Alberta’s Minister of Municipal Affairs says he has heard a number of concerns while touring the Peace this week.
Shaye Anderson says one of those is the lack of a rural, northern voice in provincial affairs.
“Whether it be with education, or especially with health care issues and senior’s issues, those are the things that have been coming up quite large, understanding that the travel for some people for health care is tough, making the best use of some facilities that we have in the north, but also, looking at economic development in the north.”
He adds the government needs to realize people in the north, and in the rural areas, are unique.
“There are different challenges. There are places where you have to fly into. Transportation is an issue. For me, I want to be out here and understanding what challenges they’re facing. Just because they live in the north and they’re used to having to drive a long way for health care and things like that, doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do it.”
Anderson says he will be working on making sure Municipal Sustainability Initiative Funding is in place for four years and that it is steady and sustainable.
Municipalities use this money for things like road work.
Discussions will start with municipal groups in the spring.
“And start looking at MSI and see how it’s working, is it sustainable in the way that it is right now, are there ways that we can make it better and improve upon it. We’re going to be starting those discussions sometime in the spring and I’m really looking forward to it. We’ve got a lot of feedback from people already about it, ways that we can tweak it.”
Anderson stopped in Grande Prairie today. He saw some of the road work that is being funded by MSI money and also toured the Eastlink Centre. He also went to Wembley to see the dinosaur museum and meet with community groups and local politicians.