Energy Minister visits the Lakeland

The Honourable Margaret McCuaig-Boyd met with Cold Lake & Bonnyville Wednesday

Councillors from the Town and MD of Bonnyville, as well as City of Cold Lake were in attendance with the Mayors and Reeve for the closed door meeting with Alberta’s Energy Minister; along side the Bonnyville and Cold Lake Chamber of Commerce Board members.  The Honourable Margaret McCuaig-Boyd made a special trip to discuss issues important to Northeast Alberta, on Wednesday. Mayor of Cold Lake, Craig Copeland says a variety of topics were discussed in the meeting; including pipelines, infrastructure, highways, health care and small business.

“The Minister did a great job in coming out here and getting informed and engaged; as well as making herself available to the elected officials.” Mayor Copeland says Minister McCuaig-Boyd addressed the crowd and then took an hour questions and answers period where she was sure to answer every question poised on her. “She didn’t leave until every question was answered.”

“We talked about the economy being down, because of the oilfield and pipelines are a critical piece of trying to get things going away. We need to get one to three pipelines build here very soon,” Mayor Copeland says the Minister was very responsive to the message and pro-pipelines. “She talked about her office trying to get the message out that pipelines are the safest transportation of oil. Working on the dialogue between the Federal government and the Provincial government. That’s what she’s really working on, is making sure pipelines are part of the National agenda.” Minister McCuaig-Boyd was very forward about her pro-pipeline stance, “Everybody in our area should be aware, this Minister, is pro-pipelines. She gets it. We need to get our product to tide water. She’s working with the Federal government to make that happen.”

Other uses for oil were discussed at the meeting, explains the Mayor, “she talked about refining oil, in terms of using the bitumen to make other refined good. She talked about talking to other industries to come and work in Alberta and invest in our natural gas and our oil industry to make other products. They’re open to suggestions from investors to come in.”

“We talked about infrastructure, highways and health care,” Mayor Copeland says the group made it known to the Minister that there hasn’t been an investment in highways or health care to help deal with the influx of population in a number of years. “Oil will come up and investment will come back in our area and we still don’t have a safe method of transportation in moving the big modules that come from the area. Highway 28 is still a goat trail in terms of moving heavy loads. We made sure to bring that up to her attention.”

“I think the Chamber members were concerned that business is down, considerably and cautioned that the government has to be careful when introducing policies that can upset the bottom line.” Overall, Mayor Copeland says the Minister is more informed about our region’s needs, “that’s really what it’s about, being engaged and knowing the information.”

The Minister also toured Imperial Oil while she was in the area and then traveled to Elk Point on Thursday to tour Pengrowth; as well as meet with local representatives in that community.