The AUMA Convention held in Edmonton last month gave the mayor and councillors in Rimbey a chance to get up close and personal with provincial government officials and dialogue with elected officials from other municipalities.
“I believe it (The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association Convention) was very beneficial. It is a learning experience for sure,” said Mayor Rick Pankiw. “Of course, you get out of it what you put into it.”
Talking to Diana McQueen, the recently appointed minister of municipal affairs, about an application for a small community grant which could help cover the costs of the 51st Street Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project was one of the highlights for Pankiw.
“We had already talked about it with the previous minister and we were just bringing Diana up to speed. We’re trying to get in front of everybody that we have to. We want to be sure we’re at the front of the line when Alberta signs the agreement with the federal government. We are working on getting it sent to both the provincial and federal governments.”
McQueen was receptive when he and Rimbey councillors met with her, he said.
“It’s brand new for her, she took everything. I will talk to her in the next few weeks again on it.”
The province has not yet signed the bilateral agreement with the federal government for the small community grant, but CAO Lucien Cloutier said sending in the application at this time has no downside.
“We want to get out of the chute as quickly as possible. It is appropriate and suitable to apply at this time,” he added.
He said he and Mayor Rick Pankiw met with Jeff Moore, assistant deputy minister of policy and communications, infrastructure Canada, earlier this month who encouraged them to submit the application.
The town, if approved for the grant, would receive $2.2 million over four years from the provincial and federal governments. They would pick up the remaining third of the cost ($1.1 million), themselves.
“That would represent a significant portion of our capital budget for those years,” said Cloutier.
The town needs the grant to move forward on this project, said Cloutier.
“We really can’t do it without this grant. It’s really quite essential because of the cost of it (the project). It will include the replacement of a storm sewer system. The current one is old and made of wood. It’s not large enough to carry the capacity that we need it to carry. This project would redo this storm sewer system with one that is in the right alignment, made of the right materials and built to the right capacity,” he said.
The restructuring project would also include revamping the water and sewer infrastructure and repaving the road, he added.