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County calls for support of veterinary students

One of the summaries going to Nate Horner, minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development, relates to the current shortage of veterinarians in the province

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - Council has reviewed and approved a series of one-page summaries calling on various provincial government departments to address outstanding issues and concerns.

One of the requests is for the government to do more to support rural veterinary students, including encouraging graduates to practice in their home communities.

The summaries were prepared by the county’s intergovernmental communications committee and considered by councillors at the recent regularly scheduled council meeting, held in person and on Zoom.

One of the summaries going to Nate Horner, minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development, relates to the current shortage of veterinarians in the province.

It calls on the minister to “engage rural municipalities throughout Alberta with a focus on informing and engaging rural students to become enrolled in veterinary programs in an effort to increase the amount of students that will return to a rural veterinary environment at the conclusion of their studies.”

It also calls on Horner to lobby Kaycee Madu, the minister of Labour and Immigration to “develop programs that focus on immigration of veterinarians from countries with similar certification requirements that are rural-focused in an effort to assist with the short term shortages of veterinarians in Alberta.

“In an effort to solve the immediate needs of rural Alberta, Mountain View County supports ongoing discussions that focus on immigration programs, as recommended by the University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine Faculty, aimed at veterinarians suited for the rural Alberta environment.”

In a second request to Horner's ministry, the county calls on the ministry to “undertake a review and analysis at the provincial level on the extensive use of high quality agricultural lands for the development of renewable energy projects and how that will impact Alberta’s ability to grow agricultural products in the future.”

A number of renewable energy project developers have begun approaching private landowners contemplating the use of large amounts of agricultural land for the placement of renewable energy projects, the county said.

“These conversations have committed a lease rate that is in most cases greater than the potential revenue that could be acquired by a landowner through either the production of their historic agriculture products or through the lease of their land to other producers for agriculture purposes, thereby making it an attractive proposal without the risks associated with agriculture production.”

In a related summary being sent to Energy Minister Sonya Savage, the county is asking that department to “stop the issuance of Alberta Utility Commission (AUC) approvals for alternative energy projects until such time that a transparent reclamation strategy is development and approved by Alberta Environment and Parks that deals with end use reclamation and/or recycling obligations.

“That the minister connect with the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry to determine the impact the approval of renewable energy projects on agriculture lands will have on food production for Alberta agriculture.”

Rural municipalities “work hard through their statutory plans to protect agriculture lands and production and the AUC approval process (for alternative energy projects) does not take into account those plans and strategies.”

A summary being sent to Environment and Parks Minister Whitney Issik calls on the ministry to support the development of policy that requires reclamation/recycling programs for all AUC approved projects, including the submission of applicable securities by applicants to deal with reclamation and/or recycling obligations at the conclusion of the project’s useful life.

Council passed a motion accepting the summaries as information and instructing that they be sent to the appropriate ministries.

Council passed a second motion that the reeve send letters to the Minister of Energy and Minister of Agriculture regarding the concerns about alternative energy project recycling and reclamation.

Council has instructed administration to try to set up a meeting with the appropriate ministers at the upcoming Rural Municipalities of Alberta conference.