Thursday , 21 October 2021

ID349 deal struck for long-term with Cold Lake, Bonnyville, M.D., and Glendon

A long-standing political issue in the Lakeland seems to have been resolved on Monday afternoon.

The City of Cold Lake, Municipal District of Bonnyville, Town of Bonnyville, and Village of Glendon have all agreed on how to distribute the linear property tax revenues from the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range (ID349) moving forward, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs announced Monday.

The land Improvement District No. 349 will now be amalgamated into the M.D. of Bonnyville and the tax revenue from the former ID properties will be shared with the other three municipalities each year on a per capita basis.

The government said all four parties signed and agreed to the deal and it cannot be changed unless they all sign on and agree.

That money represents roughly $25 million for the region in the 2020 year.

“This funding agreement shows what we can do when we tap into the collective wisdom of Alberta’s municipal leaders,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs Tracy Allard in a press release.

“Collaboration, relationship building, and working together is key to creating visibly local results in community after community. I want to thank MLA Hanson for showing leadership on this file and to the four municipalities for working together to create a solution that benefits the region.”

The City of Cold Lake will get $15,374,526, the Town of Bonnyville will receive $6,884,881, the M.D. of Bonnyville will be given $2,200,000, and the Village of Glendon will receive $990,150 for the 2020 year.

In May, then Minister Kaycee Madu said he would not release the 2020 tax revenues until a long-term plan from the region is presented that is sustainable and viable.

That decision also forced out Fishing Lake and Elizabeth Metis Settlements from the arrangement, who were involved in 2017 and 2018, because Madu said tax revenues cannot be distributed to non-municipalities–instead, the government said they would find other funding sources to help support these communities.

In 2019, Cold Lake received just over $16 million, Bonnyville roughly got $7.5 million, the M.D. of Bonnyville got $2.2 million for road maintenance to the Air Weapons Range, and the Village of Glendon received $1.5 million.

“I’m so pleased to have the four municipalities sign this historic agreement. During the 2019 campaign, I committed to getting a fair deal for the whole region,” said MLA David Hanson in the release.

“I want to thank Minister Allard for getting this done and to the four municipalities for working together to create economic prosperity for the Lakeland.”

Funding amounts will vary in future years depending upon the tax revenues generated.

“The agreement between our four municipalities and the Government of Alberta will provide sustainable funding for the betterment of the entire region,” said Mayor Craig Copeland in the release.

“The City of Cold Lake would especially like to thank the Honourable Minister Tracy Allard, MLA David Hanson, and Reeve Greg Sawchuk and the M.D. of Bonnyville Council for their leadership on this file. This agreement will help fund important municipal projects that will put more Albertans to work, not only in the short term, but well into the future.”

Reeve Greg Sawchuk also was quoted saying the M.D. is very pleased with the news.

“We appreciate the willingness to not only consult with us, but to entertain our made in the Lakeland solution. We believe this agreement that was built in the spirit of collaboration will provide stability to the municipalities involved and benefit all of the residents in our region.”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. 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.