Cold Lake City Council has officially laid out their priorities for the next five years.
During their meeting on Sept. 8, council voted in favour of adopting a five-year corporate business plan. After a strategic planning meeting back in March, City Council narrowed down a list of about 100 issues into the top 10 priorities for 2015 to 2020.
Included in those priorities is ensuring the economic and financial sustainability of the City through I.D. 349 (Cold Lake Air Weapons Range) and the annexation. Both of which, the City is hoping to secure within the next two years.
“The annexation file is marching along. What people have to realize is our ask is (21) quarter sections. We're going back to when the City of Cold Lake was created...the shape of the city is weird, it's a dumbbell and we're trying to make it a long rectangle and shape it up better so it's more functional,” said Mayor Craig Copeland.
The issue of annexation is not a new one, as the City and MD of Bonnyville have been meeting on an ongoing basis trying to get the details hammered out and come to an agreement. By having the additional 21-quarter sections of land, the City believes it would attract developers to that area who have a long-term vision of building it up. Already, Copeland said they have been approached by interested developers who would use that land should it become part of the City.
“Where we're at with the annexation right now is that we still meet, there's a process now, and we're getting closer to an end,” said Copeland, who added that the annexation is also required for City drainage patterns.
“In the end it will have to go to the municipal government board no matter for a decision, so hopefully us and the MD can come to some kind of an agreement over the next, say, six months and then put the paperwork over for a decision.”
According to the City's five-year plan, they hope to be implementing strategies for annexation by 2017.
Another main issue included in the 10 priorities is securing the CLAWR funding. Put in place in 2012, the agreement with the government at the time saw Cold Lake receiving all of the funds after five years. Copeland explained they're going to work with the new government to ensure that agreement still moves ahead and will be meeting with the Minister of Municipal Affairs in the near future.
“The deal is working great for everybody and our intent is to work with the new government and transition everything over to the City of Cold Lake. It's going to be seamless, we have the staff that can do everything the provincial government are doing, and we can manage everything with I.D. 349.”
The other top 10 priorities listed in the City of Cold Lake's five-year corporate business plan are: CATSA certified commercial air services, marina expansion/parking, public works facility review, regional landfill opportunities, medical services and doctors, RCMP facility expansion, strategies land disposition and acquisitions, and operational agreements with the MD of Bonnyville.