County plans new economic group

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County continues to progress on plans to form a new regional economic development alliance.

Plans were discussed at the regular county council meeting June 27.

“We are taking the lead to see if there is any interest to form a new economic alliance,” says reeve Ken Matthews.

Big Lakes has taken the step after a meeting June 14 when the Alberta Economic Development and Trade deputy minister confirmed the Lesser Slave Lake Economic Alliance is no longer supported as an official REDA, he says.

“Government no longer recognizes the LSLEA,” acting CAO Jordan Panasiuk says.

The LSLEA is still a non-profit organization, Matthews says.

Formed in 2007 to serve a region from High Prairie and east to the Slave Lake area, the LSLEA received annual provincial funding of $100,000 until it was terminated in April.

Big Lakes plans a meeting of the original members of the LSLEA in the next two months, says Panasiuk.

“We need to start a new regional economic development alliance,” says Faust Councillor Robert Nygaard, who chairs the Big Lakes County Economic Development Authority.

Priorities for economic development will also be on the agenda at the upcoming meeting, Panasiuk says.

“We will also discuss what projects we may want to do, to benefit the whole region,” Panasiuk says.

However, the LSLEA remains committed to forge ahead, LSLEA board chair Barry Sharkawi says.

“We, as a membership, will discuss how we can refresh our organization and continue to do the best for the alliance region for economic development and tourism.”

“We will continue to apply for provincial and federal grants.”


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