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Local civic leaders weigh in on Throne Speech

The Throne Speech outlined plans in areas of education, taxation, infrastructure, and economic diversification
MVT Angela Aalbers reeve
Mountain View County Reeve Angela Aalbers talked to the Albertan about her thoughts on topics in the Throne Speech. File photo/MVP Staff

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - The county is pleased to hear the provincial government plans outlined in the recent Throne Speech include support and enhancement of existing infrastructure, including roads and highways vital to the agriculture and petroleum industries, says Mountain View County's reeve.

“The county, along with its provincial associations, have been advocating for years for increased investment in the municipal transportation network,” Angela Aalbers told the Albertan

“Local infrastructure, namely roads and bridges, continue to be a significant pressure for the county to maintain yet arguably the biggest priority for many residents and businesses. 

“As such, it is incredibly positive to see the province’s commitment to increase investment in municipalities to ensure that these transportation corridors remain efficient and fiscally sustainable.”

The Throne Speech outlined plans in areas of education, taxation, infrastructure, and economic diversification.

Regarding infrastructure, the province says it will work to “significantly expand our provincial transportation and highway network” going forward.

“The premier spoke as to how the province continues to grow faster than any time in Alberta’s history and the pressures that development will have,” said Aalbers.

“This is consistent with the pressures that Mountain View County council continues to experience and the rationale for the County’s commitment to continually review and revise its statutory documents.”

She noted that the county is currently undertaking a land use bylaw review that includes an opportunity for feedback during council’s Harvest Lunch on November 17,

In the area of education, the government says it is committed to increasing classrooms, teachers and support staff.

“As the Alberta School Foundation Fund (ASFF) is a substantial portion of money – $13 million in 2023 – collected by the county annually on behalf of the province, the county unequivocally supports the ongoing drive by the province to ensure that these funds are spent appropriately and that they are fiscally accountable,” she said.

As far as economic diversification, the government says it will work to expand the oil and gas industry while also supporting the growth of new industries and opportunities.

“The county recognizes that the oil and gas industry is vitally important to both the local and provincial economy while respecting that future sustainability will depend on the county’s ability to attract and retain new and innovative businesses within our municipal boundaries,” Aalbers said.

Didsbury concerned about funding deficit

Meanwhile, Rhonda Hunter, the mayor of Didsbury, says she is concerned about the level of funding for municipalities.

“The framework of the funding might be close to completion, but the funding continues to be deficient by millions,” Hunter told the Albertan. “But for a small mention that the Alberta government is working with municipalities across the province to finalize a new funding framework, municipalities will wait and watch, it appears, to understand how the government will further and substantially invest in municipal and provincial infrastructure.

“We will see what the 2024/25 budget, or other funding announcements, present that will continue to assist municipalities with costs of infrastructure deficits.”

She said she is “glad to hear in the Throne Speech that many of the issues that face Didsbury and provincial residents have a priority in what needs funding and effective strategies: healthcare, education needs, classroom sizes, affordability of homes, rent, an attainable housing strategy, affordability of insurance and electricity. 

“These are also national issues and, if our government can make big strides forward in tackling these items and issues, Albertans will certainly benefit greatly.”

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