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Coming Up: Aug 13

Council meets on Monday night. Following is a summary and my take on what will be discussed. The biggest topic of discussion: Large Scale Tourism Event grant applications by Bear Creek Folk Fest and the Stompede.

As always, any mistakes or opinions belong to me and me alone, not to Council or City staff.

If you would like to read any of the meeting's supporting material for yourself, you can do so by clicking here.

I will be absent from this meeting. I am taking two weeks of summer vacation to Program Direct at a large summer camp which hosts many Grande Prairie teenagers: I have four days left in my camp commitment. However, I still wanted to let you know what Council will be discussing. 

Arbour Hills Amendments

It is recommended that Council approve rezoning in the Arbour Hills area. This would have 2.86 hectares of General Commercial land rezoned to General Residential land. I am supportive of this change. It is compatible with surrounding land uses, and I think it makes sense to create more residential opportunity near the new hospital and the new Catholic High School.

Hughes Lake Area Structure Plan

Council will be giving third reading to the Hughes Lake Area Structure Plan. I support this passing. While the City needs to be very open to future ammendments, having a plan for future growth in the Northwest endorsed makes sense.

Alberta Summer Games Bridge Funding

The Alberta Summer Games has requested $75,000 in bridge funding. This would be a temporary loan which would be paid back in full early in 2019.

This will allow the Games to pay all their bills while waiting for revenue which will not be realized until year end. This request was made prior to the Games, but was not debated due to a break in the Council meeting schedule.

I am very confident that the fund will be returned. I also am also happy with the positive impact the Games had in our community: it injected money into our local economy, enhanced the profile of our region, and invested over $100,000 of legacy funds into local athletic facilities. I am supportive of helping the Games out by extending this funding.

Large Scale Tourism Event Funding

Council recently made changes to the Large Scale Tourism Event Funding. To learn more about these changes and why I am supportive of this grant, click here.

My opinion is that this funding is important. Growing our tourism sector is worthwhile. However, this funding should be used to grow, not maintain, local tourism opportunities. I want it to be used to start new events or to help expand existing events.

The Bear Creek Folk Festival has requested $100,000. I support this request. It is a large event which has had a very positive impact on our community and economy. It has an expected attendance of 4000-5000 people, with over 1500 of them from outside of our region. New events of this scale do require assistance to find viability. I do have reasonable confidence that this event will become sustainable. However, I do not think that any single event should be funded to this degree in the long-term. In the next year or two, City support should be down scaled. 

The Stompede has requested $75,000. It will have a delegation presenting to Council- I will not have a strong opinion before hearing that presentation. I appreciate the Stompede's history and contribution to our region. At the same time, it is a well established and viable event. I don't think the City should offer major funding to maintain it. However, if the requested funds can be used to boost the Stompede's tourism potential, I would be very supportive of releasing them.

Regional Transportation Services

The Community Living Committee has recommended that " the Mayor write a letter to the Province expressing the importance of a regional transportation solution for the Peace region." This came out of a motion I made right after the announcement that Greyhound would be ceasing service in Western Canada. I wanted Council to be ready to make this a lobbying priority if it started to look like our most vulnerable people would be left with no affordable transportation to or from Grande Prairie.

In the time since this was discussed at committee, the province has shown strong support for enabling provincial transportation. More importantly, several private companies have announced their intention to provide service between Grande Prairie and Edmonton. The situation has changed. If I was voting on this motion, I would likely vote "yes." At the same time, I would not be concerned if Council chose to drop this matter from consideration. I am confident that our community will see continued transporation links to Edmonton.

Veterans Way

The Legion has asked for 101 Ave between 102 St and 98 St to be renamed Veterans Way. This would be an alias only- the current legal and mailing addresses would remain in effect. However, commemorative street signs would be placed along this section of road.

I am supportive of this motion. It is an appropriate way to honour those who have served our country.

That is what is on the Council agenda for this week. As always, I welcome any questions, ideas, or feedback.

Thanks for reading!