MAYOR GENE SOBOLEWSKI LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
As fall turns to winter once again, the Town also enters into the season of budget preparation and starts the process of pre-budget consultations. With two years remaining for the term of this Council, we now set about our tasks of planning for the next 2, 3, 5, and 1 O years into the future and prepare ourselves as to what our Council’s priorities will be. I anticipate that these next few years will be monumental for the Lakeland Region for many reasons.
I believe that the global, national and local economies will strengthen and become more robust during this period. This time though, I am hopeful that with our dedicated work through our Regional Opportunities Committee, we can all start to tackle the critical infrastructure deficit for which is ever increasing with the passage of time and growth. As many of you are aware, the main focus of our Committee is to pursue new revenue opportunities for our partners for direct allocation to critical infrastructure needs in our municipalities. By far, the greatest opportunity for sustained, collaborative revenues for the region lie within ID 349, a recently created Provincial taxation district north of the M.D of Bonnyville. ID 349 is also better known as the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, a name derived in the past for its proximity to this beautiful lake.
This is an area where many of our residents in the Lakeland (from all communities) work hard to develop our oil and gas resources. As many will also recall, the creation of the ID itself was mired in controversy and confrontational public debate, pitting the communities of the Lakeland against one another. Our Committee was formed to explore opportunities together as our strength as a region lies in our ability to work together collaboratively.
We believe that confrontation and conflict requires the same effort as collaboration, so our energies are dedicated to collaboration. The ID was created by the Province of Alberta and the assessment taxation distributed through a Memorandum of Understanding (of which the Town was not allowed to participate) which expires in 2016. From the Town’s perspective, we are asking that all the municipalities within the Lakeland be allowed to enjoy the fruits of our labour in development of our regional resources.
We are asking that a new, inclusionary agreement be established which will permit the fair distribution of the assessment revenue to go to all of the regional municipal partners to help address critical infrastructure needs in the Town of Bonnyville, MD of Bonnyville, Village of Glendon, and the City of Cold Lake. To be clear, we are looking for new ways to generate additional taxation from the l.D. that can be re-distributed so other Municipalities in the Region with just as many critical needs can benefit from this agreement as well.
As we move through this process, it is my sincere hope and belief that all of our municipalities within the region can work together to help address the critical infrastructure deficit that we all face and avoid the unnecessary and wasted energy of needless confrontations of the past. In working together, we can better the lives of all our residents in the Lakeland.
Mayor Town of Bonnyville