Mountain View drops plans for community engagement site

Tuesday, Oct 18, 2011 06:00 am | John Gleeson
Noel West/Mountain View Gazette
Noel West/Mountain View Gazette
The county building was approved for federal-provincial funding for a community engagement site, but council opted to cancel the project.
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Mountain View County will not go ahead with its planned community engagement site, council decided Oct. 6.

The move to cancel the $120,000 project was recommended by the corporate services department, which reported that six video conference sites have sprung up within the urban municipalities across the county.

“These sites are generally under utilized so it may be better to support these sites rather than create another one that will likely be under utilized,” said the report.

The decision means the county will forfeit $80,000 in approved provincial and federal funding to match the county’s budgeted $40,000 – and Div. 7 Coun. Al Kemmere urged councillors to invite Campus Alberta officials to speak at a meeting about upcoming programs before pulling the plug on the project.

“What they’re about is having advanced education in a rural environment,” Kemmere said. “It’s a great program (and) I think it’s important that we have that discussion before we walk away from this.”

He also noted that the county would be giving up $80,000 in provincial and federal grants.

Div. 2 Coun. Trish McKean agreed there was a “huge potential” for the county to offer courses in subjects ranging from agricultural services to real estate, but said it could be done through existing sites such as the one in Cremona which she had recently visited.

“I hate to see it go away, but I think we as a county have to find ways to use the community sites more,” McKean said.

Div. 1 Coun. Kevin Good said he would “hate to see us in competition with existing sites and take away potential use” from the communities. As for the lost $80,000, “I don’t farm for crop insurance,” he said, “and don’t think we should make decisions based on having grant money.”

“I don’t believe the intent is to compete (but) to collaborate,” Kemmere responded, again requesting council obtain more information “before we make an arbitrary decision.”

“I just hate to throw something away that is almost here.”

McKean, however, pointed out there would be an ongoing cost to maintain the site, and Div. 3 Coun. Duncan Milne delivered the last word: “My feeling is we should let it go. Take the $40,000 we were gonna spend on it and help the others get going.”

The motion to cancel the community engagement site was carried with Kemmere opposed.

The creation of a county site was originally intended to be the third phase in a project that began with installation of the SuperNet and wireless hotspots in the county building, Wiens reported.


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