Scott Cyr: Budget 2016 – What’s in it for us?

MLA for Bonnyville-Cold Lake, Scott Cyr says he’s had a chance to look through the Provincial Budget and from what he’s seen thus far, “there’s not a lot for the north.” Admittedly, the MLA needs to read through the thick document, but he has had a chance to see some key Lakeland issues haven’t been addressed to the extend he would’ve like to have seen; including taxes & pipelines, the waterline, Highway 28, health care.

Taxes & Pipelines

“It’s very disappointing that we have a $10 billion deficit in a time when we should be using restraint. The Carbon Tax is a tax that our residents just can’t afford to pay; especially, in these times of a depressed economy. I was hoping the NDP would reconsider that, but they have made it very clear that the Carbon Tax is a top priority.” Cyr, a member of the Official Opposition, the Wildrose, says his party’s main priority, “is moving pipelines out of Alberta. Our leader, Brian Jean, has been working with the government, as well as, going back east and working with the Ontario government to try to secure pipelines out of Alberta.”

For our riding, the top priority is pipelines, that means job creation, that means growth, that means investment. Without a pipeline going east, west, or south, we’ve got a real problem! – Scott Cyr MLA Bonnyville-Cold Lake

 

Waterline to Cold Lake First Nations & Bonnyville 

The much-needed waterline that will draw water from Cold Lake and bring it to Bonnyville, as well as, Cold Lake First Nations, was not specifically mentioned in the Budget. However, Cyr explains the government did increase spending to the Water for Life project; which could in turn mean the project is getting the go-ahead.

“I’m looking forward to finding out if our waterline is a part of Water for Life or if it was possibly added to the Water Waste Waterline Projects,” Cyr says the Budget is not specific, “I am hoping the government starts to roll out the list of projects they’re working on.”

“I have been advocating to make sure the waterline is a part of either of those projects; but it’s a wait and see, and hope.”

 

Highway 28

Cyr says that Highway 28 was mentioned in the Budget, but anywhere that would dramatically improve the Lakeland “they are working on the Waskateneau, the 4-way stop, and it looks like they are going to be putting in a round-a-bout.”

“Other than that, I didn’t see anything that was specific to Highway 28,” and definitely no mention of twinning the Highway between Bonnyville and Cold Lake.

Another major issue with the highways in the Lakeland is there is no heavy load corridor. Highway 41, although outside of Cyr’s constituency, greatly impacts his riding because many companies that work in the Bonnyville-Cold Lake area cannot move their products because of the lack of heavy load corridors.

“We depend on that one, it is on their radar. I have asked the Infrastructure Minister a few times (regarding Highway 41).” Cyr explains the government plans to analyze the highway to determine what can be done. Specifically, with the slide at Kehewin Lake, where heavy loads are reduced to 75 percent. “There is some instability with the highway itself, they’re working on how to fix it and I’m hopeful that will be in this year’s Budget.”

 

Health Care

Still in the early stages of reading through the Budget, Cyr says “so far I haven’t come across anything,” spending-wise for local health care or hospitals. The MLA notes that the fact that Health Minister, Sarah Hoffman, visited the region recently is a very positive sign.

“The Health Minister has visited both our Bonnyville and Cold Lake hospitals; which is good because it gave our local municipal mayors a chance to explain, exactly, what are needs are. I’m hoping the Minister has moved those requests forward and we’ll see some actual money coming to our riding.”

As for the regional health initiative that has started between St. Paul, Elk Point, Bonnyville and Cold Lake, Cyr says he believes it is a fascinating idea. “I’m a big fan of the idea, I hope we can move it forward and work cooperatively for our riding.”

 

There are some positives in the Budget, explains Cyr, “I will say the government is reducing the Small Business Tax from three percent to two percent. This is something that the Wildrose had firmly put in our platform from the last election. It’s a way of bringing growth back to Alberta. It’s good to the Alberta Government is taking [the Wildrose] idea and moving it forward.” Cyr assures LCN that after he will be in touch after he’s had a thorough reading of the Budget and if any projects important to the Lakeland get approved.

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