Mayor Copeland Plans to Bring Cold Lake Issues to Forefront at AUMA

Cold Lake’s Mayor Craig Copeland has a full agenda ahead of him at the AUMA Conference in Calgary, which gets underway today. The conference hosts all the urban municipalities in Alberta, with over 1000 municipal politicians from across the province in attendance. Mayor of Cold Lake, Craig Copeland says it’s a great opportunity to network, “we’ve been in this business since 2004, so we know a lot of people. A lot of people come to [Calgary] and that’s how we network.”

Mayor Copeland says the new NDP government brings a lot of learning opportunities at the conference, “it’ll be interesting with the new NDP government. The NDP Ministers will be there, there will be barefoot sessions. So the Ministers will be talking to all the barefoot session. It’ll be interesting to hear what each Minister has to say at during their five-minute opening, but also during the Q&A session. I always find it interesting what elected officials are asking questions [to the Ministers].”

The City of Cold Lake has plans to meet with a few Ministers, “we’ve struck up a relationship with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Municipal Affairs already,” Mayor Copeland referring to the week prior when both Ministers, Joe Ceci and Deron Bilous, were in Cold Lake for the Mid-Size Mayor’s Caucus. “We’ll be looking to have a conversation with the Energy Minister, Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, and the Infrastructure and Transportation Minister, Brian Mason. Those are two Ministers that we’ll be trying to get questions on the floor about Highway 28 and the issues with the pipelines, and support for the oil industry.”

The Oil Revenue Royalties will also be a topic of discussion for the City, says Mayor Copeland, “expressing our concerns about the tweak in the oil royalty framework. Tweaking it too much to cause impact on the resource sector in Alberta.”

Another huge project the City will be working on is the transition of the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, ID-349, “we’ll be working with Deron Bilous, the Minister of Municipal Affairs about the ID-349. The transition as promised in 2016 by the PC government, so we’ll be working on that transition, so our folks at City Hall can start operating ID-349 in its entirety.”

Copeland says the City had a great conversation with Minister of Finance, Joe Ceci when he was at the Mid-Size Mayor’s Caucus, “we’re a big supporter of investing in infrastructure, this is a great time to be borrowing on your AAA credit with interest rates extremely low to be doing some big capital builds. We’ve already expressed to him Highway 28 is a big east-west highway that is vital to our area; not only people driving to Edmonton, but the oil industry and moving their equipment.”

There will be opportunity for the City to speak with the Health Minister, Sarah Hoffman, at the conference, explains Mayor Copeland. “We want to set up a meeting with her to talk about a couple of issues; one of course is the ambulance situation in Cold Lake and area, and another is expanding the Cold Lake Hospital.”

“We feel that, not only on terms of the staffing side, but the building needs a make-over and needs some expansion. We’re really pushing for the Cold Lake Hospital to see some modernization dollars to bring it up to the level of standard that this area requires. The Bonnyville Hospital and the Cold Lake Hospital compliment each other really well, but we feel both hospitals can get money from the province.”

“Why are we putting people in an ambulance down to Edmonton for some basic services?” ponders Mayor Copeland, “something simple as a CT Scan, if it’s not a stroke, they don’t call in anyone to work the CT scan after 5:00 pm on a weekday. There’s some oddities and we think that both can compliment each other well and form a regional health centre between the two of them.” The location of the Cold Lake Hospital offers room for expansion, explains Copeland, “the land at the Cold Lake Hospital has room to grow and we have a major parking situation.”

Copeland says there isn’t a scheduled meeting with the Health Minister on the books, but hopes the conference will make for an opportunity to meet with her, “we have letters out to Minister Hoffman, so if she’s in the scum, the barefoot session, one of the Councillors or myself will be asking her some questions.”

The AUMA conference begins today and will wrap-up Friday afternoon, Copeland will be joined at the conference by City Councillors, Kelvin Plain and Vicky Lefebvre. City Chief Administrative Officer, Kevin Nayoga and Strategic Iniatives Manager, Andrew Serba will also be in attendance.

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