Residents encouraged to provide input

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New regulations for public consultation

Mountain View County residents should be encouraged to provide input and comments on proposed new regulations under the updated Municipal Government Act (MGA), says Al Kemmere, a Mountain View County councillor and the president of the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC).

Alberta Municipal Affairs has released the first group of draft regulations under the MGA, which is currently being updated.

The MGA is the overriding legislation governing municipalities in Alberta.

The proposed regulations include a new public participation policy regulation and a new municipal corporate planning regulation, as well as seven updated regulations.

The regulations outline new rules that would require municipalities to adopt three-year operating plans and five-year capital plans for infrastructure projects.

The new and updated regulations also set standards for public participation in municipalities across Alberta.

The new public participation policy regulation would specifically require each municipality to create a policy that would identify the “types or categories of approaches the municipality will use to engage municipal stakeholders” and “the types or categories of circumstances in which the municipality will engage municipal stakeholders.”

The policy must be available for public inspection and must be reviewed at least once every three years.

Each municipality would have to have its new policy in place within 270 days of the updated MGA coming into effect.

The AAMDC, which represents 69 rural municipalities, has been involved in the updating of the MGA and the development of related regulations.

“As far as I understand the public participation policy identifies the fact that we can create our own bylaw that identifies how we would participate with our public and give notification,” Kemmere told the Gazette.

“So I think the rationale for that one and what I support is the fact that every community is different as to what they have for opportunities to engage with the public. Let’s build a policy that deals with local needs, and that has been one of our premises, local decisions based on local needs.”

Regarding the new municipal corporate planning regulation, he said, in part, “Because they are plans it will allow municipalities to adjust things in their own plans if they’ve had some rather large changes in their revenue streams or their ability to draw revenues.

“The challenge I see with the three-year operating plans, and even with the capital plans, is we are all sitting in spots where a large portion or a significant portion of our funding comes through government grants and those are year-to-year or project-to-project, and it’s hard to build a plan when you don’t have the security of that revenue stream being clear.

“If we have to do these longer-range plans we need to know a little more assuredly what the revenue is that we can expect from the province.”

Municipal Affairs Minister Shaye Anderson says public input will be considered as part of the ongoing MGA update process.

As part of the MGA review process, all MGA related regulations were reviewed to support a modernized MGA and to ensure alignment with the amendments approved by the legislature in 2015 and 2016, he said.

“The MGA impacts every single person in our province, so it’s important that we continue to engage Albertans every step of the way,” Anderson said.

“I am picking up where (former Municipal Affairs) Minister (Danielle) Larivee left off and posting the regulations to ensure that all Albertans have time to review them and provide their input.

“I am looking forward to seeing the feedback from the public and to working collaboratively to complete the MGA and make it the best piece of legislation possible.”

The public has until March 31 to provide input on the first group of draft regulations. Input can be made at http://mgareview.alberta.ca.

“Let’s build a policy that deals with local needs, and that has been one of our premises, local decisions based on local needs.” Al KemmereAAMDC president

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About Author

Dan Singleton

Dan Singleton is the editor of the Mountain View Gazette who joined the newspaper in 1994. He covers news, municipal politics and community events in Mountain View County. He is also a longtime columnist for other publications of Mountain View Publishing.