Individual Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF) agreements between Cypress County, the Town of Redcliff, the City of Medicine Hat, Special Areas, County of Forty Mile, M.D. of Taber and the County of Newell are progressing forward since being announced last year by the province that neighbouring municipalities had to enter into agreements by April 2020.
“Each of those agreements are going to look differently because it’s two different municipalities,” said Jeffrey Dowling, Cypress County’s director of municipal services.
“But it’s only in the case of the city and Redcliff that we’re doing it as three partners versus the others which is two.”
Information was first presented to the Steering Committee in June 2018 and as a part of the working groups requirements, an engineering firm had to be hired and in December 2018 Stan Tech Engineering came on board.
The committee, which is made up of two elected officials from each municipality, have been meeting once a month to determine how services such as water, wastewater and transportation will be delivered to the people they serve.
“One of the things that we’ve tried to establish and we’re hoping to have (is) at least a draft of the agreement from the municipalities this fall,” said Dowling.
Once the draft is completed, it will be then have to go back to all the councils for feedback, amendments, a public hearing and passing of first reading before going into the bylaw process.
Dowling said talks have been positive this far.
“The Steering Committee itself is working very collaboratively,” he said.
“The Steering Committee has had good discussion on some of these services up to this point. To date, the discussions and the work to this point have been very positive. It’s been a good working environment.”
Alberta Municipal Affairs also required municipalities as a part of ICF to create an Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP).
An IDP is for neighbouring municipalities to work on agreements for future land use, manner of and proposals for future land use and any other matters that pertain to physical, social or economic development of the area.
“With the city and the Town of Redcliff, we already have an existing Tri-area Intermunicipal Development Plan,” said Dowling.
“Alberta Municipal Affairs said the IDP has to be included and referenced as a part of the ICF agreement. We’ve looked at the IDP a little bit as a part of our progress to date. But we’ll be looking at it in more detail as time goes forward into the summer months.”
An IDP has already been completed between Cypress County and the M.D. of Taber, he added.
M.D. of Taber has completed eight of the nine municipality ICF and IDP frameworks, according to their Municipal Administrator Derrick Krizsan.
The last agreement is currently in the works with the Town of Taber.
“It was a very good process,” said Krizsan of the process with Cypress County.
“We defined the area with Cypress County and our rural municipalities. It’s approximately one mile on each side of the municipal boundary. It’s a fairly small area.”
Consultations were done with a couple of residence in the area that were sitting on grassland or rangeland as well transportation that has a bridge splitting in each municipality and regional projects such as the Highway 3 twinning.
“It proceeded without any issues,” he said.
“I think it took us under a year to do most processes.”
The County of Forty Mile is in the early stages of development with their neighbours.
“We are in the early stages of development with the Town of Bow Island/Village of Foremost/County of Forty Mile,” said county administrator Keith Bodin.
“ We are close to securing a company to complete the ICF’s for all parties. We feel we have a good working relationship amongst the three parties and we are positive we will complete the task by the deadline set out by the province. The County has completed its ICF and IDP with the M.D. of Taber and look forward to completing the remaining ones with the County of Warner and Cypress County this summer.”
With files from Stan Ashbee, Alberta Newspaper Group