The local Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual State of the County address today at the ENTREC Centre.
According to Reeve Leanne Beaupre, weather was the biggest challenge over the past year for county residents, with heavy rain making life difficult for farmers.
“We had road bans on longer, earlier and longer, then we wanted to. That affects industry – when they can move, whether they’re going during the night. It also affects their bottom line too,” Beaupre explained.
With weather somewhat stabilizing and Peace Country farmers seemingly getting back on their feet, council’s focus will now shift to the proposed changes to electoral boundaries across Alberta. Something Beaupre argues does not accurately reflect their residents.
“If you look at what’s being proposed, the West County, which would include Beaverlodge, Hythe, Wembley and all the way to the border, is being recommended that it goes into Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley. Which means they would have to travel over the Saddle Hills to get to where their representative is today in Fairview, going through Sexsmith, going through the City of Grande Prairie to get there. The logistics just don’t make sense.”
“There is only one type of tax-payer in the province of Alberta,” Beaupre said. “If they’re not getting the same opportunity to access their MLA’s to have their concerns and issues addressed, then the representation is not equal.”
Another thing council has worked hard on over the past year is gearing up for modernizations to the Municipal Government Act.
The population of the County of Grande Prairie is now over 22,000, with a 13.1 per cent spike since 2011.