Cities get bulk of provinces’ budget love
Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 06:00 am
Cochranites and our town council were waiting anxiously for the Alberta budget to come down last week in hopes of it offering up some cash to relieve some of this community’s traffic woes.
Upgrades to the Highway 1A and Highway 22 interchange were placed on the province’s sunshine list – the first step toward actual funding – last year and with the project design out for tender, many were hopeful it would be in the capital budget for this year.
Unfortunately, that was not the case.
In fact, despite Cochrane being one of the fastest growing municipalities in the province, the budget was devoid of any funding for capital projects that would help relieve the pressure of our rapidly expanding population.
Highway 22 and Highway 1A will continue to be a traffic nightmare, the Bethany Care Centre, which was looking for funding to help our senior population age in place, was not in the capital plan, nor were there plans to expand our emergency health services.
Disappointingly, the majority of the capital funding projects went to major urban centres such as Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Red Deer.
Rural Alberta, where one might think the NDP would want to bolster its support, was strangely left off the lists with the exception of a few token projects.
It is disappointing the province did not see fit to address some of the very serious needs Cochranites and town council have been lobbying for.
It is bad planning on the province’s part to disenfranchise voters and let costly needs pile up.
Council dodges process
Town council might have appeased a small group of residents at the expense of a larger segment of the community.
Dog park advocates are rallying to fight a decision by council last week to investigate the area south of Quigley Drive for the new off-leash dog park instead of the proposed West Valley site.
Whether you agree or disagree with the decision, the process is what is truly concerning.
Not only was there no advance notice to the public because the issue was a last-minute addition to the most recent council agenda; the move also circumvented an ongoing public consultation process that had yet to conclude.
We have asked for the results of that consultation with no response thus far.
If council is going to engage in a public consultation, it should be required to follow it through to the end before making a decision.
Not only is making a decision without all the facts bad optics, it is bad governance.