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Wheatland County withdraws from the CRP

Kirsten Mundy

Standard Editor

As of Sept. 15, 2009, Wheatland County will no longer be a member of the Calgary Regional Partnership.

Two motions were made by council to remove the county from the partnership, both of which once again raised the concerns Wheatland County has had from the start regarding maintaining their autonomy as a municipality.

"Wheatland County does not believe that the Calgary Metropolitan Plan (CMP) is in the best interest of their ratepayers," said Reeve Ben Armstrong.

County chambers were opened up to the public for a portion of their meeting, to try and understand exactly what ratepayers think of the proposed CMP. The CMP is the plan which the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) is basing future decisions.

Four ratepayers were present for the meeting, and posed questions reflecting the same concerns council has had for the past 90 days, the time member municipalities were given to decide if they wish to remain members.

Councillor Ken Sauve answered one of the biggest questions: why exactly does the CRP want Wheatland as a member?

"We asked the Minister Ted Morton about this issue and I guess he's in favor of that. He told us some of the other projects we were working on would have some difficulty getting funding if we did not join," said Sauve. "We've decided we will not be swayed. by not getting funding."

Reeve Armstrong said the CRP did have some good programs that could benefit the county, but with the present voting structure there is a possibility that Wheatland could have some things they are opposed to within their lands.

"We could lose our autonomy," said Reeve Armstrong. "To us, it isn't doing us any good so why would we stay in?"

Because the county has withdrawn from the CRP they will automatically be in the region of the South Saskatchewan regional partnership. Councillor Glenn Koester made a request that the possibility of joining the Red Deer River planning authority be looked into.

Wheatland County wasn't the only municipality to express their discontent with the CRP's plan, Rocky View County also withdrew from the partnership last week.

"While there is much within the CMP that Rocky View could support, the plan needs to take into consideration a number of key points that do not serve the region well," said Lois Habberfield, Reeve of Rocky View County.

Cenotaph declared

historical resource

The Cenotaph in Gleichen is the result of a community working together, and the memorial is now officially a historical resource.

Area councillor Sauve made the motion to designate the monument as a historical resource because the designation allows the community to apply and qualify for numerous grants that can go towards maintenance as well as improvements in the future.

"It's one of the most beautiful cenotaphs that I've ever seen," said Sauve. "I think it's really something to preserve. It's been all refurbished and it's going to last a long time."

The cenotaph wasn't the only monument in Gleichen presented at the meeting. St Andrew's Anglican Church was also given the new designation, also qualifying it for many grant opportunities.

Another effort

to clean up Main Street

Wheatland County has had many meetings, and made many different efforts to clean up the main street in Gleichen, and nothing seems to have worked yet. Area councillor Sauve requested council's permission at the last council meeting to approach Siksika Nation and see if a joint effort would have more of an impact.

"I think this would be an opening to a discussion that would find a solution for this," said Sauve. "I have to give it a try."

Sauve was given council's permission to go ahead with the meeting, which will ideally find a way for Gleichen to remove some of the inebriated people from their Main Street.

An additional peace officer

County Fire Safety and Disaster Coordinator, Gerald Skibinsky, made a request of council for funding to be set aside in the 2010 budget for an additional peace officer.

"I think we'll be able to do a lot more for the public with an additional peace officer," explained Skibinsky.

This request was made following a few decisions made by council this past year that have left the peace officers with an increased work load.

"I know the ratepayers are expecting more," said Reeve Armstrong.

A request for information regarding how the present officers spend their time was made by Councillor Alice Booth, and the request was tabled until council could review that.

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