The Mid-Size Mayor’s Caucus is being held in Cold Lake today and tomorrow. The advocacy group is made up of mayors and dignitaries from 22 municipalities across Alberta. A municipality is considered midsized if there are more than 10,000 residents, excluding the large urban centres, Calgary and Edmonton.
Mayor Cold Lake, Craig Copeland explains the idea behind the caucus is similar to a large brainstorming and idea sharing opportunity, with a group of really strong minds. The group has a unique opportunity as the Finance Minister, Joe Ceci and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Minister Service Alberta, Derron Bilous will be in attendance. Both Ministers will speak for 10 minutes and allow for a Questions & Answers period.
Mayor Copeland, who himself has spoken out about the problems with the ambulance system in Alberta, suspects that will be a hot topic among the group, “I think some of the mayors will have questions about the ambulance service across the province, with the EMS dispatch and Code Reds. I think that’ll be a lively topic.”
Another topic that should spark some fires is police funding, explains Copeland, “it’s not a one-size-fits-all. Bigger urbans pay 90 percent policing, while the rurals pay zero. I think policing is always a conversation when you have a Minister in the room.”
It’s important for the City to have the ear of the Ministers explains Copeland, “in 2016 the Air Weapons Range is transitioning to the City of Cold Lake. We want to work on the final agreement to ensure the transition of the weapons range into Cold Lake and move forward. The PC government was moving in that direction and we want to reiterate with the NDP government.”
The Mayor believes the NDP government will be announcing their investment into infrastructure, “which I will fully support, maybe we can even get some projects up here.” Another issue the Mayor has long supported is the need for upgrades to Highway 28, Copeland dubbed the roadway “The Forgotten Highway”, which caught on quick among the locals. “Highway 28 is a provincial highway that is in brutal shape, it’s been left off the radar for a long time.”
“This group of mayors is a really strong group and they’ll be providing the Ministers with some pretty hard questions,” explains the Mayor who will act as chair of the discussions. “I’ll keep the meeting on agenda.” The idea is to keep the caucus on schedule and have all the mayors back on the road by mid-afternoon Friday.
Along with sharing ideas and time with the Ministers, the caucus allows Cold Lake to showcase the city, “every eight or nine years a municipality gets the opportunity to host,” explains Copeland, “We’ll be providing a tour on Thursday of Imperial Oil and 4-Wing Cold Lake, we’ll go to the Energy Centre and FCSS-Parent Link. We’re going to toast them at Clark’s on Thursday night.”
Copeland expects a successful caucus, “we’ve all known each other for quite some time, we do everything as a big group. Nobody’s afraid to state their opinions. It’s a good buncha mayors. Of all the organizations that we belong to, this one is the best, by far.”