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January 3, 2014

Civic Charters Not Just a ‘Big City’ Need

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The Alberta Government’s plan for a so called ‘big city charter’ is expected to find its footing this year.

The new Municipal Affairs minister Ken Hughes announced, when sworn in last month, “I think we’ll be able to address it in 2014, but I want to go back and make sure it’s ambitious enough.”

That’s fine for the mass of humanity in the Edmonton and Calgary regions, but what about smaller cities or even smaller centres?

The charter is supposed to outline the relationship and one could speculate the expectations of the province by Alberta’s biggest cities. But, as we know living in rural Alberta there are definitely expectations of the provincial government from smaller cities, towns and villages.

Former Municipal Affairs minister Doug Griffiths said that conversation can happen, that this sort of arrangement isn’t solely the privilege of the urban centres, but through his tenure there hasn’t been much movement on a rural charter, not to mention the “big city” one.

With villages in his own riding examining or even moving forward with dissolution and becoming hamlets within the county to other parts of the province, like Blackfalds, dealing with fast-paced growth, the province needs to come to the table of rural Alberta more and find out how better this ever changing landscape can be managed.

The changes come with more migration to the urban areas for jobs in a booming energy sector. The changes also come in part by the province’s policies, which have impacted rural Alberta, just as much as the urban centres.

Click here to read the full article by Vince Burke in the Lacombe Globe.

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