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Tuesday , 29 September 2020
Premier Jason Kenney announces funding for the Cold Lake Fish Hatchery this summer.

$10M for Cold Lake Fish Hatchery, Premier Kenney visits Lakeland

Hatchery will begin stocking walleye next year.

Premier Jason Kenney was in the Lakeland on Thursday to announce a big provincial spend.

The Cold Lake Fish Hatchery will see just over $10 million in investment, which will allow for the reuse of water during operations and reduce utility costs.

Roughly $3 million from the spend will go towards installing a new oxygen generator and replacing the hatchery’s water head box, metal roof and motor control systems.

The province said this will create more than 40 jobs.

“Alberta’s government is taking action now to get folks back to work while ensuring our province can continue to grow in the years to come,” said Premier Jason Kenney.

“Stocked fisheries generate more than $166 million in economic activity each year in our province. Investments in provincial fish hatcheries support the significant economic role fishing has in the province – and will get Albertans back to work.”

Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon said during the announcement that sportfishing sales are up 25 per cent as regulations changed earlier this year, while the Cold Lake Fish Hatchery will play a big part in the walleye population going forward.

“This facility right here will play the lead role in our walleye stocking program, which Albertans identified as their priority,” said Nixon.

“We’ve invested in all of our fish hatcheries in the province, but Cold Lake is the most important one because from my perspective it’s the only one that can make walleye.”

The Cold Lake Fish Hatchery uses a flow-through method where water is taken from Cold Lake, heated and treated, used during fish hatchery operations and then returned to Cold Lake.

This announcement totals $50 million in investment toward Alberta’s four hatcheries.

“Fishing opportunities are abundant on our beautiful area lakes and I’m proud of this investment that will help stimulate our local economy by attracting anglers from near and far, particularly as we recover from the pandemic,” said Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul MLA David Hanson.

Fish Culture Manager, Craig Copeland, right, schools on Premier Jason Kenney on trout.

Premier hears concerns from local leaders

On Wednesday, Kenney visited Lakeland College’s Vermilion campus for a $17 million funding announcement towards the animal science centre, before stopping in St. Paul that night to discuss local issues with leaders from the Town and County of St. Paul, Elk Point, and Glendon.

Before he stopped at the fish hatchery, Kenney listened to leaders from Cold Lake, and the M.D. and Town of Bonnyville.

“We’re talking about a whole range of ideas. I’m talking about the need to work in the same direction to protect people from the coronavirus recession. I am thanking them for, in this part of the province, great results in fighting the pandemic itself. But I’m outlining the economic recovery plan and how municipalities can play a role in that by helping us to cut red tape, speed up approvals, hold the line on taxes, reduce them if possible, and encourage new business investment,” he said.

“And they’re raising issues with me like, municipal infrastructure needs, in this region certainly some regional issues, so it’s a pretty wide range of subjects we’re hearing about. I think we all recognize that we’re facing a huge challenge together and that we all need to work in the same direction.”

Last week, rural municipalities in the area, including the M.D. of Bonnyville, County of St. Paul, Lac La Biche County, and County of Vermilion River, explaining how millions in annual revenue could be lost if the province’s review of oil and gas wells goes ahead.

“Some of the M.D.’s have certainly been raising the discussions around revisions to Alberta’s linear tax assessment model, they’re raising concerns which I’m hearing. It gives me a chance to explain that there are some gas producers in Alberta that their top expenditure is property tax and many of whom are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy,” said Kenney.

“And we need an assessment model that ensures they don’t get driven out of business because of taxes. At the same time we need to ensure revenue for the M.D.’s and there has to be a fair balance.”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connect Media. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.