Thursday , 21 October 2021

Cold Lake Air Weapons Range money situation is “embarrassing” says Mayor Craig Copeland

Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland is not impressed with the discussions surrounding the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range money.

Copeland said on The Morning After last week that the situation surrounding the millions of dollars of tax revenues from ID 349 (the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range) is embarrassing.

“Everybody and their dog wants to be part of the funding of 349. It’s embarrassing. It really truly is,” said Copeland.

On Nov. 1, the six parties currently involved, Cold Lake, M.D. of Bonnyville, Bonnyville, Glendon, Elizabeth Metis Settlement, and Fishing Lake Metis Settlement met to pitch their proposals with MLA David Hanson for how the new funding model should work.

Copeland reinforced that the $25 million the city received before 2017 was for the city’s sustainability in the deal with the province, the Municipality of Wood Buffalo and the M.D. of Bonnyville.

“The only reason everybody was at the table was for the sustainability of the City of Cold Lake. The province was adamant everybody that was at the table, this is the purpose. Fast forward six years later and now it’s about Bonnyville and now it’s about Glendon and now it’s about the two Settlements.

“What I’ve been telling people is that if you think that the money that comes out of the range is going to be able to make all of these communities sustainable, you’re wrong. People in the region have a very short vision. And unfortunately, the province likes it when municipalities are fighting,” said Copeland.

MLA Dave Hanson chose not to respond to Copeland’s comments.

“We’ll look at our options”

In preparation for budget talks, Copeland said the City needs to know their share of Air Weapons Range money before they can decide what to do next.

“Everything will be on the back burner. If the money has really changed in a significant way, then we’ll look at our options as a council. Is the community sustainable for the long term, based on whatever revenue stream?”

Kaycee Madu, Minister of Municipal Affairs will talk to each municipality separately to followup from the meeting before a final decision is made on the tax revenue money.

“The City of Cold Lake council is very frustrated. We’ve sent a letter to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, again, on the file. We’re very frustrated because all we see, the only one at the table that has to sacrifice a lot is the City of Cold Lake.”

Copeland’s full comments

ID 349 conversation begins at 12:05.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.