By Jamie Rieger
Difficult to plan infrastructure projects when province keeps municipalities in holding pattern
The Town of Bow Island won’t be moving ahead with any new large projects this year unless the province makes some firm commitments with funding, mayor Gordon Reynolds said last week.
“Economically, 2015 was a difficult year for the whole province and basically, we had no government for half the year. They just closed a number of programs. It is difficult to plan and frustrating because we are unsure about grant programs. At every turn, there are more questions than answers.”
Reynolds noted that with a brand new government in power with many politicians lacking any political experience, it has been frustrating for municipalities.
“We are seeing the impact here, but some of our northern communities are seeing the biggest impact,” he said
How Rachel Notley’s NDP government has handled Bill 6 is indicative of how in tune they are to rural Alberta.
“The whole Bill 6 issue shows that they have a very poor understanding of rural Alberta.’
Reynolds also said he hopes the Town does not see much of a reduction in assessments in light of the current economic conditions.
Reynolds said any new infrastructure projects will be dependent on grant funding from the government, grant funding which has not been announced, making it difficult for municipalities to do any planning.
County moving ahead with caution for big projects in coming year
County of Forty Mile reeve, Bryne Lengyel thinks the county weathered the economic storm of 2015 better than most, but is taking a cautions approach to the coming year.
“Who knows what lies ahead? I guess we have to wait and see. I am hoping it gets better “Who knows what lies ahead? I hope things get better,” said Lengyel. “2015 wasn’t too bad. There were not too many bumps, but we have to wait and see what the province does as far as funding goes by budget time. We’ll have a better idea in March.”
Lengyel said the county will move ahead cautiously with any big projects, but noted that there are always some projects that can not be put on hold.
He also said he hopes the county does not see too much of a reduction in assessments, given the current economic conditions in the province.