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Last updateFri, 24 Mar 2023 11am

MP Kurek talks environment, ethics, flood mitigation at town hall

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Battle River-Crowfoot MP Damien Kurek held a town hall meeting with residents of Drumheller on Tuesday evening, February 28, drawing a full audience to the Town of Drumheller council chambers.
This was the third town hall meeting MP Kurek held on Tuesday, having held town hall meetings in Three Hills and Morrin in the morning and afternoon respectively; there were some 40 people in attendance at the Drumheller town hall meeting.
“This is meant to be a dialogue,” MP Kurek shared during his opening remarks. “I want to leave the proverbial door open so we can continue this conversation, because it didn’t start when I walked in and it shouldn’t end when I leave.”
During his opening remarks, MP Kurek explained his role as a member of the opposition and making sure the voices of all Canadians-especially those in rural areas-are heard, and the rural-urban divide he has seen first-hand.
He spoke of his role as Vice Chair of the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development, a role to which he was recently appointed in November 2022 at the suggestion of newly elected party leader Pierre Poilievre.
MP Kurek also discussed his role as a member of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, which he explained “does a lot of boring stuff,” but is “the furthest thing from boring” during scandals.
He noted he was a member of the committee during the WE Charity scandal, and the committee played a role in stopping over $900 million “going to a friend of the Prime Minister,” and more recently dealt with Minister of International Trade Mary Ng’s awarding of a contract to a friend.
Following his opening remarks, MP Kurek opened the floor to the gallery.
Topics ranged from loss of government trust at a federal level, Canada’s role in energy and supplying foreign countries with natural gas resources, controversies surrounding the World Economic Forum and World Health Organization, and the current scandal regarding possible interference in the 2021 federal election.
Some audience members also brought up concerns about the Drumheller flood mitigation project and the impact it has had on the community. They also noted there has been no remittance from the federal government for repayment to the Town for work which has already been done on several berm projects throughout the valley.
“The federal government made a commitment, and they need to honour that,” MP Kurek said. He added this is something he has been in discussions with Drumheller Mayor Heather Colberg and Town council, along with the federal government, and is hopeful there will be some “good news soon.”
MP Kurek thanked those who attended the town hall and expressed his appreciation for the towns of Drumheller and Three Hills, and Starland County for allowing him to hold these town hall meetings, and the hospitality he experienced during each of these stops. He also encouraged residents to reach out to his office with any questions he could not answer during the meeting, or with any issues pertaining to the federal government such as passport wait times.
The House of Commons resumed on Monday, March 6.

Kneehill County enlists ratepayer help

Kneehill County Council

Kneehill County is planning to review its Municipal Development Plan (MDP), and will be seeking input from ratepayers through a review process involving council and appointed members at large following a motion at the regular Tuesday, February 28 council meeting.
The MDP is a required document for all municipalities and outlines the long term plans and goals for the community, and reflects the vision and mission of council; the last full review of the Kneehill County MDP was undertaken in approximately 2016, though several amendments have been made since then.
“Administration is proposing a working group style where a maximum of three councillors and two members at large meet to discuss a particular area of interest within the document,” explained Planning and Development manager Barb Hazelton during the presentation.
It is anticipated the review process will be complete in November 2023, with the document then to be circulated for “broader comments” from both urban and rural ratepayers.
Deputy Reeve Ken King and Division 1 Councillor Faye McGhee both expressed their appreciation for administration’s approach to the review by engaging with County ratepayers.
Council unanimously approved the review process presentation for the MDP.

Work progresses on Delia Viability Review

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The Village of Delia is undergoing a Viability Review to map out its future and will be meeting with residents in the near future.
The Village of Delia Council made a motion at its October 2022 Council Meeting to apply to Municipal Affairs to have them conduct a Viability Review.
This came after a public meeting on September 8 of last year when the future of the Village was discussed. It was a fruitful discussion identifying many issues including the difficulty in hiring a CAO.
It was also discussed what it would look like if Delia were to dissolve and become part of Starland County. It was noted there are three ways for a Viability Review to be initiated. One through a petition, through the minister’s discretion, and it can be requested by the council, which is what happened in the case of Delia.
“The community asked the council to proceed with a viability study and they wanted us to do the instigation,” said mayor Dave Sisley.
Since making the motion, Municipal Affairs has begun its preliminary work on a Viability Review. It begins with a Ministry screening. If the minister decides a review is necessary they will then go into information collection. This will review the information supplied by the municipality being reviewed as well as the receiving municipality. They will also review the municipality’s finances and infrastructure. Stakeholder involvement can include written submissions, surveys, open houses and public meetings.
When this is complete they will present the report. It will show two options. One is a recommendation for the village to reach viability, and two, a description of the changes and impacts if the municipality were to be dissolved.
Residents will then have the public vote to determine the future. Depending on the results of the vote, the minister will either issue a ministerial directive or recommend municipal dissolution to the cabinets, which will make the final decision.


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