By Greg Price
About a half dozen years in the making, Municipal District of Taber council was issued the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) briefing on another batch of Municipal Government Act regulations, with the act undergoing a facelift in the province.
“Really, there is no surprises in here. They are pretty consistent with what we have been hearing through the extent of the process,” said Derrick Krizsan, CAO for the M.D. of Taber, at council’s Aug. 22 meeting.
For planning and development regulations, there will be a requirement for subdivision development board members to be trained similar to assessment review boards which is a four-day training course that is required every two years.
“In a regional aspect, I know there has been some difficulty retaining individuals who are trained, they are usually elected officials. Training is an on-going thing that has to be done,” said Krizsan.
Other tweaks have included a change in the definition of a water body in the Municipal Government Act.
“We will see how that impacts us in the future, particularly our relationship with Alberta Environment and irrigation districts,” said Krizsan.
The M.D. of Taber has an intermunicipal collaborative framework coming to fruition with Barnwell and Vauxhall as each community must also draft a code of conduct for their respective councils, which Krizsan noted will be quite time consuming for some.
“They are just forcing us to do what we are doing already with common sense, but when common sense isn’t in the room, it’s going to be divisive,” said Bob Wallace, councillor for the M.D. of Taber. “This process here is pitting urban against rural.”
From the date of the adoption of the new Municipal Government Act by the legislature, which is expected in November and December, municipalities will have two years to become compliant with the terms.
Council did voice some frustration in the input process in which the governing bodies took very little from the M.D., according to some in council chambers.
“We spent six years writing letters expressing concerns and going to meetings and very few of them (were tended to),” said Krizsan. “Particularly the assessment/taxation portions. Some of the key elements that we identified, not only did they not take any of those substantive and real issues into consideration, in many respects, they made the assessment of property more difficult.”