City Council has voted to support a Resource Communities of Canada Coalition through the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association. The coalition is a collective of communities impacted by the resource industry and aims to advocate for its success.
All AUMA members are invited to become members of the coalition. The coalition hopes to give a voice for communities to advocate for a responsible resource industry, ensure municipal perspectives are being heard on issues impacting resource development and share factual information about resource development interests.
Part of that voice will include advocacy around Bill C-69, a contentious bill currently in the Senate. It overhauls the way resource projects are assessed and critics are saying it adds uncertainty to energy projects. Mayor Aalbers says the bill has a number of challenges that could affect cities and municipalities in more ways than just resource industries.
“We’re still waiting on approval to build a new wastewater treatment plant. If Bill C-69 comes into play, the game changes again a little bit. So I think it’s very important that we bring that attention to people and help them understand,” says Aalbers.
Aalbers says the bill could cause the treatment plant to stand further scrutiny from the federal government. Should the city be required to find additional consulting before grant funding is approved, residents will be footing the costs. The project also has a federally mandated deadline of the end of December 2020. Mayor Aalbers understands the reasoning behind the bill but thinks there needs to be more awareness of the challenges it may bring to municipal projects.
“I understand where they want to go, but I really believe they haven’t caught all the different pieces and aligned all the stars to see that what you’re doing is stepping on other toes. We’re already under the provincial guidelines, federal guidelines, and there are some areas they may not have taken into account. From a municipal perspective, we need to help raise that issue as well.”
Aalbers sees the coalition as an opportunity to bring senators to the city from both provinces to see how the bill can impact Lloydminster. He will also be attending the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Quebec City this May, where he hopes to speak with other municipal leaders.