Yes, we really do.
The problems of which I speak deal with the mess we have in municipal systems that exist in the area and across the province. In this series of blog posts, I will show how the Grande Prairie region is negatively affected by the models of municipal governance and funding that we live under. I will show that these systems are inadequate, unfair and do not reflect modern reality.
I will explore reasons for why I believe this is so and then conclude with a discussion on possible solutions.
As you read the posts, it may come across that I'm being fairly critical of the County. I want to impress that my concern is with the systems in place which favour the County and not with the County itself. I have very good relationships with County Councillors and work with them on a regular basis, even as we navigate through these imperfect systems.
A big thank you to Mayor Given and former Town of Peace River Councillor, Don Good, for sharing their insights on these topics with me, many of which have found their way to this blog. Also, a big thanks to City admin who helped with some of the technical information found here.
What is the Grande Prairie region?
Before we get into the issues, let's look at what the GP region is. To me, the GP region is the area in which people commute for work, recreation, entertainment, etc. on a regular basis. With this in mind, I believe the Grande Prairie region exists roughly from Hythe to Debolt and from Grovedale to an area north of Sexsmith.
Where are we at?
We're really one big community. People from Sexsmith work in the City daily, people in the City work in Elmworth daily. Clairmont residents use City recreational facilities regularly, City residents make use of campgrounds in the County regularly. Residents of Grovedale visit friends in Bezanson...I think you get the picture. I've found most people in the area couldn't tell you where one boundary starts and another one begins. This area of over 90,000 residents is truly one big community.
Right now this area is governed by 7 municipalities: 1 City, 1 County, 3 Towns, 1 Village and 1 Municipal District (MD). While we all try to get along the best we can under current systems, we often come into conflict with one another. I see that there are four main problems caused by these systems which naturally lead us to conflict. These problems are:
Throughout this series of blog posts, I will share what these problems are and why they exist. I will then post a series of possible solutions. So without further to do, let's begin this little journey...
Next post -----> Problem 1: Inequality in who pays for infrastructure and services.