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County has lots in the works in 2022

Council will contend with changes in airport management, the strategic plan and budget
MVT Olds Didsbury Aiport night aerial
An aerial view of the Olds-Didsbury Airport. Appointments to an aviation advisory committee are expcted this month. File photo/MVP Staff

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - County council and staff expect to be keeping busy in 2022 with several key initiatives in the works, including plans to expand the county's economic opportunities around aviation, says Mountain View County Reeve Angela Aalbers.

“We have recently entered into a maintenance and operation contract for the two county airports,” Aalbers told the Albertan. “We are excited to potentially expand (Mountain View County's) economic opportunity with the aviation industry, which will be supported by input from the newly-formed aviation advisory committee.”

Mountain View County owns the Olds-Didsbury airport, located along Highway 2A, and the Sundre airport, located west of Sundre.

Appointments to the new committee should be finalized in this month, she said.  

“We are thankful to have the dedicated volunteers we have within our flying clubs who will continue to play an important role in supporting the airports,” she said.

Meanwhile, deliberations are already underway on the 2022 operations budget, with the intention being to finalize the budget in April once the county receives direction from the province on both the linear assessments and the Alberta School Foundation Fund requisition, she said.

“This is also the time that council reviews the service levels to determine if they are adequate or need adjustments,” she said.

Work on updating the municipality’s overarching strategic plan will be getting underway starting this month.

“Council will be reviewing the strategic plan in late January early February that will set guidance for the county during this electoral term and beyond,” she said.

The new year will see council and staff updating the municipality’s long-range capital plan to be ready for possible tenders in December 2022.

Council will also be undertaking further collaboration with urban partners.

“Our council is looking forward to working with our urban partners and rural neighbours through our intermunicipal collaboration agreements,” she said.

“We believe there is a great opportunity to build on what is already in place for the benefit of all our residents and businesses. The agreements range from fire service delivery, land use planning and support for culture and recreational facilities.”

The county is also looking forward to the opening of the new Carstairs fire hall, which is a joint town/county ownership.

Although council recently undertook a review and update of the municipal development plan and land use bylaw in 2020-21, “we will continue to monitor these statutory plans, including area structure plans to identify if and where the plans can be improved to meet the needs of the constituents,” she said.

Communication with ratepayers will also be an ongoing priority for council and staff in 2022, she said.

“This council is dedicated to working with residents and businesses and building on our communication strategy to encourage two-way dialogue with constituents,” she said.

The county will be continuing lobby efforts with the province regarding issues that impact residents and businesses, but are not directly in the control of municipal governments, she explained. 

“These are things like attending the engagement sessions the province is holding on the Alberta Provincial Police Service Transition Study, educating the province on the importance of linear taxes and how they assess those assets, and dealing with outstanding oil and gas taxes owed to municipalities," she said.

"The impact of downloaded financial burden that will be caused by removing the well drilling and equipment tax which municipalities rely on to maintain their road infrastructure, ensuring that the province communicates with stakeholders on the floodway mapping, draft floodway regulations and the disaster recovery program, and lobbying the ministry of Service Alberta to get rural broadband funding support for potential projects in Mountain View County through third party suppliers.”

Council and staff will also be continuing with efforts in support of the agriculture community, “Not only in Mountain View County, but in Alberta through our involvement with the Alberta Veterinarian Medical Association to lobby for changes which will encourage more rural veterinarians in Alberta,” she said.

“We will also continue to work with Olds College to identify possible solutions for increasing our ability to recycle agriculture plastics.”

County council's first meeting of 2022 takes place Jan. 12 in the council chambers and via Zoom.

Dan Singleton

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