but also greatly ap­pre­ci­ated by this gov­ern­ment.”

Pho­tos by Heather Cameron

Ja­cen Abrey, Deputy Mayor of the Town of Coal­dale, ac­cepts The Safe Com­mu­ni­ties Award on be­half of the Town.

Leth­bridge’s mayor Chris Spear­man ac­cepts The Part­ner­ship Award on be­half of the City of Leth­bridge.

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