Lloydminster's crest between two provincial crests on one of the provincial border markers. (Photo by Brendan Collinge, MyLloydminsterNow.com staff)
The city is moving forward in opening up the Lloydminster Charter in order to make some changes to create a better and more seamless inter-provincial city.
City council unanimously voted in favour of starting the process to making amendments to the charter. City administration brought the issue forward stating the differing provincial legislation is not the most efficient means of governance in the city.
In the meeting, Councillor Aaron Buckingham noted his previous aversion to opening the charter and making changes to it as he believed there were many risks.
“When you go through it, there are some things that I think are very advantageous to the city that in today’s current economy might not be looked upon favourably by the provincial governments as far as financial contributions and things we’re exempted from and so on and so forth.”
However, he says he has since come around and believes the benefits now outweigh the risks. One of those potential benefits he says includes changes to the police funding in the city.
“That is something in the charter that is missing from Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan pays nothing to Lloydminster for policing and that’s been a vote of contention for the mayor, myself and many people. The mayor and I have had numerous conversations with the provincial minister. She knows who we are and knows how upset we are about this.”
Another example Mayor Gerald Aalbers points towards is the Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks agreement in Alberta. Municipalities that share a border must create an agreement that describes which municipality is responsible for certain services and how those services will be delivered and funded. He says Lloydminster isn’t required to enter into the agreement but the County of Vermilion River is and a special extension is in place due to the situation.
“The charter says he aren’t required to meet that obligation today. It’s in our best interest to work with the county as it always is but it’s not a legislative requirement. Depending on how people view it, on our side we could say it’s no big deal whereas they are, by obligation by law, needing to enter into that agreement.
The charter was last updated in 2013, which City Clerk Doug Rodwell noted was about a 10-year process. Aalbers says the city clerk and administration have already created some documentation on the changes to help save time, however it is a discussion between the city and both provinces and may take some time.
“The intention is we will be able to provide the governments with good direction because if we’ve already said this is what is says and this is what we’d like to propose then half the works done already. It’s simply getting the acceptance and the buy-ins from the governments to move forward. There may be some things that we’re not aware of in departments and that’s where it might get tricky but we’ll work through that.”
The first step in the process will be for Mayor Aalbers to make a written application to the provinces outlined in the charter requesting for the amendment.