By Justin Seward
Cypress County, the City of Medicine Hat, and the Town of Redcliff all agreed at their council meetings last week to apply for an Alberta Community Partnerships (ACP) grant of $200,000 under the Urban Intermunicipal Collaboration category.
Conditions in the application require each partner to have a resolution of support and authorization to apply for the ACP grant from their respective councils. The City of Medicine Hat has agreed to submit the grant application and will be the managing partner, while the county and town will be participants.
However, despite the grant submission, county Reeve Richard Oster mentioned there needs to be more open lines of communication with the city.
“I feel that we’re good neighbours,” said Oster.
“… I think something that’s important is we should be invited to the table. Who knows what we can do …but let’s work on this.
The challenges he sees with the collaboration is when people come through the doors to discuss their needs and wants is for them to leave their hat at the door.
“ Don’t be bringing personal stories or personalities to the table,” said Oster.
“Let’s do what’s best for the rate payers and come up with some solutions.”
The county is prepared to commence discussions when the city gets their priorities in order.
The City of Medicine Hat’s commissioner of development and infrastructure, Stan Schwartzenberger,said the three municipalities are going into the collaborations framework with the same goal in mind of finding where the opportunities are and how will each municipality act on them.
“We’re really at the starting point right now,” he said.
“The first phase will be to identify where the gaps are in service and where the opportunities are, what are the options and how we go about making collective outcomes for all of our citizens. This grant is going to go a long ways in helping us with the resources we need because we’re all strapped and running flat out as I understand.”
He added that each municipality will be “suddenly” to “dramatically” different with priorities and with a collaboration, each area will strengthen their ways of learning how to cooperate.
For the Town of Redcliff, this is an opportunity to talk to their neighbouring municipalities about a service-related collaboration.
“If there’s any way that the town can contribute to a regional environment in achieving some of council’s priorities, that’s always a good thing,” said the town’s municipal manager Arlos Crofts.
“It’s really important. Whenever you can get grant funds to comply with provincial legislation, it only helps the situation. I think with regard to Redcliff, if there is collaboration based opportunities that can achieve efficiency, then it’s not only in Redcliff, but everybody’s interest.”