Mayor, Town of High Prairie
Following is a portion of Town of High Prairie Mayor Linda Cox’s report to council for Sept. 21 to Oct. 18:
AUMA convention in Edmonton
Oct. 5-7, council as a whole attended the AUMA Convention in Edmonton. This year, we booked meetings with four ministers as we had the following issues:
1. Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Sarah Hoffman: The land for the Integrated Campus containing Northern Lakes College, and high schools for High Prairie School Division and Holy Family Catholic School Division, is still being discussed. We have received no confirmation yet on how the old hospital site will be re-purposed, so we wanted to ensure our proposal was moving forward.
We also discussed availability of obstetrics and dialysis treatment for the new hospital.
2. Minister of Education David Eggan: We wanted to ensure the minister was aware of the Integrated Campus our region was proposing, since both HPSD and HFCSD fall under his ministry.
Eggan briefly discussed his mandate to resolve the education problems plaguing Northland School Division. Since at least five of the NSD schools send their students to our high schools, the Integrated Campus, with a larger and more diverse course offering, would also benefit students from NSD.
3. Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kathleen Ganley and RCMP Commanding Officer Marianne Ryan: These were two separate meetings but the issues discussed at each were the same.
The disproportionate amount of dollars that the Town of High Prairie contributes to the Enhanced Policing Program, with little financial support from the Government of Alberta, the lack of a dedicated, full time High Prairie detachment commander and the vacant dog handler position for High Prairie. This are all issues that council feels strongly about and hopes to see resolved shortly.
4. Minister of Agriculture & Forestry Oneil Carlier: A follow-up to the meeting held the previous week with representatives from surrounding communities to support the FMA renewal for Tolko Industries.
We have had positive communication with Tolko, and the ministry has offered the FMA extension for five years, with the proviso that Tolko commence the mill re-opening process, since Tolko’s concern for a secure wood supply has been addressed.
Negotiations on contract details are commencing, but I see positive results from all parties involved.
I was requested by West Fraser [High Prairie] to inquire whether the ministry has any information/ideas/projects regarding usage of waste sawdust and bark from the milling process, as this is becoming a problem for all mills throughout northwestern Alberta.
Carlier asked his department staff to get in touch with Lee Barton, West Fraser’s mill manager, to discuss this further.
We did ask for meetings with the Minister of Advanced Education and the Minister of Indigenous Relations, to discuss the Integrated Campus, but were unable.
We also wanted to touch base with the Minister of Infrastructure, again to discuss the Integrated Campus, but no time was available.
I came away from the convention with a very positive feeling. I think our council has done some excellent lobbying on behalf of the citizens of High Prairie.