Improving the Region with ID-349

Mayor of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski talks the impact of the of the agreement, “we’re elated with the fact that four years ago, we were shut out of everything. Prior to last Friday we were shut out of the deal. There was a proposal on the table the Town, quite frankly, wasn’t very happy with.” The proposal on the table excluded the regional element, explains the mayor, “primarily the exclusion of the municipalities, the Town and the Village of Glendon, and our indigenous neighbours. That has never sat well with us.” The Town of Bonnyville will receive over $4 million from the agreement. Aside from those monies, the new agreement has a regional element, to the tune of six million dollars.

“The current government has been able to take a second look at it and go, ‘is this fair?’. And now it is, with inclusion and reconciliation with our indigenous neighbours. We’re very happy.” Mayor Sobolewski says there’s still more work to do on the agreement. He anticipates that the agreement will be finalized and signed in the early new year.

The goals of the regional committee, in which six million dollars has been allocated to enhancing the general region, have not yet been set, the mayor explains, “that’s part of the next step. This all started with a regional committee, that the Town (of Bonnyville), the Village (of Glendon) and the MD (of Bonnyville) had started way back when. The City of Cold Lake was invited; however, they choose not to participate in the mandate that we had formed.” The committee worked towards enhancing the area’s infrastructure and livability through securing funding from CLAWR. “The Minister has it outlined that the committee will be making decisions how to best spend the money; because it’s supposed to be a regional pot.” The committee going forward will include the City of Cold Lake and indigenous and metis neighbours.

As for how the money is spent, at this time the committee is unsure of if there will be any stipulations on how to spend it, “we don’t know yet. The framework is yet to be worked out. We don’t have specific details on that yet. The only thing I know is that they want it more in regional mindset.”