By Justin Seward
Cypress County council have come to an agreement with the County of Newell and the Special Areas to submit a joint Alberta Community Partnership application of $200,000 for an Intermunicipal Rural Intermunicipal Collaboration after approving the motion at the Jan. 9 regular meeting.
The grant application comes after Municipal Government Act, where the three municipalities will have to complete Intermunicipal Development Plans and Intermunicipal Development Plans (IDP) and Intermunicipal Collaboration Framworks (ICF).
An IDP is a long term planning tool for organizing intermunicipal planning between the municipalities and refers to a fringe area, while the ICF is the regional cooperation which the most cost effective to deliver service to the communities.
“We’re excited about the opportunity if we get the grant funding to work this through,” said County of Newell CAO Kevin Stephenson.
“The rural to rural is going to be the easier side to this for all of us. But we don’t have a lot of roads, bridges or anything that connects between us and Cypress. It’s mostly grassland , (and) a little bit of Dinosaur Park at the end. A lot of what we’ll be looking at is the stuff we already have in place: Emergency services (and) fire.”
The province’s goal for these ICFs is certainly something bigger than what it is starting out at, said Stephenson.
“They’ll expect municipalities to drill in to service levels at some point and find out things that can be done more economically to work together but I don’t think that’s going to be a part of this component,” he said.
A guiding committee will be formed between the CAOS of each municipality to determine a plan if the grant is obtained.
“We’re so closely tied in with our needs and wants with what they have,” said Cypress County Reeve Richard Oster.
“That’ll be such a simple thing to do. The thing we have to remember that we’re altogether in this. Even though we have people that live out in the rural areas, that doesn’t make them any different.”
Both municipalities and the Special Areas will have to have ICF and IDP agreements in place by April 1 2020.