MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - Council has decided that Mountain View County will not be joining a proposed advocacy coalition aimed at giving rural municipalities a greater say in how and where renewable energy projects are undertaken and reclaimed.
The decision came during at the Feb. 8 regularly scheduled council meeting, held in person and on Zoom.
Rocky View County had approached MVC about the formation of the coalition, with RVC mayor Crystal Kissel saying the advocacy proposal would see a third-party consultant hired by partner municipalities to conduct a campaign.
“We wish to build a coalition of willing municipalities to hire a third-party consultant to advocate to the government of Alberta to develop an overarching policy framework for land use decisions on renewable energy projects that is more inclusive of municipal policies and interests,” said Kissel.
“We also want to request that municipalities be sheltered from potential financial liabilities associated with future reclamation of renewable energy sites.”
During the Feb. 8 meeting, MVC council and discussed the proposal.
Chief administrative officer Jeff Holmes said at the direction of council, administration approached the Rural Municipalities of Alberta to gauge the association’s position on renewable energy projects and related issues.
“They did have a board meeting on January 26 and they did indicate that advocating for the renewable solutions that we were a part of supporting and supplying through the RMA process was a priority for them, and that they would be undertaking independent advocacy efforts in addition to whatever the Rocky View coalition comes up with, ” said Holmes.
“They have indicated that they will certainly work along side and in cooperation but it is may understanding is that RMA is intending to purse this as an independent advocacy item on their part.”
The RMA has several resolutions in place calling on the provincial government to address concerns in regards to ensuring renewable energy projects do not negatively impact rural municipalities and the association is continuing to advocate with the province through those resolutions.
“My view is that RMA is very focused on this and I do believe that they want to make this an election issue item, so I am more inclined to allow RMA to continue to do their jobs that they are supposed to do as our advocacy board and not put someone else in the mix,” said reeve Angela Aalbers.
“If RMA is saying they don’t want to participate in this (Rocky View coalition) it concerns me that wires may get crossed.”
Deputy reeve Greg Harris said while he commends Rocky View and others who may go forward with the coalition, “My big concern is that what will come out of this will be any differences between the two positions will draw the attention and distract from the overall message and the purpose of our (RMA) resolutions and gives the government an out.
“I think we have RMA for a reason and a well established advocacy program. To spend taxpayers’ dollars to duplicate that when I don’t really think it is necessary I don’t think that is something I can justify.”
Coun. Alan Miller said, “I think RMA is our voice to the government, and I too am in favour of using RMA as our voice.”
Council passed a motion receiving the Rocky View County proposed advocacy coalition renewable projects as information.
Reeve Aalbers said she will write a letter to Rocky View County “thanking them for the opportunity to participate in this (coalition) and explain the rational for why we are not going to participate.”
The RMA represents 69 rural municipalities, including Mountain View County.