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Last updateThu, 08 Apr 2021 3pm

Starland nominated for 2021 Friends of Education Award

Copy of 2018 August STARLAND Logo 1

The Prairie Land Public School Division (PLSD) Board of Trustees have nominated Starland County for the Alberta School Boards Association, 2021 Friends of Education Award.
School boards across the province nominate one candidate for the Friends of Education Award to their ASBA zone committee each year. The Friends of Education Award recognizes organizations in the community that have made a special contribution to education in local communities. The successful nominees from each Zone are honoured at the ASBA Fall General Meeting in November.
Prairie Land students have been the benefactor of many years of funding support for the schools within the borders of Starland County, as well as contributing to programs to enhance education to all students within the school division.
Over the past two years, the division has been fortunate to have two new schools being built within Starland County. In both communities, non-profit societies were formed and launched two huge fundraising campaigns to enhance those schools. Starland County pledged $200,000 to each of those campaigns, totaling $400,000. They did this despite huge negative financial impacts in its own budget.
In addition to this, they also directed approximately $60,000 of funding to PLSD, which enabled it to preserve its incredible FRW programs. Without this funding, those programs may have been in jeopardy.
Starland County has worked very closely with the Prairie Land Family Resource Worker program in addition to its Mental Health Capacity Building Project (Project REACH) by supporting both the individual and universal programming for the Health and Wellness of the school communities. They have supported the board notion that healthy schools equate to healthy communities and recognize that support by way of resources and in-kind contributions is critical for their sustainability.
In addition to providing supports and resources for programs and initiatives within Prairie Land, Starland has been an active partner with their involvement in the Board of Trustees Advocacy Plan by creating a relationship that sustains rural education and viability. By demonstrating this involvement and understanding, Starland is a valued partner in supporting educational initiatives that are proposed by the Prairie Land Board of Trustees.


Wheatland County issues call to action for Calgary Metropolitan Region Board draft growth plan

CMRB Wheatland

Wheatland County is asking residents to get involved with the final round of public engagement for the draft growth plan by the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB) before the plan is submitted to the Minister of Municipal Affairs.

Council members previously expressed their concerns over the draft plan and the benefits--or lack thereof--for the county during the regular council meeting on Tuesday, February 16 and reiterated these concerns in their call to action on Wednesday, March 24.
Wheatland County Reeve Amber Link told the Mail, “Wheatland County is mandated by the provincial government to sit on the CMRB. We continue to advocate for reconsideration of the CMRB structure and are asking Alberta Municipal Affairs to remove Wheatland County from the CMRB based on a number of considerations, including the fact Wheatland County has relatively insignificant growth to manage in the timeframe of the growth plan.”
Wheatland County is one of 10 municipalities incorporated in the growth plan, including Rockyview County and the nearby Town of Strathmore. However, only approximately one-eighth of Wheatland County’s total landmass--a “panhandle” connected Calgary to Strathmore--is included in the growth plan.
Council was presented with the draft growth plan by consultants from HDR Calthorpe during the Tuesday, February 16 regular council meeting.
The draft showed predicted growth over the next 50 years for CMRB municipalities; however, Wheatland County is not projected to see any growth and Strathmore would also see minimal growth opportunities.
Wheatland County council has several concerns regarding the proposed draft, in particular the disproportionate growth and opportunities given to urban municipalities over rural areas.
Another concern has been the costs associated with being part of CMRB.
“What we’ve invested comes out, over the last year, at $25 to $30 on the tax bill to each and every one of our ratepayers in Wheatland County,” Reeve Link said during the February meeting.
Since the board was established in January 2018, Wheatland County estimates more than $235,000 has been contributed to CMRB through staff and elected officials’ time involvement. According to the call to action, this equates to approximately $262 to the approximately 897 residents within the panhandle.
Wheatland County is not the only municipality with reservations against the drafted growth plan. Rockyview County and the Municipal District of Foothills County have also expressed opposition to the current growth plan. M.D. Foothills County has also put forward a call to action to its residents, asking them to get involved and reach out to their MLAs.
CMRB must submit the growth plan to Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver by June 1.
The final public engagement is open until Friday, April 8.

MLA Horner pushes for region-based COVID restrictions

20180427 Nate Horner TJH 0020

Drumheller-Stettler MLA Nate Horner would like to see a different approach to handling COVID-19 restrictions, especially in rural areas.
Last week in his member statement in the legislature, Horner took the time to address his constituency regarding COVID-19 restrictions. While he acknowledges there have been localized breakouts, he feels rural and remote areas could be treated differently.
“The vast area of the province encompassing Special Areas 3 and 4, the County of Paint Earth and the MDs of Provost, and Acadia has a grand total of zero cases,” he said. “Even though there have been no cases or next to it for over a year now, this huge area falls under the same restrictions as everywhere else in the province. Between November 24, and December 7 (2020) cases dropped in my riding from 86 to 62 while most areas of the province witnessed a rising trend. Yet we were pulled into province-wide restrictions.”
He tells the Mail a regional approach to restrictions has been a discussion point among MLAs.
“Lots of us have been advocating for that and looking at other jurisdictions that have implemented regions,” he said.
Horner explains last November when the province was under the Open and Enhanced restrictions, cases were displayed by the municipality, and restrictions were based on cases. He felt that system worked well.
“People could look at the map, and they knew if there were cases locally and it gave people something to shoot for and gave people ownership of the system, they didn’t want to bring anything into the community or travel that would impact their community negatively,” he explains. “Now that we are under a blanket restriction, vast areas of the province, not just in this riding, have had almost no cases, but under the restrictions, we still have everything from bowling alleys to theatres and different businesses which are still closed. It seems punitive and too inflexible.”
While his position on the restrictions could be interpreted as contrary to current government policy, he felt it was important to speak on behalf of his constituency.
“I have spoken this way behind closed doors the entire time, and I have been consistent in what I am asking for, but I felt it was something constituents of Drumheller-Stettler needed to hear,” he said.
“You have to speak for your constituency, and I didn’t speak against the government per se, I just spoke about what happened, the gaps that have been created and the punitive nature of a one size fits all approach.”
“It’s time to stop punishing areas that have done quite well and implement a reasonable regional approach immediately,” said Horner.


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