MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - County council has agreed to provide the Didsbury and District Chamber of Commerce with a letter of support for its “initiatives to generate economic activity, build community and enhance the high quality of life that Mountain View County residents enjoy.”
The letter was approved by way of motion at the Sept. 28 council meeting.
During a delegation appearance before council on Sept. 14 chamber officials asked for a letter of support for pilot project that will see the chamber work with Calgary/Edmonton-based Sundance College to bring health-care certification programming to Didsbury.
“We have come seeking a letter of support for the concept. We are not asking for any funding. There are numerous grants that we are applying for to help with set up costs. A letter of support would be an added bonus,” chamber president Helen Hafke told council.
Following the delegation appearance, council made a motion instructing administration to bring back further information on the request.
“It is unknown what specific applications the chamber is applying for, however it is assumed this letter would be to support multiple future grant applications,” Jeff Holmes, the county's chief administrative officer, said in a follow-up briefing note to council.
“Mountain View County is not familiar with, or have worked with Sundance College in the past. Sundance is a 'for profit' institute, therefore its curriculum falls outside of government of Alberta review and approval. Sundance College is a private institution that may compete for students with government funded, and endorsed, post-secondary institutions.”
During the Sept. 28 council meeting, councillors discuss the matter at length.
Coun. Peggy Johnson said, “I’m concerned that we recommend this if we are not sure that Mountain View County residents who would engage in this education whether or not it will be of a great benefit. I have several concerns in this regard.”
She said she also has concerns with tuition costs perhaps being higher than other options.
Deputy reeve Greg Harris said, “I share councillor Johnson’s concerns, but I do note that the letter (from county) is a letter of support for the chamber of commerce and it doesn’t mention the college. I think in that sense it would be safe that we are just saying literally that we support the chamber of commerce.”
Reeve Angela Aalbers said, “I think the letter is very well written and very well worded to say this is part of the economic development drivers within Mountain View County, trying to increase education and business opportunities. It speaks a lot more for the relationship that Mountain View County is trying to build within our chambers and within our towns.
“I think we don't want to get too much into the decisions as to what towns decided and what partnerships they decide to enter into. That is really a decision for themselves.”
The letter approved by council and signed by reeve Aalbers states, in part, “It is my pleasure to provide a letter of support for the Didsbury and District Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Mountain View County. Although located within the urban boundary of the Town of Didsbury, the Didsbury and District Chamber of Commerce has a longstanding history of servicing over 2,000 county residents and businesses located in the area surrounding the town and have served the entire county through numerous collaborative efforts with regional chambers.
“Our council values the hard work and dedication that Chamber of Commerce members exemplify as they pursue various initiatives to generate economic activity, build community and enhance the high quality of life that Mountain View County residents enjoy.”
The letter does not mention the Sundance-Didsbury Chamber of Commerce pilot project.
Mountain View County’s economic development team “continues to work with the Didsbury and District Chamber of Commerce and intends to further the relationship with all chambers located in the county through the participation in mutually beneficial projects,” said Aalbers.