Alberta’s Budget was released on October 27th, 2015. Mayor of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski, says he’s not concerned; rather cautiously optimistic.
The Town will be meeting with the Deputy Minister of Transportation tomorrow, Friday, October 30th, Mayor Sobolewski explains, “we want to see what the budget means in terms of the dollar values going to the Water for Life funding.”
Another topic of discussion with the Deputy Minister will be the hospital, “our hospital wasn’t listed in the funding,” Mayor Sobolewski says Council was prepared for the exclusion, “we were expecting that. We will continue our efforts to ensure that the hospital expansion is recognized. I’ve sent in a note for Minister of Health, Hoffman, to come to Bonnyville.”
There were quite a few encouraging details in the budget, says Sobolewski, “I’m encouraged by the incentives provided for small businesses or start-up businesses. Lots of grants and incentives. The government is trying to stimulate the economy or diversify the economy.”
“MSI funding looks like it’s increasing, which is good for us.” states the Mayor, “I’m very happy and pleased about that.”
Sobolewski is discouraged by the amount of money spent on urban centres, “there’s still a lot of money being spent on Edmonton and Calgary, on ring roads.”
“Again, the waterline wasn’t included,” Sobolewski has been advocating for the waterline and pushing its priority since taking office, “let me use some of the contingency on [the ring road projects] and that will help Bonnyville fund the waterline.” The contingency funding Mayor Sobolewski would like diverted to Bonnyville is the extra funds put aside when funding major capital projects, such as the Anthony Henday Drive in Edmonton. “We’re talking about $175 million dollars, let us have some of that. Defer some of those project to the following years and let us slip in there and do what we need to do.” Mayor Sobolewski feels this project should not take precedence over a waterline, which he deems, “vital for life”.
“We want to work out the details,” the Town will have an opportunity to have many of their questions answered tomorrow with the Deputy Minister, “maybe the waterline will be funded and it’s just not readily identified.”
“We’re encouraged because overall there is an emphasis on infrastructure; roads, bridges, water, and sewer. The Devil’s in the details.”